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Using Bonjour Service

Valentina Server, starting from 2.5 release, supports Bonjour Service of Apple Computer.

Bonjour

Bonjour is Apple Computer's implementation of zero-configuration networking known generally as “zero config”. It enables automatic discovery of computers, devices, and services on IP networks without having a knowledgeable person manually configure DNS servers. The Apple specific implementation is available for MacOS X, Windows, Linux, BSD Unix and others.

Apple pioneered the use of Bonjour in an effort to move from proprietary AppleTalk - Bonjour is built right into the operating system.

The Bonjour has a very modest footprint. For servers, there is zero overhead on the MacOS X. Windows and Linux requires an installation of Bonjour since it is not built into the operating system.

Bonjour in Valentina Studio and Valentina Server

Bonjour was incorporated into Valentina Server 2.5 and Valentina Studio 2.5. Valentina Studio lets you create, browse, query and administrate local databases as well as servers, so you can quickly and easily locate copies of Valentina Server on your network.

In addition to implementations for developers using Visual C++, Objective-C, or .net, Valentina is also available for rapid application environments such as Adobe Director, Runtime Revolution and REAL Software's REALbasic. The latter are extremely popular in the K-12 market because they offer cross-platform solutions: you can expect plenty of Windows, MacOS X PPC and some new MacOS X Intel boxes - often in the same lab.

A Usage Scenario in K-12 Education

Lets say you've developed a modular series on US history that you want to deploy throughout all the middle schools in your school district. A portion of your curriculum combines lecture, guided learning and independent study and you've developed a series of biographical lessons that incorporate sound, famous speeches and video clips of historical events. After each section, you want to test for comprehension in user paced quizzes. The rest is collected into a database to assess student preparedness for semester exams.

With Bonjour, your history teachers do not have to involve any IT specialists to set up your solution. The same student application is installed on each computer in each lab (Mac or Windows), a server on any computer in the network, and the teacher's reporting application on the teacher's computer. When the student starts a session, your student application automatically locates the server on the network and periodically collects performance information that is then stored on the server. Your teacher's reporting application, likewise, can find the server on the network and periodically query the server to monitor performance throughout the class period.

Server-Side Steps to Use Bonjour

On default Valentina Server generates the INI-file with enabled bonjour service

BonjourEnable=1

Valentina Server on default registers self with the name “Valentina Server”, and in the log file you can see the following line about successful registration of Bonjour Service:

Bonjour service registered at Valentina Server._valentina._tcp.local.

If computer where Valentina Server is started do not have Bonjour Service but the BonjourEnable flag is 1, then in log will be produced notification message about failure to register bonjour service.

If Valentina Server listens also for SSL and/or HTTP ports then will be registered additional services:

Bonjour service registered at Valentina Server._valentina-ssl._tcp.local.
Bonjour service registered at Valentina Server._valentina-http._tcp.local.

Client-Side Steps to Use Bonjour

Support of Bonjour on the client side is expressed in single function of a Valentina ADK that returns array of strings - Bonjour descriptions of servers that run service of a specific type.

For example to find Valentina Server you need call it as:

ArrayOfStrings bnj_services = Valentina.LocateBonjourService( "_valentina._tcp" )

Having the array of strings you can:

1. Display list of found services in some GUI. You may wish transform strings before displaying them. Later, when user click some item you do connect to that server.

2. Iterate strings in the loop and do connect to all found servers. Or may be you know that your solution will always find only one server, for example a class-room solution.

Now the question is how to connect to Server having its description string from Bonjour. It is very simple. You need just pass this string into the constructor of VConnection class as inHost parameter. Valentina Client will do all rest job itself.