Saturday, July 25, 2009

How LRO works - Installation, Upgrades, and backups

Howdy everyone!

This blog will be about LRO and some cool information about how it works.

LRO's requirements & facts about its development

Literature Room Organizer is being built in Access 2000, and from time to time is opened in 2003 for the sake of compressing it a bit more.  It is my hope that LRO will be 100% functional with ALL versions of Access from 2000 onward...and without the need to convert it to later version. If anyone has any problems with compatibility, PLEASE let me know.

LRO has also been tested and works perfectly on:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista (which is what I'm building it on)
  • Windows 7

LRO has been tested and runs perfectly on:

  • 1 GHz Intel Celeron M processor
  • 512 MB of RAM (should never need more than 20MB)
  • 1024 x 768 resolution (minimum requirement)

NEVER run LRO off of a flash drive...unless you don't mind it being slow.  It will work perfectly fine...but might be rather slow at times.  It would be best to run it directly on your computer.

Installation vs Stand-alone

With my LRO program, I decided to put ALL the data into a single Access MDB file.  Some developers might argue that this is unwise and will hinder upgrades, but in the next section you'll see why this works out just fine.  In fact, my "out of the box" thinking is what makes it possible for LRO to be portable...and yet easy to upgrade.

The stand-alone file is just that...a single file with EVERYTHING.  Your data & the program itself are all combined into 1 file.  This makes backing it up very easy...just copy that file onto a flash drive for your backup.  It also makes transferring it from one computer to another very easy...because it's all self contained.

The Installation version is no's still 1 file.  But now it has a more "official" location, in your Application Data folder.  Not exactly the standard location for programs, but it insures that even someone with limited access can install the program. And then this installation version includes a few more files...the license agreement, a script for Access 2007 users to easily configure their Trusted locations, the changelog, and a little more.

Handling Upgrades

As I said, I used some "out of the box" thinking to make LRO easily handle upgrades, even though everything is contained in a single file.  See...when you close LRO, it will take all your data and copy it to a different location on your computer.  It will copy your data into the "%appdata%\LRO" folder.

When you download a new version of is completely empty.  It "realizes" that it is empty.  When it "realizes" goes looking for that backup in the "%appdata%\LRO" folder.  If it finds prompts you to restore your data.  Tell it "Yes", and everything is back the way it was work involved (on your part).  It's that simple!  Just download the latest and run it (or install it) and it will go fetch your data.  :-)

Tell it "No"...and it will rename the backup.  That way...if you accidentally told it "No", your data is still there...but it won't prompt you again because the backup has been renamed.  If you need that backup...or any previous backup, you will need to go to your "%appdata%\LRO" folder and rename the backup file to "LRO_backup".

And when you DO restore your data, LRO (since 1.0.7) will rename the backup and preserve it, in case something goes wrong during the restore...your good backup will remain intact.  But LRO will not allow more than 10 of these "extra" backups, and will delete the oldest one when 11 is reached.

I hope this will prove to be useful (and perhaps even comforting) to some of you out there! :-)

PS - Version 1.0.9 is still in progress.  Hope to have it ready in 1 - 2 weeks.

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