How do I configure Technician Web Access (TWA) site in IIS?

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Before remote technicians can start using Technician Web Access (TWA), the helpdesk administrator needs to first setup and configure certain settings, in the web access administrative panel in Team Helpdesk Outlook, and then on the IIS web server. The followings list all the steps required to be performed to get TWA website running in few minutes.

Step 1: Setting up an Application under IIS
Step 2: Set appropriate network permission to the IIS shared folder
Step 3: Extract/Copy all files of Technician Web Access to the IIS web folder
Step 4: Set ASP.NET permission on Temp sub-folder
Step 5: Configure web Access specific settings in Team Helpdesk add-in
Step 6: Write/Update XML metadata files from Team Helpdesk for Outlook

Step 1: Setting up an Application under IIS

The first step in setting up the Technician Web Access (TWA) site requires creating a new application under your IIS server. In this document, we discuss the configuration of an application on your default web site under your IIS.

To create a new application, right-click the site and select ‘Add Application…’.

You will be prompted with the ‘Add Application’ dialog box.

Type the alias for the Application, say, TWA and specify the physical folder on the local server to map to this alias. In this case, the physical folder on the server is C:\Inetpub\wwwwroot\TWA

Click OK. The image below displays the result.

Step 2: Set appropriate network permission to the shared folder

The just created ‘TWA’ IIS Application now needs to be set as a shared network folder for all the helpdesk technicians that uses Team Helpdesk for Outlook. Data interchange between the Technician web access (TWA) and the Team Helpdesk add-in in Outlook uses XML formats and are written to a temporary subfolder ‘Temp’ under the application folder. Due to this requirement, all helpdesk technicians working in Outlook will need to have full control over the ‘TWA’ network folder.

Right-click the TWA application from the tree view and click ‘Edit Permissions…

We need to grant full control to this folder (eg. D:\Inetpub\wwwroot\TWA) in both Sharing and Security tabs. Let us start with the first one. Click the Sharing tab > Advanced Sharing…

From the ‘Advanced Sharing’ box, enable the option ‘Share this folder’. And then click ‘Permissions’.

Once you are in the permissions dialog, you will see that by default, any users on the local network have read permission over the shared folder. For our needs, we need to allow all helpdesk users to save/update files under this folder. So, either you can add individual user or a group (if you have it defined).

In our example, we have defined a group ‘ServiceDesk’ comprising of all helpdesk users so that setting permission for all users can be done in a single click. Check the option ‘Full Control’ to allow all technicians in the helpdesk team to save/update ‘Technician Web Access’ specific metadata XML files.

Likewise, add the same helpdesk group (eg. ServiceDesk) under the Security tab and grant ‘Full Control’ access.

Step 3: Extract all Technician Web Access (TWA) application files

Now that we have created an exclusive web-enabled physical folder on the server and granted full control to all helpdesk users (step 1 and 2 respectively), the next step is to extract all the files and subfolders from the Technician Web Access zip archive (eg. TWA.zip) to the shared network IIS folder.

This TWA.zip is installed with Team Helpdesk Manager, and is located under the following folder in your system:

On Windows XP
C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\AssistMyTeam\Team Helpdesk Resources

On Vista and Windows 7, 8
C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\AssistMyTeam\Team Helpdesk Resources

The contents of ‘TWA.zip’ are shown below:

Extract all the files and subfolders under the zip (eg. TechnicianWebAccess.zip) file to the network shared web-enabled Technician Web Access (TWA) folder. For example, \\192.168.1.4\TWA where ‘192.168.1.4‘ is the windows server and ‘TWA‘ being the web-enabled folder (either configured as a website or virtual directory under an existing website in IIS). If step 2, if the permission (eg. full control) was successfully set, the files and subfolder would be extracted/copied to the network share.

Step 4: Set ASP.NET (Internet Guest Account) permission on Temp folder.

The Technician Web Access functionality is built upon ASP.NET 2.0 and AJAX technology. Typically, an ASP.NET application requires read, execute, and list access for the ASP.NET account (also known as Internet Guest Account) for the web site root (for example: D:\inetpub\wwwroot\TWA or any alternative site directory you may have configured in IIS), the content directory and the application root directory in order to monitor for configuration file changes. The application root corresponds to the folder path associated with the application virtual directory in the IIS Administration tool.

Under your IIS server, you have multiple subfolders under the TWA application. The special interest that we have now is for the ‘Temp‘ folder, as this is the folder that saves uploaded attachments from support request case temporarily. Hence, the ASP.NET account needs to be configured to have full control over this ‘Temp’ folder. You do that by right-clicking ‘Temp’ folder > ‘Edit Permission…’.

From the Temp properties dialog box, click the ‘Security’ tab, and click the ‘Edit…’ button to invoke the ‘Permissions’ tab.

In the ‘Permissions’ dialog box, select the ASP.NET (Internet Guest) account. Different version of IIS has different ASP.NET account name. For example, in IIS version 5 (windows 2000 server), it is ASPNET, and in IIS version 6 (windows server 2003), it is IIS_WPG group whereas in IIS 7 version (Windows 7 and 2008 server), it is IIS_IUSRS group.

In the screenshot below, we have IIS 7 version and hence, the IIS_IURS group is allowed ‘Full Control’ over the ‘Temp‘ folder.

Step 5: Configure TWA specific settings from Outlook

The Technician Web Access (TWA) site does not make use of a database to store the helpdesk settings and lists. Instead, the data and settings are stored as XML metadata files and are saved/updated from the Team Helpdesk add-in interface in Outlook (by helpdesk managers/technicians). The document takes you to finer detail on various web access settings that need to be configured in the administrative tool, before saving/updating the XML metadata files in the IIS folder.

Define password for each technician for web access: Open up the Team Helpdesk Manager menu > ‘Technicians list’ panel and for each technician, define a password to enable individual technician to login to Technician Web Access on the web using the technician’s email ID and password.

There is an exclusive web access setting dialog, which is displayed above. To save/update the XML metadata files from Outlook to the shared network web-enabled folder (on the server), it needs to know the full UNC folder path. If the network folder resource requires a network credential, then you will be prompted to enter.

Step 6: Write/Update XML metadata files from Outlook

The last remaining step is to save/update the Technician Web Access (TWA) specific XML metadata files in the TWA network web-folder. The XML metadata files contain the required Team Helpdesk lists and settings defined by the helpdesk manager in Outlook and these files feed data to the Technician Web Access applications when end-users submit new support requests via web-form or when callers login to load their support cases.

Before any XML data files can be updated, the helpdesk manager needs to specify the network share that was configured in Step 2. If the appropriate permission was set, clicking the ‘Update data’ button generate all the required XML files.

Automatically update TWA metadata XML files (including web.config): In due course, the Team Helpdesk lists and settings would change/update (eg. problem categories and types). This requires the helpdesk manager to manually update the web access XML metadata files accordingly (by clicking the ‘Update data’), so that data used in the web access application is in synch with that in Outlook. Though the helpdesk manager can manually update the data files for web access, it would be a tedious task if the settings in Outlook are to change every now and then. In such scenario, it is recommended to allow Team Helpdesk (in Outlook) to automatically update web access specific metadata XML files in the shared network folder, when there is any changes in the lists and settings in Outlook.

Now, open your web browser and point to the TWA URL. Usually the URL is in the format http://[IIS Server Name]/TWA/

For example, in our instance, it would be http://byteStation/TWA/