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System requirements for STEP FORWARD Server

Supported OS: Windows 7 or 10.

Supported databases: MS SQL Server, Sybase, Oracle, McKoi

Getting going with the new installation of STEP FORWARD Server

1. Run installS.exe program. This will install STEP FORWARD Server into the designated directory.

2. The installer will place STEP FORWARD Server icon on the desktop:


3. At this point, the installation is complete, and you are given a choice of running STEP FORWARD as a demo, or requesting the fully-enabled, 30-day trial license:

4. If you choose to run STEP FORWARD as a demo, skip to step #5. Otherwise, the following request dialog is displayed:

Enter the required info and submit the request. The trial license key will be generated automatically and e-mailed to you; this license is limited only by the 30-day trial period. The trial license allows for up to 3 concurrent clients (users) to be connected to the server so that you can test STEP FORWARD's capabilities such as running reports/processes in the background, automatically resolving database concurrency issues etc.

Once you receive the key, proceed with step 5.

5. Start STEP FORWARD Administrator, which is a graphical front-end that manages STEP FORWARD Server. The following login panel will appear:

Initially, there is no Administrator password protecting access to the Server; this will be created later in the process of setting up the Server. Leave the field empty, and press the "Enter" button.

6. STEP FORWARD Administrator window is displayed:


When you run the server the very first time "out of the box", with all settings left to their default values, a new database setup will be created for you. This setup is based on a free copy of McKoi database, distributed with STEP FORWARD. If you want to run the server with one of other supported databases, see step #7.

Bring up the License panel (Server > License menu option), copy and paste the license key into the Site License window as in the figure below:

 

At this point, you are ready to start STEP FORWARD server.

7. If you want to run STEP FORWARD with some database other than McKoi, do not start the server yet. Instead, in General tab of Setup view, from the pop-up list entitled "DB adaptor", select the database STEP FORWARD will use. This will in turn set the default values for database connection and operation of STEP FORWARD Server. The figure below shows the default setup for MS SQL Server; other databases have similar settings:


OptionDescription
Database server hostName of the host computer that runs the database server. Should be provided by the database administrator.
Database server portPort on the database host computer the database server listens to for client connections. Initially the port is set to its default value which should be confirmed by the database administrator.
Database login account *
DB user login account that can create and drop database schemas, tables, views and indices
Database login password *DB user login password
STEP FORWARD admin account **Administrator account that has comprehensive rights over setup and functioning of STEP FORWARD
STEP FORWARD admin password **Administrator password
Generate SQL trace for debuggingSQL commands generated by STEP FORWARD server can be logged to help diagnose problems and identify performance bottlenecks. However, the debugging mode carries performance penalty, and should be used sparingly.
Log execution trace

If set to YES, saves all Server output, including SQL trace and error messages, in a log file. The log files are saved in logs subdirectory of the Server installation directory, in folders named after the users. Each session produces its own log file, named traceYYYYMMDD_N.log, here YYYYMMDD being the date, and N the number of session for that date.

If set to NO, all Server output is saved in error.log file in the Server installation directory; the log is overwritten when the Server is restarted.

The default settings are usually sufficient; the only parameter that MUST be set is likely to be the database server host name.

If you need to change the default settings for DB and STEP FORWARD access, please read below.

* DB Login Authentication

STEP FORWARD server must connect to the database on behalf of its clients. Login and password entered in these fields will become the database login account and password that STEP FORWARD will use in order to "get in". The login account does not need to exist: the Administrator front-end will create it if necessary. (This is a privileged function, only the database administrator can do it, so you will be asked to enter the DBA password before the setup is complete.)

STEP FORWARD will use the database login account and password silently, without notifying the users about the details of the process. This account should be kept private; accessing database from this account may compromise STEP FORWARD security.

** StepForward Administrator

Users connect to STEP FORWARD server using their own IDs and passwords. These IDs and passwords are known only to STEP FORWARD server, and are used for client authentication purposes. They are related neither to the database login, nor to the login into the computer workstation where STEP FORWARD Client runs. User accounts are created from a privileged account that is set during the Server setup; this privileged account is preset to "Administrator" by default. You can change it, however, we recommend that you leave it as is, and only enter the password. This is the password that you will have to enter from this point on every time you start STEP FORWARD Server (see section 5 - the Login window).

After setting the database and administrator login accounts and passwords, press "Set" button. At this point, you will be prompted to enter the DBA password. (The exact wording of the prompt depends on the selected database and follows its terminology. Thus, for example, MS SQL Server's database administrator is called "System Administartor", and consequently is shown in the prompt as "sa".)

Once the password is validated, STEP FORWARD will create a new schema (or "database" in Sybase and MS SQL Server's terminology) called SF_Master. It will also create the database login account according to the settings of DB Login Authentication box.

At this point, the Server is ready to run. Return to the Server tab and press "Start" button. After a few seconds, the status line in the Administrator window should change to "Server running", and STEP FORWARD Server is ready to accept client connections.

Running server as NT service

STEP FORWARD Server can be configured to run as a service with an optional automatic startup when the host computer is rebooted. To set up the service, go to Server > Preferences menu and install the service:

You can always uninstall the service using the same Preferences panel.

Fine tuning

STEP FORWARD Server uses ports to communicate with the clients. These ports are set to defaults when the Server is installed; these defaults can be changed through Preferences:


OptionDescription
Local IP address
IP address of the host computer that runs the server. The default is "localhost", and allows connections from the client running on the same host computer. If the clients need to be connected from other computers on the same LAN, the real IP address (i.e. 192.168.X.X) must be provided. If you do not know your IP address, run ipconfig /all in your Command console.
Server port number
Port that the clients will try to connect to when logging into the server.
Web port number
Port used by the clients for the intial handshake with the server. This is used by the client to determine if it needs to be updated.
Public IP addressIf your server runs behind a firewall, and clients need to connect remotely over the Internet, set this to the IP address assigned by your Iinternet Service Provider. (Do not know the IP address? Google for "my IP address"). You may need to configure your firewall to allow incoming connections and forward them to the server host.

The server setup, among other parameters, is saved in SF_Defauls file in the STEP FORWARD Server installation directory.

Note: if any of the default connection parameters are changed, matching changes must be made in the clients' setup.

Troubleshooting

STEP FORWARD Server creates an error log where the program activity and errors are logged. The log is saved in error.log file in the installation directory, or in the logs/<user login account> directory, depending on the Server settings. When problems occur, this file should be mailed to us. Note that, depending on the settings, the error log may be cleared when the STEP FORWARD Server is restarted. So, if a problem occurs and you decide to send us the error log file, do so before starting STEP FORWARD Server again. To quickly access logs, select Server > Logs menu:


Needless to say, a clear and detailed description of the problem (along with the error log) will go a long way towards resolution of the problem. We always fix bugs. If the problem is reproducible (step-by-step description always helps), we fix it quickly.

Usual niceties

Thank you for giving STEP FORWARD a try. We are always eager to hear your feedback. Patting us on the back is welcome (we love it), but pointing out our failures is a lot more important - so please, do not hesitate.

STEP FORWARD Development Team.


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