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Custodian makes updating DataFlex Web Apps easier

September 30,2019
By Sture Andersen, Sture ApS

A few years ago, our company delivered a mobile app to a customer in Copenhagen that runs the tour boats in the harbour. Each boat runs a number of trips per day, anyone of which has a guide and a boat driver assigned to them. In the high season this amounts to some 300 employees and the app makes it possible for the company to communicate directly with each one of them.

The guides, on the other hand, can check their shifts and where they are supposed to check in, and at what time. And they can swap shifts directly with each other, while the app takes care to only consider guides with the required skills for swapping. This is a great application that saves them a lot of work.

So, all was well until the time came to install it on their servers. It turned out to be one with a login sequence like this one:

  • Login to server 1 via remote desktop
  • From there, login via remote desktop to a second server
  • Then a code is automatically sent to a person that you would then have to call on the phone in order to verify your access when logging into server number 3 which would be the actual server.

Once the connection was established, we would then have to transfer files across this chain of remote desktops. Each file needed to be copied from server to server one step at the time. Not attractive in any way!

After having gone through this procedure a few times during the first weeks of production I decided to create an alternative update strategy. This became the Custodian.

The Custodian is a simple DataFlex web application that allows uploading files to the server in a folder structure identical to the deploy folder of the application that needs updating.

After having uploaded a number of files that constitutes an update, you may click a button that will initiate the actual update of the application:

  • stop web application
  • copy over updated files
  • start web application.

In our case this enabled us to bypass the tedious login procedure and update the application more effectively.

Since then we have learned that the Custodian is also an effective companion during user testing because it enables very fast response cycles.

Because of the efficiencies realized, we decided to make the Custodian available to other developers to benefit from, and it is now available for download. Also, be sure to check out the videos on the download page about how to use and install the Custodian for DataFlex 19.1.

Feedback and support is available in the Custodian section of the Data Access Worldwide forums.