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CapeSoft SelfService
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Introduction

What is SelfService?

CapeSoft SelfService allows your Clarion applications to be run as Windows Services.

What do Services offer you?

One of the great features of Services is that they don't require a user to be logged in, in order to run. Services can automatically start on boot up.

Services also do not shut down when a user logs off or switches user, so your application is always running.

What sort of applications are suitable for being run as a Service?

Any of your applications that behave like a server are ideal candidates for being run as a Service, for Example;
Web servers,
Web, FTP or Email polling applications,
Control applications like air conditioning servers,

Server components in client/server applications.

How easy is it to make my application run as a Service?

With SelfService you are able to convert your existing applications into services in just a couple of minutes. No hand coding is necessary if you simply want your application to run and install as a service. To maximize the functionality that services offer you we have outlined a list of considerations and tips. These serve as guidelines to help you design and deploy effective and powerful services. To utilize more advanced service functionality a small amount of hand coding may be necessary, which is all clearly documented and demonstrated in the examples.

Installation

To download the latest installation please go here

Ground Rules

(recommended reading)
This section explains some of the concepts that you'll need to consider in order to effectively use Services.
  1. With SelfService added, your program can run either as a Service, or as a normal EXE. When running as an EXE it behaves like any Windows program. However when running as a Service it may behave slightly differently. The items below only refer to the time while it is running as a Service.
  2. Your service runs in a user account of your choice. In the SelfService global extension you can specify which user your service must run in. It's important to choose the correct user as it will affect the behavior and functionality of your service. SelfService offers you two options:

    1. Local System - This is the default user, but it will not allow network access to other machines shared folders (unless they are accessible to Guest via a null session). This user also cannot open HKEY_CURRENT_USER in the Windows registry.
      NOTE:
      The GUI will not be visible while the program is running as a Service.
    2. Custom - This allows you to specify a user and password. Your service will then run with the privileges of that user. If you give that user account access to shared network folders, then your service can access these folders. However the GUI of your program will not be visible to any user, while running as a service (regardless of the Windows version.)

      Note: the user account you choose must have a password (it won't work without one).
      Note: The user account may need to be preceded by a .\ for example: .\administrator
      Note: You'll need to give your account "log in as service rights". Which can be done two ways:

      1. If you type the account details in to the Windows Service Manager, the Service manager automatically adds "Log in as a Service" rights.
      2. You can the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc). Local Computer Policy | Computer Configuration | Windows Settings | Security Settings | Local Policies | User Rights Assignments | Log on as a service.
    There are also two other built in account types that you can use (you can enter them in the custom fields), but these do not work with NetTalk, and are therefore not recommended:

    1. Network Service (enter NT Authority\NetworkService as the username, no password) - Shared Network folder access, not interactive and not compatible with NetTalk.
    2. Local Service (enter NT Authority\LocalService as the username, no password) - Limited access user (no networking), not interactive and not compatible with NetTalk

    It's important to choose the correct account type, depending on whether you want an interactive service, or a service that has access to network files. Another thing to bear in mind is that if you are using Proxy client software (e.g. Microsoft Proxy) to access the Internet, this may not be available to the Local System account.

    NOTE: Some external programs, notably Excel, require a Desktop folder to work properly. If your service interacts with other programs then it's probably advisable to make sure the desktop folder exists. For 64 bit windows this is;

    c:\Windows\SysWOW64\config\systemprofile\Desktop

    for 32 bit windows this is

    c:\Windows\System32\config\systemprofile\Desktop

  3. Windows Vista and later versions of Windows, do not allow for the program's user interface to be visible, while the program is running as a service. Thus an external method for managing the service is recommended (this is discussed in more detail in the JumpStart section of this document.)

    Your program can still have windows, and indeed for most programs these windows are necessary (because they process Events.) The windows are still there, it's just that no one can see them.
  4. Your Service needs to be able to shutdown smoothly without displaying the "Application still active. Quit the application before quitting Windows" message. So you're going to need WinEvent to make sure your program automatically shuts down.
  5. A Service can only have one instance started by the Service Manager. Although you can run multiple instances of the same executable by double clicking it, the Service Manager will only open one instance. i.e. If the Service Manager has already started your Service, it won't and can't start another instance.

    You can register the same exe multiple times, but each instance needs a unique service name.
  6. Windows UAC, Services and Logins
    Even when logged in as Administrator, Windows uses UAC (User Account Control). This means that the administrator is a normal user most of the time, except when prompted by Windows for elevated privileges, which allows them to perform an admin option. This is because the authentication token is actually split in two, so when logged in as an administrator you use a user level token until a task requires administrative access, in which case Windows will prompt the user and allow them to choose whether or not the elevate privileges for a specific task.

    Unfortunately the implementation of UAC in Windows Vista is not consistent. There are tasks that required administrative access (such as installing, starting and stopping a service), where UAC is not implemented. This means that in order to perform the task you need administrative privileges, but in order to get those privileges you need UAC to elevate you, which isn't implemented. Hence there are things in Vista which you simply cannot do with UAC turned on, unless the user does them manually, and MS has no mechanism for your program to inform the OS that it is going to do something that required privilege elevation.

    There are four options to solve this problem:
    1. Right click on the exe or shortcut and start it as administrator.
    2. Go into the User control panel and untick the UAC box.
    3. Add a Manifest to your program, and set the Manifest level to "Require Administrator". This approach though means that the program has Administrator access all the time, not just when installing the service.
    4. Create a separate EXE that Starts, Install, Stops and Uninstalls the service. When these functions are needed call this EXE using ShellExecute and start it as an administrator.  This approach has the advantage that it works regardless of the UAC setting and does not require the user to right click and start the management program as an administrator. It also fits in with the manner in which Microsoft specify that services should work, and adheres to the Vista Certification requirements.

