About External Files

Large source files like media and archive files may be kept outside of the application so their loading time is highly decreased. In fact, all files that were first compiled in the application .exe must be unpacked in memory in order to be accessible by the runtime viewer. This unpacking step then requires time and especially for very large files. To reduce this loading time, you can leave your files unpacked: the runtime viewer in this case does not need to unpack them anymore, just to load them.

External files must be deployed with the application .exe file, so this option is especially useful if you plan to distribute your application on standard media supports like CDs, DVDs…

Set a file as external

To set a file as external, select it in the File Manager and click Properties. The “File Properties” window is displayed; turn on “Keep the selected file(s) external”. You are then prompted to enter the future path to the external file.

If you want to display paths of external files in the File Manager, right click the list and select “Show External Paths column” in the context menu. When a file is configured to be an external file, its path will be displayed here.

Path to the folder where the file will be available

When the application reads the external file, it must first load it and thus it requires a path to the existing external file. Since these external files must be deployed with the application .exe file, you will generally place them in the same folder as the application .exe file or one of its subfolders. In this field, you have to enter the full path to the external file. Since you can’t always guess the path of the latter on the end user’s computer, ExeOutput for PHP provides you with a %PATH% variable. This variable denotes the path to the application .exe file. Therefore you can now tell the application the external file’s relative path.

  • the external file will be in the same folder as the application .exe file: just enter “%PATH%” without the quotes.

  • the external file will be in a subfolder (say MyFolder1): enter “%PATH%\MyFolder1” without the quotes.

The %PATH% variable will never include the final path backslash \ so do not forget to insert it for subfolders: %PATH%\Subfolder is correct while %PATH%Subfolder is wrong.

Note that you can also have several subfolders: %PATH%\MyFolder1\MyFolder2\MyFolder3

Example

Take this set of files; [root] is the path to the root folder that contains the application. It can have any value.

[root]\MYPUB.EXE is the application .exe file built by ExeOutput for PHP. It will require the five following external files:

  • [root]\docs\INFO1.PDF

  • [root]\docs\INFO2.PDF

  • [root]\MAP.PDF

  • [root]\video\codec1\VIDEO1.AVI

  • [root]\video\codec1\VIDEO2.AVI

You could imagine that [root] will be the root of a CD that you will distribute. You cannot guess the letter to the CD drive on the user computer, so you will need to use the %PATH% variable and enter the following values in the full path’s field:

[root]\docs\INFO1.PDF -> %PATH%\docs [root]\docs\INFO2.PDF -> %PATH%\docs
[root]\MAP.PDF -> %PATH%
[root]\video\codec1\VIDEO1.AVI -> %PATH%\video\codec1
[root]\video\codec1\VIDEO2.AVI -> %PATH%\video\codec1

Notes

  • Do not insert filenames in the full path field: %PATH%\docs is correct, %PATH%\docs\INFO1.PDF is wrong.

  • ExeOutput for PHP will automatically exclude external files from compilation, but they will remain in the file list.

  • Only media files should be kept external: for instance, you should not use this feature for HTML pages.

See also File Properties Editor


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