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Thread: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

  1. #1
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    Default Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    I'm an ISV looking at developing a new application and looking at Alpha Five to see if it would make the development quicker and easier.

    We have two classes of customers; suppliers and brokers. They need to send data files (created by our other product) back and forth between them. These are relatively large files (40 - 100 MB). Currently, they use thumb-drives, email etc. I would like to integrate a "store and forward" drop box functionality into the product.

    One part of the project requires a desktop client app:
    • Every customer would run the desktop client
    • Allows for choosing files to send, receive, etc.
    • User schedules file transfers for "off hours"
    • App connects to web back-end and transfers files
    • Has minimal database requirements
    • Would be nice if it could be installed as a service


    The other part of the project requires a web site back-end:
    • Accepts connections from desktop app and transfers files
    • Acts as a temporary repository for the forwarded files
    • Also supports customer interactive login
    • Has database requirements
    • Report generation and serving requirements


    Q1. Can we easily get this type of file transfer integration between the Alpha Five Desktop app and Alpha Five Web Application Server?

    Q2. Can an Alpha Five Desktop app be installed as a service?
    (If it can, we would just build the file transfer piece as the service app. And the user interface app would be separate.)

    Thanks,
    Synlap

  2. #2
    Moderator Steve Workings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    You can do this with A5 - it sounds like a good tool for the job.

    As for your questions:

    Q1. Can we easily get this type of file transfer integration between the Alpha Five Desktop app and Alpha Five Web Application Server?

    Yes.

    Q2. Can an Alpha Five Desktop app be installed as a service?

    No. I don't think anyone's ever asked for this, and I can't think of a need for it.
    -Steve


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    Default Re: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    Thanks for the answers Steve.

    The reason for wanting to make a service app to do the file transfers, is so that the user does not have to be logged on to the system when the transfers take place.

    Using just a regular Windows app, if the user logs off, the app dies.

    Not everyone wants to (or is allowed to) leave their machine logged on for a file xfer that is to take place at 1am or 3am.

    Synlap

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    Moderator Steve Workings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    One way to manage file transfers at 3 am:

    Schedule a windows task.
    The task opens an A5 database.
    The database is customized to only do one thing: call a function that performs your uploads, and then closes the database.
    -Steve


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    Default Re: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    Thanks Steve, but scheduled task won't work for us.

    The scheduled task would have to run in the context of a system account (not a user account) so that it would run when no one was logged on. That means that an admin would have to create a system account - or (very bad practice) use one of the existing system accounts (and have to dig into GPO and find obscured account password, etc.).

    Remember, we're an ISV - so this needs to be part of our installation setup. This can't be a 20 minute, admin typing at the command line, "please let me make a huge security hole in your system" procedure.

    If we use Alpha Five, we will probably bite the bullet and purchase an OEM license for one of the "Run as a service" programs out there. That will let us run our "file transfer" desktop app as a service. And it is easy to build into the installation wizard.

    Thanks again,
    Synlap

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    Synlap,
    Another possible or so....
    check out this thread---mentions third party freeware, low cost ware, and can use command line so could be part of install routine or just run the first time the software is run...
    http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al...esktop+service

    Even a Window's Task Schedule can be created automatically (if your install can run command line) with a system user that requires no password....a user will not see this as it will only show up as a system process.
    Mike
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    It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
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    Default Re: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    Thanks for the link Mike. Steve Wood's posts show exactly what I was talking about - using a "Run as service" product (in his case - AlwaysUp) to enable the file transfer component app as a Windows service...

    Synlap

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    Default Re: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    I used this for a similair project:

    http://www.networkautomation.com/aut...driven-by-bpm/

  9. #9
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    Synlap,
    Hope you find what you need....
    Here is a link to how Alpha has said a service can be created.
    http://www.alphasoftware.com/documen...0817a5service/

    I tried this utilizing what I mentioned in the prior thread link I gave and could create a service using windows own utilities (have to download them free) for both web and desktop....and much easier I thought than how Alpha describes doing it IMO.
    Mike
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can an A5 desktop app integrate with the A5 web app server?

    Synlap,

    Any particular reason it has to be a "desktop" app? I run a very similar application using A5v10 web. It manages "legal" documents/files that are the result of legal discovery, so there is a stringent "chain of evidence" requirement, which means it must be secure and in some cases encrypted. hundreds of uploaders and 1000's of downloaders.

    In short, files are uploaded and stored as flat files on an FTP-like server. The users' view of the available files is security group based; i.e. users that belong to a particular group "see" files that are privileged to that group. Other files for which the user has no privileges are "hidden" from that user. The data base only tracks the file names, search tags, and security auth's for access. So no large DB-based objects, just flat-files.

    The major hurdle I had to overcome was ensuring accurate file delivery, which was resolved using a hashing program before send and after and comparing the hash totals.

    The whole thing took about a week, including end-user acceptance testing.

    Check it out.

    Bill

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