PhraseExpress v10 Network Edition - Manual

Installation

Enterprise Deployment of the Clients

Server Configuration

Changing the phrase file location

Miscellaneous notes

Data Backup

Location of the Server configuration files

Network Communication

Keep PhraseExpress up-to-date

Uninstalling PhraseExpress

Trouble-Shooting

Document Conventions


  • Bold, italic type in this documentation indicates either a procedure or a menu item.
  • Italic letters indicate filenames.

This symbol indicates a useful hint

This symbol indicates very important notes that should be read carefully.

Introduction

The standard PhraseExpress clients usually load local phrase files which are used independently. While multiple PhraseExpress clients can also access the same phrase file and even synchronize phrases with an online cloud service among team users via the internet, synchronization issues may occur if multiple users alter the phrase file simultaneously.

The PhraseExpress Server of the Network Edition solves this problem with a professional client-/server architecture to prevent synchronization conflicts.

Benefits of the PhraseExpress Server

  • Multiple users can share a common phrase file in a corporate network. The server prevents simultaneous changes by multiple users.
  • Read and write access rights can be configured for each username, usergroup, workgroup or domain. This means Clients can simultaneously use individual and shared phrases.
  • All personal phrases are tied to the Windows login user name and roam with every user to any PC the user is currently logged on ('roaming profiles').
  • The PhraseExpress Server automatically creates multiple backups of the central phrase file ("rolling backups").
  • The network traffic and the phrase file is securely AES encrypted and optionally password-protected.
  • The Client Manager keeps overview about the software version numbers of all PhraseExpress installations.
  • The integrated license management saves you from entering license keys on the local workstation. Licensing is done centrally in the Client Manager for your convenience.
  • The user interface can be restricted for individual users:

    UI restriction

    The restricted user interface prevents operating errors and minimizes in-house technical support and user training.

Client/Server Architecture

The PhraseExpress Network Edition is a Client-/Server application and consists of three different programs:

Network topography

Explanation

PhraseExpress component Purpose

Server icon

Server

The PhraseExpress Server is a Windows service that serves the centrally stored phrase file to all PhraseExpress Clients.

Client Manager icon

Client Manager

The Client Manager is the control panel to configure the Server.

It is a single program file, that can be executed from any computer which has access to the Server PC. The Client Manager does not need access to the individual workstations but only to the Server PC.

Client icon

Client

The PhraseExpress Client is identical to the regular single-user version and provides the PhraseExpress functionality on the local workstations.

More information about the PhraseExpress Client can be found in the manual of the PhraseExpress Client at /docs10/09/manual.htm

Installation Procedure

Video tutorial

The Network Edition is installed in following easy steps:

  1. Install the PhraseExpress Server on the computer you wish to use as a server. This PC requires a network connection to all computers that are running the PhraseExpress Client.
  2. By default, the PhraseExpress Server installation program also installs the Client Manager on the same PC. If you explicitly opted not to install the Client Manager, install the Client Manager on any other computer that has network access to the server PC.
  3. Install the PhraseExpress Clients on all workstation PCs.

If you have purchased PhraseExpress licenses, please proceed with chapter "Register PhraseExpress". If you have not yet purchased licenses, the PhraseExpress Server runs in demo mode and allows you to try the software for 30 days after initial installation.

You do not necessarily need to run the Client Manager in order to use PhraseExpress. The Client Manager is only required occasionally to configure the PhraseExpress Server.

Upgrade from a previous installation

We recommend upgrading any existing PhraseExpress Network Edition installation with following steps:

  1. Uninstall the current PhraseExpress Server installation.
  1. All clients will automatically switch to a local backup file of the phrase file in read-only mode.
  2. Upgrade all workstation installations to the new version that you can download from http://download.phraseexpress.com
  3. Install the new PhraseExpress Server which is available at http://download.phraseexpress.com#net. The new PhraseExpress Server version will automatically pick the phrase file of the previous version. If not, you can easily load your existing old phrase file.
  4. Register your new license keys in the Client Manager.

