APPENDIX 1 -FURTHER TECHNICAL INFORMATION.
This Appendix covers a variety of additional technical aspects of CARGOMANAGER operation.
|1. Installation Folders.||2. Location of User Files.|
|3. ERROR Messages.||4. Computer Specification.|
|5. Printers||6. Networking.|
|7. Backup of Files.||8. The Cargo Database.|
|9. The Link Option.||10. Manual and Web Access|
|11. The MAKEDB Utility||12. Operating Limits|
|13. Wide Screen Displays / Fonts||14. Alternate Display Codes|
|15. Yes / No Defaults||16. Testing ITEMBASE.CAR|
The CARGOMANAGER files themselves (of a fully licensed system) can be installed in any suitable location. (TRIAL systems MUST be installed on a local drive). Around 20Mb is typically required initially, but when used to tackle complex problems - perhaps loading 200 containers, 100Mb of temporary files may be created. As described below (point 2), the location of data files created by CARGOMANAGER can be configured to meet user needs. Using the default installation folder (CARGONT on your C drive) is useful to us from a support viewpoint. Currently up to 120 characters can be used for the path length.
2. Location of User Files.
It is possible to set up CARGOMANAGER so that files created by the user (these are files with a .DAT extension), and in addition the Container Database (CONTBASE.CAR) and the Cargo Database (ITEMBASE.CAR), are located on a different drive / folder to the one where CARGOMANAGER programs are installed. Whilst, for simplicity, we do not recommend this, the steps involved are straightforward. In any event users can always browse to another folder when opening or saving files.
In the CARGOMANAGER folder a file CMCONFIG holds details of the pathnames which should be used for different types of user files (but not for the main set of CARGOMANAGER installed files). This file on installation has 4 blank lines (and 4 lines following these describing the potential function of each of these lines). This file should only be modified if you need to re-direct file access, and when doing so an editor such as Wordpad / Notepad should be used.
Long folder and filenames are supported up to a total of 120 characters. Comments in the CMCONFIG file should be self explanatory.
3. ERROR Messages.
Routines are included in the CARGOMANAGER suite which trap errors and display meaningful messages as to the cause of any such problems.
Jot down the details displayed and, if appropriate, contact your supplier giving as full a description as possible of what actions lead to the error.
4. Computer Specification.
CARGOMANAGER requires a minimum of a Pentium PC running Windows 98 or NT/2000/XP or Windows Vista/ Windows7. Development currently takes place on Vista and Windows 7 machines. A Screen modes of 800*600 (standard small fonts) will work, but a more realistic specification will have 1024*768 or better resolution. Most machines will usually have installed Internet Explorer - though not necessarily as the default browser. The default CARGOMANAGER manual (accessed from most screens) uses some IE components to display the full online manual. On systems where IE4 or later is not installed then an alternate (identical content) manual is available which does not depend on IE installation - please see Section A1-10.
Whilst not essential for general operation some more advanced display functions do require that the pc display is set (Control Panel / Display / Settings) into 32bit / True Color mode. Setting in this mode will provide a far better user experience
CARGOMANAGER has been tested on a wide range of Windows systems. Your normal printer driver should prove perfectly suitable for use.
If CARGOMANAGER is installed on a network server, then ideally the network system should prevent multiple access. If this is not possible, then a mechanism within CARGOMANAGER can be enabled to prevent multiple access. See the file CMCONFIG for further details. It is essential that such multiple access be avoided otherwise data loss will occur.
7. Backup of Files.
In the event of hard disk failure most of the CARGOMANAGER files can be installed from the original CD. The main exceptions to this are:
Any files saved by the user - all of which will have the extension .DAT and will normally be held in the CARGONT (installation) folder.
The file ITEMBASE.CAR - the Cargo database - (where used).
The file CONTBASE.CAR - the Container database.
Also see Section 2 for a full list of files.
Your I.T. support staff can best advise on the most appropriate way of keeping backup copies of these files. All files are relatively small in size.
8. The Cargo Database
The Cargo Database created within CARGOMANAGER can hold up to 25,000 records. The first record of the file ITEMBASE.CAR contains details of the number of records in the file and, in addition, the number of significant characters to be used to identify products. These two numeric items are separated by a comma. After making an appropriate backup, the second of these two values may be edited (using for example wordpad/notepad) to lengthen or shorten the number of significant characters used during entry of cargo data. The default setting is 12 characters. You should also note that the first entry into this database must be made using the 'Itembase' database program accessed from the opening screen. As standard the database is already populated with a few entries on installation. As described in Section 10 subsequent entries may either use this data entry program or be automatically carried out from cargo data sets as they are entered into the system. (See Section 4.6). In addition facilities are provided to create a database from spreadsheet / database sources. See Section 10.
