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Deploying Programs with the Runtime Application


FabImage Executor is a lightweight application that can run programs created with FabImage Studio. The GUI controls that appear in this application are the ones that have been created with the HMI Designer. The end user can manipulate the controls to adjust parameters and can see the results, but he is not able change the project.

FabImage Executor application is installed with the FabImage Studio Runtime package. It can be used on computers without the full development license. Only a runtime license is required. What is more, programs executed in FabImage Executor usually run significantly faster, because there is no overhead of the advanced program control and visualization features of the graphical environment of FabImage Studio.

The screen of FabImage Executor.


Open a project from a file and use standard buttons to control the program execution. A file can also be started using the Windows Explorer context menu command Run, which is default for computers with FabImage Studio Runtime and no FabImage Studio installed.

Please note, that FabImage Executor can only run projects created in exactly the same version of FabImage Studio. This limitation is introduced on purpose – little changes between versions of Studio may affect program compatibility. After any upgrade your application should first be loaded and re-saved with FabImage Studio as it then runs some backward compatibility checks and adjustments that are not available in Executor.

Console mode

It is possible to run FabImage Executor in the console mode. To do so, the --console argument is needed to be passed. Note, that this mode makes the --program argument required so the application will know which program to run at startup.

FabImage Executor is able to open a named pipe where it's log will be write into. This is possible with --log-pipe argument which accepts a pipe name to be opened. One may then connect to the pipe and process FabImage Executor log live. This can be easily done e.g. in C#:

	var logPipe = new NamedPipeClientStream(".", "myProjectPipe", PipeDirection.In);

	byte[] buffer = new byte[1024];
	int count = 0;
	while (logPipe.IsConnected && (count = logPipe.Read(buffer, 0, 1024)) > 0)
		Console.WriteLine(Encoding.UTF8.GetString(buffer, 0, count));

Available FabImage Executor arguments are as follows:

Path to the program to be loaded
Sets the logged information level
Runs the application in the console mode
Automatically closes the application when program is finished. Meaningful only in console mode.
Specifies the language code to use as the user interface language.
Attaches application process to the calling process console.
Creates a named pipe which will be populated with log entries during application lifetime. Meaningful only in console mode.
Displays help

Runtime Executables

FabImage Executor can open .fiproj files, the same as FabImage Studio, however it is better to use .fiexe files here. Firstly one can have a single binary executable file for the runtime environment. Secondly this file is encrypted so that nobody is able to look at project details. To create one, open a project in FabImage Studio and use File » Export to Runtime Executable.... This will produce an .fiexe file that can be executed directly from the Windows Explorer.

If FabImage project contains any User Filter libraries, it is crucial to put their *.dll files into the appropriate directory when running in FabImage Executor. This is when exporting to .fiexe file might also be a handy option. While defining the .fiexe contents, it is possible to select all the User Filters libraries that the exported project depends on. Selected libraries are deployed then to the same directory as generated .fiexe file and the .fiexe itself is set to use all User Filter libraries from its directory.

Defining the Runtime Executable.

In case there are any other dependencies, e.g. exposed by used User Filter libraries, one can add them into the FabImage project as an attachment in Project Explorer and also deploy with .fiexe file during export.

Project ID available in Advanced Options is an additional parameter that makes only a specific license able to run the application. At the customer request, FabImage Team can generate the key (Project ID) and add it to the Runtime license. The same Project ID must be set for Runtime Executable export to connect the application with the specific license. If you leave this field default, any license will be able to run the .fiexe file.

Trick: Configuration File as a Module Not Exported to FIEXE

It is often convenient to have an configuration file separated from the executable so that various parameters can be adjusted for a particular installation (but not made available to the end user). This can be easily implemented with a simple programming idiom:

  1. Use global parameters in your project for values that might require adjusting.
  2. Place the global parameters in a separate module (through the Project Explorer window).
  3. Exclude the module when exporting the .fiexe file.
  4. In the runtime environment copy the .fiexe file and the module (as a separate file) with global parameters.
  5. Open the config module in the Notepad to edit it when needed.

Other Runtime Options

Please note that FabImage Executor is only one of several options for creating end-user's applications. Other available options are:

  • .NET Macrofilter Interface Generator – generates a native .NET assembly (a DLL file) and makes it possible to invoke macrofilters created in FabImage Studio as simple class methods from a .NET project. Internally the execution engine of FabImage Studio is used, so modifying the related macrofilters does not require to re-compile the .NET solution. The HMI can be implemented with WinForms, WPF or similar technologies.
  • C++ Code Generator – generates native C++ code (a CPP file) that is based on FabImage Library C++. This code can be integrated with bigger C++ projects and the HMI can be implemented with Qt, MFC or similar libraries. Each time you modify the program in Studio, the C++ code has to be re-generated and re-compiled.

Set FabImage Executor as the "system shell"

On Windows systems it is possible to set FabImage Executor as the "system shell", thus removing Desktop, Menu Start etc. completely. To do this go to Settings in FabImage Executor and the Startup section. Mark the Set FabImage Executor as the main system application (for the current user only). Please be informed that this option requires administrator privileges.

Set FabImage Executor as the "system shell"

Startup Applications

It is possible to run any process before starting a program in FabImage Executor. Go to Settings in FabImage Executor and the Startup section. To define a new startup program select the Add button on the right. In a New startup program dialog box you need to specify the application path (obligatory) and arguments (optional). It is similar to typing the application name and command-line arguments in the Run dialog box of the Windows Start menu. The added program will appear in the list. All added programs will start each time you run FabImage Executor.

Defining Startup Applications

Startup Project

It is possible to choose the project the FabImage Executor should run after the startup. Go to Settings in FabImage Executor and the Startup section. To define the startup project select the ... button on the right. In an Open dialog box you need to specify the startup project path (obligatory). The added project's path will appear in the box. It will start each time you run FabImage Executor.

Defining Startup Project

If Deep Learning Service is installed you can choose to run it on start by selecting 'Start Deep Learning service on startup'.

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