Version 10 of the looksoftware development suite has many improvements over previous development environments and with those improvements come different approaches to accomplishing familiar tasks.
Most developers using or planning to use version 10 within their IBM i Development Environment, will be coming from earlier product versions, so this blog post will focus on the major changes you can expect to your development environment.
Previous versions of the looksoftware development suite required your solution files/folders to be located directly within the program files installation folder. This was required to maintain relative file referencing (e.g. for images, document templates, INI files etc.) which made the solution files easily transportable from one development PC to another but also, more importantly, easily deployable to your business users that are using smartclient or lookserver.
Having your solution files within the developer’s program installation folder worked fine up to and including Windows XP (if we can remember back that far), but with Windows Vista and above, Microsoft started protecting the program files folder by preventing changes to the files within that folder. It did so through User Access Control (UAC) which created virtual copies of modified files rather than letting you modify the original files. Even if you had full administrator rights UAC would still create virtual copies. More information on UAC can be found here.
Some developers chose to disable UAC and some chose to install outside of the protected Program Files folder, however with the release of version10 we now cater for installation within the program files (or program files (x86) folder) with your solution files now located under a separate folder, namely :
c:\programdata\looksoftware 10.0 (Windows Vista, 7, 8.x)
c:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\looksoftware 10.0 (Windows XP)
Although technically you can still choose to install outside of the program files folder, the solution files will still be located within the above mentioned folders. Therefore we’d suggest just sticking to the program files installation folder as you do with most programs.
So where is the ProgramData folder?
A very good question! By default the ProgramData folder is a hidden Windows folder. It’s designed to hold shared program data across all users so is a logical place for solution files to live however in order to physically see it you need to configure Windows to show hidden files. How you do this varies depending on the version of Windows you are using however under Windows 8 just start Windows Explorer and click the View menu and then select “Hidden Items”.
If you don’t wish to show hidden items, you can still access it by either typing %programdata% into your Start | run command field or by entering it into your Windows Explorer address bar.
Migrating solutions from version 9:
If you are migrating from version 9 of the development suite you simply need to copy your solution folder (e.g. @acme) from within your version 9 install folder and place it within the program data folder e.g. c:\programdata\looksoftware 10.0\@acme
Once copied across you can start newlook or soarchitect and open your solution (INI) file from within this folder and you can immediately get started.
Migrating Solutions from version 8 and below:
If you are migrating from version 7 or 8 the good news is that you don’t need to worry about any conversions to your repository (SID) file, as version 7, 8, 9 and 10 all share the same SID format. As with version 9 you can just copy your solution folder directly into c:\programdata\looksoftware 10.0\ and start developing.
If you are migrating from version 6.1 and below your SID file will need to be converted. The conversion is relatively straightforward but it involves the use of earlier versions of our software to perform the conversion. For example, if you are running a version 5 solution then your SID file will need to be converted to 6.1 format prior to being converted to the latest format with either version 7 or 8. The looksoftware support team can take care of this for you. All you need to do is send your SID file through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What else do I need to know?
The separation of the program files and solution files is only really relevant to developers as smartclient installations remain unchanged in that the program files and solution files will continue to be located together.
In order to maintain backwards compatibility a new property has been added to the object model, namely App.InstallPath. The InstallPath property is the folder where your actual program files are located whereas App.Path now refers to the solution folder i.e. c:\programdata\looksoftware 10.0
Because App.Path continues to refer to where your actual solution files reside all of your macros and scripts will continue to function just fine. As a side note, App.Path and App.InstallPath will refer to the exact same location for smartclient installations.
How can I find out more about version 10 features?
Support Manager, looksoftware