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Alternative Method of Installing Plugins for iManager

Novell Cool Solutions: AppNote
By Talekar Nagareshwar

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Posted: 13 Dec 2006
 

This AppNote describes an alternative method for installing plug-ins for iManager. It provides detailed steps for both manual and automated methods of plug-in installation.

Introduction
Automated Method of Plug-in Installation
Manual Method of Plug-in Installation
Starting and Stopping the Tomcat Server
Summary
References

Introduction

The method described in this article is different from the iManager Framework's install/uninstall procedure, documented in the iManager guide. The method specified in this article can be used as quick alternative for installing plug-ins for iManager.

Anyone who has used iManager has probably struggled at least once to get the plug-ins installed or uninstalled. Most of the time, previous plug-ins do not get uninstalled properly, thus creating a problem for installing newer plug-in versions. Then you're left with no option but to play around with iManager to fix it.

This article will help you to resolve this problem quickly, easily, and without seeking help from others.

iManager and the Platform

Novell iManager is a Web-based application for managing, maintaining, and monitoring Novell eDirectory using wired and wireless devices. It is available for wide variety of platforms including Windows, Linux and Netware. Though the below mentioned steps are general and can be applied for iManager running on any platform, some steps are specific to the platform. I will address the operating-system-specific details as required.

Automatic Method of plug-in Installation

This method uses the same technique as manual method explained below. However all the steps mentioned in the manual method are automated using the tool described here. Hence you need not have to worry about the internals of the iManager and get your job done quickly.

I have created the iManager Plugin Installer tool, which is used for automating the plug-in installation of iManager without interfacing with iManager Framework. There is no need to uninstall the previously installed plug-ins; when a new plug-in is installed using this tool, all previous files will be overwritten with newer files.

Though this tool runs on Windows, it can be used to install plug-ins for iManager running on Netware and Linux. For operating systems other than Windows, you have to map the entire iManager tomcat folder on Windows machine and specify this mapped path of tomcat directory to the above tool during installation.

For Netware systems, you can map the entire SYS: volume to the H drive on Windows. Then the Tomcat base path will be "H:\tomcat\4", which can be specified in the tool.

For operating systems other than Windows, you have to manually stop the Tomcat server before proceeding with the installation using the above tool. Once the installation is complete, you must restart the Tomcat server. Refer to the "Starting and Stopping the Tomcat Server" section at the end of the article for more details.

Here are the steps for installing plug-in using the iManager Plugin Installer:

1. Launch the iManager Plugin Installer application. You will see the dialog with default settings as shown below.

Figure 1 iManager plug-in Installer tool

2. Select the platform where iManager is running.

If iManager is on the local Windows system, select the target as "Windows Platform"; otherwise, select "Non Windows" platform. For platforms other than Windows, you need to manually stop the Tomcat server before proceeding with the installation, as mentioned earlier.

3. Click Browse to choose the plug-in file to be installed.

Note that the directory containing the plug-in file must have write access; otherwise, it is not possible to extract the files during installation.

Figure 2 - Selecting plug-in file in iManagerplug-inInstaller

4. Select the Tomcat directory by clicking the Browse button next to "Tomcat Path".

For iManager running on a non-Windows platform, you must map the corresponding Tomcat folder to your local Windows system, as explained earlier.

The Tomcat path selection on a Windows machine is shown below.

Figure 3 - Selecting tomcat path in the iManager Plugin Installer

5. Make sure you have specified all the parameters, then click "Install Plug-in" to install the new plug-in on iManager.

On successful installation you will see this message:

Figure 4 - Successful installation of plug-in using the iManager Plugin Installer

If your iManager is running on platform other than Windows, then you need to restart the Tomcat server. Refer to the "Starting and Stopping Tomcat Server" section at the end of the article for more details.

Special instructions for installing on Mobile iManager

When installing the plug-in for mobile iManager, select the platform as "Non-Windows" and all other parameters as explained in the above steps. This is because mobile iManager does not have an external Tomcat server; it comes packaged with Tomcat server, which starts when mobile iManager is run. So once you have finished with installation, just ignore the "Don't forget to start the Tomcat Server" message.

