vRO 8 Web Interface and Legacy Swing Usage

vRealize Orchestrator 8.0 comes with a new web only interface and other changes you can view in the official release notes. The new interface is the first release by VMware to modernize vRO and abandon the legacy Java Swing technology. The web interface has a some nice features such as limited native git integration, operations dashboards, and the all new HTML editor interface.

One of the most annoying “features” of the web interface is you can no longer use folders to manage workflows. Workflows are grouped by tags. Don’t get me wrong, I like tags. But coming from a world where workflow sorting/grouping are directory based (including all of the built-in vRO 8 Library), transitioning to one big flat folder for all new custom workflows just doesn’t fit how I currently work. Existing folder infrastructure is represented as tags and all newly created workflow get a default “webroot”tag.

Now I have never been a huge fan of the JAVA Swing client — but it is still better than the new web interface. Ok maybe not better and I am probably just “Get off my lawn!!!!” old and don’t like change. But lucky for me the vRO 7.6 Swing client is still mostly functional with vRO 8 server.

You need to deploy a 7.6 vRO appliance to get the client running. I installed the 7.6 vRO Workflow Designer locally and nuked the 7.6 appliance. In the login enter the URL of your vRO or vRA 8.0 appliance. The client will show a server mismatch version, but just ignore this and plow forward and the client will launch.

The other big gotcha is if you edit a workflow via the web interface it can no longer be edited, deleted, moved, or copied from the swing client. You can view it and look at the logs. Also any workflow created in with the web interface is dumped into one folder “web-root” which will become a big pile of what does this workflow do quickly without a good tagging/naming scheme.

Not quite all rainbows and unicorns unfortunately. Packages will not import and you must go back to web interface for import.

I’m guessing the Swing client will cease to function in future 8.x or 9 release. Hopefully by then the vRO product team extends the functionality of the web interface to fill the bring back the folder structure as part of the HTML interface. Hint for the Product Manager on the VMware Orchestrator team if they are reading this.

And I must have a standard disclaimer: Use the SWING client at your own risk and I’m pretty sure it is not endorsed or supported by VMware. I’m going to keep using it and will post any updates to enhancements to the HTML interface… Or when SWING is officially broken.

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