Packaging and Deploying Adobe CC Apps with Casper

Like a lot of tech companies out there, our Mac fleet is predominantly designers and web developers, and a lot of them use Adobe programs for content creation. Unfortunately, Adobe in general is a pain in the ass and they haven't ever made enterprise deployment easy. Their AAMEE and Creative Cloud Packager make install packages, but then getting them to deploy and install… well, it's not the easiest thing out there for a systems admin to work on, especially if they're not used to working with Adobe apps (or Macs in general).

Therefore I submit to you a full guide for creating policies that will install Adobe CC apps on a machine, complete with pictures and lots of step-by-step instruction. Much of this was influenced by the handy guide on the JAMF website, but unfortunately, it's rather basic and doesn't show you how it all works out, or what kind of policies you can create for deployment and installation.

This guide will show how to create a Self Service policy for Adobe CC apps, starting from package creation and going through the policy tweaking.

Note: it's very handy to get yourself a CC license to use for administration. Yes, it costs something, but you'll need the CC Packager and it will give at least one person (you) access to the Adobe suite so you can troubleshoot and test the apps.

1. Open the Creative Cloud Packager. This Packager app is included with the installation of the Creative Cloud app. Select "Create Package" to create a new software installer package. It is very important that the name you choose for the package does not contain any spaces.
2. Select which applications you want to include in your installer. Check marks show full applications that will be included in the installer. Dashes show that the full applications are not included, but they contain shared files with other applications. Once selections are made, click Build.

A progress bar will appear to show you the download and implementation progress.

Once the installation package is created, you'll see a summary page.

3. Inside the folder that the CC Packager creates for you, look for the Install.pkg. This is what you'll want to use to create an installation DMG.

4. Next, open Disk Utility. Go to File > New > Disk Image from Folder…

When prompted, select the Install.pkg file within the folder that the CC Packager app created.

Give it a title without any spaces.

A DMG file will then be created and saved in your specified location.

5. Next, open Casper Admin and upload the DMG file and this script from JAMF (this is a script that launches a .pkg installer file housed within a .dmg image). To upload, drag the DMG file you created into the main window of the Casper Admin app and let go. You'll then see the upload progress within Casper Admin.

6. Once uploaded, find the DMG you uploaded and double-click on it. You can adjust the name and priority, and adjust the installation options. These will be defaults that can be changed later, so anything is fine. Since these apps will only be installed through the Self Service app in this example, you can just select Fill Existing Users.

7. Now that the package is in the JSS, you need to build a policy to deploy the installer. Log into the JSS web app, then go to Computers > Policies and add a New policy. In the General tab, give the policy a recognizable name, assign it to a logical category (since we use it as a CorpIT installer tool I put it in the CorpIT Tools category). Make sure the policy is Enabled, and the frequency is Ongoing.

In the Packages tab, select the Adobe DMG you uploaded. Make sure the action is Cache, and that it is set to FEU.

In the Maintenance tab, set the machine to send an inventory update to the JSS once the installation is complete.

Under Scope, make sure the Target is "All Computers" and the Limitations are set to the appropriate LDAP group.

Under Self Service, check the box to make the policy available in Self Service, add a Description, upload an app icon, and click Done.

8. The installer will now be available to the specified users (in this instance, CorpIT members) in the Self Service app to run on new hire machines before the machine is deployed. These should be installed on computers imaged with the Creative Cloud App, as that CC App manages the licensing for the Adobe apps. If there is no CC app on the machine with an Adobe ID logged in, the apps will run in a trial mode. Once the user logs into the Creative Cloud app (after accepting the invitation sent from the Creative Console) they will see the installed apps and be able to update them as needed.

You could also, rather than going the Self Service route, create a policy scoped to machines with dummy receipts based on the kind of image they receive. So, for instance, any imaged machine with the title "Design Image" would then have a policy run that installs the above (with script and all) when it checks in after imaging. The scope would be machines with imaging type "Design" that do not have Photoshop (or another app) installed. This could further automate the workflow. Alternately, you could create a script that triggers whatever policy ID or a custom trigger for the policy, and include that script to run after reboot in the imaging process.

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