Differences from Other Versions

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Differences from Other Versions

Because in the OnDemand Version both the program and your data are on servers, there are actually a lot of differences between how things are organized with it than with other versions. However, the features are basically the same - you are not giving up anything by using OnDemand.

 

Here are the most significant differences, that users should be aware of - particularly users who have used other versions of DONATION before:

 

You never have to install or upgrade the program, only the OnDemand Client program. We will ensure that DONATION is always kept up to date when there are new releases.

You can run it on Apple Mac computers, and also (with limitations) on iOS (iPad) and Android tablets. Tablet use would only be recommended for quick look-ups and reports.

It requires reasonably fast and reliable Internet access.

It runs somewhat slower than the Lite, Standard, and Local Network versions.

Users log in to the OnDemand Client with a login user name and password, then they do not have to provide a password to get into the program. Your login determines your permissions / access level, so no separate passwords are needed to determine that.

Users have to initially be set up in two places: the OnDemand User Management application, to give them a login to the OnDemand Client, and the program's Maintenance ⇒ Administer All Users window, to assign their permissions / access level for DONATION.

When you first start using the OnDemand version you will have to wait briefly for us to set it up for you. Normally this should take no more than one business day, often much faster.

Like the Local Network version, there is only ever one copy of the program's database, and it does not have to be backed up and restored to other computers for other users to access it. (With the Standard version, such backing up and restoring is necessary for sharing between computers, but it can be safely automated with the Cloud Storage Service.)

The usual Backup/Restore menu options are still available, though, for other purposes, like making extra backups to your own computer, or restoring a backup to go back to an earlier version of the database, after you have done something that you need to undo.

Initially the only printer you have access to is the default printer on your local computer. Additional printers can be added, if you have more than one.

The Data Directory location is different from all other versions: It is always S:\Cooperstock Software\Donation.

Unlike all other versions, all users for one organization share that same Data Directory. In all other versions, each user has to install the DONATION software on their computer and thus has their own copy of the Data Directory. Because of this, there are a number of related changes to ensure that one user's work does not interfere with another user's work, and that users can have their own settings:

oInstead of some settings, that are personal choices, being stored in the file DONATION.INI in the Data Directory, each user has a file USERNAME.INI in the Data Directory that is used instead of DONATION.INI. (USERNAME here, and in the next few bullet points, is replaced by the User Name you logged in with.)

oInstead of mail-merge letter and receipt templates that you are in the process of editing, and results of mail merges, being stored in a Letters subdirectory under the Data Directory, they are stored in a subdirectory named Letters.USERNAME. The actual templates, however, are always stored in the database and shared by all users, as with all other versions of the program.

oInstead of putting temporary files in your computer's normal TEMP directory, whatever that is, they are stored in a Temp.USERNAME subdirectory under the Data Directory.

oSimilarly, Import and Export subdirectories of the Data Directory, used for some functions, are replaced by Import.USERNAME and Export.USERNAME.

You can access your local Windows or Mac computer's drives, but they will come up as drive J: and later. So for Windows, your main drive C: will appear as J:, if you have a D: drive (likely a USB memory key) it will appear as K:, etc. Those drive letters can be used for reading and writing files, for instance if you want to save a database backup to your own computer's hard drive rather than just on the server.

Although ACS Technologies, who supply the servers, make regular backups of everything on those servers, and have redundancies in case of hardware failures, you should not depend on only that for the security of your data. You should still do regular database backups, whether to the server, or to your local hard drive. Because the server is already on the Internet, there is no need for the program's special Internet Backups feature and it is therefore not available.

Like the Local Network version, you can have multiple simultaneous users doing data entry at the same time.

Unlike other versions, Annual Renewal payments are absolutely required to keep using the program. (There is a 30-day grace period after your support expires, before it will stop working. The program warns you when your expiry date is coming up soon, and when it has passed.)

After each payment, one user will have to update the program's license key to reflect your new support expiry date. That will update it for all users, which is unlike all other versions where each user has to update the license key for their own computer.

Microsoft Word and Excel are not available on the OnDemand server, due to expensive licensing requirements. For the very few places where they can be used in the program, the open source office program OpenOffice will be used instead. OpenOffice Writer replaces Word, and OpenOffice Calc replaces Excel. If you absolutely need to use Word or Excel, you can do that work on your own computer, outside of the OnDemand environment. Reports can still be exported to regular Excel files, and data can still be imported from regular Excel files. If you export a report to Excel and ask for it to be opened, it will be opened in OpenOffice Calc. If you ask to import a Word document for use as a mail-merge template, OpenOffice Writer will be used to convert it to HTML, which unfortunately does not always give great conversions.

Because you will not have access to Control Panel or Windows Settings on the OnDemand server, if you have preferred short and long date formats they can be set in the program's menu option Maintenance ⇒ Date Formats, which is available in only the OnDemand version.

Currency formats cannot be changed from US settings (dollar signs and commas at the thousands), so that will make the OnDemand version unappealing to any users in countries with different currencies (not dollars). Internet speeds from outside North America to the servers, which are in North America, would probably also make the OnDemand version unusable.

The OnDemand server is rebooted every night at 2:55am Eastern Time, and will be back at 3am. If you start the program within one hour of that time, you will be warned about the upcoming reboot. If you are still running when the reboot happens, your program will immediately exit.

Because we are paying for server resources, if you leave the program inactive for two hours it will give you a message and then exit. We have to pay for the maximum number of simultaneous users across all user organizations during each month, so please exit the program any time you are not using it, and also please exit the OnDemand Client program. (What is counted for our payments is the number of users who have that OnDemand Client program, or any program launched from it, running.)

The novaPDF printer driver is not included with this version. That was only needed for creating PDFs from mail-merge letters or receipts. In this version that has been replaced with a different method of doing that. Because novaPDF is not included, the menu option Tools ⇒ Fix NovaPDF Problems was removed from this version.

 


This topic was last edited on Aug 16, 2021