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NAL 2.0 Frequently Asked Questions and Status of Enhancement Requests

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Taken from TID #2926942

01 Feb 1998

Following are the answers to questions frequently asked about the current version of the Novell Application Launcher (NAL).

What workstation platforms does NAL 2.0 support? NAL will run on Windows 3.x, Windows 95, and Windows NT 3.51/4.0 workstations. The Snap-In itself is a 32-bit program for use with the NWAdmin 4.11 utility that runs on Windows 95 or Windows NT 3.51/4.0 workstations. NAL works with NetWare 4.10 as well as NetWare 4.11 networks.

Does NAL support the MS Client for NetWare Networks? No, NAL requires the cross-platform libraries found in Novell's Client technology.

Does NAL run on the Macintosh? NAL does not currently run on the Macintosh. This is a possible enhancement for a future release.

How do I upgrade from NAL 1.0 to NAL 2.0? Install NAL 2.0 and then use the migrate utility from the Tools menu in the NWADMIN utility to migrate your 1.0 application objects to NAL 2.0.

Is the snAppShot utility included with the NAL product? Yes.

What is meant by a clean workstation for use with NAL / snAppShot? The term "clean" is used to specify a workstation running the snAppShot utility that has no other software besides the workstation's operating system and snAppShot on it. A workstation that is not clean could cause snAppShot to not detect changes made during a software installation, thus causing your template file to be incomplete.

Can I run snAppShot on a workstation, come back later and run an application install, then reboot the machine? Yes, you can run snAppShot now or later.

Is there a way to replicate application objects throughout the tree, or must they be created in a container? There is no way to replicate application objects throughout other containers in the tree. If users require the application object in their specific container, the Admin must create the object in that container.

Is there a way to quickly edit the .AOT files in order to make server changes for a specific environment? You can make changes to a template file by using the NWADMIN utility. NWADMIN already gives you the ability to change Registry, INI, and Macro settings.

What NDS variables are presently available for NAL? You can perform some variable manipulation through variable substitution, some NDS attributes, and some environment variables. (Note that login script variables are not supported.)

Variable substitution enables Novell Directory Services attributes or environment variables to be used in some fields of the Novell Application Launcher software. You can use these attributes at the command line, in a working directory, in an execution path, as part of network drive mapping and printer port fields by using the following guidelines:

%ATTR% for an environment variable
%DSATTR% for a DS attribute for the default user
%.OBJECT.NOVELL:DSATTR% for a DS attribute for the specified object

The NDS attributes that can be substituted in Novell Application Launcher software are as follows:

Full Name

The environment variables that can be substituted in the Novell Application Launcher software are as follows:


Please note that the substitution will not occur if you substitute the variable and the resulting variable size is larger than the maximum size that the variable field can support.

How do you handle files in use while copying files down to the workstation? If you are unable to copy files to the workstation because they are open, NAL will store those files on the local workstation and then copy them over when you reboot the workstation. An related enhancement request is for NAL to have the ability to archive such files, as well as the ability to eliminate duplicate DLLs on workstations. These capabilities are being considered for a future release of NAL.

Does NAL support DMTF and MIF formats? NAL 2.0 does not currently support these formats, but Novell is researching this issue. If you need support for these formats, let Novell know.

Does NAL support error recovery and error reporting to log files? Error reporting is limited to a log file that you can chose and set up in the snap-in. This log file is only written to when files are not successfully copied to the local workstation.

Can you use the NAL to reinstall the workstation's operating system? Novell is working on a white paper that describes how to do this.

Can you copy application objects from one partition to another? You can export .AOT files and create application objects in another partition and then use the exported .AOT file in that partition.

What about the ability to copy icons to a Windows NT workstation desktop if the user does not have rights? You can currently use Workstation Manager in conjunction with NAL 2.0. In future releases of NAL, these products will be more integrated.

Does NAL support the ability to uninstall applications? Use the application's uninstall feature if it exists. While you could create an unistall .AOT file of the install, running this .AOT file would also delete any shared .DLLs that may be in effect. If you know the product well enough, you could create an uninstall .AOT file that would leave the shared .DLLs in place. But this process can take quite a bit of effort.

Does NAL support the year 2000 in scheduling and so on? Yes.

Does NAL have the ability to rollback an install on demand? This will be a future feature.

Can I update a specific workstation and not a specific user with NAL? Currently you cannot do this, but Novell is investigating the possibility of incorporating this feature in a future release of NAL.

Can users delete desktop icons in NAL? Users cannot delete icons, unless they are for a shortcut that the users have created. NAL itself will clean up desktop shortcuts if the application object is deleted.

Is there an ability to force verify? You can bump up the version number each time, which would make the install occur each time, this would effect everyone using the application.

Does NAL support the ability to launch sub-menus? Not currently.

Are there plans to integrate NAL with other desktop replacement packages, such as Netscape and Java? This certainly is a possible enhancement. Again, let Novell know what you need.

Where are folder preferences kept? If the NetWare registry database (NRD) is available, the settings are stored there. If it is not installed, they are stored in the local workstation registry.

How do I use the NAL to distribute applications to many servers and many clients? Use the load balancing and fault tolerance features that are in NAL. Fault tolerance is built into load balancing and is designed for companies that have different sites. You can also use the Launch Nearest Application feature when it becomes available in a future release of NAL.

Does NAL support administration of roles? Not right now, due to the optimization of security equivalences. However, such support may be added to NAL in the future.

Is NAL scheduling based on the server or workstation clock? NAL is based on the workstation clock, which is based on the server clock.

Can I map more than three drives with NAL? Yes, there are no drive mapping limitations.

Does NAL provide a priority override for connections? Not in the current version. However, Novell is planning to integrate NAL with NetWare Licensing Services (NLS) in the future.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


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