  7. Adding to a Multi-DLL solution.
    If you are adding SelfService to a Multi-DLL then you add it to the EXE app, not the Data DLL. There are no differences between adding SelfService to a multi-app solution.
  8. Windows Server 2008 (and later)
    If your program generates reports, then you will need to change the account from Local System to User.
    This is because the Clarion report engine requires a printer in order to determine many of the report parameters.

    In Windows 2003 and earlier you could install a printer for the Local System account, but as far as we can tell (and we invite correction on this point) there's no way to install a printer for the Local System account in Windows 2008. So you will need to install a printer on another account, and then set your service manually to use this account.

User Tips

(recommended reading)
This is a collection of tips from folk who have implemented SelfService in applications. If you have a tip to add here, please email it to us.
  1. David Jung reports: If your service is set to open files in Exclusive Mode (i.e. not shared mode) and other program opens the file, then the service will stop unexpectedly.
  2. Richard Rose says: Don't rely on some api's that return user specific data like GetUserName() to return the logged on users details, it returns the details of the system account that the service logs on with.
  3. Larry Sand reminds: Create hook procedures for all the popup windows - like AssertHook (for asserts if your program is compiled with debugging turned on), HaltHook, StopHook and MessageHook for Clarion HALT, STOP and MESSAGE commands. Failure to do this means if one of these items "pops up" there's no -one there to see it, and the app "stalls". (Cunningly CapeSoft has a product that let's you log, and suppress these, called MessageBox )

Jump Start

(recommended reading)
Services are really easy to create, and administer. Using this Jump-Start we'll walk through all the steps you need to consider to turn your application into a Service.

If your program will run on Windows Vista, then it will not be visible while it is running as a Service. This adds a layer of complexity, which will be addressed in the second part of this Jump-Start.

Important: If you haven't already done so, read the Ground Rules section of this document now.

Part 1

1. Add the SelfService Global extension to your application

a) Open the application
b) Click on the Global button (or select Global Properties from the Application menu)
c) Click on the Extensions button
d) Click on the Insert button
e) Select Activate_SelfService from the list of available extensions.
f) Select the Settings tab
g) Enter your Service Name (this shouldn't contain any spaces). Your name should be unique to this application.
h) Then enter the Display Name and the Service Description.

The rest of the settings can be left at their default value for now.

That's all you have to do to make your application into a service. At this point you can install your program as a service just by running it with the command line switch (/ISS by default). After that you can manage it using the Windows Services Manager ( Services.Msc). You can run your program as a normal Exe (setting any settings you like) or as a Service. When running as a service you may not be able to interact with it. It still has Windows and timers, and so on, you just (possibly) won't be able to see them.

There are a few possibilities for interacting with the service itself. They are;

a) Include a Web Server inside the service. This allows you to interact with the Service using a browser. This is the easiest approach, that works on all versions of Windows, but does require that you have NetTalk.
b) Create a separate program that can Install, Start, Stop and Remove the Service. This program may also allow your user to change service related settings, and so on.
c) Include Service Management features in your application itself. While these won't be visible on all versions of Windows, they will be visible on older versions of Windows.

You can of course implement all 3 of the above, or any combination of approaches. Each of these methods will now be discussed in more detail.

2. Including Management controls inside the Service itself.

Remember this approach can not be used if the Service is running under Vista. However if you have some clients who are running the service on Windows 2003, or Windows XP, or even Windows 2000, then this approach is easy to add in, and can make management simpler for these users. However implementing one of the additional methods mentioned above in addition to this method is recommended.

a) Add the Self-Service Controls to a window in the application. This could be a new window in the app, or any existing window. To do this;
b) Go to the Window Formatter for the window.
c) Select Control Template from the Populate menu
d) Select SelfServiceControls from the list of available control templates.
e) Feel free to remove, or change, any text for the controls if you wish.

3. Creating a Separate Client Management application

The idea behind a separate manager is very simple. You add the SelfService global extension, and the Management controls to a different application, as per steps 1, and 2 above. The only difference between the Manager app, and the actual Service app, is that the Manager is set with the specific EXE name of the Service app.

Up to now the EXE name has been set (by default) to be the name of the application that is running. However, if you set the EXE name to be that of a different application, then all the commands to Start, Stop, Install and Remove services apply to the Service EXE, not the Manager EXE.

a) Create, or open, the new application that will act as the service manager.
b) Add the Global Extension as per step 1 above.
c) Add the Management controls as per step 2 above.
d) While still in the Window Formatter, Right-Click on one of the management controls, and select Actions...
e) In the Service EXE Name setting enter the name of the Service Exe. Include the .Exe in the name, and wrap the name in Quotes. For example
'JumpStartSelfService.Exe'
f) If the Service EXE is in a different folder to the Management Exe, then enter the Service EXE's folder here. However usually the Service EXE and Management EXE will be in the same folder, so usually this field will be blank.

Note that creating this separate Manager application does not in any way change the main service application. You can still include Management controls in the service program (as per step 2 above) or a web server (as per step 4 below) if you like.

4. Including a Web Server inside the program

Part 2 (this is pretty much obsolete, as it only applies to services in WinXP or Win2003)

In Part 1, we added the Service mechanism to an application, now we are going to add some WinEvent functionality, that will allow our application to shut down without the Application still active. Quit the application before quitting Windows message. Please make sure you've read the Ground Rules section of the documentation. This part of the Jump Start should take you less than 5 minutes, to complete.

