More then one Installation Point

When using Smart Office in many office locations it can be a good idea to create a Smart Office installation point at every location, especially if the network bandwidth between the locations is slow. Every time a new version of Smart Office is applied all users will download about 18 MB for the Smart Office framework and somewhere between 2 – 8 MB of features. If having many users on a site with low bandwidth to where Smart Office is installed it can take a while to start Smart Office after a new version has been installed.

The same Smart Office server should however be used for all clients to minimize administration and some functionality like broadcasting messaging etc will not work correctly if using more then one server.

If there are external users that needs to install Smart Office over internet and internal users that uses local intranet there may also be a need to have two installation points.

There are tooling included in Smart Office to create environments with more then one installation point.

Prepare a web server

An Installation Point is no more then a bunch of files that must be delivered by a web server. Any web server can be used on any operating system. The only requirement is that the correct MIME types are configured and that the web server will deliver all types of files included in an installation point.

Prepare a machine with a web server installed. The machine will more or less only be used when a user installs Smart Office or when an upgrade has been applied but those times the server will be used heavily for a short period (all depending on the amount of users that).

These are the MIME types that must be configured in the web server

.application           application/x-ms-application
.manifest               application/x-ms-manifest
.deploy                  application/octet-stream
.vsto                      application/x-ms-vsto
.msi                       application/octet-stream
.feature                 application/octet-stream

In the web server, create a context root where the Smart Office binaries will be put. In Internet Information Server it is called a Virtual Directory, in IBM HTTP Server it is called an Alias. The context root must point to a folder on the machine where the Smart Office binaries later will be placed.

If using the web server for an extra installation point only, SSL (HTTPS) is not necessary to configure. But if communication is tunneled from the Smart Office client through the web server to the Grid as when having external users connecting through internet, SSL must be configured in the web server.

Prepare tooling

The tool needed to create new installation points is called ExternalInstallationPointTool and is found in the AdditionalFiles folder in the zip file downloaded from the download center. Extract to an empty folder.

Creating a new Installation Point

Start with exporting a copy of an existing installation point. In a Lifecycle Manger (LCM) client locate and double click on the Smart Office installation that will work as a template for the new installation point. On the dashboard, click on “Export Installation Point Copy” and select the same folder as the ExternalInstallationPointTool was extracted to.

Start the ExternalInstallPointTool.exe and select the (produced by “Export Installation Point Copy” ) .

Press Next and the page where you will define your new installation points is shown.

This is the page where you add new installation point configurations. It is possible to add several installation points and save all configurations for later use. This is very useful when a new version of Smart Office shall be deployed since the configurations do not need to be added again.

To add a new configuration press Add.

Type in the URL to the context root prepared earlier. Also type in a suffix for the installation point.  The suffix will be added to the Lawson Smart Office Windows menu entry like this:

Lawson Smart Office – <suffix>

It can be a good idea to include a location in the suffix to make it easy to separate installed Smart Office clients on a machine.

Also point out a code signing certificate that will be used to sign the installation point. It is recommended to use one certificate for each installation point.

Press OK to close the dialog.

If more then one extra installation point is needed press Add again and repeat the procedure.

When all installation points are configured, press Next. All installation points are now build and signed. A zip file for each installation point will be created in the OutputDirectory.

Extract the content from each zip file to the folder that the context root is configured to in each web server.

In an Internet Explorer type in the URL to the context root and add “index.html” and the Smart Office install page will be shown. For example:

This new installation point is totally separate normal installation. Whenever a fix is applied, a new version is applied or the features are changed Installation Point manager tool inside of Smart Office this installation point must be updated. Go through the same procedure again:

  1. Export Installation Point Copy
  2. Use ExternalInstallPointTool.exe to create new installation points
  3. Copy output to web servers.

Use DNS alias to minimize maintenance

To minimize work it is possible to configure the DNS to have the same computer alias in several locations but in fact point the user to different machines.

Users traveling with laptops will always connect to the closest installation point automatically and there will be only one zip file to create. In fact if planning for this from the beginning and letting the installation point URL and the server URL be different it is enough to just to ”Export Installation Point Copy” in the LCM client and extract that content to all other installation points without using the ExternalInstallPointTool.exe.

One thought on “More then one Installation Point

  1. Pingback: Enabling Process Flow (or other applications) for a group of users « Developing for Lawson Smart Office

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