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Problem with app starting

Posted on 2006-11-01
Last Modified: 2010-04-04
We use a product called Maxwell Management Suite. The previous administrator built a program that pulls data from the Maxwell software and exports it into another program. The program that does the exporting is called NGSDS. NGSDS has worked fine for the last two years that I have been here with only minor modifications needed.

On Friday we upgraded the Maxwell software to the latest version. Since the upgrade the NGSDS program will not run. It is set to automatically run each night, however doesn't do so. In addition, when attempting to manually start the program (double clicking), the program shows in the task manager for a second or two and then disappears. The app (GUI) never opens and nothing else happens. I have looked in the event viewer but don't see anything regarding the file.

What do I need to do to figure this out? I have the original source code for the NGSDS program which is written in Delphi, but I'm not sure what to look for.


Question by:c230kochi
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 17853798
This NGSDS, is it a standalone piece of software, or does it rely on Maxwell being installed and running on the same PC?
Can you see if it just starts up by putting it on another PC first?

Other than that, you would probably need to show us the code so we can see if it is looking for something on startup.
Sounds like it is crashing because of its reliance on something whether it be a database connection or application hook or something.

Author Comment

ID: 17853817
The NGSDS must be installed on the same machine as the Maxwell and uses a database connector called Advantage Database Server. When I try to get the program to startup on another machine I get a windows xp debug/crash window error. The machine it is running on is Win2k Server.

Author Comment

ID: 17853894
How much of the code do you want me to post. There's about 1700 lines total.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 17853980
You have to debug the program (open it in Delphi and start with F8, continue with F8 to see where it will fail). But since it running on the same machine where Maxwell is installed, maybe it would be better to setup a test environment. Thus you will not have to mess with the production.

Make sure NGSDS is build with debug info and Delphi is set to "Stop on Language exceptions"

If you don't want to do it like this, build another executable with ShowMessage dialogs. For example:

... connect to maxwell
... do something
ShowMessage('something done');

This way you can test it on the production.

Expert Comment

ID: 17854031
To be perfectly honest, I'd recommend hiring a Delphi contract programmer for a few days to help you get it going.  It sounds like the interfaces in the Maxwell software has changed, which means you'll need to re-import all the type libraries to get the NGSDS program to work again.

I reckon you'll spend more time (and time = money) trying to figure out just how to use Delphi (especially waiting for new help from Experts here) than if you got someone in to fix it.  If you do decide to get a contractor in, make sure you have a contact at the Maxwell place that the contractor can ring and speak to - unless they provide documentation for 3rd party developers.

Good luck though. Sounds like you'll need it!

Author Comment

ID: 17854942
I'm familiar with debugging, but the only way I can properly test this app is on the production server. The machine that I have delphi loaded on does not have the other software. So everytime I try to debug it autmotacilly fails because the Advantage Database Server isn't present. As for PAG's comment, I agree that we should get a delphi programmer, but finding one locally has been a challenge. Do you know of any resources for finding local programming talent?

Expert Comment

ID: 17855193
You're going to either need to put Delphi onto your production server (not advisable), or install Maxwell onto the same box as Delphi by the sounds of things.  It does sound like a big job.  You can do remote debugging by building a new EXE with all the debug code in it, then putting that onto the production server.  Then, install Borland Remote Debugger (which comes with Delphi) and then debug the EXE from your development PC.  That works really well.  We've done that a few times on systems which we cant install Delphi onto.  Someone with Delphi experience will have no trouble doing that.

We usually contact employment agencies and request a contractor for X days.  Where abouts are you located?  Prehaps you could look in your telephone directory for employement agencies (specialising in IT).

Good luck!
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 17856145
If you are familiar with delphi, then you should try to add a splash screen to your NGSC application, and place there a memo or a Label, and then in the Application, where the units are initialized update the label on the splash screen so you'll see the exact moment when your app crashes and exactly before what form/unit  initialization. This way you will reduce the posibilities.
Also check to see if there is a default printer installed on the running computer, and then are you sure that the compiled NGSC is not protected... registry or something?


Author Comment

ID: 17862811
I think I found the problem.

Apparently in this thing called BDE Administrator, one of the databases "NGS2000" no longer
could be opened due to it using the ProvideX 32-Bit ODBC Driver instead of the ProvideX
ODBC Driver. So I copied this database there called "Maxwell" which was using the non-32
bit driver and renamed the database NGS2000. After I did that the app started opening.
(I was able to figure out it was a db problem by doing the debug and seeing that I could
open it on my test machine but not production machine).

So was that the whole problem? Boy I hope so. Now I'm having some issues with Field's
not found in the data file, but I think I understand why that is happening.

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