SoftGrid Tools Part 2
- Published: Thursday, 25 October 2007
In one my earlier Free at Glance articles I already showed good freeware tools available for the SoftGrid platform. Now SoftGrid is becoming more and more popular the amount of resources is also rising. In this new article I will show you another set of useful SoftGrid Freeware tools.
After creating the sequencing editing the ODS file is mainly done manually via a text editor like Notepad. The biggest disadvantage using the text editor is the lay-out of the ODS file is not orderly. So when editing in this way makes is very easy to change or delete one character or symbol and the application can not be started anymore. Happily Jan van der Elst created the OSD Editor.
With this OSD Editor you can open the OSD file in a GUI which is presenting the settings in the ODS in a readable format. Besides that you change or add settings like registry, environment variables and scripts, but also the location of the SFT file, name of the application, version number and similar.
During the testing process of the created sequence it's some very handy to see the content of the SFT file. In that way you can check if for example a file or registry setting is included in the sequence (or not). Normally you need to have to open the sequencer for this and load the SFT in it again. To make it easier to see the content Kalle Saunmäki created the SFT Explorer. With the SFT Explore the content is showed in very nice GUI (I find it much better than the sequence overview). It has also feature to export the file out of the sequence to hard disk. Logically you can not add or delete any parts.
LogTools for SoftGrid client
One of the most annoying things of SoftGrid or the unclear error messages it produces when starting a SoftGrid Package. When you have problems the only solution is to dive into the sftlog.txt created in the directory of the client. Although it is already improved the log file has lots of information in it which is displayed in rows. The LogTools for Softgrid Client contains two executables to display the information in a more organized matter. The first executable logloade.exe is converting the information into a XML file. The second executable logxml2csv.exe convert this XML file into a CSV file that can be imported in for example Excel. The output is displaying which user started which applications with usage and loading statistics.
Unfortunate the tool is not displaying launch errors. This is planned for the next release together with tool(s) to analyze those errors and/or application usage. If this is included these tool is a must have for every SoftGrid Administrator, while now it is just a small add-on.
SoftGrid Client Setup
The SoftGrid client can be installed with parameters to configure the client for your needs. You can think of easy settings like the installation location or more specific like the cache size, the softgridserver name or the virtual drive letter. All of the settings can be specified using the MSIEXEC command, but you need to know the exact names of these parameters to configure them. To make the process easier Jan van der Elst together with Rodney Medina created the SoftGrid Client Setup utility.
With this utility you need to specify the location of the MSI followed by configuring these settings via wizard driven process. When all the settings are configured the tool will create a VBS script with your settings configured. This VBS script can then be used to install the client locally.
Other Kalle Saunamäki Tools
Kalle also created other smaller tools for SoftGrid. SFTCheck is a command-line utility to output information (blocksize, GUIDs, FB1 size etc) of the SFT files. Another nice option is to scan the content directory completely and after the check the tool advices the best block size setting for your server configuration (for older versions of SoftGrid).
With SeqTypes you can adjust the the information SoftGrid Sequencer uses by default to "tag" files with file-type attributes inside packages.
With the growth of SoftGrid more utilities are built-in to fill the gaps within the SoftGrid software. In this article I showed you again a set of available tools. Some of these tools are creating a better or new GUI like the ODS Editor and the SFT explorer, which I really both like. The SoftGrid Client Setup is just a GUI for creating the unattended installation, which can be already easily done using the MSIExec parameters. The LogTools for SoftGrid client has lots of potential if it is updated with launch errors and the possibility to analyze those.