Installing and Deploying SkyMark's PathMaker® Software

PathMaker is a suite of software tools designed to be used by project teams to solve problems, plan strategy, improve processes, and monitor performance. The unit of storage is a project, analogous to the document in MS-Word. Typically, projects are stored on a shared drive or file server, so that all team members can have access to them. With the exception of thin-client installations, the program files need to be installed on the local machine. This can be done via network application loader, or by permanent installs on the local drive. 

 

1) System requirements: 
PathMaker Version Hard Disk Space RAM required Win Vista,7 Win 2000,XP,ME Win 98 Win 95 Win NT 4.0 Win 3.1 with win32s Requires MDAC?
1.5 12MB 8 MB N Y Y Y Y Y N
II (2.0.9) 30MB 16MB N Y Y Y Y N Y
II (2.5) 20MB 20MB N Y Y Y Y N Y
3.0 20MB 20MB N Y Y Y Y N Y
3.0 40MB 20MB N Y Y Y Y N Y
4.0 40MB 20MB N Y Y Y Y N Y
5.0 40MB 20MB N Y Y Y Y N Y
5.5 50MB 20MB N Y Y Y Y N Y
6.0 50MB 20MB N Y Y Y Y N Y
6.1 50MB 20MB Y Y Y Y Y N Y

2) Licensing:   Each device where the software is used needs a valid license. In PathMaker 6.1, we have designed licensing so that it can be user-based and machine-based, i.e. so that a machine in a common area, e.g. a factory setting or a training room, may be used by multiple users and a system that pushes a user's set of applications to a machine based on a login may also be accommodated. One unusual feature of our license is that we specifically do permit users to install a single licensed copy on a machine at home and a machine at work. There are substantial quantity discounts, to encourage wide usage of PathMaker in pursuit of quality and productivity improvements. See our pricing page for details of quantity discounts, and the license.txt file in your installation directory for details of the license agreement.

3) Authorization Codes: PathMaker 6.1 can be downloaded from www.skymark.com and installed. The installed version will run for 30 days, as a fully working program. To run for more than 30 days, an authorization code is required. Users need to call +1.412.371.0680 (in the USA)or +1.412.371.0680 to get a new authorization code. Codes are free to current subscribers.

4) Upgrading to PathMaker 6.1: PathMaker 6.1 can be downloaded from www.skymark.com and installed. PathMaker 6.1 will overwrite PathMaker 6.0 installations, but not installations for PathMaker 5.5 or earlier. Instead, it will install itself alongside them. The reason is that not all users in an organization will always upgrade simultaneously, and if you need to share files with users of older versions, you will need to keep those older versions installed. Once all users have upgraded, earlier versions of PathMaker may be uninstalled, using the Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs function.

5) Backward Compatibility: PathMaker 6.1 can read files created in versions 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 or 5.5, but they will be converted automatically, and cannot be reverted to older versions again. We therefore recommend that before files are read in PathMaker 6.1, you make a backup copy of project files.

6) Deployment of PathMaker on your network: PathMaker's .exe file and .dll's need to be installed on the machines where  the software will be used. The default installation directory is C:\Program Files\SkyMark\PathMaker 6.1

  • The bin sub-directory holds .exe and PathMaker-specific .dll files.
  • The Dict sub-directory holds dictionary files for the spellchecker.
  • The Help directory holds help files.
  • The Slideshow directory holds, predictably, slideshow files.

7) Sharing Projects and Templates: Many organizations want to store PathMaker templates centrally, to make them available to all users, and consistent across the organization. Here's how to accomplish this:

  1. Install the software on a local machine.
  2. From the File menu, choose the Manage Templates command.
  3. To add a database, click the Add button. The Open dialog box will appear.
  4. Browse to the location for your new template database. If the database exists already, click on it, then click the Open button. If you want to create a new database, type a name for it in the box marked File name, then click the open button. Once you have done this, you will be able to save or copy templates to this new location.

8) Linking other files to PathMaker projects: If you want to link other documents used in your organization to your PathMaker pathway templates, it is easy to do so. Users can do this using the "Add Hyperlink" command or button in the Project Pathway tool. Make sure that your documents are held centrally, so that all validated users will be able to see them, and so that the pathway links to other resources outside PathMaker will remain intact. 



