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Friday, November 13, 2009

Helicon Ape remote management using IIS 7

Management on local machine

After installation of Helicon Ape (Full or Free Edition) on Windows 2008 Server or Windows 7 you have a possibility to edit httpd.conf and .htaccess files directly in IIS Manager in the same way as in Helicon Ape Manager.

To edit particular .htaccess file select the corresponding folder in the sites tree and double-click on Helicon Ape icon. To configure httpd.conf select the tree root (usually having the host name).

Helicon Ape snap-in empowers you to manage not only configuration files but also licenses via License Manager available in Help -> License Manager.

Management on remote server

In IIS 7 the remote administering functionality was introduced. It became possible to manage IIS on remote server from local machine even with Windows XP on it. Here's the Microsoft story about it.

Let's have a closer look at this function.
Capabilities of remote IIS Manager are outlined here. IIS Manager itself may be downloaded here.

  1. Having the IIS Manager installed, run it.
  2. Select 'Connect to a server...' option if you need to connect to the whole server or 'Connect to a site...' if you want to connect to a particular site.
  3. Input the desired host name, access credentials.

  4. If you use self-signed certificate, you will get a warning message expressing concerns on whether this cert may be trusted or not. Be persistent and press 'Connect' button.
  5. After that IIS Manager will suggest to download Helicon.Ape.Editor.dll from the server to make remote Ape management possible. Accept this prompt.

  6. Now you have Ape snap-in for the server/site running locally. And you can manage configuration files (httpd.conf, .htaccess) and licenses (in License Manager) as if working directly on the server.

Summing up it's worth mentioning that this remote management functionality may be particularly useful for shared hosting clients as they get an opportunity to handle their site(s) by themselves without having to bother the server administrator on the slightest occasion.

Best wishes,
Ruslan, Anton - HeliconTech Team

Helicon Ape released

Just wanted to let you know that we have slightly improved Ape 3 and released a new build - The enhancements relate to incorrect snap-in and License Manager behavior in certain situations and address improper installation package actions under specific conditions.

Feel free to download.

Best wishes,
HeliconTech Team

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guide: Helicon Ape License Manager

In this article we are going to shed some light on the licensing policy implemented in Ape 3 and tell about its new feature—License Manager.

We'll review each of the possible license types so you could opt for the one that best fits your needs.

To start with, there are two distinct installation packages supporting various license types:
  • Full (including 45-day trial)
    • free licenses
    • per-site licenses
    • server-wide license
  • Free (gratis for up to 3 sites only)
    • free licenses

1. Full version

Free licenses

Ape 3 has obtained a new license type—Free. From now on you can use Ape for up to 3 sites at no cost.
To use Ape on up to 3 sites absolutely free choose Free mode during installation.

After installation process is over, run Helicon Ape Manager and open Help -> License Manager to specify the sites for which free licenses will be used. To do that Per-site licensing policy should be selected. In the list of sites you must tick the sites (up to 3!) you want Ape to work for free for and press "Enable free license" button.

Per-site licenses

If you need more than 3 sites to use Ape, you can either buy individual per-site licenses or (if you want Ape for a bunch of sites) buy a server license (see the next sub-item).

Having bought a per-site license you just run the License Manager, and being in Per-site mode tick the site you want this license for and press "Enable License". You'll be offered to enter the registration data and press "Enable". After that, assuming your credentials are correct, Ape will be enabled for the chosen site.

Server license

If you have a large number of sites to use Ape, it's more appropriate (and economically efficient) to register Ape for entire server. This means all sites on this server will be able to use Ape when properly configured.

To register Ape on entire server select Server License mode in License Manager and enter registration credentials when prompted. Then necessarily press "Apply" button.

Note! If you want to test Ape on your entire server prior to buying it, you may select "45 Day Trial" mode during installation and enjoy it for 45 days period at no cost without functionality limitations.

Note! If you selected "I have a key" licensing option during installation and now have Ape registered for the entire server, transition to Free license mode will no longer be available for you as it just doesn't make sense.

Notice that License Manager is just a handy tool and licenses may also be set manually in Helicon Ape Manager by editing licenses.conf file.

To apply free Ape licenses to 3 specific sites the following directive should be written:
FreeSites id#1 id#100001456 id#789
where the numbers represent sites' IDs in IIS.

To add a per-site license for specific site having ID=1 in IIS the following structure should be used:
<VirtualHost id#1>
RegistrationName= Name
RegistrationCode= Code

The server license is enabled in a similar way but without VirtualHost tags:
RegistrationName= Name
RegistrationCode= Code

2. Free version

Alternatively to installing Helicon Ape Installation Package you may choose Helicon Ape Free Installation Package to use Ape on up to 3 web sites absolutely free without opportunity to by additional per-site or server licenses.

But not to worry, if once you need to use Ape for more sites and want to upgrade, you can do that by clicking "Update to Full version" button in License Manager.

This article was aimed to cover all Helicon Ape licensing capabilities which are rather flexible and let you benefit from using the most appropriate one.

Best wishes,
Anton, HeliconTech Team

Monday, November 9, 2009

Helicon Ape 3 Release

New version of Helicon Ape has recently been released!

It offers:
  • free use on up to 3 sites;
  • 30+ Apache-like modules;
  • admin-free installation on shared hosting;
  • improved performance;
  • redesigned, easier-to-use manager;
  • license manager

Test Ape 3 for free during 45 days.
Looking forward to your feedback.

P.S. New articles on Ape 3 features are coming soon. Stay tuned!