1) Add the WinEvent Global extension to your application.

a) Open the application
b) Click on the Global button (or select Global Properties from the Application menu)
c) Click on the Extensions button
d) Click on the Insert button
e) Select Activate_WinEvent from the list of available extensions.
f) Select the Settings tab
f) Tick ON the option Auto-Shutdown on


2) Optionally add taskbar support to the service.

Taskbar support is another WinEvent feature that is particularly useful for services. It allows an application to place an icon in the Tasktray, and respond to Mouse events on this icon. You can add it to the Service Exe itself (although the icon won't be visible on Windows Vista, or Terminal Services). You can also add it to the Management application (if you have one.)

To add this support, add the WinEvent TaskbarIcon - WinEvent: Add Icon to system tray extension to the window.

a) In the "Name of Icon to add" field enter the following (including the quotes): 'icon.ico'
b) In the "Icon Tip" field enter the following: 'CapeSoft SelfSevice JumpStart'
c) Click on the ... button to the right of the IconHandle(long) field.
d) Add a new long to the LOCAL DATA Main called something like TaskBarIcon
e) Choose the following options:
   -  Add Show|Hide|Close Menu to Right-Click Popup
   -  Not on Toolbar when Minimized
   -  Disable Titlebar Close
   -  Left-Click Icon Shows Window

Examples

There are SelfService examples in your \Clarion\3rdParty\Examples\SelfService\ directory.

Template Reference

SelfService Global Extension

General Tab

Disable All SelfService Features
If this option is on then no SelfService code will be generated into the application.

Options Tab

Service Name (no spaces)
This is the service name (no spaces allowed). You can use this name in a DOS prompt to call:
Net Start <ServiceName>
Net Stop <ServiceName>

Use quotes, or use a variable (which you can set in the 'SelfService - Initialize variables' global embed point).
Service Display Name
This is the name displayed in the Windows Service Manager.
Use quotes, or use a variable (which you can set in the 'SelfService - Initialize variables' global embed point).
Service Description
This is the description of your service and is displayed in the Windows Service Manager.
Use quotes, or use a variable (which you can set in the  'SelfService - Initialize variables' global embed point).
Allow Command Line usage
Allows you to run your app with /iss (Install and Start Service), /is (Install Service) or /rs (Remove Service).
Additionally you can add /silent if you do not wish to see the status messages.
See the Command Line Switch Options if you want to customize the command line switches.
Always make path the same as the Exe Folder
This option will set the path of a service to the same as the exe folder location. This is useful as when a service is started by the Service manager, the path is Windows\System32, which is probably not where it was when you created and tested your application. So it's best to have this option turned on.
Allow only one instance to run at a time
Will allow only one copy of the application to be run at a time (either as a normal exe or a service)
Service Account
This is where you can choose which user the service should be run as. This is described in the Ground Rules section. (Please note the user account you choose must have a password (it won't work without one)).
Interact with Desktop
This setting is deprecated and should be off. Services have not been able to interact with the desktop since Windows Vista.
Dependency
This allows you to add one dependency for your service. This must be the ServiceName of the dependent service. (Should you wish to add multiple dependencies then please see DependenciesQueue)

Extra Tab

Turn on Logging
Send logging information to Debugview.

Side Note: When running Debugview++, to capture logging from services, you need to run Debugview in Administrator mode, and set the option Capture Global Win32 to on.
Work with WinEvent
This should be ticked on if you have WinEven in the application.
Don't check if running as an Exe
Check this checkbox to disable the check (i.e. it assumes that your app is always a service).
Terminal Services uses Global Mutex
By default, a service will use a local mutex in Terminal Services, thereby allowing one instance of your service per terminal service instance. If you only want one instance of your service app over the entire machine (even if in TS mode) then check this checkbox.

Multi-DLL Tab

This is part of a Multi-DLL Program
If you have added SelfService to the Data DLL, then tick this option on. In most cases you do not need to add SelfService to the data DLL, you can jsut add it to the Exe, in which case leave this option off.
Export SelfService class from this DLL
If you did add it to the Data DLL, and this is the Data DLL app, then tick this option on. Otherwise leave it off.

Control Templates

SelfService ships with two Control Templates that make it easy to add buttons to your window that allow you to install (and start) your application as a Service.

Install and Start Button Control

This adds a single button to the window. It is a minimalistic control that allows the user to install, and start, the current exe as a service.

Service Buttons Controls

This adds a number of buttons, and a number of instructions on a window for installing, starting and removing the program as a service. It is a more functional alternative to the single button above. It also contains far more template options so you have more control over the program being installed.
Perform Operations Silently
If this is on then the registration will happen silently. 
Service Exe Name
If left empty then the name of the current exe is used.
Service Exe Folder
If left empty then the location of the current exe is used.
Service Parameters
Add and optional, command line parameters here. These will be used when the service is started and are accessible with the Clarion COMMAND function.
Start Type
This determines how your service behaves when the machine is rebooted. Choose one of Automatic, Automatic-Delayed, Manual or Disabled.

SelfService Object Properties

All the common and most useful SelfService settings are configurable via the SelfService Template options. But we've also listed the object properties here. It's more than likely that only advanced programmers will want to access these properties.
AllowCommandLine byteSet in global template - Allows the /is and /rs to install / remove the services.
AllowOnlyOneInstance byte Set in template.
AmService byte Automatically set. Set to 1 if application is being run (started) as a service, otherwise 0.
Automatic byte Deprecated. Will cause a compile error. Use StartType property instead. Defaults to 1 in Construct, this indicates the type of service (automatic or manual).
DependenciesQueue SSDependenciesQueueType Set by template for one single dependency. This must be the ServiceName(s) of the Service(s) that your service is dependent on. This could be your SQL Server service for example.