PathMaker has evolved through several versions:

9) PathMaker 1.5 (First Generation) - January 1997 through December 1999. This was a 32-bit Windows® package which relied on serialized project files. Its primary modes of use were either by single users or by teams gathered in meeting rooms and projecting the software onto a screen. System requirements are summarized in the table below. The last build of this software was PathMaker 1.5.414. An update from earlier builds to 1.5.414  in this series is available for download. You can tell your current version number from the Help menu, About PathMaker command. There are only two reasons to still use PathMaker 1.5:

a) You are still using Windows 3.1, or 

b) You have project files stored in 1.5 which you want to refer to, and which cannot be read by PathMaker II 2.0.9.

10) PathMaker II (Second Generation). The second generation of PathMaker software was released in January 2000. Earlier builds (2.0.8 or less) should be upgraded. PathMaker II supports simultaneous access to project files by multiple users, but each individual tool within a project may still be used by just one user at a time. The software is written in C++, and runs on Windows 2000, NT 4.0, 98 and 95 machines. Instead of serializing files, PathMaker projects are now stored in a Microsoft Jet/DAO database, usually located on a file server or shared drive for easy access by eligible users. PathMaker II required more resources than its predecessor, since the Microsoft Data Access Component file set had to be installed. This is already present on many modern Windows machines, but if it is not present, it will be installed. The use of PathMaker still requires that files be loaded locally, but it works well with network application loading software, or thin client solutions like Citrix Metaframe. The typical mode of use has begun to change towards network access by multiple team members, improving project communication and reducing project duration.

11) PathMaker 2.5 (Third Generation) This version of PathMaker was released on December 10th, 2000. It added all the features required for full virtual collaboration in the all the PathMaker tools. Still a Windows package, this version of PathMaker was tested on Windows 2000, NT 4.0, 98, or 95. It still used Microsoft Jet/DAO database technology, but now offered much faster performance, smaller project files, and, most importantly, tool-level granularity for multi-user access. The mode of use has migrated further towards the virtual project, which is running across the LAN, WAN, or VPN. A free upgrade to PathMaker 2.5 is available to all users of all prior versions.

12) PathMaker 3.0 (Fourth Generation) This version of PathMaker was released on July 5th, 2001. It added more than 600 features and fixes to PathMaker 2.5. Much of the new development effort focused on upgrading the capabilities of the Data Analyst tool. This version of PathMaker runs on Windows XP, ME, 2000, NT 4.0, 98, or 95. There was one service pack posted for this version, PathMaker 3.0.1, on September 6, 2001.

13) PathMaker 4.0 was released on February 18th, 2002.It included several hundred improvements - both fixes and new features. Architecturally, the product did not change significantly from PathMaker 3.0. A Bubble Chart tool was added to the Data Analyst module, and a third-party spellchecking component was integrated into all tools. An updated version of the ChartFX charting tool was also included, which offers users a very wide range of options for chart colors, marker sizes and shapes, axes, 3-D rotations, annotations, and more. This version of PathMaker runs on Windows XP, ME, 2000, NT 4.0, 98, or 95.

14) PathMaker 5.0 was released on January 24th, 2003. PathMaker 5.0 was a major milestone - a powerful, feature-rich, stable package. It included over 1200 improvements. The 5.0 release did not add new tools, but instead focused on polishing the existing ones, making them work well together, supporting outputs to HTML and .jpg formats, and doing the myriad little things that make for a good, friendly, fun-to-work-with software application.

15) PathMaker 5.5 was released on August 5th, 2003. PathMaker 5.5 is a very worthwhile interim release. It includes a bunch of nice-to-have features, but doesn't add new tools or change architecture.

16) PathMaker 6.0 was released on October 7, 2005. It added nearly 800 new features. Some highlights: before-and-after process control limits, easy consensus building cycles, Excel-like formulas, faster, instant discussions, creating action items from anywhere, easier team setup and file-sharing, and much more.

17) PathMaker 6.1 was released on February 28, 2007. PathMaker 6.1 includes a nice set of new features, including easy exporting and importing of tools from one project to another, easy emailing of projects, improved action item management, more control of chart options and formatting in the Data Analyst tool, and more flexible installation and license management for network administrators.