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What’s new in Avanite WebData Control 4.5?

 

Recently at Avanite we released version 4.5 of our web browser optimization and control product – WebData Control. While in many ways this is an update to 4.4, there are important updates and it’s worth recapping the key features as well as what’s changed. 

 

Browser Agility 

Avanite started with a vision of optimizing web browser behavior to improve user experience, and to reduce the cost of managing the hardware and software used to access web sites and applications. As we have engaged with customers in the last few years, we have expanded this concept into Browser Agility, the idea of making it possible for organizations to seamlessly blend and migrate between different web browsers with a consistent user experience. Version 4.5 delivers on this concept in a number of ways… 

 

Favorites Synchronization 
Many users are forced to use multiple web browsers for a variety of reasons: application compatibility, performance, security, vendor support, and so on. They might use Chrome for general browsing, Internet Explorer for some legacy web apps and internal sites that rely on ActiveX plug-ins, then Edge for certain secure sites to appease the CISO. As if switching windows wasn’t inconvenient enough, user productivity is further reduced when they have to spend time copying settings and preferences between different browsers. 


Avanite reduces this burden by synchronizing Favorites between browsers, and in each release of WebData Control it has taken another bite out of this surprisingly tough technical challenge! This feature has reached a new level of maturity:  

 

  • Version 4.5 now retains the folder structure and order of Favorites, handles default favorites and has options for browser specific favorites. 
  • Version 4.5 also caters for browser-specific favorites such as chrome://settings, ensuring these aren't synchronized to browsers where the functionality is irrelevant.
  • A new "migration mode" allows the capture of favorites from one or more browsers, which then can be migrated to a new environment - essential as part of a desktop refresh or transformation project, delivering a consistent browser experience to users that share a common list of sites.

 

Browser Redirection

For users with multiple browsers, remembering which one to use for which site and which application is a burden, and highly error-prone. Avanite introduced Browser Redirection in version 4.4 to ensure users always use the best or most suitable browser for each URL. 


Following enthusiastic customer feedback, in version 4.5 this feature has been enhanced to cover more scenarios and provide an even smoother user experience: 

 

  • Some web servers perform multiple redirections before the user gets to the final web page. In 4.5 this is now handled invisibly so users are always in the right browser after the server redirections are complete.
  • When launching a new web browser, optional administrator-specified parameters on the command line that starts the web browser can now be used to specify security and usability settings.
  • The Browser Redirection extension for Microsoft Edge is now fully approved and published in the Microsoft Store, easing the install process. 

 

Automated Best Practice Configuration of WebData Control through Group Policy 

 

  • Version 4.5 simplifies the configuration with a new default configuration for Web Data Management. This allows a single Group Policy setting to apply Avanite's recommended configuration.
  • Here's how it looks in Group Policy Editor:

 

Updates for Windows 10 and Web Browser versions 
Finally, as you would expect with any version update, Avanite has updated WebData Control’s core functionality for the latest web browser and Windows 10 versions: 

 

  • Chrome 76
  • Firefox 67/68
  • Windows 10 1909
     

 

Where can I try all this? 
The latest version of WebData Control is available here.  
We always want to hear your feedback and input – please get in touch with us at info@avanite.com

 

 

Peter Jones

CTO

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