Obtaining and Installing Form Friend

FIXME Copyright notices say 2.02 is current?

The current version of Form Friend is 2.01.

Obtaining Form Friend

There are three steps to follow in installing Form Friend.

  1. Install the Java 2 runtime environment (JRE)
  2. Install Form Friend

In addition, the notes below explain how to run the database and dictionary servers locally, if you want to.

Installing the Java runtime

FIXME These directions are fairly dated. You should use one of the latest available Java Runtime Environments. Sun(TM) No longer supports Java 1.3, but 1.4.x or 1.5.x are currently available and should work as well or better.

You only need to do this once. If you have already done this, either for Form Friend or for other software, you don't need to do it again when you get a new release of Form Friend.

To install the Java 2 JRE, go to the Sun website and download the appropriate version.

  • WIN: Unzip and install this file, following the instructions given on the Sun web page. Make a note of the directory where you install it; this will be referred to as the “JRE install directory”.
  • Linux: The Java Linux site blackdown.org contains a version of the 1.2 JDK that will probably work. Here is a pointer to one of their ftp sites; brave users may want to try this and see if they can get it to work.
  • Mac OsX: the latest available JRE implements Java 1.1.8; you can download it from Apple's Java site. This may or may not work.

Please note that the software has only truly been tested on Windows 98, NT and XP; we've been told it works on Solaris. If you get it working on other platforms I'd be very glad to hear from you.

Installing Form Friend

Form Friend consists of a single file, called FormFriend.jar. The same file works for both Unix and Windows machines. Note: I have had trouble test-downloading these files with Netscape. If you have problems, try downloading them with Internet Explorer, or email me and ask me to email you the files directly.

Click here to download FormFriend.jar. If clicking on this link doesn't work, then try one of the following: If you use Netscape or Firefox, right click on it and choose “Save As”; if you use Internet Explorer, right click and choose “Save Target As”.

Make a note of the directory name where you place the FormFriend.jar file; this is the “Form Friend directory”.

It is not currently possible to run Form Friend on a Mac since Macs do not yet support the requisite parts of Java. I will update this page if I find out release dates for the required version of the JRE for Mac. Macs Running OsX now support Java (since 10.2?) with very little trouble. If you need some help, drop a note to Lucifer or the webmaster.

Running Form Friend

To run Form Friend you must know where your Java runtime environment is installed. If you installed the JRE, for example, in D:\jre, then the file you need will be in D:\jre\bin\java.exe. For other operating systems installations the file may be in a different location.

On Windows

You can run Form Friend on Windows 98/95, NT or XP by creating a shortcut or by editing the one provided. To edit the existing one, right-click on it and choose “Properties”; to create a new one right-click on the desktop and choose New→Shortcut. For command line; enter

D:\jre\bin\javaw.exe -classpath C:\FormFriend\FormFriend.jar org.puzzlers.lucifer.formfriendapplet.FormFriendFrame

(substituting your JRE install directory, and the FormFriend directory for the .jar file). Note that the classpath should be enclosed in quotes if it includes spaces (e.g. if you have installed the file in “C:\Program Files\ . . .”). Then double clicking the short cut should start Form Friend.

I have had some problems making the downloaded shortcut work; it seems to get corrupted very easily. If this happens, try changing the “javaw” to “java”. If that doesn't help, try creating a new one from scratch and see if that helps. Contact technical support if you still can't get it to work.

Unix-based systems

For Solaris and Linux, the command to run Form Friend is:

  ~/jdk1.3/bin/java -cp ~/forms/FormFriend.jar org.puzzlers.lucifer.formfriendapplet.FormFriendFrame

where ~/jdk1.3/bin is the directory, where Java is located, and ~/forms is the directory where FormFriend.jar is installed.

Apple Mac OsX systems

FIXME Add directions. The should resemble Unix versions, I think.

Running the dictionary and database servers

The dictionary server provides word lookups and assists in automatically filling a form, and the database server provides net access to a set of forms on the machine where it is running. If you want to run these on your machine, the steps to do so are almost identical to the above.

If you have already got Form Friend running, then duplicate the shortcut or command line you would use for Form Friend: for the database server, change “FormFriendFrame” to “FormDBServer”; and for the dictionary server, change it to “FormFriendServer”.

For each server, there is an option (see the options page) which specifies the directory it will work in. There is a default, but you will probably have to change it via FormFriend's option dialog. Once that is done, remember to “Save Settings as Default”; this makes the directory name change permanent. Then exit and restart the servers and they will run using that directory.

For the database server, you just need to point it to a directory where there are forms you have saved. If your machine is accessible on the internet, you can give other people access to these files by telling them your server name. They can then configure their Form Friend to look up your machine and retrieve the forms.

The dictionary server requires text wordlist files named “length.type”. For example, the file containing all ten letter words should be called “10.txt”. For consonantless and vowelless forms, the relevant file types are ”.vow” and ”.con”. E.g. the file containing all words with fourteen vowels should be called “14.vow”. Note that the contents of the ”.vow” and ”.con” files should be both vowels and consonants; this is because Form Friend wants to know the real word underlying the consonants or vowels. Note too that the contents should have no spaces or other non-alphabetic characters. E.g. the first line in “14.vow” is “amateurradiorelayleague”.

If you would like to download a set of word lists to use locally, wordlists.zip is a zip file containing the same set of wordlists used by the NPL word finder. This is quite large: 24Mb unzipped, and 8Mb zipped. Unzip it and point the dictionary server at the resulting directory.

I plan to run publicly available servers at some point in the future but am not doing so at present. I will post a note here when I do so.

Quitting Form Friend

To quit Form Friend, you can:

  • press the escape key
  • press Alt-F4 (on Windows machines)
  • click the X exit icon in the top right corner of the screen.

If there are any unsaved forms, you'll be asked if you want to save them. You can turn off this behaviour; see the help on options.

Return to main help page

Form Friend version 2.02 copyright© 2000, 2001 by Lucifer

solving/formfriend/install.txt · Last modified: 2007/05/23 02:42 by kite
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