Contributor III

Is anyone using (and having problems with) Examplify? It's an app that's used to allow students to take exams, the maker of the app claims that it can be configured for lab use (https://examsoft.force.com/etcommunity/s/article/Examplify-Basic-Lab-Setup) but after working on this for months and not getting it working properly (and getting almost no help from Examplify) I figured I'd reach out to the Jamf community. My main problems are:

  1. I can get lab configuration to work on a computer-by-computer basis (if I'm doing manual configuration on each device) but in mass-deployment it's not working.
  2. The uninstallation instructions (https://examsoft.force.com/etcommunity/s/article/Examplify-How-to-Uninstall-on-a-Mac) don't work, where if I follow the instructions, reboot the computer, and try running the .DMG I got from Examplify it won't copy the app to the Applications folder (the install seems to complete fine with no error messages, but the app is nowhere to be found). Manually dragging the app works, but then when run it just bounces once in the bar and immediately closes.
  3. Despite the fact that they offer lab setup options, Examplify support says there is no way to prevent users from updating the software themselves (or to prevent the app from giving update prompts) and their support also confirmed that updating the software via these prompts in a lab setup will cause the software to stop working.

Thanks for any advice anyone can provide.


New Contributor

@el2493, I'm also looking at how best to deploy Examplify in a Mac lab... did you ever find any success besides manually configuring each device?

Contributor III

@dunnco I never found a way to really automate it, though I did discover a few things:

  • The uninstall instructions don't work because Examplify doesn't WANT them to work in a Lab setup. If you install and configure it for a lab setup, the only way to uninstall/reinstall is either to wipe the computer or to try reinstalling from a different user account (I've had some success with doing that).
  • Setting it up in a lab setup DOES prevent the software from updating. I think when I was first working on this it didn't, but shortly thereafter it changed and now it won't update if it's configured in a lab setup.
  • If you want to update the software, you can just install a newer installation package over the existing install (you don't have to uninstall it first, which makes sense if they don't allow you to easily uninstall it).

Having said that, the last I checked (which was probably over a year ago) they didn't offer any option for automating a lab configuration install. So what I have to do is manually trigger the installation from Jamf through Self Service, login to Examplify with my Lab Taker account, and set the settings for lab configuration. I do this computer-by computer rather than pushing it to everything and trying to configure afterward because Examplify will immediately launch after being installed (you could maybe edit a postinstall script to prevent this, but I didn't want to spend the time doing that). Like I said, I haven't checked in over a year so it's possible they finally care about this stuff and offer a way to configure it in an automated way. Though when I was working on it I had to work through at least 2 support tiers before getting in contact with someone who actually knew what I was talking about (and all they did was confirm that they didn't have a way to automate it), so not sure if it's more time-effective to do all that or to just live with cruddy manual configuration.

New Contributor

@el2493, thanks for your detailed insights! I've been trying to get some clarification from Examsoft support, however their documentation still specifically says they'll only provide assistance with configuring a base image or the first manually configured device. Fortunately I'm trying to deploy to a small lab, but was hoping to automate installation so we don't have to manually configure each time we refresh the lab.

Contributor III

It's definitely annoying, but at least for us we only have about 50 lab computers and we don't replace them that often. Figuring each Examplify setup will take about 5 minutes (though we also boot to Recovery Mode to create a partition to use for a Persistent Storage location, which adds additional time), I could get everything set up in a day. And once it's set up (as long as you don't have to wipe any computers), updating the software is really easy since you don't have to re-configure the lab setup after installing an update.

One other thing to consider is that (as far as I know, which means as of about a year ago) if you have Firewall enabled, it is going to prompt whether or not you want to run Examplify every time it's opened since the Examplify application isn't signed. Even if you list a Firewall exception, I think it's just a function of macOS where if it sees you trying to run an unsigned app and Firewall is enabled, it'll give that prompt. The prompt doesn't require admin rights so a user can click to allow it, but it's still annoying.

New Contributor II

I have an installer script for Examplify, it downloads the most recent version from their website, mounts, and installs it.

# This script downloads the latest examplify installer package,
# runs the pkg installer either installing or updating an existing install
# Created by Tara Oregon for Creighton University 11/1/18

#Download URL and temp directory variables

#creates temp directory, downloads examplify dmg file to it
mkdir $tempDir
curl -# -L -o $tempDir/Examplify.dmg $examplifyURL

#mount dmg file, move installer pkg file to temp directory
hdiutil mount $tempDir/Examplify.dmg
cp /Volumes/Examplify/* /$tempDir/Examplify.pkg
installer -pkg $tempDir/Examplify.pkg -target /

#cleanup, unmount dmg, delete temp files
hdiutil unmount /Volumes/Examplify/
rm -rf $tempDir

I am also planning on setting up patch management for Examplify soon, I'll keep this thread updated with it as I work out the kinks, and will likely throw it up on CommunityPatch.com when its stable.