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Thread: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

  1. #1
    "Certified" Alphaholic Mike Wilson's Avatar
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    Default depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    I have completed an A5 application developed with the potential for it to be distributed to the public. Getting it to a state able to be distibuted ito the public has been an absolute nightmare!!!! The issues presented at this point, have been insurmountable.

    1. errors related to unregistered dll and ocx file.
    There are a multitude of threads that relate to this issue. The "resolve" has been to use a third party installer such as "Astrum". Yeah. right! Purchased that 2 weeks ago and it 'aint a solution that folks seem to taut it to be. The trial an error there have been voluminous!

    2. other issues, many issues I am too tired to go into at this moment.

    Has anyone taken an a5 application completed in A5 and deployed it for distribution to the public without a nightmare that ?
    Mike W
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Mike,

    While I have not done what you are asking....I did remember seeing this from the release notes for build 3564 that might help.

    Batch Files to Re-register OCX and DLL Files - Occasionally, (typically after installing a patch) you might encounter an error when Alpha Five tries to render some HTML content. Or the error might occur in a dialog that has a Property Grid control. These errors are the result of one of the DLL files that Alpha Five uses becoming 'unregistered'. Generally, reinstalling Alpha Five will fix the problem, but now two special batch files (one for Vista/Windows 7 user, and one for XP users) are included to make re-registering all necessary files very easy. The batch files are in the Alpha Five program folder and are:
    •RegisterFiles.bat
    •RegisterFilesVistaWin7.bat
    If you are using Vista or Windows 7 you must run the appropriate batch file using Administrator privileges.
    To run the batch file:
    1.Open Windows Explorer.
    2.Navigate to the folder where Alpha Five is installed and then right click on the appropriate batch file.
    3.Select the 'Run as administrator' command.
    Note: The RegisterFilesVistaWin7.bat file will register .dll and .ocx files and then run the dhtmled.msi installer to repair the Internet Explorer ActiveX control. Alpha Five uses this control to render HTML in many places (such as the Grid builder, HTML editor, etc.)

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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    A5 or Access or VB... it's all a nightmare... but one that you can emerge from.

    I've done all three... less so with A5, but still done, and all three are, at best, horrible. Trial and error, differences on workstations, OS, registrations...

    The only way to get through it, is just keep going solving one problem after another until it's bulletproof.

    I've used Wise in the past but the problem with Astrum (haven't used it - so I'm guessing) and Wise is that now you have to learn another language altogether.

    My take on this is... it's just not simple stuff. Take time to get it right, learn the tool you're using.

    For Wise and Access I had to purchase a pre-made script to get it working because it's just way too complicated to work out yourself.

    When I ran into registration problems I found all the ocx/dll causing problems and used the installer to register everything.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Hi Mike,

    I hear you loud and clear! I have deployed 4 A5 apps, and still wake up in the middle of the night having nightmares about deployment!

    I'm about to do another this week, and have PRACTISED.

    I'm not an expert with A5 by any stretch, but I have deployed HUNDREDS of apps over the years. Mainly CLIPPER or Visual Foxpro.

    I have found the best way for me to deploy A5 apps is to use the Alpha runtime installation program that puts ALL the A5 runtime on the customers machine. Then I use any installer to install the app.

    In essence I create a folder off the root, and unzip the files. Then start the runtime and my app. It is very easy. Seems to work, I know it is not the way most do this, but it works.

    I bought the A5 branding tool, and have mixed emotions about it.

    I have 7 or 8 commercial installers, including Astrum, Wise, Deploymaster, etc. I also have used Inno (free). They all work about the same, all have a steep learning curve.

    Alpha uses Wise for their deployment, and the runtime installs without a hitch.

    Thank you for all of your helpful message board help. I have used your advice many times. Keep up the good work!
    Regards from Washington State,
    Bill
    Licensed NERD

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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    I have not only a fool proof way to make the initial auto install exe, but also an update/patch exec, using Astrum.

    Cal Lochlin is a master with the app, and its scaleability is unlimited. BUT - you really do have to learn how to use it. I hired Cal to not only teach me, but also help me set it up for not only the initial install but also the patch install. And the patch can be run from anywhere, and it will automatically determine if it is shadowed, and where the shadow is and install it there.

    Best investment I have made in a while.
    Cole Custom Programming - Terrell, Texas
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Mike,

    While I may not be on the level of Cal, I use astrum and have deployed to the public and some to the private. It is not insurmountable. I promise. It may have been easier and a time saver to use Cal's expertise, but I would not have learned as much. It took me 2 days to make the first install and it gets easier after that.

