Turbo-Charging Robosoft with DynamicPAD (Part 4)

4

Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, PAD, Robosoft, Software, Super Simple, Web Sites | Posted on 07-04-2011

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Well, this is the final part in how you can turn Robosoft from an 800 lb gorilla, to an 8,000 tonne fire-breathing, city-eating, raging godzilla razor-beast from hell!

Last time I exported the PhotoResizer.dat file from Robosoft, then added in the output from DynamicPAD Helper here:

Photo Resizer DynamicPAD DAT

I then saved the file, and imported it back into Robosoft.

At that point Robosoft is ready to go. However, there are 2 things left to do:

  1. Install and configure the DynamicPAD PHP script on your server.
  2. Upload the DynamicPAD DAT for your product into your new DynamicPAD server.

Step 1 is pretty simple if you are on a LAMP server. If you are on Windows though, you’ll pull out a fair amount of hair before you get it working. But more on that later (I’ve solved those problems and have a download for you so that you don’t go bald).

To install DynamicPAD, go to the DynamicPAD site here. Download the script, upload it to your server, and follow the direction to configure it properly.

It’s pretty straight forward.

If you have problems, double-check that you have your 404’s working properly. DynamicPAD relies on the fact that none of the requested files actually exist, and all 404’s are redirected to the dp.php script, which processes the URL and returns the correct information, be that a PAD file or your program’s installer file.

If you are on a Windows server in a WIMP configuration (Windows, IIS, MySQL, PHP), then the DynamicPAD file from the DynamicPAD.org site won’t work. Instead, use my fix. It removes information from the DynamicPAD file that isn’t really needed, and fixes some issues where PHP is a bit finicky under Windows.

Download DynamicPAD for Windows Servers

There is a web.config file in there, and you should probably setup the folder as an application in IIS. Make sure to edit that for the proper path.

I’ve made some modifications in DynamicPAD for myself (and to get it working properly), so you should check them. Open the dp.php file and search for “cynic.me”.

Where to edit in dp.php

Notably, I’ve deleted the “Delphi” and “OnlineShops” nodes. You can delete more if you like, or add those back in.

Do not add back in the “Robosoft” or “DynamicPAD” nodes. You can try and find out, but that’s up to you.

You may wish to change the way things are done there if you can manage to get PHP working with some of the other regular expression methods. I wouldn’t bother though as it works the way it is right now.

For both the LAMP and Windows versions, you need to configure the script in the “dp_conf.php.inc” file. It’s straight forward. (Remember to set proper 404 redirection in your web server.)

Once you’re finished there, run the install.php file to install the DynamicPAD server, then delete the install file. I’d recommend backing it up somewhere though or moving it to a secure location that isn’t public.

When you’ve got the server installed, you must then update the site list. In the DynamicPAD for Windows Servers download above, there is a “dp_conf.dat” file that contains mappings for the various download sites and their unique values. (I’ve not customized any of that, by if you are adventurous, then it’s a pretty cool way to further get DynamicPAD looking even sexier~!) In the DynamicPAD web interface, click the update link. That will update your list of sites that you need. The link reads:

Download an updated download sites list from DynamicPAD.org

FINALLY… Back in Robosoft…

On the Products tab, double-click your product to open it up for editing. Expand Product > DynamicPAD > DynamicPAD Settings and double-click on it to open it up.

Final DynamicPAD DAT Export

#1 We need to do a little cleanup, and Robosoft will automatically do that for us. So click the “Edit dynamic data” button, then click “Save”. You might want to make a minor edit of a space somewhere then save. This will fix up any extra or empty entries and prepare the lean-mean DynamicPAD info for export.

#2 Next, click the “Export” button and save your app-##########.dat file. This is the file that you will upload to your DynamicPAD’s “data” directory.

Once you have that uploaded, your DynamicPAD server is ready to go!

In your Internet browser address bar, type in “http://www.yourdomain.com/path/to/dynamicpad/pad/app-############/product-name.xml” to test it. Here’s a live example for Photo Resizer:

http://www.supersimple.me/PAD/app-00b31342c6/Photo-Resizer.xml

And an example for a specific web site:

http://www.supersimple.me/pad/app-00b31342c6/site-007310de455/photo-resizer.xml

And one with the language specified (which we didn’t bother with in any previous work, but you’ll see this anyways):

http://www.supersimple.me/pad/app-00b31342c6/site-007310de455/lng-eng/photo-resizer.xml

If those 3 styles of URLs are working for you, then everything is ready to go.

The other style is for the distributable download, and looks like “http://…snip…pad/distr/app…snip…/your-installer.exe”. That’s a tracking link for your installer, and will help you know where your downloads are coming from.

