Difference: APPXNet (2 vs. 3)

Revision 32012-03-13 - ChrisBrower

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META TOPICPARENT name="SpecialTopics"

APPX/Net - Cross-Platform Data Sharing

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  APPX/Net is a data access facility allowing an APPX engine running on one APPX machine (like a desktop PC) to read and write AppxIO data stored on another APPX machine (like a Unix or NT APPX Server). APPX/Net performs conversions necessary to ensure that binary data in AppxIO files can be accessed properly across the network. It turns the APPX engine into a true network-aware client/server data server as well as client.
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APPX/Net is often used as a behind the scenes conduit of information on an APPX/Server to APPX/ODBC servers , sitting on Client PCs.
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APPX/Net is often used as a behind the scenes conduit of information on an APPX/Server to APPX/ODBC servers , sitting on Client PCs.
  An APPX system can be set up to access ALL of its applications and data, including the 0apps, across the network, or only some of its applications and data across the network. The main guideline is that the application design files for an application, and all database(s) containing data for that application, must all be located on the same machine. This ensures all data files stay in sync with their design specifications.
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Configure APPX on the client machine to acces data via APPX/Net
Test APPX/Net data access
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  1. Install and configure APPX Presentation Server on your APPX/Net data server machine

    If you have already done this, and have GUI client login working properly, you can skip this step!

    Otherwise, please refer to the APPX/Server Installation documentation for instructions on how to properly install and configure this server-side component of the APPX environment.

    Please test that you can accomplish a GUI client login after installing the APPX Presentation Server, before moving on to the next step. If you plan to use a PC as your APPX/Net client (for example, to gateway between AppxODBC and data on a UNIX machine), it is best to test that you can login via GUI client from THE EXACT MACHINE you are configuring for APPX/Net, rather than "another machine on my network".

    Note for use with APPX Releases up to and including 4.1.9: You must have a "GCS" (GUI client services) license listed in your APPX/Net Server's Registration information, to be able to test that GUI client login works successfully. If you do not have a "GCS" license, contact APPX Software for a temporary license containing "GCS" before attempting a login via the GUI client.

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  1. Install and configure APPX Presentation Server on your APPX/Net data server machine

    If you have already done this, and have GUI client login working properly, you can skip this step!

    Otherwise, please refer to the APPX/Server Installation documentation for instructions on how to properly install and configure this server-side component of the APPX environment.

    Please test that you can accomplish a GUI client login after installing the APPX Presentation Server, before moving on to the next step. If you plan to use a PC as your APPX/Net client (for example, to gateway between AppxODBC and data on a UNIX machine), it is best to test that you can login via GUI client from THE EXACT MACHINE you are configuring for APPX/Net, rather than "another machine on my network".

    Note for use with APPX Releases up to and including 4.1.9: You must have a "GCS" (GUI client services) license listed in your APPX/Net Server's Registration information, to be able to test that GUI client login works successfully. If you do not have a "GCS" license, contact APPX Software for a temporary license containing "GCS" before attempting a login via the GUI client.

 
  1. Install APPX on your APPX/Net client machine

    If you plan to use an "all data and design files on the network" configuration, you can get by with copying JUST the APPX engine ("appx" in the UNIX world, "appx.exe" in the PC world) to your client system.

    However, if you anticipate ultimately using one of the higher-performance options, please follow the standard APPX installation instructions for your client platform, to install a full copy of APPX on the client. For PCs, this typically means running the appropriate SETUP.EXE obtained from an APPX CD or a protected download area on the APPX Software, Inc. web site. For other machines, this means istallation of the required set of .tgz's for your machine. Be warned that if you just copy the engine right now, and later decide to try one of the more advanced APPX/Net configurations, you will still have to install a full copy of APPX on your APPX/Net client machine later.
  2. Configure APPX on the client to access data with APPX/Net

    The simplest APPX/Net configuration can be implemented in a matter of seconds by setting two environment variables on the client which tell APPX/Net the machine on which remote data is located, and how to login.

    The variables that must be set on the client machine are:

    Variable Description
    APPX_DATA_SERVER Location and port number of the APPX Presentation Server this APPX/Net client will connect to, in the format hostname:port (the default port number we recommend is 8060, but if you have configured your APPX Presentation Server to run on a different port, please use that new port number here)
    APPX_UID Server (OS-level) login ID and password, which must be defined in your Presentation Server system's standard user database (User Manager for NT, /etc/passwd for UNIX), in the format loginID:password


    HOW TO SET THESE VARIABLES FOR A UNIX APPX/Net CLIENT

    You can set these environment variables anywhere you would normally set environment variables for APPX under UNIX. One place you could set them would be the appx.env file associated with that engine. If you do that, be aware that ALL USERS RUNNING THAT ENGINE will run as APPX/Net clients. (If you have an existing, working, APPX application on your APPX/Net client system today, you DO NOT want to set these variables in appx.env, because the settings in appx.env will override ALL OTHER settings.) You could also set them in a specific user's, or the system-wide profile, and they would be in effect for a user, the next time that user logged in. You could also create a script that sets them and runs APPX, for test purposes. The latter might be specifically useful if you have an existing APPX system running on the machine you want to use as an APPX/Net client, and you don't want to do anything which might affect your running configuration! It is also useful to do if you anticipate running this machine in one of the more advanced APPX/Net client configurations, and are just "going through the motions" of Configuration #1 as part of the setup process. For instance, you could create a script called "netclient" which sets them, then invokes APPX, like:

