TB0003 Installing Lien Programs on Citrix and Terminal Server Systems
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Program Name: Lien Programs® (including Lien Writer®, Lien Writer® Multi-State, Lien Writer® Pro, Lien Releaser®, and Lien Releaser® Pro)
Bulletin Title: Installing Lien Programs® on Citrix® and Terminal Server Systems
Bulletin No: TB0003
How To: Set up Lien Writer® on a Citrix or Terminal Server system
Important: You must have a Citrix® or Terminal Server license to setup a Citrix® or Terminal server system with your Lien Program®. Without a license, the program will not set up on a Citrix® or Terminal Server system.
Our Lien Programs®, including Lien Writer®, Lien Writer® Multi-State, Lien Releaser®, Lien Releaser® Pro, Lien Writer® Pro, and the various third party programs are networkable by design. Traditionally, a network is a common set of computers connected and sharing access to resources such other hard drives (including servers), printers and even each other’s computers. Each of the Lien Program® installations on such systems have involved placing a copy of the program on each computer in the network as required, and connecting to some central "server" to share data commonly. Since such systems require program installation on each computer in the network we have been able to control usage and licensing of our programs by the requirement of pass codes for each of the computers installed and added to the commonly shared database.
Citrix® and Terminal Server installations of Lien Program® have a number of advantages; the primary advantage is ease of installation and upgrade. One installation upgrades all. A disadvantage can be cost. Citrix® and Terminal Server licenses cost more than single user and LAN installations in small systems. But, if you have a large number of users, especially spread over several locations, a Citrix® and Terminal Server license can actually be cheaper than a large number of single user and LAN license purchases. Contact our office for more information.
How Citrix® and Terminal Server Systems Work
The concept behind Shared Systems kind of looks back to the old mainframe systems of yesteryear. Computer resources (computers or terminals, servers, printers, programs, databases, etc.) are commonly shared among the users of a company, in many ways saving time and money. The new Shared Systems go one further on the old mainframe concept in that they are able to use modem operating systems like Windows®, UNIX®, Linux®, etc., and you can choose on an individual basis the type of resources you need as you need them. The money saved can be substantial.
Typically, Shared Systems use programs in this manner. Programs to be commonly used are stored on a read-only server where, once installed, no user has the rights to modify the program or its directory. Only administrators may do that. Data used by the installed programs is always stored on another commonly used server, and is, of course, read-write to the users. So, for example, all programs may be installed and stored on a common "F:" server drive, but the data used by the programs will be stored on a common "G:" drive. Our Lien Programs® already inherently have that ability, with one small modification that will be mentioned later in this document.
How to Set Up Lien Programs® on a Citrix® or Terminal Server System
Installing on the Shared System Program Server: The first thing a client must do is install the Lien Program® to the Shared System program server.
When installing they must:
- Install the Program. Do a physical install on the server (Windows® generally will not allow a remote install).
- Have at least temporary read-write access on the program server. Have full read-write and install access to the program server drive, as both program’s data and Windows system DLL files are installed. They can then simply install the program like any other installation, and run it to make sure it is working correctly. This applies whether this is a new install or an update.
- Deploy the database from the program server to the data server. Once the program is installed on the program server the database system can now be deployed, installed and updated on any data server in the system that has read-write access common to all the users of the program.
- Lock down the program server. Typically the program server is placed into read only status to prevent potential overwrites problems within the terminal server system. Do not lock it down if you are using the Default Initial File option explained below.
The Deploy system installs the Lien Program® database system and updates the system automatically, eliminating the need for a server installation altogether. When you first install on the program server you will have to deploy the database (under the Setup option of the Main Menu) and the program will do the rest. If you are updating, the program will note that it is using a deployed database, and will automatically deploy the database upgrade to the data server location. In addition, if you choose to change a server location (on Page 9 of Lien Program® Defaults), the program will automatically save the path to the old location, set up the new location, and then move the data from the old location to the new location, including if the old location was your station files.
Remember, the program also detects at start up if it has already been deployed previously. If so, the program will update the Server location without having to do a Server installation. You only need to update the Server locations once from a station. And, yes, you can still do it the old way by installing on the server first and then the other locations.