Manual Method of plug-in Installation

This section gives detailed steps on manually installing plug-ins for iManager. Though the automated installer as described above is a handy solution, but sometimes it may not work well as expected due to various reasons. Especially when installing plug-ins on non-Windows platforms, you may get into configuration-related problems such as mapping drives or controlling the Tomcat server manually.

In such cases, the manual method will help you to smoothly install plug-ins. It will also help you understand the internal workings of iManager Framework.

The iManager plug-in files have a .NPM extension, which stands for Novell Plug-in Module. Though it appears to be some unknown file, it's actually a zip file. That means you can rename it as ".zip" and extract its contents.

Here are the detailed steps for manually installing the plug-in:

1. Before you proceed with the installation, stop the tomcat server. Refer to the "Starting and Stopping Tomcat Server" section at the end of the article for more details.

2. Copy your plug-in file to a temporary directory and rename it as "test.zip".

3. Extract this zip file to the same directory.

Now you will see two folders - "currentwebapp" and "META-INF" in the test directory as shown below.

Figure 5 - Extracted plug-in files

4. Identify the iManager Tomcat directory where you will install the plug-in file(s). For iManager running on Windows, this path is "C:\Program Files\Novell\Tomcat". For Netware, this path is "sys:\tomcat\4". Let's refer to this path as "$TOMCAT_ROOT$".

5. Find out the module name of the plug-in. From META-INF folder, open manifest.mf file which contains a line indicating module id. For example manifest file from NMAS plug-in contains line as "Module-ID: NMAS". Here "NMAS" is the module ID or name. Let's refer this name as $MODNAME$.

6. Install the plug-in modules by copying entire contents of the "\test\currentwebapp\portal\modules" folder to the "$TOMCAT_ROOT$\webapps\nps\portal\modules" folder.

7. Copy the plug-in class files and libraries to iManager by moving the contents of the "\test\currentwebapp\WEB-INF" directory to "$TOMCAT_ROOT$\webapps\nps\WEB-INF" folder.

8. You must inform iManager about the description and version of the plug-in you are installing. For that, create a directory named "$MODNAME$" in the folder "$TOMCAT_ROOT$\webapps\nps\WEB-INF\modules".

9. Copy the "test\META-INF" folder to newly created directory "$TOMCAT_ROOT$\webapps\nps\WEB-INF\modules\$MODNAME$" as shown below.

Figure 6 - Manifest file after copying to iManager

10. Copy the original plug-in file (for example, nmas.npm) to the "$TOMCAT_ROOT$\webapps\nps\packages" folder, as shown below.

Figure 7 - Installed .npm file under the iManager packages folder

11. Clean up the temporary files created by iManager by deleting the folder "$TOMCAT_ROOT$\work\Standalone\localhost\nps\portal\modules\$MODNAME$" as shown below. If you are installing for the first time, then you won't see any temporary folder for your module.

Figure 8 - Cleaning up temporary files

12. Start the Tomcat server and login to iManager to check if the plug-in is installed successfully.

Refer to next section for more details on the command to start the Tomcat server on different platforms.

Starting and Stopping Tomcat Server

Before you begin with plug-in installation, you need to stop the Tomcat server and then restart the server once the installation is completed.

Here are the commands for Netware, Linux and Windows systems.

PlatformStart CommandStop Command
Windowsnet start tomcatnet stop tomcat
Linux$CATALINA_HOME$/bin/startup.sh$CATALINA_HOME$/bin/shutdown.sh
Netwareperl sys:/tomcat/4/bin/catalina.pl sys:/tomcat/4 startperl sys:/tomcat/4/bin/catalina.pl sys:/tomcat/4 stop

Summary

The built-in installation procedure provided by iManager Framework does not always work. In such cases, the methods illustrated in this article will help you to get your plug-in installed easily and quickly.

I hope this article will address your needs. Please drop your suggestions and comments to me at tnagareshwar@novell.com.

References

iManager Plug-in Installer: Automated iManager plug-in installer for iManager running on all platforms
http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/tools/17437.html

iManager Installation and Administration Guide
http://www.novell.com/documentation/imanager26/index.html


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