    If someone will send you a *.ai2 file you can open, it will make more sense. I do not have one here to send, but from home if you need it.

    I also use it for updates/upgrades to existing apps. That and a bootstrap made with alpha, it works almost flawless.

    Nothing is foolproof! Ask Microsoft? LOL

    Understanding Astrum is the first step, Understanding registry export is the next and You know Alpha, RIGHT?

    Unlike Bill, I put the runtime in the same folder with the shadowed app if it is a multiuser and the data in a server folder. All in one place is simpler for me. Then I use astrum to install all of it. That way the user has no issues. If it is a single user app, all is in one folder.

    I came from clipper like bill did and in some ways it was easier. I too put installs in a folder off the root. That way, if I make changes(updates), it becomes real easy to make a new(redone) install.

    My intall folder looks like this on the c drive:
    upsinstall
    standalone
    ups55new
    ups55server
    upsupdate
    ups55ws (workstation only and shadowed with a bootstrap to find the data)

    see a sample with CARE: http://www.lotrun.com/downloads.htm download it BUT install it on a clean computer. It will overwrite your alpha files in the registry!! This from 3 years ago or more and is in V7. Rewritten since then and now being completely overhauled in v10. ask me privately for the password to open it. I don't mind if you get some help from it as it is old and being redone with newer ways as I write this.



    .
    Last edited by DaveM; 07-15-2010 at 12:51 PM.
    Dave Mason
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Mike,

    You wrote "2. other issues, many issues I am too tired to go into at this moment."

    Those "other issues" concern me greatly. If you feel up to it
    (better rested)could you go into a few of them.?

  8. #8
    "Certified" Alphaholic Clunes's Avatar
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    I use an installer from www.actualinstaller.com. I found it really easy to learn and works a treat. The only issues I ever get is with user rights on their machines. It allows for the installation of fonts, greater control of adding and removing additional files. Control of desktop shortcuts etc. Setup control on mulitple platforms etc and it was cheap
    -----------------------------------------------
    Regards
    Mark Pearson
    mark.pearson@onestopsolutions.com.au
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  9. #9
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    alpha actually includes to bat files in the installation toregister the files as needed. one goes through XP and the other is for vista and win7. Look in your install folder.
    Dave Mason
    dave@aldausa.com
    Skype is dave.mason46

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Ted Giles's Avatar
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Well I seem to have been lucky then!
    V7 muiti user run time installed at BT Test labs in the UK, V9 RunEngine version installed on a network where I am at the moment.
    I just used the create install package facility - no bootstrap - and it all hung together nicely. Ran Network Optimise and away she went.

    I presume you are using the Runtime build option?

    The only issues I ever had which caused me sleepless nights were with A4V6 and 10 workstations on Windows 3.1.1.

  11. #11
    "Certified" Alphaholic Mike Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Giles View Post
    Well I seem to have been lucky then!
    ...version installed .....where I am at the moment.
    Yes, however an application for public distribution must not require personal presence for installation. Have yet to get the installation of an application with a runtime to install. Now another issue that seems unattainable is how to get the installation to generate a desktop icon that points to a A5 startup file which contains the information for the satrup splash screen and icons when the A5 startup file application path is hardcode when created.
    Mike W
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  12. #12
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Mike,

    Alpha could make this better, I am sure of it. I fortunately have astrum, so don't need alpha's distribution.

    In astrum, I simply include the folder(s) and startup link from the desktop and make an install. I happen to need the registry entries and a couple other things, so I also include those in the install. The only problems I have is when a user tries to run the install without admin priveleges.

    The bootstrap lets the user set the data path for the runtime( I don't have to be there). That is the only real reason for it. I also use it to validate the install(set passwords, etc).

    Now, I do one other thing to my runtimes that seems to help me. I make an *.exe to call from the startup link on the desktop. It seems to make it a little simpler(at least for me). The exe has all the stuff I want for that installation.

    If I can help you, let me know?


    .
    Dave Mason
    dave@aldausa.com
    Skype is dave.mason46

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Clunes's Avatar
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    This is why I use the install maker program. It has a host of system variables that can capture the change if the user wants to install the files indifferent directories to the defaults. It allows for shortcut commands that can use the variables at install time, whether they be program files directory, root directory or desktop.

    In relation to startup or licences, if these files are always in the runtime install directory there is never a problem
    -----------------------------------------------
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    Mark Pearson
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  14. #14
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Most of my installs have 2 files for install. 1 for the database(server) and 1 for the shadow.