Installations of the Clients

Step-by-step installation instructions for the Client can be found in the PhraseExpress Client manual at /docs10/09/manual.htm

Important notes

  • Grant PhraseExpress access to the network if a firewall warning appears.
  • Make sure that networking support is enabled on the local PhraseExpress Clients. You can verify these settings under Settings » Network.
  • All client installations in the network must have the same version number.
  • You do not need to enter a license key the workstation PCs.

Enterprise Deployment of the PhraseExpress Clients

To deploy PhraseExpress in an enterprise network, you can either use the MSI installer, or you can setup a reference installation, configure the settings as required, and distribute the program folder /program files/phraseexpress/*.* plus the configuration file config.xml to all workstations.

All settings you make as a particular user are stored in the file config.xml in your user(!) application data folder. The .xml file must be copied to the common(!) application data folder on the workstation computers. Upon first program launch, PhraseExpress will automatically copy the configuration file to the user's application data folder.

PhraseExpress does not store any user settings in the Windows registry but in the config.xml file only.

Load balancing with multiple PhraseExpress Servers

If you use the Network Edition with many users, you may want to consider installing multiple PhraseExpress Servers to distribute the server load to multiple instances.

You may also want to consider using an SQL server. SQL servers are designed to server many hundreds clients. PhraseExpress supports connections to SQL Servers.

Considerations when using multiple servers vs. a single server:

Number of servers Benefits Disadvantages
  • Simple and installation and configuration.
  • All clients have access to the same single phrase file.
  • No other client can edit phrase files while one user is currently editing the phrase file to prevent synchronization issues.
  • If you have a large phrase file (>10M B) and many users (>50 users) launch their PhraseExpress Client at the same time, for example with the beginning of the work day, the server may get very busy and you may want to use multiple servers to distribute the load.
  • The network load is distributed across the multiple servers.
  • While one user is editing the phrase file, the phrase file is only blocked for editing by other users who are connected to the same server.
  • Additional configuration: Each server needs to use a separate port to avoid port conflicts of multiple servers in the same network.
  • Each server hosts its own, independent and isolated phrase file. Users connected to one server cannot access phrases hosted on another server.

You can install as many servers as you like and freely divide your set of license keys to multiple servers. Just make sure not to double-use the same license key for multiple servers.

By configuring different ports for each server you can define for each client to which server the client shall connect to.

You may want to define the number of servers in a way that the network load is distributed equally. The network load is determined by the number of users and phrase file size.

Server Configuration

The PhraseExpress server service is automatically launched with every launch of the PC hosting the service. The PhraseExpress Server service itself does not have a user interface and is running invisible in the background.

The PhraseExpress Server is configured by the Client Manager only. Setting changes are sent to the server and applied by clicking the Update button. All clients will be temporarily disconnected for a very short time and automatically reconnect. While the clients are disconnected, they cannot make any changes to the phrase file.

Fatal error messages are displayed in red colors in the Client Manager.

It is not required to run the Server and the Client Manager on the same computer, but it is the safest setup and eliminates any risk of communication problems between the Server and the Client Manager.

Server Tab

The Server tab of the Client Manager allows you to define network communication settings:

Client Manger server configuration

If the Client Manager is running on the same computer as the Server service then just keep the punctuation mark as the Server location. Otherwise enter the name of the computer on which the PhraseExpress Server is running.

Define the TCP port that is used for the communication between the PhraseExpress Server and the clients. Only change this setting if the default TCP port is already occupied by another application in your network.

Avoid using ports that are known to be used by other software (e.g. any port below 1025).

You may need to configure the firewalls on all workstations when changing the TCP port.

Phrase file tab

In the "phrase file" tab, you can choose the desired .pxp phrase file:

Client Manger phrase file dialog

The PhraseExpress Server uses the same phrase file format as the PhraseExpress Client and automatically uses the phrase file of an existing Client installation (if any).

The phrase file is your main data file and contains all phrases, hotkeys, Autotexts, phrase folders, folder access rights settings. If you want to move you data you want to move this file to the new computer and load it from there.

You can also use UNC network paths as the phrase file path. You just need to configure the PhraseExpress Server to be launched with the "Network Service" account.

