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Descent 3 - Descent 3 dedicated server tool for Windows
Written by Thomas   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 05:53


From version onwards, D3Server3 supports in opening and monitoring logfiles.

OpenServerLogFileThe functions for these are found in the popup menu of the list that contains the running servers (the server list) in D3Server3's main window. Use the right mouse key to open this menu.

If no server is running/selected, the menu only shows a subset of the functions.

The image on the left has been taken by right-clicking on a started dedicated Descent 3 server.

The functions for opening logfiles start with the text "Open", and the functions for monitoring the files start with "Monitor". See Server list popup menu for a description of each of the menu items.

This article only explains in detail what these Open and Monitor popup menu entries do, how they work, and how they can be used.

The first of these menu items actually does not belong to the rest of the group. "Open log folder" opens an Explorer window containing the contents of the folder log within the D3Server3 installation directory. The article Server list popup offers some more information on this.

The texts after "Open" and "Monitor" refer to the type of logfile the functions work on. There are two different types of logfiles: The main logfile (D3Server3's logfile) and one logfile for each dedicated server (server logfile).


Open logfile

In D3Server3 terminology, opening a logfile means starting a viewer application to open the logfile. The application Large Text File Viewer (LTF) is used for this purpose. D3Server3's installation program installs LTF (LTFViewr5u.exe) in the same directory as D3Server3.exe.

LTF lets you examine the logfile, search, scroll, pretty much whatever you like, except editing. It wouldn't make much sense to edit a logfile, would it? It supports regular expressions for the pros and a standard search for everyone else. You can select stuff and copy it to the Windows clipboard. It also has some settings you can adjust to fit your likings, like fonts, colours, and it even got the option to display a background image.

Since logfiles usually grow in size, LTF updates automatically with the logfile. Howerver, it does not change its view. This means it doesn't scroll automatically in order to not interrupt you while you view the file or work with it in any other way.

When you close D3Server3, all LTF windows are closed too. You can avoid this by using the "detached" versions of the menu items. And that's one of the differences between "Open logfile" and "Open logfile detached", and between "Monitor logfile" and "Monitor logfile detached". When D3Server3 is closed, the "detached" viewer windows won't close. They stay open until you close them yourself.

LTF is first started with the current logfile. When the logfile grows, LTF updates, but LTF has no clue when either D3Server3 or a dedicated Descent 3 server create a new logfile and start logging into it.

With the standard installation of D3Server3, new logfiles are created every week. If a week just ends and a new one starts while you view your logfile, the current logfile (the one LTF has open) would never update again. Every new event is written into the new logfile for the new week. This is the next difference between opening or monitoring normally and doing it detached. D3Server3 checks if it has created a new main logfile, and it does the same for the logfiles of dedicated servers. Once a new logfile has been created, D3Server3 closes the LTF window and re-opens it again with the new file.

"Open logfile detached" and "Monitor logfile detached" do not perform these checks. The viewer windows are entirely detached from D3Server3.


Monitor logfile

Monitoring a logfile means that D3Server3 opens a commandline window with the helper tool tail.exe. Tail has originally been a Unix tool but is also available for Windows. D3Server3's installation program installs a copy of this little helper in the server tool's main folder.

Tail does not provide any search options, or any of LTF's powerful functions. It simply outputs the last few lines of a logfile. When the logfile grows, more lines are displayed. It always shows the tail of the file (now guess why the tool is called "tail" Cool).

It pretty much does what LTF cannot do - monitor a logfile's tail.

Since Tail runs in a Windows commandline window, the command interpreter's clipboard copy function can be used. You can adjust the window buffer size and some other settings. Since these functions are different on different versions of Windows, please refer to the Windows documentation on what can be done with a commandline window.

When D3Server3 is closed, all Tail windows are automatically closed too. To avoid this, use the detached menu items. Tail windows opened with "Monitor logfile detached" do not close when D3Server3 is closed. The viewer windows are entirely detached from D3Server3.

The same goes for logfile name changes. When a monitored logfile's name changes, D3Server3 automatically closes the Tail window and re-opens a new one with the new logfile. Use the detached class of menu items to prevent this from happening.


If there's anything unclear, please feel free to leave a comment below. Happy "Opening and monitoring logfiles"! Cool

The entire popup menu is described in the article Server list popup menu.



Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 11:09
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