The Museum Archive software package is a true multi-user application that you can install on a local area network. A network installation requires that each user on the local area network (LAN) has the ability to run the software application and has the ability to access the data files. There can only be one set of data files that all users share. If you set up multiple computers and each computer has its own set of data files, you would not be running a multi-user system, and your information would be spread out among the various workstations in your LAN instead of being contained in a single database.
You are free to configure your network set-up to match your needs. This section will provide you with the information you'll need to get things working. Because every network is different, no one solution will work for everyone, and only your network administrator can determine the optimal configuration.
The data files for this application all have a file extension of TPS.
There are several configurations that will work:
Do not install the software on each individual's computer. Install the software on a file server and establish desktop shortcuts on every user's workstation. The file server can be any computer with a shared hard drive. It is a good idea to map the desired location as a network drive letter - use the same drive letter, if possible, on every workstation. When creating the shortcut, browse over to the network drive and point to the file called museum_archive.exe. The drive letter and folder containing this executable file will also hold all of the additional parts of the software package, including all of the data files. This location is the Start In folder associated with the desktop shortcut.
You can create a network addressable folder (mapped to a drive letter) to hold the data files. Install the software on a workstation, and then move all of the files with a TPS extension over to the mapped network location. Create a desktop shortcut that points to the museum_archive.exe file on the local hard drive, but change the Start In folder associated with the shortcut to point to the mapped data file location. On each subsequent workstation, remove the TPS files from the local hard drive and set the Start In folder location.
You can create a network addressable folder (mapped to a drive letter) to hold the data files. Install the software on a workstation, and then move all of the files with a TPS extension over to the mapped network location. Without any local data files, the application will present you with a dialog box where you can point to the mapped network location. This path is stored in an INI file located in the EXE's folder.
The application starts out by looking at the command line for directions on how to find the data files. If the command line looks like this:
the application will attempt to open the data files at the location specified by the PATH parameter.
If the PATH parameter doesn't exist, the application will attempt to open a file called PATHS.INI in the application's folder. If it finds this INI file, it will use the path specified in that file to locate the data files. The PATHS.INI file is automatically created by the application if it is needed.
If the INI file doesn't exist, the application will try to open the data files in the application's folder. This is the normal location for a non-network (local) installation.
If the application still cannot find and open the data files, it will ask you for the path by presenting you with a dialog window. If you specify the correct path, the application will record that path in the PATHS.INI file in order to find the data files during subsequent start-ups.
The data files supplied with the installation must be located and must be opened in order for the application to continue to work.
Vista and Windows 7
Vista implemented some security features which prohibit users from writing to protected locations on the local hard disk. This limits the usefulness of a locally stored INI file such as PATHS.INI. I've deliberately chosen not to write to the Windows Registry, so the use of INI files helps you to use the software in a network environment. Before you change the installation location from C:\musarch to another location on your local hard drive on a Vista computer, you have to first be aware of the potential consequences. For example, anything installed in the Program Files folder will be read-only, so the INI file is copied to another location by the operating system. If there is more than one user on a single computer, each user will have her own copy of the INI file. If that causes a problem for you, then this folder is not a good place to locate an application which uses an INI file to store information. For more information, check with Microsoft about user account control (UAC) and virtualization.
Compiled Help Files
The Windows operating system will automatically disable your ability to access compiled help files originating from a non-local hard drive. If you set up the application on a network file server, your help files might be inaccessible until you register them with Windows. This is a security feature in Windows, and your network administrator can resolve this issue for you.
Oplocks (Opportunistic Locking) is a feature of Windows that tries to the improve performance of certain types of database applications. Unfortunately, it can cause integrity problems in other types of database apps. The problem it can cause is a fairly rare event, but it is recommended that you turn Oplocks off. Contact your network administrator for more information. You can read more about this issue on the Microsoft web site.