    My single user installs have 1 install.exe that puts all of it in one computer. Usually on c: drive, but the user can designate the folder/drive/both for the shadowed part.

    My bootstrap causes the user to have to put the path to the database if they want to install differently. It pops up with directions like "\\servername\foldername\file.adb" . makes it easy for an it or me by phone if they mess it up.

    Since I put my exe in the folder and it runs the runtime alpha.exe in the same folder, it gets easy for the user.
    Dave Mason
    dave@aldausa.com
    Skype is dave.mason46

  15. #15
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    I'm with Dave on this....Alpha's install program just was not doing what I required and so looked at Astrum and InstallCreatorPro.....but figured out InstallCreatorPro first and never gave Astrum a thorough looksee. I spent a day figuring out how to create what was needed, most of which was the syntax for icon/shortcut creation. It works easily now for what I need and just use what I have done in the past as the template for additional uses.

    Mike,
    It may be the same for you....to use a third party software you see as intuitive (sounds like either Astrum or InstallCreatorPro to me) and learn it...it won't take long to do this I am thinking as you can ask the board here for help am certain especially if Astrum is chosen---if you chose InstallCreatorPro I would do what I could you know as well.
    Mike
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Some things I just discovered about shortcuts:

    1. There IS a Windows limit to the length of the shortcut "target" field. (For those who use Astrum, this is in regard to the WINDOWS "target" in the icon - not the "target" field in Astrum.)

    2. The default paths for the -icon, -splash, and -include arguments are first the folder the Alpha5.exe file is in and then the folder the .adb file is in. THEREFORE, it is not necessary to include the path in these arguments if you put the file in one of those folders. (I prefer the .adb folder because it just seems more logical to me - the icons are part of the application not part of A5.)

    WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT:

    A. If you use an Include file (startup.txt, etc.), then you can leave off the path in those command lines and the user can install your application to any folder and the desktop icon will still work properly. Based on my limited testing, A5 includes the path by default so you will probably have to delete it manually.

    B. If you don't use an Include file and simply put the arguments in the command line, leaving off the path in those arguments means that you are less likely to run into the length issue in #1 above.
    (FWIW, Astrum allows you to put the actual install path into the arguments by using a variable for the <InstallDir> which is what I've been doing in the past. I won't do it that way in the future.)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    YES

    I have three apps I have converted to V10 and deployeed them with great success. I sell apps develpped in V10 on the web and through dealers and have deployeed humdreds of them without any problems. I use Astrum and install on Windows 7, Windows XP coputers all day and the set up in Astrum does work for registering all the DLL's without any problems, as CAL says you just have to learn it. I hated having to move from V8 to V10 for apps but its a great platform and I have made some really good money with these apps built in V10

    Chill

    Slow down and it will come to you. It does work!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    I've seen the same thing Cal mentioned; the path shown in the shortcut properties can get truncated as compared to the path specified in the command line in Astrum.

    While whittling down the command line so that doesn't happen is a pain in the neck in its' own right, I find it even more troubling when I see things like "OLE object..." errors on one install and then they're gone on the next.

    I use Astrum's advanced properties to register the eight dll/ocx files with Shared + ActiveX checked off but it seems like something goes awry if I open the app between install attempts (whether in v10 full or runtime). The way Astrum is structured I don't get the sense that I need to remove the files then re-add them but maybe I'm wrong.

    Oh well, off to spend another hour of my life to attempt another install. In this one maybe I'll add pausing and praying for divine intervention into the routine.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Hi Mike,
    If you still need any help... let me know. Feel free also to download my DEMO which gives you an idea of how my initial install works. Doing updates is even easier. I'll echo Martin's comment that I learned most from Cal's previous posts on using Astrum to install. The one issue I do have is if a user does not turn UAC off. In that case, not all controls get registered. Even with explicit instructions on the install screens some people just won't read it.

    Don

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    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    echoing Don,

    UAC off and install as administrator.

    2 biggest problems anybody has with installs, I think.

    Now, I need to search for something that will temporarily kill uac? we had no problem with that in an app I helped build in VB, but they won't share how thay did it. I think they are using something to kill or bypass UAC.

    .
    Dave Mason
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    Skype is dave.mason46

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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Hi,

    I have installed hundreds of .exes and offer 'Free' downloads using Astrum installer, and never yet come up with any UAC problems (Plenty of other headaches) maybe because I never install to Program Files.

