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start alpha from command line

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    start alpha from command line


    I need to start Alpha in astrum using a command line sequence.

    I can call alpha5.exe but in the command section I need to add the code to automatically call the adb file.

    I assume it's the same as if I brought up the run dialog on my PC what would I need to input to open a specific database?



    Re: start alpha from command line


    What Ian is asking, I think, when you are creating a shortcut with Astrum, how do you include the command line?

    eg C:\BNI\alpha5.exe "c:\bni\bni.adb" -INCLUDE="c:\bni\bni.startup"
    Keith Hubert
    Alpha Guild Member
    KHDB Management Systems
    Skype = keith.hubert

    For your day-to-day Needs, you Need an Alpha Database!


      Re: start alpha from command line

      I almost hate to get into this because (a) I never, ever, ever, ever build an install file with Astrum that forces the user to install to a specific folder and (b) my install file (vs. an update file) always installs the application in a sub-folder under the runtime that has the same name as the .adb file. (The A5 installmaker installs the app in the same folder as the runtime.)

      Therefore, my answer will use variables that are available in Astrum.

      Also, the Astrum screens don't expand so you can't see much of the details in the screenshots. I'll include the details in my text when I think it will be helpful.

      The key variables that I use are:
      <InstallDir> - an internal variable set by Astrum that references the selected installation folder.
      <AppName> - an internal variable set by Astrum that equals the Application Name that you enter on the General Tab.
      <Desktop> - an internal variable set by Astrum to hold the path to the Desktop folder.
      <ShortcutDir> - an internal variable set by Astrum to hold the path to the shortcuts.
      <AdbName> - a variable that I create that contains the base name of my .adb file. (It's really more like a constant because I define it and it can't be changed/reset during the actual installation.) To see where this is added, see the screenshot showing Edit/Tools Build-time constants.

      Note that all variables are enclosed in < > and they are case sensitive.

      The following description references the "Build_shortcut.png" screenshot attached.

      To build the shortcut, fill in the fields in the Add (Modify) Shortcut dialog:
      - The Shortcut Target is the path to the A5 executable ONLY. If you install the runtime with the application, just use the <InstallDir>. If you install the runtime before installing the application, it can still be done but it becomes more complicated so I won't discuss it here.
      - The Shortcut Name includes both the path and the file name of the shortcut file itself. Typically the path will be either <ShortcutDir> or <Desktop> but if you have some reason for putting it in a different folder, you can do that too. The name shown in the screenshot is <AppName> but you can also change that if you have some reason to - personally, I never do.
      - The Command Line is whatever arguments you want to include after the Shortcut Target. I usually don't use the Include file so I just put in whatever arguments I want. I also prefer doing it that way because I don't have to worry about file paths being hard coded in the Include file.
      The command line shown is: <InstallDir>\<AdbName>\<AdbName>.adb -nosplash -title="Trak-It SP" -icon="<InstallDir>\<AdbName>\Trak-It.ico"
      - I'm not sure how critical the Working Dir is. In some earlier versions of A5, you would end up with the .dd* and .se* files on your desktop if you didn't specify a Working Dir. As a result, I always point the working dir to the same folder as my application.
      - The Icon File is the icon that will be used for the shortcut. (This is not the icon that will appear in the upper left corner of your A5 window - that is set by what is in your command line - see above - or Include file.)

      As you can see from the screenshot, you can create multiple shortcuts.

      The Command Line part of Keith's command was:
      "c:\bni\bni.adb" -INCLUDE="c:\bni\bni.startup"

      Note the problem here. If you allow the user to install the application to any folder, the include file may not work and path definition will also have to be changed.

      Assuming that your installation is putting the Alpha5.exe file in the "C:\bni" folder, then the "C:\bni" folder would be the <InstallDir>. In that case, the command line could be changed to:
      "<InstallDir>\<AdbName>.adb" -INCLUDE="<InstallDir>\<AdbName>.startup"

      If there are any commands inside the <AdbName>.startup file that have a hard-coded folder, then they obviously won't work if installed to a different folder. Since I never use them, I'm not sure what's inside.

      Note that another advantage to using the variables instead of hard-coding the names is that you can quickly build an install file for another application just by changing the <AdbName> variable in the one location.

      I hope this helps. If you need more detail, let me know what your questions are.
      Last edited by CALocklin; 11-28-2008, 04:17 PM.


        Re: start alpha from command line

        Hi Cal,

        Thanks for your excellent review of Astrum install. On the same subject, in your experience, what is the relevance of the hefty 38KB '' file that Alpha creates. Do we need to to include this in the install files?



          Re: start alpha from command line

          I always just include all the files from the A5_Runtime folder - with the exception of A5Install.log, Install.log, Unwise.exe, and I also found that it is always necessary to include the Themes folder.

          FWIW, I don't think the v9rt.exe file was there until after I recently tried the built-in installer so I presume that's what created it. (I just now deleted it.) And, I'm going to make another presumption - my guess is that the A5 installer unzips that file as part of the install routine. Since Astrum compresses the files itself, there shouldn't be any need to "prezip" them.

          The other folders are only included if there is something in them that the app needs. My desktop apps seldom need javascript, css, or stylesheets and I'm not currently building anything with SQL so I don't need those folders.


            Re: start alpha from command line

            Thanks, what you say makes sense, I think I will remove the zip from my installs and let you know if I experience any effects.



              Re: start alpha from command line


              in Cals installtion insructions for Astrum he includes the command line


              Adbname is I assume a variable

              Can any nice person tell me where this is set in Astrum?




                Re: start alpha from command line

                Originally posted by Ian_Edwards View Post

                in Cals installtion insructions for Astrum he includes the command line


                Adbname is I assume a variable

                Can any nice person tell me where this is set in Astrum?


                Take a look at the screenshot on the left in my above post. That's where you add them - Edit/Tools / Build-time Constants.

                And be careful with capitalization - it's case sensitive. Since they use mixed case on their internal variables, I kept with that convention. Don't forget the "\" too. And remember that <AdbName> is only the base name - it does not include the ".adb".

                For more info on variables, go to Help / Configuration screens / Variables. And see Help / Miscellaneous / Built-in Variables and Constants for a list of their internal variables.


                  Re: start alpha from command line

                  Thanks Cal

                  off the have a look