    APPX_DATA_SERVER=myserver.appx.com:8060
    export APPX_DATA_SERVER
    APPX_UID=myuserid:mypass
    export APPX_UID
    /usr/appx40/appx $*

    There are some interesting things to notice about this script. First, we use the full path to the APPX/Net client engine. This ensures that even if we have multiple versions of APPX installed on the system, and people's PATH settings are different, anyone running "netclient" will get the same version of APPX. Also, we use "$*" to pass along to the invocation of APPX any other command-line arguments you've specified. For example, if you call this script "netclient", then "netclient -k -m=cli" would let you enter a keymap called "cli". Remember to "chmod 755 netclient" so that the script is executable, before you run it.


    HOW TO SET THESE VARIABLES FOR A WINDOWS APPXNET CLIENT

    You can set these environment variables anywhere you would normally set environment variables for APPX under UNIX. You could set them in a specific user's, or the system User Environment settings (in NT) or in the autoexec.bat (in Windows 9x), and they would be in effect after the next reboot. You could also create a batch file that sets them and runs APPX. The latter might be specifically useful if you have an existing APPX system running on the machine you want to use as an APPX/Net client, and you don't want to do anything which might affect your running configuration! It is also useful to do if you anticipate running this machine in one of the more advanced APPX/Net client configurations, and are just "going through the motions" of Configuration #1 as part of the setup process. You probably DO NOT want to set these in appx.env, as some versions of APPX/Net don't seem to check that properly. For instance, you could create a script called "netclient.bat" which sets them, then invokes APPX, like:

    set APPX_DATA_SERVER=myserver.appx.com:8060
    set APPX_UID=myuserid:mypass
    c:\appx25\appx %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9

    Be aware that using a script like this is only useful if you will always be invoking APPX from a Windows Shortcut or from the command line. It will not be useful if you are using AppxODBC.

    For actual production deployment on NT, you would probably want to set the APPX_DATA_SERVER variable in the "System" environment variables area. Depending on whether you wanted the same APPX_UID information for all users, or different APPX_UID information for each user, you would set APPX_UID in either the "System" or "User" environment variable area in NT's control panel. For production deployment on Win 9x, you would probably set both of these in each user's AUTOEXEC.BAT.

    There are some interesting things to notice about the above batch file. First, we use the full path to the APPX/Net client engine. This ensures that even if we have multiple versions of APPX installed on the system, and people's PATH settings are different, anyone running "netclient" will get the same version of APPX. Also, we use "%1 %2" etc. to pass along to APPX any other information entered on the batch file command line. For example, if you call this batch file "netclient.bat", then "netclient -k -m=cli" would let you enter a keymap called "cli".

    Note that unlike when using full local copies of APPX to access data stored on a shared network drive, you do not have to put the password into the APPX FMS Group definition or the User file record for the user.

  3. Test APPX/Net data access

    You are now ready to test your new APPX/Net client. If you created a script or batch file in step 3, run it now. Otherwise, just invoke "appx". (Check your path to make sure that the correct engine will be invoked when you do this.) PC users who like to click a shortcut to start APPX need to be careful here -- if you click on a shortcut, MAKE SURE you've set your environment variables and rebooted, and MAKE SURE that shortcut is defined WITHOUT THE "-c" command line option! If your shortcut specifies the "-c", APPX will start up a regular GUI client session, not an APPX/Net session. (Check this by right-clicking on the shortcut, choosing Properties, and clicking the Shortcut tab.)

    You should at this point see whatever main APPX screen is normally displayed for this user if they login directly to the APPX data server system, without going through APPX/Net. If you see it, CONGRATULATIONS, you have successfully configured APPX/Net! Be prepared to wait a while if you are attempting this process across a dial-up Internet link connecting your client with your APPX_DATA_SERVER, because a lot of data must move back and forth across the network when using the simplest APPX/Net configuration. Watch the dial-up networking status in your task bar -- as long as the send/receive lights are blinking periodically, APPX is doing something.

    If you don't see the expected main screen, try making sure that the machine name, port number, user ID and password specified in the environment variables can be used to start a GUI client session. Seriously, please test that you can bring up the GUI client with the EXACT SAME user ID and password information specified in APPX_UID. Testing a different ID you believe to be set up identically is NOT an adequate test. wink We've seen it succeed with one ID and fail with another that "seemed" identically set up more than once. Also, check the spelling of everything in your script or batch file, or system environment variable settings again. Make sure case is correct as well. Once you can login with the GUI client, there's not much that can go wrong to keep APPX/Net from working in this simple configuration. Check and doublecheck your login parameters.
 
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