Problem StatementThere are certain problems with custom skins management in Parallels Operations Automation (POA) 5.4.0/5.4.1:
- Resellers have no ability to upload their own APS-based skins.
Skin deployment is too complex:
- Provider has to manually create a resource type for every skin.
- Provider has to include resource types in reseller service templates.
- There is no isolation between reseller skins.
- There are unclear screens on the APS catalog site (http://apscatalog.com) used for skin verification.
POA 5.4 Update 2 introduces the following improvements to custom APS-based skins management:
A new screen, Skins, is added under Branding Manager in the POA Provider and Reseller Control Panel.
- The new screen is available for both the Provider and for Resellers.
- Resellers may upload and use their own custom skins without assistance from the Provider.
- There is a simplified procedure for uploading and updating skins.
- The required resource types are created automatically.
- Isolation is improved -- Resellers may see only their own skins and the Provider’s skins.
- A new Upload New Skin tool has been added to the APS catalog site.
Skin customization procedure in POA 5.4.2
Create a new custom APS-based skin:
- Create a new brand using a customizable skin (any skin except for default).
- Customize skin content using SSH/FTP access to branded domain hosting.
- Pack the customized skin into a ZIP archive.
Verify the skin and build the APS package.
- Upload the .zip file to the APS catalog site, verify it, and build the APS package.
- Download the APS package.
Apply the skin to a brand.
- Upload the APS package to the POA CP via Marketing Director > Branding Manager > Skins.
- Go to the brand, select the skin, and submit the brand change.
- Review the branded Control Panel.
- The default skin cannot be customized. In the future, POA will update the list with skins in brand properties, which will be divided into two parts: Uncustomizable (will contain the "default" skin) and Customizable (all other skins).
- There is no clear way to update a skin. If the vendor uploads a new version of an APS-based skin in POA, there is no tool to explicitly apply the new version of the skin to the brand where the updated skin is used. To apply the updated skin, the vendor may click the Edit button in brand properties and then save brand without making any changes to it; in this case, the new version of the skin will be implicitly applied. The problem is that this process is not controllable from the vendor side. The problem will be filxed in the future updates to the product.