To add multiple dependencies you could use the following code:
free (gSelfService.DependenciesQueue)
gSelfService.DependenciesQueue.DependencyName = 'Themes'
! XP Themes
add (gSelfService.DependenciesQueue)
gSelfService.DependenciesQueue.DependencyName = 'W32Time'
! Windows Time Maintainer
add (gSelfService.DependenciesQueue)

The best place to add additional dependencies is in the Global Objects|Capesoft Objects|gSelfService| Other Before Start Method Call.
Description cstring(256) Set by template. Used in Install/Remove - the description that is displayed in the Windows Service Controller
DisplayName cstring(256) Set by template. Used in Install/Remove - the name that is displayed in the Windows Service Controller
ErrorString string(1024) Stores the last error - only reported by .InstallService() and .RemoveService()
Executable cstring(256) Automatically generated. This is the full path to the executable. Used in Install/Remove
FirstInstance byte Automatically set. Set to 1 if this is the first instance running on this machine. Will only work if self.NoMutex = 0
InstallAsUserName cstring(80) Set in template, but you can change before you call InstallService. If blank it will use the Local Service account, otherwise specify a user e.g. '.\Jono'. See Ground Rules.
InstallAsPassword cstring(80) See InstallAsUserName
InstallAndStartSwitch string(80) Set in Template. Defaults to '/iss' - switch for Install And Start Service.
InstallSwitch string(80) Set in Template. Defaults to '/is' - switch for Install Service.
InteractWithDesktop byte Set in global template, but you can change this in your code. See Ground Rules.
LoadGroupOrder CString (256) LoadGroupOrder. Used for building Kernel Services to specify when the service should be loaded. Normally this will be left blank.
LoggingOn byte Set in Template. 0 = no logging, 1 = logging to DebugView (www.sysinternals.com) NOTE: Only for OS's up to XP.
NoMutex byte Ability to turn off mutex (1). defaults to 0 (allow mutex)
Parameters cstring(256) Allows you to add command line parameters to the service when it is installed.
RemoveSwitch string(80) Set in Template. Defaults to '/rs' - switch for Remove Service
ServiceName cstring(256) Set by template. Used in Install/Remove, and call to StartServiceCtrlDispatcher
SetPathToExeFolder byte Set in template.
ShowErrors byte 0 = no message statements, 1 = show error statements
SilentSwitch string(80) Set in Template. Defaults to '/silent' - switch for Silent Mode - i.e. no messages
SleepMilliSeconds long If > 0 it will cause the service to sleep this period of time on starting as a service, before launching the global application code - see in _ServiceMain(). You'll have to set this in your own construct method.
StartType long Determines when the Service will start. Defaults to SS_SERVICE_AUTO_START  which means the service will start automatically after the machine is booted. Could also be set to SS_SERVICE_AUTO_DELAYED_START, SS_SERVICE_DEMAND_START or SS_SERVICE_DISABLED. Used by the InstallService method. Can be set on the template prompts for the Install Service button.

SelfService Object Methods

All the common and most useful SelfService settings are configurable via the SelfService Template options. But we've also listed some of the object methods here.
GetServiceStatus (string p_ServiceName, *SS_SERVICE_STATUS p_ServiceStatus, long p_Silent=1),longThis method will return the status of a particular service. Returns 0 on success.
p_ServiceName - the name of the service to Get the status of
p_ServiceStatus - the handle to a SS_SERVICE_STATUS group (see the SelfService.inc file for the Clarion equivalent group declaration) that will contain the ServiceType, CurrentState, etc. For more info on these values, check http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms685996.aspx. If you're wanting to query the status of a service, then check the SS_SERVICE_STATUS.CurrentState element of your ServiceStatus group.
p_Silent - if set does not display a message when an error occurs.
InstallAndStartService (byte p_Silent=1),long,procThis method will install your application as a service with the windows service manager and then it starts the application as a service. Returns 0 on success.
This method can also be used to updated your Service settings with the Windows Service Manager.
InstallService (byte p_Silent=1),long,procThis method will install your application as a service with the windows service manager. Returns 0 on success.
This method can also be used to updated your Service settings with the Windows Service Manager.
LoadWindowsServiceManager ( ),long,procThis method loads the Windows Service Manager. Works in NT, 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista.
MapDrive (string p_DriveName, string p_RemoteName, string p_UserName, string p_Password),long,proc

This method will map a network shared folder to a drive letter. For example to map \\penguin\l-drive to Y: call:
gSelfService.MapDrive ('Y:', '\\penguin\y-drive', '', '')
which will map it using the current user.
Returns 0 on success.