Video tutorial - PhraseExpress Server service configuration for use with UNC network paths.

Important note

Never replace the current phrase file while the PhraseExpress Server service is running!

The PhraseExpress Server service would not recognize such change and the new file would be overwritten by the previous file if any PhraseExpress Client makes any change in the phrases.

Please do one of the following:

  • Stop the PhraseExpress server service by using the Windows Management console, exchange the old phrase file with the new one and restart the server service. The PhraseExpress Server will then update all clients with the new phrase file.
  • Or, copy the new phrase file to the Server PC and rename it if it has the same name as the old phrase file. Then click "Browse" in the tab "Phrase file" in above Client Manager dialog and choose the new phrase file in the file open dialog.
Only using any of above methods make the server aware of any change of the phrase file.

 

The server keeps a customizable number of backups of the phrase file in the folder /PhraseExpress backup, located in the same folder in which the main phrase file is kept. A new backup file is written every time any Client is making any change to the phrase file.

You can also decide whether any change of the phrase file shall be instantly updated on all workstations. If disabled, phrase file changes will take effect upon the next launch of the PhraseExpress Client on the workstation.

This option only takes effect on workstations with read-only rights to the phrase file. Clients with write access are always updated.

Monitor tab

In the Monitor tab, all status information and connected workstations with their license key associations are displayed:

Text predition settings

The check boxes in the column "W" (for "write access") define whether a client is generally allowed to edit phrases. If unchecked, any option to add/remove/edit phrases is removed from the user interface of that client.

The check boxes in the column "C" (for "configuration") define whether a client can make change program settings. If unchecked, any settings option is removed from the user interface of that client.

You can change these settings for all clients in one go by (de)selecting the check box in the title row and applying this setting to all connected clients with the Set button. The check boxes in the title bar also define the initial settings for new clients connecting for the first time. Example: If you uncheck the "W" check box in the title bar, any new client will have no write access to the phrase file by default.

If using ConcurrentUser licenses, the states of the access and configuration rights are not stored. Theses settings are tied to the license keys that float between multiple users if using ConcurrentUser licenses.

You can hide/show individual columns by right-clicking the column title. You can completely disable the usage statistic function of the statistics by hiding both usage statistic related columns. However, this does not work in demo mode.

Disconnected clients are displayed in grey and you can remove their license key association by right-clicking the desired entry if you wish to use the associated license for another user.

If you try to remove write access from a user who is currently editing phrases, you will receive a warning message. Please avoid removing write access while a user is working on the phrase file as it may confuse the user.

License keys tab

If you have purchased PhraseExpress licenses for use with the PhraseExpress Server, you would need to register the license keys in the Client Manager of the PhraseExpress Server installation.

  1. Launch the Client Manager and switch to the tab License keys:

    Client Manger license configuration
  2. Copy the list of license keys into the Windows clipboard and paste it into the input area as shown in above screenshot.
  3. Make sure that the Client Manager can access the internet and click the Update button to start the online validation process.

An Internet connection is required during the short time of the license key validation. If the PC has no internet connection, please install the Client Manager (without the Server service!) on any other PC within your network that has network access to the PhraseExpress Server and access to the internet and validate the license keys from there. The license registration information is stored on the computer running the PhraseExpress Server.

If you are using a Proxy Server, make sure to configure the proxy settings in the Client Manager as well.

You can unregister license keys for use with another PhraseExpress Server installation at any time by removing the license keys from the Client Manager license key input field and pressing the Update button.

Do not register the clients locally if you register your installation in the Client Manager of the PhraseExpress Server

Licensing

The PhraseExpress Server associates a license key from the pool of available license keys to a user that connects to the server.

A user is identified by the PhraseExpress Server by following variations:

Combination Notes

A user is identified by the PhraseExpress Server its Windows Logon user name.

A user is identified by the combination of the user name and the workgroup. This setting is suitable if there are multiple users with the same Windows user name in different workgroups.

A user is identified by the combination of the workgroup, computer name and user name.

