[Date Prev][Date Next] [Chronological] [Thread] [Top]

RE: AVTS - How many software components?

How many different components does it take to install AVTS?  (This is not like the lightbulb joke!) 
I can't think of a one liner right now, but I'll think some more about it :-).
I've seen references to GEMS, AVTS, GEMS Reports, NOMDAC, MDAC, etc.  Are these all necessary pieces.  If so, what does the universe of software components look like, and in brief, what do they do?
Thanks.  Just trying to keep up. 
This is kind of a complicated question.  Actually, its several questions.
There are three "packages" we release separately.  They are the release announcements you see on the announce@gesn.com mailing list.
  • GEMS
  • AVTS
  • AV Firmware
The short answer to your question of "How many different components does it take to install AVTS" is one, the AVTS InstallShield package. 
The long answer is really about what sub-components ship with each of the above packages.  The GEMS and AVTS packages are installed using a system called InstallShield, which is responsible for seeing that all the sub-components get put in the right place.  Full InstallShield releases are large, and typically ship on CD or some other high capacity media.  Since the sub-components are relatively independent, it sometimes makes sense to only upgrade part of a package to save ordering a new CD or downloading a huge InstallShield release.  Also sometimes a custom sub-component is created for an account with special needs.
  • GEMS executable.  This is the main application program.
  • JResult Client.  This is the Java client software used to display election night scrolling charts.
  • Reports.  These are the Crystal Reports you find in the GEMS pre-election reports dialog.  They consist of a reports.ini that lists the report files, and the set of .rpt files.  They are installed under the Reports subdirectory of GEMS.
  • AccuBasic.  These are the AccuVote Basic files used to customize the AccuVote reports.  They consist of an abasic.ini file that lists the reports and the set of .abo files.  They are installed under the ABasic directory. 
  • TSText.  These are the rich and plain text used to customize the buttons and boxes on the AccuVote-TS.  They consist of a TSText.txt file that lists the text files, and the set of .rtf and .txt files organized by language.  They are installed in the TSText directory.
  • Locale.ini.  This is the file used to customize GEMS for local requirements.  It consists of a set up subsitution strings you can use to rename various labels used by GEMS.
  • BallotStation and PollBook executables.
  • TSTemplate.  This is the election.mdb and layout.sty files used as a template to create new databases.  The templates change with major releses.
Both AVTS and GEMS require a windows operating system.  We don't have control over what various versions of windows are out there, so we need to ship OS components to make sure all systems have the tools GEMS and AVTS need to run.  In a perfect world, the latest versions of these components would already be part of the OS.  Everything on the lists below should come standard with Windows 2000, but of course that has not been released yet, and in any case woudn't help systems already out there. 
On occasion problems have been found with various DLLs that are part of the operation system (MFC42.DLL and OLE32.DLL have been problematic in the past).  When this happens, we distribute new versions of these DLLs on the FTP site and update the InstallShield.
All of these OS components are included with the full releases of GEMS and AVTS.  They can also be ordered/downloaded directly from Microsoft.
Windows 95/98 (AVTS):
  • MDAC.  These are the "Data Access Components" used to communicate with the database.  I sent a long explanation of this to the support list some time ago.
  • DCOM95 or DCOM98.  Win95/98 requires DCOM for MDAC to operate correctly.
Windows NT 4.0 (GEMS):
  • MDAC.  Again, this is for the database.  DCOM is a standard component of NT4SP4, so there is no separate package to install.
  • Service pack 4 or 5.  These fix various NT bugs.
  • Internet Explorer 4 or 5.  This is required for JResultClient to operate, and also (theoretically) for our GEMS application help if we had any.  From a practical standpoint, it is also needed for downloading new GEMS releases and email.
Finally, so it doesn't feel left out, there is the AccuVote firmware releases.  There are currently two flavors, PC 1.94x and CC 2.00x where x is some letter of the alphabet.  Neither have any sub-components to worry about.