Sharing the software


The Probe software can be shared by several users on a standalone microcomputer, or it can run on a Local Area Network with several users. Each user can have their own default settings for the programme, but with only one copy of the software.  The environment variable PROBE can be used, and there is also a note on relative and absolute file names.


Standalone microcomputers

1. The PATH should be set in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file to be at least...

    PATH=C:\DOS;C:\PROBE

2. A directory called C:\PROBE should contain the following files...

PR4.EXE ...the Probe software
PRUPLOAD.EXE ...upload software
CALIBRAT.CAL ...probe calibrations
COTTON.CRP ...standard crop/site data
COTTON.DWU ...standard seasonal DWU for cotton

3. A directory for each user should be created. For example...

    C:\> MD C:\PROBE\MARY

This directory (C:\PROBE\MARY) should contain the following files...

PROBE.INI (essential)
OWNER (essential, but see Environment below)
*.SMK (essential, but see Environment below)
MARY.CAL (optional - separate calibrations for Mary)
SOYA.DWU (optional - Standard DWU for soya beans)
POST.DAT (optional - separate Post File)
SOYA.CRP (optional - standard site for soya beans)

and MARY's actual data files..

CONSULT.ALL
*.STS
*.NPS

Mary can now run the Probe software with the commands...

C:\> C:
C:\> CD \PROBE\MARY
C:\PROBE\MARY> PR4

Mary can set her own defaults, stored in the file C:\PROBE\MARY\PROBE.INI. She may also set...

Calibs File: C:\PROBE\MARY\MARY.CAL
Path for CONSULT.ALL: C:\PROBE\MARY\
DEFAULT Crop: C:\PROBE\MARY\SOYA
Upload POST FILE: C:\PROBE\MARY\POST.DAT
Standard DWU file: C:\PROBE\MARY\SOYA.DWU
Calibs File: C:\PROBE\CALIBRAT.CAL

Local Area Networks

Local Area Networks can be set up in a similar manner, with PR41.EXE and PRUPLOAD.EXE in F:\PUBLIC, with the other files in the home directories of the individual users. Note that multiple users can access the same data files, but because the Probe data is all loaded into workstation RAM, the last user to save will update the data.

The Probe software will not save data without the Sentinal Key in each workstation, or a CopyControl security system on the file server.


Environment Variable PROBE

The DOS Environment Variable PROBE may be set to the directory of the location of *.SMK and OWNER. If this is set (with SET PROBE=C:\PROBE in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file) then data directories will not need local copies of these files, but they will need to be in the C:\PROBE directory.


Path Names

The Probe software requires users to nominate, on the Defaults screen...

Path for CONSULT.ALL:
Calibs. File:
DEFAULT Crop:
Standard DWU file:
Upload POST FILE:
Data Path:
(on Edit/Create Farm)

Particularly when the software is being shared, there can be confusion with Relative and Absolute Path and File Names in MSDOS. An Absolute File Name is when the exact disk, sub-directory and file is specified. An example of an Absolute File Name...

    Calibs. File: C:\PROBE\CALIBRAT.CAL

That particular calibration file will be loaded.

A Relative File Name is if either the drive or the subdirectory is omitted. An example of a Relative Filename...

    Calibs. File: CALIBRAT.CAL

In this case, MSDOS will load the calibration file on the Current Drive and in the Current Directory. If the DOS prompt is... C:\PROBE\MARY>, then the Current Drive is C: and the Current Directory on that drive is \PROBE\MARY. The calibration file that will in fact be loaded is...

    C:\PROBE\MARY\CALIBRAT.CAL

In general, if a relative filename is specified, MSDOS uses two rules to work out exactly which disk and sub-directory to use.

Rule 1 If a drive is not specified (e.g. no "C:"), then the current drive is inserted.

Rule 2 If there is no leading "\" (or no root directory), then the current directory on that drive is inserted before the filename.

Particularly when the software is being shared, there can be confusion with Relative and Absolute Path and File Names in MSDOS. An Absolute File Name is


File Locking on a Network

When running on a network, it is possible to corrupt data files if two users simultaneously attempt to save the same file. This can happen, for example, if one user is doing a global update, and another user saving data. Version PR4 of the software supports file locking, which avoids this problem. On the Defaults Screen, set...

File Lock : Lock

However, the DOS programme SHARE, or the equivalent for the particular Local Area Network, must be run first.