    Michael

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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Hmmmm - will have to try installing on my W7 machine up all the way, since I never install in program files either.
    Cole Custom Programming - Terrell, Texas
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    martin_w_cole@msn.com

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Martin,

    With Vista, we do have to advise to right click and run as administrator for the first execution of Alpha.

    Michael

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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    thanks
    Cole Custom Programming - Terrell, Texas
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Vista and Win 7 including 64bit - we have to advise to right click and run as administrator for the first execution of Alpha.

    I wish there was a command to do this on install!!!

    I was getting a launch error with Win 7 64bit with Alpha 10, but I followed Michael Humby advice and now I am good!!!

  26. #26
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    Cool Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    The "Run as Administrator" is a protection for windows. Its not possible for us to program around it. If a program could opt to run as administrator then it could wreak havoc with windows. But thanks for posting your solution on the forum. Many people get answers here and dont actually let everyone know what actually worked.

  27. #27
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    ... I find it even more troubling when I see things like "OLE object..." errors on one install and then they're gone on the next.

    ... it seems like something goes awry if I open the app between install attempts (whether in v10 full or runtime). The way Astrum is structured I don't get the sense that I need to remove the files then re-add them but maybe I'm wrong.
    Not sure if this is what you are having trouble with or not ...

    If you run a test install and then delete that installation, you can expect errors when starting your development version of A5 the next time. The reason for this is that the registration of, for example, A5Controls.dll applies to everything on the computer - not just the application you are installing. When those files are deleted, the "registration" points to something that doesn't exist anymore.

    If you run a test install on your development computer and then delete it, you should build a .bat file to run the appropriate regsvr32.exe commands to re-register the files from you development copy of A5.

    Here's the batch file I use for v8. NO GUARANTEE OF ACCURACY. But it works for me. Since I run it from within the A5 exe folder itself, there is no need for paths. Also, I just let it try to install everything - if the file isn't there it won't get registered. (As you can see, it hasn't been updated for v10.)

    regsvr32.exe A5controls.dll
    regsvr32.exe A5ContextEval.dll


    rem Version 7/8
    rem regsvr32.exe Codejock.PropertyGrid.9700.ocx
    regsvr32.exe Codejock.PropertyGrid.v9.81.ocx
    regsvr32.exe Codejock.SuiteCtrls.9700.ocx


    rem version 9
    regsvr32.exe Codejock.PropertyGrid.v11.1.3.ocx
    regsvr32.exe Codejock.ReportControl.v11.1.3.ocx
    regsvr32.exe Codejock.SuiteCtrls.v11.1.3.ocx
    regsvr32.exe Codejock.TaskPanel.v11.1.3.ocx

  28. #28
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by magnus View Post
    Vista and Win 7 including 64bit - we have to advise to right click and run as administrator for the first execution of Alpha.

    I wish there was a command to do this on install!!!

    I was getting a launch error with Win 7 64bit with Alpha 10, but I followed Michael Humby advice and now I am good!!!
    I don't know what installer you are using but with Astrum you can tell it to open a file after installation. See attached screenshot.

    You can also set up a warning message that the user cannot choose to close but that takes a bit more work. It isn't hard once you've done it but it's complicated enough that I won't try to explain it here since I don't even know if you are using Astrum.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    Its not possible for us to program around it. If a program could opt to run as administrator then it could wreak havoc with windows
    It is possible....but even if I spent the time to figure out how the hackers do it when creating their virus, I would not post or give that info out.

    My wife's computer just proved this to me as the virus she obtained used admin privileges to change every conceivable way to circumvent it to try to get rid of it...including even the Task Manager, System Restore, and Folder permissions....even from command prompt. No data lost but reformat was the only choice this time.

    So "wreck havoc" is definitely an apt description of what can happen!
    Mike
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  30. #30
    "Certified" Alphaholic DaveM's Avatar
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    Default Re: depoying an A5 application is a nightmare

    My wife's computer just proved this to me as the virus she obtained used admin privileges to change every conceivable way to circumvent it to try to get rid of it...including even the Task Manager, System Restore, and Folder permissions....even from command prompt. No data lost but reformat was the only choice this time.
    Sounds like the one the kids got 2 weeks ago. Could not run anything.

    From another computer, downloaded malwarebytes, did not install it(couldn't). Ran it from a thumb drive. It still took 2 times before I installed it and ran a complete scan. It cleared all but 1 problem.
    The virus had messed up the inet so that explorer would not run. I finally found the change and reset it and then all was good.

    We should have a place where we can all discuss things like this.

    The girls were on facebook when it happened.

    .
    Dave Mason
    dave@aldausa.com
    Skype is dave.mason46

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