You can configure the user identification in the License key tab of the Client Manager. This licensing system assures that PhraseExpress provides each user's personal phrases independent of the computer the user is logging on ('roaming profiles').

Licensing Variations

PhraseExpress is available in two licensing variations that you can choose during your purchase:

License Variation Explanation

Each PhraseExpress user is permanently tied to a particular license key which is taken from the pool of available license keys with the first connection of the user client. The license <-> user association is still valid, even if the user is not currently using the software.

This licensing type is recommended if a fixed number of permanent users are using PhraseExpress on a regular basis.

You can unbind a particular user from a license key in the Monitor tab of the Client Managers if the user is not currently connected with the PhraseExpress Server. The user is then displayed in grey color in the list of clients and you can right-click the user to unbind the license key association. The license key is then put back into the pool of available license keys for another user.

Each PhraseExpress user gets a temporary license key from the pool of available license keys for the time, the user is connected to the PhraseExpress Server. The license is automatically put back to the pool of available licenses if the user is disconnected from the PhraseExpress Server.

This licensing type is recommended for part-time workers in a company.

 

Limitations of the Concurrent User licensing:
  • Concurrent User licenses are available for purchases of 10 or more licenses only.
  • The Network-Cache feature is not available with Concurrent User licenses.
  • As the settings for the general write- and configuration access rights (the check boxes "W" and "C" in the monitor tab of the Client Manager) are not stored as these settings are connected with the license <-> user binding which is temporarily if using Concurrent User licenses.

Addition licensing information

  • If all license keys are associated to users and if an additional user is trying to connect to the PhraseExpress Server, the user will get notification that the PhraseExpress Server ran out of available licenses. You can purchase additional licenses and add them to your current installation at any time.
  • Named- vs. Concurrent User licenses and Standard vs. Pro Edition licenses can mixed on the same PhraseExpress Server: Register the "Named User" license keys on the Client Manager first and launch the clients first which shall take these licenses. Then, register the Concurrent User licenses in the Client Manager which will be temporarily associated to floating users.
  • PhraseExpress adds the string "_TS" (without "") to the computer name if installed within a TerminalServer session. This allows you to simultaneously use PhraseExpress within a TerminalServer session and on the host PC which runs the TerminalServer.
  • You can install PhraseExpress on an unlimited number of computers in the network. The number of license keys defines the number of users that can simultaneously access the PhraseExpress Server.

    Example license calculation:

    You have 100 computers and 80 users, but only 70 users will use PhraseExpress. You can install PhraseExpress on all 100 computers and you would need only 70 licenses. The central PhraseExpress Server and the Client Manager is always included in your purchase.

Blocking individual users from automatically taking a license

You can block individual users from being recognized by the Client Manager. Create a plain text file block.txt in the same folder where you can find the PhraseExpress Server configuration file config.ini

Under Windows XP the path is C:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\Application Data\PhraseExpress Server

If using Windows Vista the path is C:\Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\AppData\Roaming\PhraseExpress Server

In text file, list all desired users (one per line!) corresponding to the licensing scheme, e.g. in the format Workgroup\User Name or Workgroup\Computer name\User Name.

Miscellaneous notes

  • If certain users have no write access to the phrase file, all menu entries to create or alter phrases are automatically removed.
  • If certain users are not allowed to access the configuration, such menu entries are removed from the user interface. This can be set by the administrator in the Client Manager.
  • If multiple users have write access rights and if one user is currently editing a phrase, all other users temporarily have no access to functions to alter phrases until the editing process is finalized.
  • Depending on the PhraseExpress Server configurations, changes to the phrase file may either be transmitted to all clients instantly or upon the next program launch on the workstation.

Data backup

PhraseExpress automatically creates backups of the phrase file each time any user is making any change to the phrase file. The backup files are located in the folder /PhraseExpress backup, located in the same folder as the main phrase file and has the file extension .bak. You can set the amount of backup file versions in the Client Manager. PhraseExpress automatically deletes the oldest backup file first.