9. The Link Option.
The interfacing of CARGOMANAGER with other applications and databases has already been discussed with respect to the Item Database (see Section 10). An additional powerful feature is the ability of CARGOMANAGER to link with a user created cargo datafile containing information on a potential consignment. This file might have been produced from, for example, a mainframe order-entry system. A number of CARGOMANAGER users already utilise such a link.
This could naturally be done by creating a .DAT file containing the appropriate details, which could be opened in the same manner as that of .DAT files created by CARGOMANAGER. The .DAT files are simple comma separated 'flat' files which could be generated by most applications. What is more crucial is the availability of all the required information within the 'other' system.
Please see Appendix 3 for a detailed discussion of this facility.
10. Manual and Web Access
Many screens and menu entries provide access the the full manual which is held on disk in compiled HTML format. (In folder manual found immediately below the installation folder). Two versions are provided named cmmanual.exe and cmmanalt.exe. The former of these is the default and assumes that your computer has Internet Explorer installed (though not necessarily as the default browser), whilst the latter file provides a completely self-contained working environment but a rather less sophisticated search mechanism. If the default configuration fails to work, then renaming the cmmanual.exe file as (say) cmmanual.hld will result in CARGOMANAGER automatically using the alternative file cmmanalt.exe.
11. The MAKEIB Itembase Utility.
The MAKEIB utility allows users to use basic data on products which may be available in a comma separated format to be used to create a product (ITEM) Database. This allows users to more quickly add products to a consignment. The utility is described in detail in Section 10 of this manual but the following points may be of assistance to IT staff should problems be experienced:
The CSV input file must be named ITEMBASE.CSV and must reside in the CARGOMANAGER installation folder, as must the utility MAKEIB.EXE itself.
The CSV file must contain in the first 5 fields, a product description, product length, product width, product height and product weight in that order, each separated by commas. If a value is missing (i.e. two commas with no value between), or the value read is out of range then the value (length, width, height or weight) will be set = 999 / 9999.9. Any extra entries on each line of the input file will be ignored.
The output file ITEMBASE.OUT can be viewed using Notepad / Wordpad etc if required. This is a fixed format file with each line containing data relevant to an item.
When the utility produces the output file ITEMBASE.OUT it also produces a file ITEMBASE.LOG which may be useful if some entries in the original file do not appear in the output file. A further file ITEMBASE.ST1 is also produced but is an intermediate file and of no interest to the user. The log file details the processing of records from the .CSV file.
Important: The utility does NOT overwrite the standard item database file (if one exists). In order to use the file ITEMBASE.OUT as your item database you will need to RENAME the file ITEMBASE.OUT as ITEMBASE.CAR.
12. Operating Limits.
The capacity of CARGOMANAGER to deal with an ever-increasing complexity of problem has been significantly enhanced in recent releases. The actual limits applying to a particular license will vary, but the details below define maximum limits that are currently available (v4.9). If you find that the operation of your system requires a greater value than that apparently available then please contact us regarding an upgrade.
Number of containers in Database: 50 (10 for CARGOMANAGER Lite)
Number of containers which can be compared against each other for a given load: 50 (10 for CARGOMANAGER Lite)
Total number of individual items forming a consignment: 50,000
Total number of item types (lines of data) forming a consignment: 15,000
Total number of container loads which can be planned in a single step: 998 (1 for CARGOMANAGER Lite)
Cargo Priority range: 1-32000 (normally 1-99 - use of a minimum range of values from 1 upwards will result in faster operation)
Size of Product (Item) database: 25,000 products.
13. Wide Screen Displays.
Wide screen displays are becoming increasingly popular and, depending upon the operating system in use, users may well wish to use the right hand side of the display to display, at all times, useful tools (such as a clock!).
To ensure that the software display does not take over the full screen when it is being used on wide screen displays the window generated on such screens is automatically reduced so that it initially occupies around 70% of the screen (depending upon screen ratio), with the window being positioned to the left top of the screen. The window can be moved (using the mouse), or expanded to full screen (by clicking on the top title bar of the window). However the automatic re-size will ONLY apply when the graphics resolution used by the graphics adaptor differs from the standard width / height ratio of 'normal' screens - that is 1.33 or 1.25. Thus re-sizing would apply, for example, when using a graphics resolution of 1680*1050 - a 1.6 ratio.
The vast majority of users will normally have set a standard font size (of 96dpi) and the automatic reduction in the screen width utilised as described above will NOT result in information being lost off the display area. However, if using a larger font size (e.g. 120dpi or as sometimes described a 125% font size), then information would be lost. In such instances we would strongly recommend users set the software to utilise the full area of the screen as described below, or alternatively set a standard (96dpi) font size.
