Delivery settings and generation of distribution and update files

This article describes generation of applied solution distribution kits.

Configurations can be delivered in the following file formats:

  • Configuration file (.cf), which contains a configuration distribution kit
  • Infobase file (.1cd), which contains an out-of-box infobase, either empty or filled with predefined initial data
  • Infobase file with demo data and the corresponding infobase dump file (.dt)

To create a configuration that can be used as a vendor configuration, prepare specific versions of these files based on the configuration distribution kit (.cf) file that is created using the method described later in this article. The creation of other distribution file types is described at the end of this article. 

Specifying delivery settings

Configuration delivery settings define the support rules for customers, including delivery rules for metadata objects. Note that delivery rules are specified for metadata objects that belong to the first level of the object tree, such as catalogs, documents, or registers. Subordinate objects, such as attributes, tabular sections, forms, or templates, use the rules defined for their parent objects. The following delivery rules are available:

  • Changes allowed
  • Changes not recommended
  • Changes not allowed

The selected rule defines the support rules that can be selected at customer side. For details, see Configuration delivery and support concept.

You can also specify delivery rules for object modules by selecting or clearing the Include object module texts check boxes. If module texts are not delivered, customers cannot view or edit the module script. This can be used for protecting intellectual property or for ensuring logical integrity of the configuration.

You can select the Distribution file can be used for updates check box in the delivery settings. As described in section Configuration delivery and support concept, configuration update files (.cfu) and full configuration files (.cf) can be used for updating vendor configurations. If you clear the check box, the resulting .cf file cannot be used for updating configurations. You might want to use this option if the new configuration version requires complicated dababase processing.

For example, changing a catalog attribute from a string to a reference to another catalog requires a two-tier update. First, you have to add a new attribute of reference type and fill it based on the old attribute value, then remove the old attribute and rename the new one. This update cannot be performed in a single database restucturing with pre- and postprocessing. For the update, you have to create an intermediate configuration version where the new attribute is added and the old one is not yet deleted, and write appropriate data processors. This scenario is prone to human error, even if the update process is thoroughly described in the documentation. Selecting the Distribution file can be used for updates check box eliminates the human error. The entire update procedure might look like this:

  • Generate the configuration update file for update from the previous versions to the intermediate version.
  • Generate the configuration update file for update from the intermediate version to the latest version.
  • Generate the configuration file with the Distribution file can be used for updates check box cleared. 

A customer that owns a previous configuration version cannot change the update order. Even if they obtain the configuration file for the latest version, they cannot use it to update their configuration.

Note that this method lacks flexibility. If the check box is cleared, the customer cannot downgrade future configuration versions to the current one. By default the Distribution file can be used for updates check box is selected.

Standard directory structure for distribution and update files

The configuration delivery procedure adheres to specific rules for distribution file locations and support of different versions. To specify the root directory for distribution and update files, in the Create Distribution and Configuration Update Files dialog box, click Distribution files directory. By default the files are stored in subdirectories named after their version numbers (the Version property of the configuration). This simplifies preparation of update files (as described later in this article). Note that the root directory is not stored inside the configuration and will be changed if the .1cd configuration file is moved to another computer.

Creating distribution and update files

You can create distribution and update files simultaneously or one at a time from the Create Distribution and Configuration Update Files dialog box. But you can only create a single update file at a time. To create multiple update files for updating a configuration from a variety of versions, repeat the update creation procedure multiple times. The distribution file can be only created once but note that disabling the creation of the distribution file does not speed up the update file creation. In a large configuration it can take a significant time, which also depends on the number of versions that can be updated with the update file.

If you select the Create configuration update file check box, specify one or several previous versions that can be updated using this file. The update files are not cumulative: a file designed to update version 4 to version 6 cannot be used for updating version 5, unless this version was explicitly specified at the file generation stage (for more information, see Configuration delivery and support concept). To select configuration files of previous versions, you can click Add and select a file, or you can click Add from Previous Versions to run automatic search for configuration versions stored on the hard disk, provided that the files are stored in the directory structure described earlier in this article. The Add command also allows you to specify distribution files of different configurations (they must be distribution files, not regular configuration files).

Creating distribution files in other formats

The generated .cf distribution file can be used as a basis for distribution files that have other formats. For example, you can create an infobase file (.1cd) that contains demo data. You can prepare a demo infobase using a configuration obtained by dumping the infobase from the environment where you created the distribution kit. The configurations do not have to be identical but they also should not have significant differences that require complicated updates of data and database configuration.

In Designer, open the infobase file that contains demo data. On the Configuration menu, click Load configuration from file, confirm the replacement of the current configuration, and update the database configuration. You can use the resulting infobase as a distribution file. To prepare a configuration dump (.dt) file, in this infobase, on the Administration menu, click Dump infobase.

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