Chapter 15. Debrief maintainer's guide
15.1. Installation guidance
15.1.1. System requirements
Table 15.1. Requirements for Debrief
Java Virtual Machine
As new as possible. JVM 1.5 includes significant performance improvements, particularly in the list processing used extensively within Debrief
Java 3D Libraries (required for viewing Debrief plots in 3D [a] )
|Java 3D 1.3|
Java 3D 1.3
SAX and DOM support (through the enclosed jaxp.jar and parser.jar libraries)
OpenMap libraries (used for plotting NIMA's Vector Map data)
4.2.1 (through the enclosed openmap.jar library)
[a] To interactively view Debrief plots in 3 dimensions the Java 3d runtime files and libraries must be installed on the machine. These libraries are a free download from the Java website.
15.1.2. Implementing 'open with' support for DebriefNG
Since Winter 2010, DebriefNG can be opened by
Open Windows Explorer
Navigate to a Debrief
Right-click on the file and select 'Open With'
Now browse to the DebriefNG.exe executable, typically contained in the
c:\DebriefNG. You may also wish to select 'Always use this application'.
Now repeat this process for a Debrief
dpffile , you can select 'Always use this application' - since dpf files aren' used by many applications. Debrief did use the
xmlsuffix, but that related to lots of files - so in Oct 2014 we adopted
15.1.3. Directory structure
Debrief installs itself into a
Debrief NG folder in the top
level of your C:\ drive.. Within the Debrief NG folder you will find the DebriefNG
executable in the top-level, together with some additional
files used for optimised graphics (
gdiplus.dll), and copy to
jre folder contains a Java Runtime Environment that's been
modified by the inclusion of a current set of Java3d libraries. In the absence of this
jre folder Debrief (Eclipse) would use the system's default Java
installation, if there was one. Including it overrides any other configured
configuration folder contains details of Debrief's initial
settings together with the locations of update download sites.
plugins folders include
details of what Eclipse plugins are present (where each feature is actually a group of
plugins), together with the plugins themselves. The
folder is a default workspace provided for new users. It contains current work projects
together with a large volume of metadata representing change history, screen layout and
15.1.4. Multi-user Debrief installation
The conventional way of installing Debrief is for each user to have their own copy, maintaining their own sets of plugins and updates (as above). There is an alternate installation scenario, however - for all users to share a common Debrief installation. An advantage of this scenario is that software updates only need to be performed once, at the central location. By default, however, shared installations are troublesome for Debrief - since all users will be looking at a single set of settings - so administrator participation is necessary.
Whilst a number of theoretical solutions exist for this problem, the most reliable solution to emerge is to force Debrief NG to use the workspace in the users own login directory (since each user has a unique login directory). This also overcomes the challenge of new users having to select a workspace before they know what a workspace is.
Thus, the Debrief shortcut (.ini file) has been modified to explicitly indicate that the workspace is in the a folder in the user login area:
The '.' character before the DebriefNG folder name follows a convention that is normally sufficient to make the operating system make the folder hidden by default.
When users are upgrading from older versions of DebriefNG, the application will ignore the last workspace location, and load a new, blank workspace from the new user directory. If the user now closes Debrief the workspace data can be copied from the old location into the new location, which will get read when the application re-opens.
15.1.5. Centralised software updates
In the Autumn 2009 updates Debrief adopted the Eclipse p2 update mechanism. With this update came support for centralised updates. Centralised updates allow updated Debrief components to be placed at a central location on shared network storage, with individual Debrief installations automatically updating from it.
Start by locating a central shared folder, and creating a Repository folder in it. This is where your Debrief maintainer will unzip Debrief updates. Next, you must tell the individual Debrief installations where the repository is. Do this from the Preferences Install/Update Available Software Sites dialog:
Figure 15.1. Repository location dialog
Then, to update a Debrief installation select Check for updates from the Help menu. Note, the Install/Updates section of Debrief preferences also includes options for automatic software updates.
15.1.6. Starting the program
The shortcut placed on the
DebriefNG.exe file found in the startup
directory. This application triggers the startup of Debrief, passing to it the
parameters contained in the
DebriefNG.ini file. This file contains
options to select the initial perspective, the memory allocation, and additional files
to include on the classpath (3d files in our case).
15.1.7. Use of English locale
Note that Debrief fails when on an machine set to a non-English locale, such as
French(Canada). The application cannot read data-files correctly, nor can it populate
screen editors. The workaround to this problem is to explicitly direct Debrief to
startup using an English locale. Do this by launching Debrief with the "-nl en" command
parameter. This can be performed either by modifying the shortcut used to start Debrief,
or by adding the command parameter to the
file (though this will have to be re-performed after each Debrief update).
 Note, across the range of versions of MS Windows a variety of user interface phrases exist. The steps in this process contain the text that will loosely match that which you'll see