If a user would like to software to utilise the full area of the screen at all times then it is possible to configure this to happen as described below.
To set the software so that it always uses the full screen on wide screen displays:
Either use the utility program CONFIGSCREEN which will be found in the software installation folder on most recent systems (navigate to the software install folder using Windows Explorer and double click on the CONFIGSCREEN program) OR use the manual procedure below:
Create in the application installation folder a file named USEFULLS - this could be done using an application such as notepad / wordpad / word etc. The content of the file does NOT matter, the fact that the file exists is the only requirement to give a full screen display on a wide screen monitor..
Files created with most such applications will NOT immediately have the correct name as the application will add a file extension to the filename (e.g. USEFULLS.TXT, USEFULLS.DOC etc). However an additional complication is that depending upon the machine configuration this extension may not be displayed in the file list. To ensure the file created has NO file extension at all it is suggested that having created the file using the procedure above you highlight the file name in Windows Explorer, then right click the mouse and select Rename and then replace the whole of the displayed name by (just) USEFULLS
14. Alternate Display Codes.
The 2D and 3D printed reports produced by CARGOMANAGER have for many years utilised codes 1 to 6 (following the product identifier) - e.g. B2 - to indicate the orientation of product B within the container, and an index to these codes is printed on the first page of the report(s). Here 2 would mean 'Height Vertical, length widthwise.
This release now allows graphical symbols to be used as an alternate means of orientation identification on printed reports and the picture below illustrates one of these in action.
Here a set of 2 graphics symbols have been used to replace the number 2 and to (hopefully) represent to the reader a unit with height vertical and the longer dimension _ placed across the container width.
Unfortunately there are issues with many printers actually having suitable graphics symbols available in their set of printable characters, however we have chosen a set of symbols which we believe are found on nearly all printers (and also in PDF and other graphics software) to represent the 6 possible orientations of any unit. These are illustrated below as they would appear on the first page of the printed report IF graphics symbols are activated (see below).
Other symbols might possibly be used but as discussed below the range available on printers is generally rather restrictive.
By default the numeric symbols familiar to established users will continue to be the default, however users can select to use graphics symbols instead as detailed below.
1. The set of characters / symbols used is held as part of the content of file GRPARAMS which is installed in the application folder.
2. The default file GRPARAMS and the file GRPARAMS.NUM found there are identical [thus copying to .NUM file to the name of just GRPARAMS (no extension) would return a system to numeric codes)].
3. The file GRPARAMS.GRA contains the graphics characters and then copying this to the name of just GRPARAMS will set up the printing of graphics codes.
In fact the GRPARAMS file contains a number of other default values but the codes used could be changed by using a basic editor (wordpad/notepad) to make changes to the first 12 characters on line 4 of the file. If one were to do this then you would see that whilst most of the above characters are there in the form in which they can be entered from the keyboard the 'right arrow' symbol used for 2 of the descriptors is NOT available on a standard keyboard and thus a 's' (little s) character is used as a substitute in the file with this being translated to a right pointing arrow within the program.
You should note that the range of characters which can be actually printed by your printer may not even include all the keyboard characters.
15. Yes / No Defaults.
When entering New data into CARGOMANAGER using the keyboard the default settings for item orientation placed against the 3 'box' dimensions have for many years been set as 'Yes' indicating that any of the 3 dimensions entered can be placed as the height dimension. Obviously users have been able to set this as desired for each item in turn. In this release a new mechanism is available which changes the default from Y to N. If a file 'nodefault' is created in the installation folder (no file extension - content irrelevant) then the default will be set to 'No' for all new input from the keyboard.
16. Testing ITEMBASE.CAR
If you are creating your own ITEMBASE.CAR file (See Section 10) then a test program 'testitembase.exe' is available which will help you in the event that the file fails to work with CARGOMANAGER. This reports to an output file 'errorsinitembase' when a problem is encountered with the validity of any entry in the ITEMBASE.
We at Miralis Data very much hope that CARGOMANAGER will prove to be a very successful tool within your company. Any comments you are able to supply on the operation of the software and on this documentation will be most welcome, as we are very keen to ensure the continued development and success of the product.
Every effort has been made to ensure that both the CARGOMANAGER software and documentation are as accurate as possible. However, as with all other software products, Miralis Data cannot in any event be liable for errors in the software or documentation, or for any loss or damage resulting from these.
We would stress in particular the fact that although the software does attempt to provide both volume efficient and stable consignments, given the range of environmental and handling conditions experienced in practice, it is essential that experience operatives determine the suitability of individual load plans for any particular application.