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> Easy Front-end Autoupdater For Large (or Small) Database Environ, Office 2000    
post Oct 19 2003, 05:31 PM

Posts: 244
Joined: 13-August 02
From: Seattle WA

The purpose of the AutoUpdater.mdb is to make it easy to update front ends in a situation where it is difficult for the programmer to get around to each and every one and do it manually. Normally, either the programmer has to go around and update everyone's front end, or the user has to do it by either copying it to their computer or clicking on a .bat update file. This is a pain, especially when there are lots of computers or they are spread over a wide area. I wrote this because wanted a situation where the user didn't have to do anything, and all I had to do was put the new version on the server. This is what this project does.
This new version as of Oct 19, 2003 makes it very easier to set up because the AutoUpdater contains a easy Form for setting everything up. You don't need to alter VB code, just open the setup form and follow the instructions. No VB required, a novice should have no problems.
What happens, once the AutoUpdater is installed, is that the user always executes the AutoUpdater mdb. The AutoUpdater mdb then compares the FE version on the server with it's own internal version. If the version on the server is different, it copies the FE on the server to the client's computer. The launcher then executes the real database. This way, the user never knows that an update has taken place, unless you want to put up a message box, which is an option in the setup form.
Whenever the FE versions on the client and server are different, the client's version will be updated with the version on the server. This lets you both upgrade a version and rollback to an earlier version, by just putting the one you want on the server.
Importantly, many thanks to r_cubed and pbaldy on these forums for the idea! Without their idea to reverse-engineer this tool wouldn't exist. Also thanks to jman_f for beta testing this new version and fixing a problem which wasn't occurring on my computer.
This tool works with Access 97 and higher. Access 97 and Access 2k versions are attached. If you need another version, just open either attached version and choose Convert and save it as your version.
Full detailed instructions are available on the Form named frmSetup in the AutoUpdater.mdb. These instructions are also shown at the bottom of this post, so you can find out more before you download it.
Many thanks to all in these forums,
AncientCPU on the forums
Attachment: contains Access 97 and Access 2000 versions and instructions.
Instructions (also available on the setup form):
1. Make sure you don't have any spaces in your mdb or mde name or the AutoUpdater won't work!"
2. First we must add a table to your current database front end (FE) to keep track of version changes. In the front end (FE from now on), make a table called tblLocalVariables. You can find a sample in this database, called tblLocalVariablesSample. You may also import this table into your FE and remove the word sample from the name). Here's how to make it if you can't import it: The table tblLocalVariables needs 3 columns, ID (autonumber), Property (text), and Value (text). Open the table, and add the word Version as a property, and your current database version on the same row as the value. This table MUST exist in the front end, and must not just be a linked table from the back end. Often it is the only actual table in the front end, with the rest of the tables just linked from the server back end."

3. Once the tblLocalVariables table is created in the front end, place the new FE on the server. You also need to place it on your client's computer, because there needs to be a version both places. At the end of this step you should have a FE on your server and a FE on a client computer, and know where they are located.
4. Place the AutoUpdater.mdb on the client computer, where it will reside. I often just keep it in the same folder as FE on the client computer. The AutoUpdater must reside on every client computer you want to update, as it does not sit on the server. You must have a FE on the client computer before you use AutoUpdater. I often place a shortcut to the AutoUpdater on the user's desktop, with a custom icon. The user will always launch AutoUpdater, which then will in turn launch the real FE. The use will never launch their FE directly again.
5. Hold down the SHIFT key and open the AutoUpdater.mdb (Holding down the shift key keeps the autoexec macro from running).
6. With AutoUpdater open, open up the form frmSetup. Then, simply add the correct paths to the server FE location, the client FE location, and the location of Access97 on the user's computer. (You'll most surely need to change the path to Access from what is in now.) Use the button next to the textfield to browse to each item. SAVE YOUR CHANGES by pushing the save button! All the paths must be correct. (duh )
7. You can choose also whether or not you want the user to see a message box whenever their FE is updated. Set it to NO for full invisibile updating, and the user will never know that their front end was updated. Since each client has their own AutoUpdater, you can set your dev machine to show the msgbox and the client computer to not show the msgbox. I find this helpful. SAVE YOUR CHANGES
8. No the final step. With the AutoUpdater still open, go File->Get External Data. Browse to the FE on the SERVER. Select the tblLocalVariables table you made earlier and LINK it. You should now see the table tblLocalVariables in the AutoUpdater.mdb with an arrow next to it. This is how AutoUpdater checks for new FE versions.
9. At this point the client computer should have both the AutoUpdater.mdb and their FE on it. There should be the front end also located on the server, where you'll put new versions.
10. In actual use, the user launches the AutoUpdater.mdb whenver they want to launch their real FE. They don't know they're no just starting the FE as before, they're just clicking on the shortcut or autoupdater. The AutoUpdater will autoupdate their FE client whenever a new version is available on the server.
11. Let's say you've got a new FE version to deploy to users. To update the new FE to all client computers, just put your new version in the VALUE column with the VERSION property in tblLocalVariables, then put your new FE on the server. Youre done! Since AutoUpdater checks the server each time it starts, it will always copy over a new FE version to the client computer whenever it sees one, and then it launches the FE.
12. Notes: A small detail on how AutoUpdater works is that it always compares the client FE to the last version AutoUpdater last copied, it doesn't actually open the FE on the client and check the version. This is done for speed.
Finished Oct. 19, 2003 by Eric Rosko, AncientCPU on the UtterAccess forums.
Attached File(s)
Attached File  AutoUpdater.zip ( 96.91K )Number of downloads: 3079
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