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Database publishing on CDROM

1. Create your database.

2. Set up security.

You don't have to set up any user profiles or passwords for your database if you don't want to. If you don't:

If you don't mind people being able to do these things, there is no need to set up user profiles. Otherwise, set up the system of user profiles and passwords that suits your purposes.

User profiles are not the same as encryption. If you are distributing sensitive information then you should be aware that a patient hacker might be able to read your data even though Cardbox itself would refuse to open the database. If your data really are so confidential that even a partial leak would prove embarrassing then you should consider encrypting your database.

3. Put together the CDROM.


Download the latest Cardbox Client and put the downloaded installer file instcli.exe on your CDROM. You can rename it if you think this will make things easier for your customers.


Copy onto the CDROM the database (.fil) and format (.fmt) files for each database that you want to publish.


Tell your customers where to click in order to open instcli.exe (or whatever new name you have given to it). Tell them where on your CDROM to find your databases so that they can open them using Cardbox.

You should also consider creating help files for your databases. See Help Point 550 for details.


For a professional effect, you may want to create an installer program that starts automatically, installs the Cardbox Client, and possibly even copies your databases to the user's computer. Various packages exist to help you create installers, and you should look on the Web for details.

"Non-install" CDROMs

Some people want to distribute Cardbox databases on CDROM in such a way that their customers do not have to run any kind of installation program. This mode of operation is possible but it has a few restrictions.

Running a program on the CDROM makes it start more slowly than if it is run from the hard disk.

What files to put on the CD

Copy the following files, but none of the folders, from your Cardbox program directory. This is typically C:\Program Files\Cardbox, but you can check your own installation by doing Help > About Cardbox and looking for "Cardbox Directory" in the Directories section of the report.


Unless you are going to give your customers special instructions, put these files in the root directory of your CDROM layout. To make life simpler for your customers, set the Hidden attribute on all files except cardbox3.exe and remove.exe.

If you have a Licences folder in your Cardbox program directory, do not copy it. Cardbox 3.1 does not require licences and copying the Licences folder could cause trouble.

You can copy your database files (.fil and .fmt) to the root directory of your CDROM layout also. This will make them easy to find with File > Open and will also make them accessible to those of your customers who are already Cardbox users.

The user's point of view

If Cardbox is not already installed on the customer's computer then he should double-click on cardbox3.exe and then use File > Open to open your databases.

If Cardbox is already installed on the customer's computer then he should ignore cardbox3.exe and double-click on the individual .fil files that he wants to open. This is because it is possible that the Cardbox versions on the CDROM and on the customer's computer are not compatible - in which case double-clicking on cardbox3.exe on the CDROM will open a copy of Cardbox that can't open any databases.

When it is run directly from a CDROM, Cardbox makes some settings in the Windows Registry when it runs and it removes them when it terminates. Some settings relating to the user's preferences (mostly, the Tools > Options settings) are not removed automatically. They take up very little space in the Registry but they can be removed by double-clicking on remove.exe on the CDROM (remove.exe does not display a message but it will remove the surplus Registry settings).

Autoplay when the CD is inserted

It is possible to get Windows to start a program automatically when a CDROM is inserted, by creating a file called autorun.inf, but we do not recommend that you do this because you may cause trouble if the user already has Cardbox installed.

© 2016 Martin Kochanski
"Cardbox" is a registered trademark.
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