1.0 Overview

Desktop Automation Services was formerly known as the Application Runner Shell or system (ARS). Some references to the components might still have ARS in the name but all naming conventions are changed to Desktop Automation Services (DAS) when possible.

Desktop Automation Services is a software component service that runs locally on the workstation to handle unique use cases associated with workstations or kiosks (multiple users using the same workstation during the day or during other shifts). Desktop Automation Services provides a way to execute selective and configurable lists of user operations from virtually any scripting or programming medium on the Microsoft* Windows* operating system. This allows you to change the behavior of the workstation based on how you work, instead of how a computer works. This provides you the best and most flexible computing experience while saving time and mouse clicks, and adding some productivity improvements.

Figure 1-1 Desktop Automation Services in the Novell Environment

The ARS.exe is the center of Desktop Automation Services. You can configure this object with an independent set of instructions by using an XML document that is obtained through an entry in the Windows registry. The XML document can be obtained either locally on the workstation or through the directory services. The XML document is called the action file and the file is named actions.xml.

Each action is a set of configurable user-level operations such as mapping a drive, testing for establishing an authenticated connection to a directory, and running or shutting down an application. The flexibility of the code to test for conditions or have the action triggers such as hot keys provides tremendous flexibility to change the behavior of the workstation to fit your needs.

After the first action is invoked, the ARSControl.exe service starts up and runs as a Windows service. The ARSControl.exe then parses the actions.xml file and stores the configuration in memory. All actions performed by the ARS.exe and ARSControl.exe are recorded in a DASlog.txt log file at different configurable levels of details. For details, see Section 3.2.2, Logging and Error Notification.

After you have configured the ARS.exe object, its actions are available individually or in combination from any scripting interface that is available on Windows, for example, VBScript*, JavaScript*, login scripts, and batch files.