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Helix Client Access Configuration Tips

Connecting to a Helix Server via Helix Client is relatively simple, whether connecting to a Server running on a local network (LAN) or a remote network (WAN) via the internet. See the Client Connection Dialog technote for more information.

This document covers general tips for Helix Client users, as well as providing links to technotes for more advanced configuation options. For information on configuring a machine for Helix Server, see Helix Server Access Configuration Tips.

Helix Client Configuration Notes
About Connection Documents

When you connect to a Server for the first time, Helix Client automatically saves a connection document, (formerly known as a structure file) which appears in Helix Client’s Connect To… menu. Reconnecting to the Server from this menu (or by opening the connection document via any standard method) is much faster and more efficient than is possible through a new connection.

The saved connection document can be thought of as a shortcut for reconnecting to the Server, but it has many more features. A saved connection document has these benefits:

  1. Instant reconnection to the Server: no waiting for large structures to download.
  2. Window positions are preserved: your customized setup is not lost between connections.
  3. Queries (open, power, and quick) are preserved: your custom queries are not lost between connections.
  4. Reduced load on the Server: by storing the collection structure locally, the Server does not have to send that information repeatedly, making it able to handle Client data requests faster, and with less overhead.
  5. Bandwidth reduction for slow networks: by storing the collection structure locally, network traffic is reduced to a minimum, resulting in better performance. The improvement is particularly noticeable over slower connections, such as WAN connections.

Helix Client detects when you have used Helix RADE to update a database. The next time you use its connection document, a dialog informs you that the database structure has been updated. When this happens, your saved window positions and queries are reset to the defaults set in Helix RADE. To set those preferences permanently, open the collection with Helix RADE, switch to User Mode (with the appropriate user name, if more than one exists) and set the window positions and queries. Those settings become the new defaults for that user when connecting from Helix Client.

Note #1: Connection documents are saved in the user’s Application Support folder. (Path: ~/Library/Application Support/Helix/Client/)

Note #2: The connection document used to be called a structure file. You may see that term used in older technotes; the terms are synonymous.

Client AutoConnect Mechanism

The Client AutoConnect mechanism is controlled by editing setting in your local Helix Client preference file. There is currently no provision for embedding these in a distributed Client.

You can set a Helix Client workstation to automatically open a saved connection document or to connect to a specific Server every time the Client is launched. You can also configure a workstation to automatically log in as a specific user, either requiring or bypassing the user’s password. A detailed technote on configuring these options is found in Technote R6939: AutoConnect & AutoOpen Preference Interaction.

Setting Performance Buffers

Helix Client can use the Collection and Recovery buffers to increase performance when working from a saved connection document. For Helix Client, the Collection Buffer need only to be 1-2 MB larger than the size of your locally saved connection document. Do not set it to the size of the collection! Most connection documents are less than 5MB, so set the Collection Buffer to 10MB; that is more than sufficient for virtually all collections.

The Recovery Buffer is a small area used as in internal scratch pad. Setting the Recovery Buffer larger than 5MB does nothing more than waste memory.

Administrator Notes

Administrators can disable the Connect command, forcing users to work from saved connection documents.

For a Client (Classic or macOS) that is distributed to multiple users, or moved from computer to computer, the HVIS/0 resource can be edited to disable Connect.

On a single machine (macOS only), the HxDisableConnect preference disables Connect.

AppleScript Control

Helix’s Quit Apple event allows you to create simple scripts that can avoid all dialog boxes that may appear when disconnecting from a Server. (This is useful if you need to shut down a remote Client in order to make backups, etc.) Sample scripts are found in the “Things You Might Need” folder that is created in the Helix folder when you run our installer.