If the return value is non zero you can use the ._WinError() method in order to get the API error message associate with the error code. Below are a list of possible return values if an error occurs.
RemoveService (byte p_Silent=1),long,procThis method will remove your application as a service from the windows service manager. Returns 0 on success. After calling this function you will need to close your application before you can call InstallService().
ReStartService (byte p_Silent=1),long,procThis method will restart or start your application as a service. Returns 0 on success.
StartService (string p_ServiceName, long p_Silent=1),long,procThis method will start a service specified by the p_ServiceName parameter. Returns 0 on success. Using this method enables you to start other services.
StopService (string p_ServiceName, long p_Silent=1),long,procThis method will stop a service specified by the p_ServiceName parameter. Returns 0 on success. Using this method enables you to stop other services.
Return codeDescription
ERROR_ACCESS_DENIED (5)The caller does not have access to the network resource.
ERROR_ALREADY_ASSIGNED (85)The local device specified by the p_DriveName member is already connected to a network resource.
ERROR_BAD_DEV_TYPE (66)The type of local device and the type of network resource do not match.
ERROR_BAD_DEVICE (1200)The value specified by p_DriveName is invalid.
ERROR_BAD_NET_NAME (67)The value specified by the p_RemoteName member is not acceptable to any network resource provider, either because the resource name is invalid, or because the named resource cannot be located.
ERROR_BAD_PROFILE (1206)The user profile is in an incorrect format.
ERROR_BAD_PROVIDER (1204)The value specified by the internal lpProvider member does not match any provider. Please contact CapeSoft Support if you get this error.
ERROR_BUSY (142)The router or provider is busy, possibly initializing. The caller should retry. This is a not an error code that should be returned by MapDrive.
ERROR_CANCELLED (1223)The attempt to make the connection was cancelled by the user through a dialog box from one of the network resource providers, or by a called resource. This is a not an error code that should be returned by MapDrive.
ERROR_CANNOT_OPEN_PROFILE (1205)The system is unable to open the user profile to process persistent connections.
ERROR_DEVICE_ALREADY_REMEMBERED (1202)An entry for the device specified by p_DriveName is already in the user profile.
ERROR_EXTENDED_ERROR (1208)A network-specific error occurred. (The WNetGetLastError API function can obtain a description of the error).
ERROR_INVALID_PASSWORD (1216)The specified password is invalid and the CONNECT_INTERACTIVE flag is not set.
ERROR_NO_NET_OR_BAD_PATH (1203)The operation cannot be performed because a network component is not started or because a specified name cannot be used.
ERROR_NO_NETWORK (1222)The network is unavailable.
Advanced Methods:
It's more than likely that only advanced programmers will want to access these methods.
CheckCommandLine ( ),long,procAdvanced programmers may want to override this method, which looks for the /is etc. Command line switches.
HandleStopShutdown (long p_ControlType),longAdvanced programmers may want to override this method, which is called when either a Service STOP or SHUTDOWN message are sent to the service. If you return 0 then the normal Shutdown code will report back to the SCM that a STOP_PENDING command, and then call .CloseDown. If you return 1 then you must talk to the SCM in your new code.
ManageInstances ( ),longAdvanced programmers may want to override this method, which manages the instances of this application using a mutex.
SessionChanged (ulong p_EventType, long p_TSID, long p_Context)Advanced programmers may want to override this virtual notification method, which is called when SessionChange information is available.
WarnAboutOtherInstance ()Advanced programmers may want to override this method which is called when multiple instances occur and the settings have been configured to warn the user.
CloseDown ( )Advanced programmers may want to override this method which at the moment posts an event:closedown to the main thread. This method is called if the Service Manager issues either a STOP (Service must stop) or SHUTDOWN (machine is shutting down) command.

FAQ

I'm getting Compile Errors

SelfService - Introductory Questions Operating Services Runtime Problems Miscellaneous A1) What operating systems can I run Services on?

Answer: All of them, except Windows ME and earlier (Win 98, Win95) etc.

A2) What's the difference between SelfService and running my application from the Scheduled Tasks?

Answer: There aren't any hard fast rules, but here are some points that you may want to weigh up when comparing Scheduled applications vs Services:

Scheduler:
1) You either need to add your application to the Scheduled Tasks list manually or find the API calls to do it yourself.
2) If you want to run your app under XP/Vista, the user that you use in the Scheduler should have a password. This now means that user has to type in a password if they manually log in.
3) If you choose to start on "Log In", you're no better off than just placing the application into the StartUp folder (which for some applications works pretty well too).
4) If you choose to start your application "at System Startup", then you can't see any windows, which is fine for some apps, but not for all.
5) You must make sure that the Task Scheduler has not been turned off, otherwise your app won't load.
6) Explaining to clients that your app runs in the Task Scheduler doesn't quite have the same prestige as saying it can run as a Service.

Services:
1) SelfService provides you with either a command line option to install your application as a Service, or a your application can programmatically install itself as a service via a method call.
2) You don't need a password to install an app as a service as it can use the Local System account.
3) SelfService does all the hard work for you and comes with full documentation, examples, support and so on.

A3) What's the difference between SelfService and Vince Sorensen's ABCFree NT_SVR template?

Answer: We've been working with Vince (ABCFree Author) on this project. So there are a number of similarities.

ABCFree is a fantastic product, and there are a number of Clarion programmers (ourselves included), who have benefited greatly from Vince's product.
This is from Vince's documentation;

---------
Changes 11/9/2003
...
- Added AttachThreadToClarion calls to "NT Service"
  template. This provides support for C5.5 and
  Clarion 5 application migration, but it is
  recommended that the new CapeSoft commercial
  template be used instead. (www.capesoft.com)
--------

One of the main reasons for creating the SelfService product was so that there was a commercially supported service product. While Vince's work is free, the templates are also unsupported.

The SelfService product, comes bundled with full documentation, examples and a jump start example. And there is information about service enabling your application, as well as FAQs etc.

There are a couple of things that we have done differently. Some of the changes include:
B1) How can I install and/or remove my application as a Service?