If you would like to discard accidental changes to your phrase file or if the original phrase file cannot be read anymore, please do the following:

  1. Stop the PhraseExpress server service by using the Windows Management Console.
  2. Rename the current phrase file with the file extension .pxp or move it to another folder.
  3. Remove the file extension .bak of the desired backup file and change its name to the original name of the current phrase file. It should then have the .pxp extension.
  4. Restart the PhraseExpress server service.

The PhraseExpress Server will then deploy the phrase file to all PhraseExpress Clients.

Important Note

Frequently backup your phrase file to different storage media to eliminate the slightest risk to lose your data in case of hard disk failure. Hard disks can break - And they do when you do not expect it!

Location of the configuration files

The PhraseExpress Server saves its configuration to following destinations:

File name Description File Path

config.ini

Configuration file of the PhraseExpress Server

The configuration file is maintained by the Server and you should not touch it. If you edit the configuration file, please make sure to stop the PhraseExpress Server service first.

  • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\Application Data\PhraseExpress Server\
  • Windows Vista/7 32-Bit: C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\AppData\Roaming\PhraseExpress Server\
  • Windows Vista/7 64-Bit:C:\Windows\SysWOW64\config\systemprofile\AppData\Roaming\PhraseExpress Server

license.svc

This file contains the list of license keys and their associations to the users.

log.txt

Log-file of the PhraseExpress Server

config.ini

Configuration file of the Client Manager

  • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\PhraseExpress ClientManager\
  • Windows Vista/7: C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\PhraseExpress ClientManager\

The storage location of the PhraseExpress Client files on the workstations is described in chapter "Location of your personal data" of the Client's manual.

Network Communication

The communication between the PhraseExpress Server and the PhraseExpress Client works as follows:

  1. If the PhraseExpress Client is configured to search the Server automatically, it sends broadcast polls via UDP Port 1036 in intervals.
  2. If a PhraseExpress Server receives such client poll, it answers with the IP address of the Server PC.
  3. The PhraseExpress Client connects to the PhraseExpress Server via the provided IP address.
If the PhraseExpress Server should change its IP address, the client will start sending UDP polls again to find the new server location.

You can also manually enter the Server PC address if you wish to connect to a specific PhraseExpress Server: Select Settings » File » Connect to Server » Enter the Server PC's IP address. In such case, the PhraseExpress Client does not send UDP broadcast polls but always expect the PhraseExpress Server to be present at the provided IP address.

Keeping PhraseExpress up-to-date

We continuously improve PhraseExpress and you can keep the program up-to-date with the built-in Internet update check.

To check manually for updates, connect your computer to the Internet and in the Client Manager select the tab Online Updates »Check now

Client Manger update check

If a new version is available, stop the PhraseExpress Server Service and manually update all clients in the network. Then restart the PhraseExpress Server Service. PhraseExpress Clients must all have the same version number to avoid incompatibilities.

The online update feature on the client installations is disabled while the clients are connected to the PhraseExpress Server. The reason is, that all clients must be updated in one go.

Uninstalling PhraseExpress

PhraseExpress can be uninstalled via Start » Programs » PhraseExpress Server » Uninstall PhraseExpress Server

The phrase file is not deleted when uninstalling the PhraseExpress Server to avoid accidental data loss. You can manually delete the phrase file (including automatically created backups) if you do not need this data anymore.

Command-line parameters for Uninstallation file.

The uninstaller program located in the PhraseExpress Server and Client program folder (unins??.exe) accepts optional command line parameters:

Command-line parameter Description

/SILENT, /VERYSILENT

When specified, the uninstaller will not ask the user for startup confirmation or display a message stating that uninstall is complete. Shared files that are no longer in use are deleted automatically without prompting. Any critical error messages will still be shown on the screen. When '/VERYSILENT' is specified, the uninstallation progress window is not displayed.

If a restart is necessary and the '/NORESTART' command isn't used (see below) and '/VERYSILENT' is specified, the uninstaller will reboot without asking.

/SUPPRESSMSGBOXES

Instructs the uninstaller to suppress message boxes. Only has an effect when combined with '/SILENT' and '/VERYSILENT'.

