MacAD UK: A WiFi Toolkit

Mad Admin & Developers Conference UK

Chris Dawe from Wheelwrights LLC and I co-presented this deck at the Mac Admin & Developers Conference in London on Tuesday, February 9th 2016. Our focus was on leveraging native, 3rd party, and cross platform tools to help manage, troubleshoot and plan small, medium and large-scale WiFi networks across sites large & small.

Our presentation notes are available for download as a PDF file: A WiFi Toolkit – MacAdUK 2016

Some tools that we’ve mentioned include:

Some resources that are helpful:

Techno Bits vol. 53: 2015 Finale

In the final volume of Techno Bits for 2015, there’s a reminder of how important community is to our common interest, some news of changes afoot in Microsoft Office 2016 for the Mac, and a bunch of good links (Wi-Fi Keys! The Pixel C! Airwatch’s REST API! Craig Federighi!)

I’ll have a state-of-the-product post up next week on the future of Munki in a Box.

Munki-in-a-Box 1.5.0 Beta 1

When Rich Trouton recently blogged about automating the setup of, we talked a bit about how it might apply to Munki in a Box. The idea of having a version that you could run entirely without having to have pre-loaded was attractive, as it would save steps.

On the heels of the work earlier this week with getting webappctl tamed for use at the command line, I had all the pieces necessary to complete the project, just a week after commissioning.

To use this script to its fullest, you need a copy of the AppStore Installer Package for (here’s how to grab it), as well as a good hostname to use for your server. That means the hostname needs to be ready in your DNS for the script to work. I suppose I could write a check for that, and will for beta 2.

But for now, 1.5.0 beta 1.

Accessing’s Web Application Toggles from the Command Line

Apple’s offering has a strong command line interface that is usually tied to the serveradmin command verb. This is great when you want to start or stop the web service, as well as view all of the Apache settings:

sudo serveradmin start web
sudo serveradmin stop web
sudo serveradmin settings web

But the thing I really, really wanted to do with serveradmin was turn on the PHP Web Application, because Munkireport-PHP relies on it being running, and if serveradmin can’t engage the PHP application engine, I was going to be unable to control it programmatically, or view its status with a check.

I submitted a bug to Apple that it wasn’t available as part of serveradmin, and I fully expected it to be closed with “functions as intended.”

And it was!

But there was a pleasant note at the bottom below:

You can enable/disable PHP from the command line, just not with serveradmin. The supported way is:

sudo webappctl [start|stop]

This, of course, got me reading the (ample) manage for webappctl.

webappctl recognizes the start or stop argument to activate or de-activate the webapp specified by webapp-name.  If the webapp-name is specified as "-", the start/stop/status action applies to all webapps represented with a plist present in /etc/apache2/webapps/.  In the case of a restart "-" action, the set of running webapps are stopped, then started. (In the case of a restart for a specific webapp, the webapp will be stopped, then started, even if it was not running before.)  If the status argument is specified, a list of enabled webapps is displayed. The tree[s] argument displays the hierarchy of webapps declared by the requiredWebApps property.  The optional vhost-name argument specifies the name of the virtual host though which the webapp is to be proxied.  If omitted the default wild-card virtual host is used.

This means that you can easily start or stop the PHP and Python web applications programmatically with the following commands:

sudo webappctl start
sudo webappctl stop

sudo webappctl start
sudo webappctl stop

As well as get their status from the command line:

vm1011:apache2 ladmin$ sudo webappctl status -
web:webAppState:_array_index:0:virtualHostName = "-"
web:webAppState:_array_index:0:vhid = "-"
web:webAppState:_array_index:0:state = "RUNNING"
web:webAppState:_array_index:0:webAppName = ""
web:webAppState:_array_index:1:virtualHostName = ""
web:webAppState:_array_index:1:vhid = ""
web:webAppState:_array_index:1:state = "RUNNING"
web:webAppState:_array_index:1:webAppName = ""
web:webAppState:_array_index:2:virtualHostName = ""
web:webAppState:_array_index:2:vhid = ""
web:webAppState:_array_index:2:state = "RUNNING"
web:webAppState:_array_index:2:webAppName = ""


vm1011:apache2 ladmin$ sudo webappctl status -
web:webAppState:_array_index:0:virtualHostName = "-"
web:webAppState:_array_index:0:vhid = "-"
web:webAppState:_array_index:0:state = "RUNNING"
web:webAppState:_array_index:0:webAppName = ""

This opens the door further for a version of Munki in a Box that could configure if it isn’t already, including the activation of the web service and the PHP web application service. This is good news.