SETTING UP THE CLIENT USER DEFAULT (Initial.dbf / fpt) FILES
A unique file in the Lien Program® system is Initial.dbf and its companion Initial.fpt. These files constitute 90% of the Lien Program® Defaults and are unique to every user in the system (Liensys.dbf has the other 10%, but these defaults are universal to all users). In a single user or LAN system with program installations on every computer, each user has their own unique Initial.dbf / fpt set. However, in a Citrix® or Terminal Server you have only one program installation, and one Initial.dbf / fpt file set. Since the Initial.dbf stores items like user names, user printers, user signature information, etc., a common Initial.dbf / fpt set for many users may not be a practical answer. The Lien Program® system offers three solutions to this problem:
DEFAULT INITIAL FILE: The first solution is simply to accept the situation and have all users commonly use the program server Initial.dbf / fpt file. This works well if all of the users are in a single location and share common resources (like printers), or if users are at many locations but all printing is done at one location. A disadvantage is that the program server must be kept Read-Write for proper operation. If your business plan requires multiple users and multiple printers, this option is not for you.
TEXT FILE INITPATH.TXT POINTS TO DEFAULT FILES: Use this option to define a file that contains a path to your Initial.dbf / fpt file set. In normal LAN network situations, an Initial file is set up at every user station, and not shared commonly. This normally is a good thing as each of the users can set up their own printers, certified numbers, etc. As noted in the Default Initial File section, when using some Citrix® and Terminal Server systems it would be more advantageous to use a common Initial file so long as everyone shares a common printer and other characteristics. But, for others a separate Initial.dbf file may be desired. Setting up an Initialpath.txt is one option that can be used for either goal. The Lien Program®, when it boots up, looks for a file called Initpath.txt in the program server directory.
To set up a path for a common Initial file path, you will need to create (with a text editor like FWM Software, LLC) a text file called Initpath.txt in the program server startup directory (most commonly c:\program files\lien program) with the same pathname as you find in your Network Data Path on Page 8 of Lien Program® defaults. The Initpath.txt file must contain one line with that pathname. When the program loads it will now look to the common Initial file where the other files are located. Be sure to send a copy of the Initial.dbf and Initial.fpt files to that location.
If users want an individual Default file, then Initpath.txt must contain a name for a location common to all users (like f:\usemame\personal file, etc., where the F: drive is unique to each user) in the program server and a copy of the Initial.dbf and Initial.fpt files placed in each user’s personal directory. This is a bit more work, but gives each of the user’s total control. It could also be done on an office-by-office basis creating a common Default file for each office rather than each user.
INITFILE ENVIRONMENT VARIABLE: Another option for accessing individual Initial.dbf and Initial.fpt files is to create an environment variable for each user called INITFILE. This environment variable can be created in an Autoexec.bat, Autoexec.nt, or an environment variable created by the Citrix® or Terminal Server session when the Lien Program® is started. In any case, at the Lien Program® boot time, the INITFILE environment variable must exist and must have a string value that constitutes the path to the Initial.dbf and Initial.fpt files, which you have also copied to from the program server. Other environment variables like USER can be used if they are prefaced and followed by the “%” symbol (for example %USER%). Thus, if INITFILE were set to a path like c:\users\%user% and %user% = beckyd, then INITFILE as far as the Lien Programs® are concerned, would be looking for the Initial.dbf and Initial.fpt files at c:\users\beckyd. This method is the most popular option for Citrix® and Terminal Server users.
A typical setup for Environment Variables goes something like this:
First, go to Setup from Computer / Properties/ Advance system settings to access the Environment Variables entry:
Here you would add the variable as a User or System environmental variable:
And create the INITFILE variable so when the USER boots, the environment variable INITFILE is set into memory:
And the environment variable is created associated with that user if the above text is used:
Then, all you need do from there is place a copy of the Initial.dbf and Initial.fpt files in the USER’s INITFLE location, run the program from the new station, have the user change the names, move off the current records, etc., and the Initial.dbf and Initial.fpt files will change enough to make the files unique to the user.
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