/LOG

Causes Uninstall to create a log file in the user's TEMP directory detailing file uninstallation and [UninstallRun] actions taken during the uninstallation process.

This can be a helpful debugging aid. The log file is created with a unique name based on the current date (It will not overwrite or append to existing files.).

The information contained in the log file is technical in nature and therefore not intended to be understandable by end users. Nor is it designed to be machine-parseable; the format of the file is subject to change without notice.

/LOG="filename"

Same as /LOG, except it allows you to specify a fixed path/filename to use for the log file.

If a file with the specified name already exists it will be overwritten.

If the file cannot be created, Uninstall will abort with an error message.

/NORESTART

Instructs the uninstaller not to reboot even if it's necessary.

Trouble-Shooting

Trouble-Shooting Video

Following trouble-shooting tips should be able to help you if you experience connection issues with the PhraseExpress Network Edition:

General

  • Make sure to use the latest software version. Please note that the PhraseExpress clients must have the same major version number as the PhraseExpress Server. Example: If you use PhraseExpress v10 clients, you also must use a PhraseExpress Server v10. You cannot use a v9 Server with a v10 client for example. You can find the latest product versions on our download page.
  • Make sure that the computer running the PhraseExpress Server has a TCP/IP network connection to all computers running the PhraseExpress clients.

  • Check any firewall or any other “security” program does not block PhraseExpress from accessing the network.

Trouble-Shooting the Server PC

  • Have you properly installed the latest version of the PhraseExpress Server? If not, please follow the step-by-step PhraseExpress Server installation instructions.
  • Check whether the PhraseExpress Server service is running on the Server PC: Open the Windows Management Console by right-clicking the "My Computer" desktop icon and select the popup menu item "Management". Switch to the list of Services and find the entry "PhraseExpress Server" from the list. Make sure that the PhraseExpress Server service is marked as "Running". If you find it being "Stopped", click on "Restart". If this should fail, reboot your computer and check again.
  • Launch the Client Manager and switch to the "Monitor" tab. If all status texts are green-colored, the PhraseExpress Server is configured properly. If you see red-colored status text, it indicates the problem.
  • Clients automatically disconnect if the trial period is expired. In this case, please make a purchase decision if you wish to continue to use your current installation.
  • If you ran out of available licenses please purchase additional licenses or remove license key association if you wish to use a license for another user.
  • Switch to the Client Manager tab "log" and have your IT administrator inspecting the log file to identify entries that could point to a problem.

Trouble-Shooting the Client PCs

  • Do you see the PhraseExpress icon in the lower right of the Windows task tray? If not, the PhraseExpress client doesn't seem to be running or it is not even installed yet. Please follow the PhraseExpress client installation instructions.
  • Has the file icon in the phrase tree view of the client main program a green-colored exclamation mark? This indicates that the client is properly connected to the PhraseExpress Server and actually everything should be fine.
  • Hover over the PhraseExpress task tray icon. In many cases, the yellow hint popup provides more information about the problem.
  • Has the PhraseExpress task tray icon a red-colored exclamation mark? This means that the PhraseExpress client is currently not connected to a PhraseExpress Server and uses a local phrase file instead:
    • Open the PhraseExpress Client main program window, select Tools -> Settings -> Networking and make sure that the option Networking is checked. If not, check the option and restart the PhraseExpress Client.
    • After restarting the PhraseExpress client, connect to a PhraseExpress Server by opening the client main program window and select File -> Connect to PhraseExpress Server -> Automatic Server Search.
    • If the client cannot automatically find the server, it may be that your network configuration blocks the UDP broadcast polls used for the automatic server search. In this case, try to connect to the PhraseExpress Server by manually entering the Server PC's IP address.
  • Has the PhraseExpress task tray icon no exclamation mark (the speech bubble icon is completely white)? This indicates that the client has managed to connect to the PhraseExpress Server earlier but lost the network connection and now uses a temporary copy of the network phrase file. Try to reconnect to the PhraseExpress Server as explained above.

If this Trouble-Shooting didn't help to solve any issue, please post your problem including the log file to our support forums.