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Concepts 36

September 13, 1999

This newsletter / info-pack is generated by Tower Concepts, and is provided to our users and specific members of the net community. Concepts is generated and distributed every few weeks as necessary. Please send comments to


Razor 4.1g due soon!

Version 4.1g of Razor is due out soon. It contains a number of neat goodies. There is now support for local printing of issues. The display output of reports that runs within issues now includes a "Print" button.
A new Razor Admin tool is now available for Windows NT. This tool is a graphical user interface for installing license keys, starting/ stopping the license manager, creating databases, etc. Many of the administrative functions that could only be performed via command line scripts (still available) can now be performed via this GUI.
A new feature has been added when creating new issues or file control groups. Now, a group template can be selected from a list of "tailored" groups. One can pick from the following template issues groups:

  • Default - this is the default issues group.
  • Action_items - action items related to process-oriented meetings.
  • Bug_tracking - issues relating to software problem tracking.
  • Customer_tracking - a customer contact database.
  • Peer_Review - generally associated with tracking ISO or other
    CM-standard review mechanism.
  • Support_Helpdesk - a help-desk tracking/follow-up database.
  • ToDo - Task list.
...or the following template file control groups:
  • Default - this is the default file control group.
  • Code_development - a software-oriented version control group.
  • Document_management - oriented towards tracking document
    changes as opposed to software.
  • Web_development - similar to Code development, where the files
    relate to Web pages.
Keep checking the Web site for the new release availability, and as always your comments are welcomed.

Training schedule

If you haven't signed up for Razor training, boy are you missing something. Our fall classes for both Razor Administrator and Implementing a Process with Razor are both full. In addition to great accommodations (at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort), a great setting (the scenic Central New York region in the foothills of the Adirondack mountains), and of course you get great instruction from our Razor experts.
Our instructors are intimately familiar with the administration, configuration, and application of Razor to satisfy a wide variety of configuration management and process management applications. Visit the Tower Concepts web site for details and dates of our next training classes.

Quick Tip - Starting/Stopping the Razor database server!

Each Razor database requires a running database server to use the Razor applications. The database server is started AFTER the Razor License Manager is running and BEFORE any Razor clients can be started. For a UNIX system, the command, "razor up", must be run to start the database server, and "razor down" must be used to stop it. For the Razor NT Server, you must start/stop the database server using the "Shortcut to Services" from the Razor Program Group. Since you may have as many Razor databases as you need, it is necessary to perform the start/stop procedure for each active database.

Once a Razor database server is started, it may run indefinitely. There should not be a need to stop the database server unless normal system procedures or maintenance on the host running the server or Razor License Manager requires it. For example, if a reboot is required, or the Razor Administrator needs to perform some database modifications, such as adding a group to the database.

A Frequently Asked Question:

While customizing Razor, that is, making changes to the Razor database control files, when is it required that the database server be stopped, changes made, and the server started again?

The answer is...
When making changes to a Razor Group's "Attributes" file, either editing the file or running the Razor-provided modification scripts,

A second file that might possibly be modified, requiring the database server be stopped and restarted, is a Razor Group's "Vcs" file. Normally, this file should NOT be modified! However, if the condition listed in the file can be satisfied, the file may be changed, the change becoming effective AFTER the database server is restarted.
All other Razor control files can be modified
...But you will need to re-run the modified Razor application to verify your changes (also, any currently running Razor clients WILL NOT exhibit the changes made).

The Razor database server reads each Razor Group's "Attributes" and "Vcs" file when the server is started. Basically, the Attributes file defines a set of data that the server retains in memory, and the Vcs file identifies the archive engine for the appropriate Razor processes. Changes to these files are only read when the server is restarted.

On the other hand, ALL other Razor control files are read when the Razor application is started. Any "attribute" information an application may need is provided to the client by the database server.

For additional information on the Razor control files and customization, please refer to the Razor Manual, in particular, Chapters 8 and 9, the Appendices A, B, and C, and the Index.


Here is a puzzler courtesy of Razor user Curt Galper.

A man is found hanged by the neck in the center of an otherwise empty room in his apartment. His feet are several centimeters above the floor. He is dead. The only thing in the room is a puddle of water on the floor. Based on clues found in the apartment the police suspect he was murdered by his business partner and the partner is arrested. The coroner insists that it was a suicide and because of his testimony the partner is eventually acquitted.
How did the man die?


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