Answer: You can either call the gSelfService.InstallService() or gSelfService.RemoveService() methods, or you can run the application with the /is (install server) or /rs (remove service). Additionally run the application with /silent if you do not want to see the error messages displayed. (Make sure you've ticked on the command line (/is and /rs) option in the Global SelfService Template).

Should you wish to you can change these command line parameters anything you prefer (for example /install). This can be done in the Global Extension.

B2) How can I Start and Stop my Services?

Answer: You can use the features you've added to your own program (see the JumpStart section of this document) or ...

Answer: You can start and stop your applications from the Windows Service Manager.

To load the Windows Service Manager
Type services.msc in the Start | Run dialogue box.

Service Manager screenshot

Alternatively, you can also call Net Start <ServiceName> or Net Stop <Service Name> from a command prompt. For example;
Net Start CapeSoftJumpStart

If your Service is installed with the Service Manager and is set to start automatically you can also reboot your computer and your service will start.

B3) If I call gSelfService.RemoveService() and then try and Install it again, I get error 1072.

Answer: You need to close your application after calling gSelfService.RemoveService(), before you can Install it again. This is a Windows Service limitation. See also FAQ B4.

B4) In the Windows Service Manager, I get a "The specified service has been marked for deletion".

Answer: You need to close your application after calling gSelfService.RemoveService(), before you can Install it again. This is a Windows Service limitation. See also FAQ B3.

B5) Is there a method where I can control (or query the status of) the service from another program?

Answer: Yes there is:

The following methods should help you in performing the various operations:

StartService, RestartService, StopService, GetServiceStatus

B6) How do I know if my application is running as a service or a normal EXE?

Answer: You can query the AmService property to determine whether your application is running as a service or not:

if gSelfService.AmService
  !App is running as a service.
else
  !App is running as an EXE.
end

B7) How do I set the failure recovery options of my service?

Answer: You can run the sc.exe (located in the system32 directory) as follows:

sc.exe failure yourservicename reset= 0 actions= restart/60000/restart/120000/restart/180000

Here the service is set it to restart after 60 seconds, 120 seconds, and 180 seconds.

C1) I sometimes get a 15 second delay when starting my application, even though I am just running the exe.

Answer: One of the Windows functions sometimes waits for 15 seconds before giving back control to your application. In version 1.10 some code was added to detect if the service was started in the same folder as the exe, if it was it was assumed to be a normal executable (not a service) and the service code was not executed. If you have to start your application in a folder other than the one that the exe is in, then run your application with a command line switch, /exe to tell SelfService not to call the Service code, when it is started by the user.

C2) I can't get the Task Tray Icon to work, when the application is loaded as a Service on boot up.

Note: Services are not permitted to interact with the desktop in Windows Vista, so you will need to create an application that interacts with your service that can display windows, and the icon in the task tray. You can add this app to the start up items so that the interactive app starts when a user logs in.

Answer:
a)
Please make sure you are using WinEvent v3.35 or later.
b) If you turn off the "Interact with Desktop" option in the SelfService Template, the service won't have a taskbar icon.
c) If you turn off the "Allow service to interact with desktop" option in the Windows Service Manager, the service won't have a taskbar icon.
d) If you don't run the service as "Local System" in either the template or the Windows Service Manager, the service won't have a taskbar icon.
e) You can't access the Taskbar icon if you are using Remote Desktop. It's unfortunately one of the limitations of using Remote Desktop.
f) Your window (with the taskbar icon) needs a timer on it
g) You need to use a IconHandle (long) in the Settings tab of the of the WinEvent: Add Icon to System Tray window extension.
h) If you are not using an internal icon (~MyIcon.ico) then you need to make sure that your icon is shipped with the application.

C3) After windows installs updates and re-boots, my application is running, but no longer displays an icon in the tray.

Answer: If you are using WinEvent this is very easy to fix.

1) Make sure you are using the latest builds of SelfService & WinEvent

2) In the WinEvent TaskBarIcon window extension (that adds the TaskBar Icon to your window), make sure you've specified a Handle Variable (see the bits in bold in the template). You can just add a local data item for example:

MyHandle      LONG

WinEvent will also add a timer to your window if you didn't have one. With the Handle variable and the timer, WinEvent is then able to control and update the icon for you.

If all else fails - you can look at the code in the SelfService JumpStart example that ships in your Clarion\3rdParty\Examples\SelfService\JumpStart1 folder - as this works 100%.

C4) My application runs as an application, but not as a service.

Answer:
  1. If it's (especially) a Multi-DLL application, make sure that all application DLLs are being shipped in the application folder. This is most likely the cause of the problem. You should not rely on DLL's being in the PATH, since the path belongs to a User, and there are no users at this point. To find if any of the dlls are missing, run 'cmd' (from the Start menu) - type 'path=:' and hit enter. Run your service.exe (you'll need to navigate to your folder using the cd command) - and if your dlls are missing, an abort will occur naming the dll that is missing.
  2. Make sure that the service, and all the components in the service, are installed on a local drive on the machine. shared drives belong to users, and there isn't a user for services.
  3. If you are using FastUser switching (a Windows setting) - then this can interfere with Service operation, particularly prior to logging in (as a user). Try turning Fast-user switching off as very often this will resolve this issue.
  4. If you are running your application in a mapped drive, then it will not run as a service. You must run your application from a physical drive in order to install it as a service.
  5. In some older versions of Windows - your service was allowed to interact with the Desktop (hence the setting in the SelfService global extension template). However, this can cause operational issues when the service tries to interact with the desktop in some versions of windows - so it is much better not to allow your application to interact with the desktop, and create a separate application containing user interaction with the service.
  6. In some versions of Clarion, menubars don't seem to work in service applications. Remove the menubar (you can use a toolbar). There is unfortunately no work around at this stage.
  7. If you are running a multi-core processor, you may need to lock the process to one processor using imagecfg -a 0xn <Drive:>\Path\yourprogram.exe. Imagecfg.exe is a windows system utility. n is the value of the mask that you want to set the affinity of your application to.
  8. Make sure that your access settings (in the manifest file) are correct to what your application will require. This is normally requireAdministrator.
  9. You cannot use a FRAME application. Your application must be based on a window (not a frame).
C5) I cannot connect to my SQL backend when my app is compiled as a service.

