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    The Aleph Version Check

    • Article Type: General
    • Product: Aleph
    • Product Version: 18.01

    Note: This information was sent as "Tips & Advice" letter no. 44 to customers of the European Support Team


    The version check is a way to distribute new and modified GUI files to your staff members. The idea is that you place these files in a certain location on your server, and that all GUI clients connecting to that server download those files and install them.

    Some of you may remember that until version 16 the version check worked different than today. It was activated when starting your computer. It was located in alephcom/bin and called version.exe. You could double-click on this file and activate it when the Aleph GUI client was closed. From version 18 on the file is named verutil.exe. It is executed when Aleph is started not when Windows is started. In fact the main difference is that the previous version check could be started only when the GUI client was closed and the new version check can be started only when the GUI client is opened.

    Automatic start of the version check

    You may decide if you want to check for new files whenever the GUI is opened, or if you want to decide yourself when to check for new files.

    This can be set up during the installation. You can set a checkmark here, and from the first start on the version check will run whenever the GUI is opened. However, of course you have the option to change the system behaviour at any time. In order to do this open your alephcom/tab/alephcom.ini and search the following lines:


    The "RunAtStartup" parameter controls if the version check is started automatically. If this is set to "N", your only option is to run the version check from the menu bar.

    There is also a parameter in alephcom/tab/guisys.ini:


    If a version check is started automatically, the user has the option to cancel it; he is then asked if the VC should start only if there are newer files; if the user accepts, the parameter "SkipShowAtStartup" is set to "Y". The LastUpdate parameter is a Unix time stamp (seconds since 1 Jan 1970). After the system checked for new files, it will not check again for the next 24 hours - that is the purpose of this parameter.

    Normally you should not edit the guisys.ini files because they are automatically modified by the GUI clients. However, if you desparately want to start the VC in order to update files, it might help to remove the time stamp:


    The version check directory

    The version check directory should be established on your server under $aleph_root/pc_exe. By default the name of the directory is "version". If this is the case, you do not need to specify a "Type" in alephcom.ini:


    You can define any directory. It is possible to establish several version directories and to define different directories per client.

    Some customers want to perform version checks directly from sp_exe or sp_conf. Those are the directories where new GUI files arrive after the installation of a new service pack. It is possible to define any of these directories as a version check directory:


    But note that some service pack files will arrive in sp_conf, and others in sp_exe. So in the above case it would still be necessary to copy
    files from sp_exe to sp_conf.

    Wherever you define your version directory, you need to mirror your directory tree there. So the directories alephcom, circ, acq etc should be directly under the version directory.

    A file is downloaded only if its date on the server is newer than its date on the local drive. If you want to distribute an older file, you should change its date with a UNIX touch command.

    New functions in version 20.1

    Up to version 19, the version check always overwrote the existent files.
    From version 20.1 on, it is able to merge files. This will work for *.ini and *.dat files. In the merge mode the version check will add new lines to these files without touching the old lines. In the overwrite mode the version check will work as before: It will replace the local file.

    This new merge mode accomodates the customers who want to maintain sp_conf as the version check directory (as defined in the Type parameter in alephcom.ini). Files arrive there and can be directly downloaded by staff members without the danger that any lines are undesirably changed on the local drives.

    How to switch between overwrite mode and merge mode?
    * merge mode is always active if sp_conf or sp_exe are the active version directories
    * overwrite mode is active if any other directory is defined as version directory

    Note that this change becomes effective after the first minor release 20.1. It is not contained in the version 20.0.

    For more information see Aleph 20- How to...use the new version check merge and overwrite feature

    • Article last edited: 10/8/2013