At this point, you can go back into Robosoft and begin your submissions. Everything is already configured, and you can now serve up specific information as you specified in the Excel file, and random content that was generated inside of the DynamicPAD Helper application from all the different content that you had specified in the Excel file.

So, that ends the series on how to setup DynamicPAD. It’s fairly complicated, and certainly not very straight forward, but if you follow the steps that I’ve outlined, it’s actually much easier and quicker than trying to specify specific content inside of the DynamicPAD UI in Robosoft.

I hope that helps out.

Cheers,

Ryan

Turbo-Charging Robosoft with DynamicPAD (Part 3)

4

Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, Online Marketing, PAD, Robosoft, Software | Posted on 04-04-2011

Tags: ,

Last time in Part 2 I covered what at the end of it was essentially a useless Excel file. This time I’m going to show how to put that to work.

If you recall, the Excel file looked something like this:

DynamicPAD Template in ExcelAnd after it’s completed, it could look something like this:

DynamicPAD Template Photo Resizer Done

Note there that the most important ones are at the top. That’s where you will want to customize your entries more. e.g. You will want to make sure that you have an excellent entry for Download.com as you’re probably going to want to spend the $100 for the listing rather than wait a year or whatever.

However, I would recommend doing all your mass submissions first, then going back and doing the most important sites like Download.com as you will have a bit of time to reflect and tweak your text more. During the submission process you will have ample opportunity to rethink things and come up with improvements. You’ll also likely think of things that didn’t occur to you before or you’ll find new ways to explain your product that are easier to understand and will get better results.

But I digress…

From the B1 cell, highlight and copy everything to the right and down. That is, copy it all except for the red Rank column.

Next, paste that into a plain text file and save it. You now have a simple tab-delimited text file that you can play with in “DynamidPAD Helper”, the little utility that you’ll use to create the [Dynamic_PAD] entry for your product. If you have questions, you can read through the source code as it is commented extensively. ┬áBut you probably don’t need to. You can just run it and use it with the text file that you created above.

Download DynamicPAD Helper (or click the screenshot below)

The DynamicPAD Helper download is a Visual Studio 10 C# solution, so you will need Visual Studio 10 for that. You can download the Express version of Visual Studio 10 here. It includes a debug build, so you can also just run that. It looks like this:

DynamicPAD Helper

Just click the button, load the text file from above, then wait until it’s done in a few seconds.

Next, copy the output content. You need to paste that into the exported product DAT file from Robosoft.

To export a product from Robosoft, make sure you have the product selected in the main interface on the Products tab.

Next, click the Export button on the toolbar:

Exporting Product DAT in Robosoft button

In the dialog, click the second “Export Product” button under “Robosoft / PADManager / Submit-Everywhere Data File” and save the DAT file:

Export Product DAT from Robosoft dialog

You now have your DAT ready to open in a text editor.

Open your product.dat file in a text editor, preferably one with syntax high-lighting, and scroll down to the [Dynamic_PAD] INI entry. It looks like this:

[Dynamic_PAD]
General/DP_Script_Base_URL=http://www.supersimple.me/pad/
General/DP_Pad_Enabled=TRUE
General/DP_Distributive_Enabled=TRUE
General/DP_AtFormFill_Enabled=TRUE
General/DP_Pad_Mask=photo-resizer.xml
General/DP_Distributive_Mask=photo-resizer-setup.exe
General/DP_Distributive_Primary_URL=http://www.supersimple.me/Downloads/Photo-Resizer-Setup.exe
General/DP_ControlPanel_Login=loginname
General/DP_ControlPanel_Password=encoded password here
….THIS IS THE STUFF THAT YOU WANT TO REPLACE…

After that is the part that you want to replace. However, there are some INI entries below that you do not want to replace, so keep that in mind. You should see something like this after that section:

[Autosearch Info]

[ASBM Info]

So, paste the output from DynamicPAD Helper in the Dynamic_PAD section, being careful not to replace the parts listed above, then save the DAT file.

You now have the DAT ready to import back into Robosoft.

Exporting Product DAT in Robosoft button

Click the Import button on the toolbar to get the new DAT file with the Dynamic_PAD information back into Robosoft. When you are prompted, overwrite the existing information.

At this point Robosoft is prepared for you to submit, but you still need to make sure that your DynamicPAD server is ready and that you have uploaded your DynamicPAD file.

NOTE: Your DynamicPAD file that you need to upload is NOT the same as the DAT file above.

Next time I’ll go over how to setup your DynamicPAD server, how to export and upload your DynamicPAD file.

Cheers,

Ryan