Answer:

there are a number of possible problems here;

1. If the Server is on the same machine as your application, you can make the it dependent on the SQL Server service. (dependencies can be entered in the Global Extension template).

2. Are you connecting using a DSN? Make sure that it is a System DSN, not a user DSN.

3. For Services, the service operates independently of the path() ( which is not configured outside of the "logged in" mode), so make sure that your INI settings file (e.g. that FM3 uses) is in your application directory and that the it uses that INI file.

C6) I have a dependency service that is not starting up in time before my service starts.

Answer:


Typically this would occur with a Database Server Service, like MSSQLServer. What you need to do is only install your service initially (without starting it at the same time). This will create the dependency to the MSSQLServer (so long as you have set it as a dependency - see for more details). You may need to start the MSSQLServer service as well. Use the StartService method to start the MSSQLServer service if this is required.

Then go into a timer loop that checks the status of the MSSQLServer service (see GetServiceStatus for more details).

Once the MSSQLServer service has started, you can Start your service (using the StartService method)

C7) I'm using SQL Server - and when my application runs as a service it locks up, but it runs fine as a normal EXE.

Answer:

Services can behave differently to EXEs, and often this shows up in internet connection, or database interaction. A good starting point is to play with some of the combinations of SQL driver settings: IsolationLevel, BusyHandling, MultipleActiveReulstSets, etc.

C8) I can't install my service - it says access denied (errorcode 5).

Answer: You need to be logged in as an administrator (or elevated with Administrator privileges in Windows Vista). IOW - the user that you're logged on to windows with, must belong to the administrators group.

C9) Error 1053 - The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion

There are a number of reasons which can cause this issue to occur (which we will add as cases arise).

  1. You're using the wrong account to run the service. Either the account cannot run elevated - or you are interacting with a user's desktop that is not logged in (or someother reason). If the latter, then see the JumpStart section of the docs.
  2. You could be running a service manager that is interfering with the operation of your service. Try disabling the "Service Health Manager" application.
C10) I start my exe as a service, but the windows service manager is not saying it has started successfully, although the it is running.

Answer: The most likely cause of this is that your application thinks it is running as an exe, and not as a service, and so it is not responding to the queries of the service manager. If your application is always a service, then you can force it to be a service (and not perform the running as exe check) - either in code as follows:

gSelfService._DontCheckForNonService = 1

or use the template prompt "Don't check if running as an EXE".

C11) I have a service running in a terminal services environment, but each terminal service instance is creating it's own instance of the service app

Answer: This is the default behaviour for services in a Terminal Services environment, although you can override this by checking the 'Terminal Services uses Global Mutex' checkbox in the global extension template. This will create one mutex across all instances of Terminal Services.

C12) My app does not function the same as in service mode as when run as an exe.

Answer: This especially manifests itself w.r.t. printer drivers. Your service application operates outside the user account (in ring0) so if you install a printer driver as a user, this will not be available (or used necessarily) by the service. IIRC you can install the service assigned to a particular user, IOW you can start a service in the name of a user account in which to run the service. In this case, the service will take on all the attributes (drivers, etc.) of the user's account as if the user was logged in. You can do this in the template by selecting the 'Custom - Network access, no interaction' option in the ' Service Installation Options ' global template option, and then specify a user name and password below that.

C13) I'm using MSSQL but my service application does not run (or does not connect to the backend)

Answer: If you are using FM3, then you need to:
1) Ensure that your FM3 ini file (that contains the settings for the connect window) is in a location that your service can reach. This should be in the ProgramData folder, and you'll need your installer to allow your exe access to that folder. In the interim though, you can turn UAC off (in your development PC) and store the FM3.ini file in your application folder to get things going, but this won't work when you ship your application.
2) Run your exe as a process (not a service) and setup your connection settings, making sure that you check the Auto Login checkbox.
3) Install and start our service and test the MSSQL connection.
4) Move the ini file to the ProgramData folder, and use that folder to contain your fm3.ini file (your application must point to that folder, and when UAC is turned on, your service will need to be allowed access to that folder).

C14) I have a client/server setup, and when attempting to install and start my server (service app) it installs the client as the server

Answer: You must ensure that:

1) your client application is set to call the name of the service app when install and starting (the actual EXE name).
2) your server application must have the "Allow command line usage" template option set.

D1) How do I manage the one instance of the Service that is already running.

Answer: See the Ground Rules for more information and tips.

D2) Is it possible to add a command line parameters when the application has been started as a service, so that I can change some of the wording on the window?

Answer: Yes. See the setting on the Install Controls template. Alternatively you can set the Parameters property before the call to InstallService or InstallAndStart service.

D4) How can I install my application as a Service upon installation?

Answer: The easiest way to do this, is to get your installer to run your application with the command line parameter /is. Note: you must have allowed command line usage in the SelfService global extension template.

D5) I'm having problems with my application running in Windows Vista.

