by Ed Merriman
| March 31, 2015
As part of PRICE’s commitment to meeting its customers’ needs, PRICE will occasionally release beta versions of its software in order to provide an urgently needed fix or enhancement for a customer or enlist the help of customers in performing final testing. TrueMapper receives frequent enhancements and customers frequently use beta versions. This blog will describe how to download, and install beta versions of TrueMapper as well as manage having multiple versions of TrueMapper on a single computer.
Beta versions of TrueMapper will be made available through links on our Amazon server. Links will look something like: https://s3.amazonaws.com/CompanionApps/2014SR2/TrueMapper_14.2.5582.16609.zip
To use a link to a version of TrueMapper, paste a copy of the link into a browser’s address bar. Alternatively, depending on the application being used to view the link, users may be able to simply click on the link. This should work in MS Work, Outlook, and most PDF viewers.
The file being linked to is a compressed (zip) file that contains other files. The file should be saved to a location on the target computer. When the above address is used in Internet Explorer (IE) the following dialog is displayed:
Click “Save as” to save the compressed file to the target computer. IE may be configured to always use the same directory for downloads, or it may be configured to have users select the directory that the file should be saved to.
Most browsers have a ‘Download Manager’ feature that will allow users to locate recently downloaded files. In IE users can go to the ‘Tools’ menu:
Then use the ‘View Download’ menu option. This will display the following dialog:
This dialog will list all of the downloads IE has performed with the most recent downloads at the top. The right-click menu for each downloaded file contains an “Open containing folder” option which, when selected, will open a Windows Explorer window and automatically select the downloaded file. This is handy when the file is downloaded, but it isn’t clear where the file ended up.
Some organizations my not allow the downloading of compressed files; executable files; or files with code (Dlls).
Once downloaded the contents of the compressed file need to be extracted from the compressed file. This is covered in the next section.
Beta versions of TrueMapper do not need to be ‘installed’ in the traditional sense of running a separate installation application. TrueMapper relies on multiple files to run, but as long as all the required files are in the same directory as the TrueMapper.exe file, TrueMapper should execute.
This means TrueMapper can be moved to different locations on a target computer simply by copying the directory and all of its contents to the desired location.
Note that the default location for TrueMapper to be installed when it is installed as part of the TruePlanning installation is under the ‘Program Files’ directory. Some users may not have access rights to add/delete files from under the ‘Program Files’ directory. Users with restricted access the Program Files directory should use directories they do have access to, such as a folder under ‘My Documents’.
Some customers are not allowed to store any data on their computers, but instead store data on UNC or remote drives. This “may” work for TrueMapper, but having an executable run from a remote directory may be an issue. For these users, the recommendation is to have their IT staff copy the TrueMapper files to a location on their hard drive.
Note that sometimes when file are downloaded, Windows will mark the file as having been downloaded and will ‘block’ them from executing. This will require the files to be unblocked. Right click on the downloaded zip file and click the “Unblock” button.
It is important to do this before extracting the contents. If the compressed file isn’t unblocked before extraction, all the files that are extracted will need to be unblocked individually.
The compressed file that is downloaded contains all the files TrueMapper needs to run, but the files need to be extracted from compressed file. TrueMapper will not run properly if it is run from within a compressed (zip) file.
There are many different applications for extracting files from compressed (zip) files. Windows 7 and later versions of Windows operating systems can extract files from compressed files natively. Some users will have 3rd party applications like WinZip installed.
To extract the contents of a compressed file using the native Windows feature, simply right click on the file in a Windows Explorer window and select “Extract All”. Most 3rd party ‘zip’ applications will provide a ‘right-click’ menu option for extracting files as well.
That’s it! TrueMapper has been ‘installed’ in the directory that was targeted as part of the extraction.
NOTE: if you haven’t performed the file extraction step and you attempt run TrueMapper, TrueMapper may not work. It is possible to end up in this state because Windows is ‘helpful’ and will show users the contents of compressed files as if they are just another folder, and it isn’t apparent to many users that they are in a compressed file and not a regular folder. The author wishes Windows would provide much better indications of when the contents of a compressed file are being displayed as if they are the contents of a folder.
The first screenshot below shows the Windows Explorer view of a compressed (zip) file, while the second screenshot below shows the contents of a regular window. Can you tell the difference?
As mentioned above, moving the location of where TrueMapper is run from is as simple as copying the directory that contains TrueMapper to a new location.
While having access to the latest features and enhancements is great, having multiple versions of TrueMapper can lead to confusion about what versions of TrueMapper are available and which version of TrueMapper is being used.
