Alternative Alfi Installation for Remote Viewing Via X

For performance reasons, this alternative is not recommended in general.  It should only be used when a user cannot install and run Java locally.  If a user cannot run Java applications locally on their machine, but does have access to a server which can run Java applications, and can display such applications locally via X (i.e., the client's local machine is an X-server), then this alternative installation can be used.  Be forewarned that the graphic display of Alfi remotely in this manner will always be slower than running Alfi locally as detailed in the standard installation.

Instructions for the Administrator of the Remote Software Server

The first 3 steps are identical to steps 1 - 3 in the standard installation instructions.  The E2E modeler package, perl, and a recent version of java will be required to be on the software server:

1. Find the E2E Modeler installation on the software server if it exists already, or install it yourself.
See step 1 in the standard installation procedure for details.  [The installation needs to be in a reasonable location for end-users to access.  For example, the primitives directory path might be something like /usr/local/e2e/e2e-x.x.x/AdlibMM/.]

2. Find perl on the software server.
See step 2 in the standard installation procedure for details.

3. Find java (or install it) on the software server to check that the version is recent enough.
See step 3 in the standard installation procedure for details.  [The installation needs to be in a standard location for end-users to access of course.]

4. Download the latest jar files required by Alfi.
The two jar files required are alfi.jar and JGo.jar.  Unfortunately, these files will need to updated from time to time.  (This is one of the reasons the standard installation is better.  Java Web Start handles all updates to Alfi automatically.)  Place these jar files in a location suitable for access by end-users, perhaps in a directory like /usr/local/e2e/alfi/.  The above links will always point you to the latest versions.

5. Get and configure the alfi_remote perl script which is used to launch Alfi.
Download the alfi_remote perl script, and configure as follows:
  1. Edit the first line's path to perl on the software server (as found in step 2 above.)
  2. Edit the setting of $ALFI_JAR_DIR to be the path to the directory in which you have placed the alfi.jar and JGo.jar files from step 4.
  3. Edit the setting of $JAVA to be the path to java on the software server (as found in step 3 above.)
  4. Save changes and quit editor.
  5. % chmod +x alfi_remote
  6. Place alfi_remote in a reasonable place for end-users to access (perhaps in the same directory as the jar files.)
6. Test the installation.
  1. Log into the remote software server from any X display in a manner which allows X to be passed to your display.
  2. Create a test working directory:

  3. remote_server% mkdir alfi_test_dir
    remote_server% cd alfi_test_dir

  4. Follow the steps for the End-user as given below to check if Alfi can be started.  In setting the E2E_PATH, ignore the value $other_E2E_box_libraries.  All you will need is the following:

  5. remote_server% setenv E2E_PATH .:$e2e_primitives_directory

    If Alfi starts, the installation is complete.

Instructions for the End-user of the Local X Display

The system administrator of the remote server which you will log into to display Alfi should provide you with the following information (all paths refer to paths when you are logged into the remote server):
  1. The path to the directory containing the files of the E2E primitives (the .prm files.)  (This value will be referred to as $e2e_primitives_directory below.)  E.g., /usr/local/e2e/e2e-2.1.1/AdlibMM/.
  2. The path to the alfi_remote script which is used to start Alfi (to be referred to as $path_to_alfi_remote.)  E.g., /usr/local/e2e/alfi/alfi_remote.
Here are the steps you need to do to run Alfi.
  1. Log into your account on the remote server.  You may need to ask your system administrator for help if you do not know how to log in so that X can be displayed on your local display from the remote server.  A quick test is to try displaying something trivial like an xterm.  Try this:

  2. remote_server% xterm

    If an xterm window does not appear on your display, then you need to ask your system administrator how to display X on your display from remote_server.  If the xterm does appear, go ahead and exit from it.

  3. Check that the alfi_remote script exists and is executable.

  4. remote_server% ls -l $path_to_alfi_remote

  5. Make an alias to the alfi startup script.

  6. remote_server% alias alfi_remote $path_to_alfi_remote

  7. Set your E2E_PATH environment variable.  Your system administrator should give you the value for $e2e_primitives_directory as stated above.  The value of $other_E2E_box_libraries must include the paths to any E2E box libraries you may need.  Regarding this information, you should contact the author of the E2E box package you are using (if any.)  More details regarding the E2E_PATH are here.

  8. remote_server% setenv E2E_PATH .:$e2e_primitives_directory:$other_E2E_box_libraries

  9. Start Alfi.

  10. remote_server% alfi_remote

Please report problems and/or suggestions to Bruce Sears.

This file was updated Oct. 3, 2005.  Please send questions and comments to Bruce.