Answer: Services are not permitted to interact with the desktop in Windows Vista, so you will need to create an application that interacts with your service that can display windows, and the icon in the task tray. You can add this app to the start up items so that the interactive app starts when a user logs in.

D6) Setting the datapath in Multi-DLL Service applications.

Answer: Often you need to get the path that the exe is running in in the data dll - which loads before the exe (where the selfservice is activated). The best way to get the current path (and so load settings needed in the dll) is to do the following:

GLO:ProgramPath=COMMAND('0')
POS#=INSTRING('\',GLO:ProgramPath,-1,LEN(CLIP(GLO:ProgramPath)))
GLO:ProgramPath=SUB(GLO:ProgramPath,1,POS#)
SETPATH(GLO:ProgramPath)

Compile Errors associated with SelfService

Check out general product CompilerErrors.

 Global Template Compile Error

Occasionally the template registry gets confused, and does not declare the SelfService classes, which will manifest itself with this error. You need to:

  1. Open the Clarion IDE (close any apps that may be open if you the IDE is already open).
  2. Go to Setup | Template Registry and select the SelfService template in the list.
  3. Unregister it (using the Unregister button) and then re-register it again (using the Register button - go to the Clarion\Accessory\Template\win folder and double-click the SelfService.tpl file).
If this does not resolve the problem, you will need to:

  1. Close the Clarion IDE.
  2. Delete the clarion\template\win\Registry.trf file.
  3. Open the Clarion IDE, and register your templates:

Support

Your questions, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Keep an eye on our web page (www.capesoft.com) for new versions.

You can also contact us in one of the following ways:
CapeSoft Support
Support Page Find support page with various options here
Email support@capesoft.com
Telephone+27 (0)87 828 0123

Distribution

CapeSoft SelfService ships as Clarion source code, so you can simply compile and ship your application. No external resources are necessary for SelfService.
However since your app may be using WinEvent and/or NetTalk you will need to ship those DLLs (and others) as required.

License & Copyright

This product is copyright 2003-2018 by CapeSoft Software.

You are not allowed to copy any of the files, including but not limited to, Template (TPL & TPW) files, SelfService.clw, SelfService.inc and documentation files.

Each developer needs his own license to use SelfService. (Need to buy more licenses?)

This product is provided as-is. CapeSoft Software (trading as CapeSoft), employees of CapeSoft, and Dealers of CapeSoft products, explicitly accept no liability for any loss or damages which may occur from using this package. Use of this package constitutes agreement with this license. This package is used entirely at your own risk.

Credits:
Many thanks to Vince Sorensen, firstly for his ABCFree templates that he makes available to Clarion programmers for free, and secondly for his help and support in this project.

Casey Rippon of Madrigal Soft Tools suggested the external Manager application, and showed how easy it was to implement.

Version History

Download latest version here

Version 3.52 (16 October 2018) Version 3.51 (13 September 2018) Version 3.50 (6 March 2018) Version 3.49 (22 November 2017) Version 3.47 (18 October 2016) Version 3.46 (12 August 2016) Version 3.45 (1 September 2015) Version 3.44 (24 February 2015) Version 3.43 (31 January 2014) Version 3.42 (2 May 2013) Version 3.41 (2 May 2013) Version 3.40 (14 March 2013)
Version 3.39 (12 February 2013)
Version 3.38 (29 October 2012)
Version 3.36 (9 October 2012)
Version 3.35 (19 September 2012) Version 3.34 (20 July 2011) Version 3.33 (7 May 2010) Version 3.32 (29 April 2010) Version 3.31 (7 January 2010) Version 3.30 (5 January 2010) Version 3.29 (25 August 2009) Version 3.27 Gold (10 November 2008) Version 3.26 Gold (28 October 2008) Version 3.25 Gold (30 September 2008) Version 3.24 Gold (25 September 2008) Version 3.23 Gold (24 September 2008) Version 3.21 Gold (16 September 2008) Version 3.20 Gold (22 July 2008) Version 3.19 Gold (19 February 2008) Version 3.18 Gold (21 September 2007) Version 3.17 Gold (19 September 2007) Version 3.16 Gold (31 August 2007) Version 3.15 Gold (25 October 2006) Version 3.14 Gold (24 July 2006) Version 3.13 Gold (12 July 2006) Version 3.12 Gold (7 June 2006) Version 3.11 Gold (5 June 2006) Version 3.10 Gold (18 May 2006) Version 3.09 Gold (10 May 2006) Version 3.08 Gold (1 May 2006) Version 3.07 Gold (24 April 2006) Version 3.06 Gold (13 April 2006) Version 3.05 Gold (12 April 2006) Version 3.04 Gold (10 April 2006) Version 3.03 Gold (22 March 2006) Version 3.02 Gold (16 March 2006) Version 3.01 Gold (1 March 2006) Version 3.00 Gold (27 February 2006) Version 2.05 Gold (10 May 2005) Version 2.04 Gold (15 November 2004) Version 2.03 Gold (26 October 2004) Version 2.02 Gold (13 September 2004) Version 2.01 Gold (7 September 2004) Version 2.00 Gold (3 September 2004) Version 1.12 Beta (23 July 2004) Version 1.11 Beta (23 January 2004) Version 1.10 Beta (20 January 2004) Version 1.03 Beta (18 December 2003) Version 1.02 Beta (21 November 2003)
Important Notice: If you upgrading from from v1.01 or v1.00 ensure you read the Version History for v1.02 otherwise you will get compile errors.

Version 1.01 Beta (18 November 2003) Version 1.00 Beta (17 November 2003)