This section will discuss how to identify different versions of TrueMapper and how to provide access to those versions through shortcuts and through the launching feature built into TruePlanning.
The key to identifying a version of TrueMapper is through its version number. There are two ways to get TrueMapper’s version number:
The first method is the easier method. Simply launch TrueMapper and click the ‘About’ button in the Help ribbon:
This will display the About box which contains information about the running version of TrueMapper including the version number:
To determine a version of TrueMapper from the TrueMapper.exe file simply right click on TrueMapper.exe in a Windows Explorer window and select the “Properties” option from the right-click menu. Then select the ‘Details” tab to see the version information for the TrueMapper.exe file.
TrueMapper’s version number is comprised of four sections which break out as follows and is based on the version number from the above screenshots:
In most cases users will want to focus on the ‘Build Number’, or third section, as that will most likely differentiate versions being installed. As noted above, the build number is the number of days since January 1st 2000, and as such can provide some insight into the time differences between builds.
When TruePlanning is installed users are given access to TrueMapper through several mechanisms. All of the mechanisms point to the same version of TrueMapper which is installed in the following location:
C:\Program Files (x86)\PRICE Systems Solutions\TruePlanning_14_2\TrueMapper (64bit)
C:\Program Files\PRICE Systems Solutions\TruePlanning_14_2\TrueMapper (32bit)
To launch TrueMapper from the start menu click:
Start->All Programs->PRICE Systems Solutions->TruePlanning_14_2->TrueMapper
This start menu entry by default targets the TrueMapper installed with TruePlanning. The file this menu item targets is configurable and could be altered to target a different version of TrueMapper.
In TruePlanning click the Tools->Manage Mappings
This menu item is hardcoded to point at the TrueMapper.exe located at the path described above. It cannot be altered. That said it would be possible to overwrite the version of TrueMapper that was installed with a newer version. That will be discussed below.
TruePlanning has a feature that allows users to define applications they would like to launch from the Tools->External Tools menu option. There are no External Tools set up in TruePlanning when it is installed, but users could add new versions of TrueMapper to the External Tools menu.
Some users chose to do this when they want to keep access to the installed version of TrueMapper, but also be able to launch beta versions of TrueMapper from within TruePlanning.
In this scenario the originally installed TrueMapper left alone, and users copy the new beta version to a different directly. This directory could be under Program Files\PRICE Systems Solutions\TruePlanning_14_2 or somewhere else.
Another option for launching beta versions of TrueMapper is to create a shortcut to it. By default TruePlanning does not create a TrueMapper shortcut on the desktop when it is installed. Some users will create a shortcut to the installed version of TrueMapper. If then a shortcut is also created for the newly installed beta version, users should take care to clearly name the shortcuts so the versions are easily identifiable.
Some users may download and use multiple beta versions of TrueMapper and if each version is getting a shortcut attention must be paid to clearly identifying the shortcuts so the users know which one is which.
The clearest way to launch a specific version of TrueMapper is to open Windows Explorer and navigate to the directory where the TrueMapper executable is located and double click the file. If the name of the folder that the TrueMapper.exe is contained in has the version number in it, then it will be clear which version is belong launched. Users can also get the version number from the executable file for absolute verification.
Some users prefer to launch TrueMapper from the Tools->Manage Mappings menu item. Because this menu item is hardcoded it will always launch a file named TrueMapper.exe from the location that TruePlanning was install into. If a user wants to use a beta version with the ‘Mange Mappings’ menu item, the installed version of TrueMapper will need to be replaced with the beta version. Assuming the user has the required privileges they can overwrite the existing TrueMapper folder with the new one that was download. The issue with that is that now the original TrueMapper is gone.
An option would be to rename the installed TrueMapper directory to something else… perhaps the version number or something that says “original” so it is still available, but no longer the target of the menu item.
As seen above, TrueMapper can be copied to a new location simply by copying the directory that contains TrueMapper. Users who would like to have multiple beta versions of TrueMapper can simply have different directories with the different versions. Different versions can be executed at the same time if desired. Keeping some type of identifying information about the versions through the use of directory names would be advisable.
Getting a new version of TrueMapper installed is quite simple. In the end comes down to three steps: 1) download 2) extract 3) run. It’s the pesky devil and his details that require some attention. Knowing what version should be used and setting up access to that version require some planning and thought.
If you have any questions about getting, using or maintaining new versions of TrueMapper on your computer, please don’t hesitate to contact PRICE Systems. We will be glad to answer any questions you have.