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ZENworks Mania - NSBS 5.1 uses ZEN Objects

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Daniel Shelley

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Posted: 5 Oct 2000
 

For those of you that have installed NSBS 5.1, you may have noticed that we went a little overboard creating ZEN Objects. The good news is that you can always delete them using NWAdmin if you don't want to use them, and they are not cluttering up your NDS tree since we put them in a container (NSBSAPPS).

[Note: The interesting thing about Oracle is that the Oracle8i server install is an nlm running on the server. The Tobit install is a Win32 app, on a CD that must first be prompted for, etc. Unlike the Software Distributor that makes copies of installs to the server, ZenLink only links to the install, wherever it is.]

The thing that we were trying to accomplish in creating all of these objects was to give you quick access to tools like Neat, ConsoleOne and the Software Distributor, to give you links to the web that might be useful like the Cool Solutions page and the online documentation, and to show you a list of many of the applications besides NetWare that make this a true Small Business Suite. I hope that you find these useful. (We would like to hear from you about whether or not you like them.)

For those that are interested, these objects are created by running the following command which is run once in the admin user's login script: sys:\public\nsbsapps.exe /file=nls\english\nsbszen.ini. Basically, this program creates the ZEN objects that are defined in the .ini file. You are welcome to modify or reuse nsbsapps or the .ini file in any way that would make your life easier.

If you start looking at these links you will undoubtedly start noticing something unusual. These ZEN objects are linking to other things besides a simple Win32 executable. To make this "magic" happen we wrote a little application called ZenLink. This application is designed to be launched from ZENworks with command line switches to open documents, browse to a specific URL, prompt for a CD and launch an executable, or run an NLM on the server. By the way, this program was not difficult to write, but since the closest thing to it that was available didn't have quite as many features, we created this. If you want to see the other tool that does some of the same things as ZenLink, go here.

Maybe the easiest way to figure out how to use ZenLink is to look at the nsbszen.ini file. Either way, ZenLink's command line arguments work as follows:

  • -NLM=MyNLM.NCF
    Launches an nlm on the server
  • -EXE=C:\setup.exe
    Launches the executable at the path specified
  • -CD="Please insert the ?? CD" -EXE=CD:\setup.exe
    Prompts the user to insert a CD, waits for a CD to be inserted and loaded, substitutes "CD" in the executable path for the CD drive letter, and launches the executable. -CD can be used with any other switch without any problems. If you used it with -NLM for example, it would turn into a simple prompt.
  • -FILE=http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/smallbiz/
    Launches the default browser to the specified URL

Since the best way to learn about something is to see some examples, be sure to check out the NSBSZEN.ini file, and ZenLink.exe, in this zip file.


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