Connection Manager

CnxManager

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Documentation



Contents


Introduction

Here is documentation you may need to use CnxManager.
However, it is made to be simple and resides on the following principle:
You first create Connections, specify their conditions of application and then associate Actions with them. These Actions will be launched when the conditions for the connection are met.

The main window

Here is a snapshot of the main window :

Main Window

The lists on the left contains the configured connections and the associated actions. As you can see, the connections can be shown as a list (above) or as a tree (below). The list indicates the order in which each connection will be checked to see if it applies to the current network configuration. The hierarchy tree shows which connections belong to which, allowing to put common actions in a container and only the specific ones in the leaves of the tree.

Hierarchy tree

The menus proposes the following options which are replicated on the toolbar buttons :

Save
File, Save
Saves the current configuration immediately
Exit
File, Exit
Exits the program, after having saved the configuration
Start
Monitoring, Start
Start the actions associated with the selected connection
Stop
Monitoring, Stop
Stops the actions associated with the selected connection
Automatic
Monitoring, Automatic
While actions are running, periodically tests the configuration to find the connection that applies
Check now
Monitoring, Check connection now
Check the configuration now and select the connection that applies

Tools, Toolbars
Allows you to set the visibility of the various toolbars
Plugins
Tools, Plugins
Shows the Plugins form. See Plugins
Options
Tools, Options
Shows the Options form. See Options
About
Help, About
Shows the About form. See About

Adding  a connection

To add a connection, click on the add button Add an action below the top left list. The following window will open:

Add a connection

Choose the type of connection you want to add and click Ok.
The following types are available and proposes the following options :

IP Connection
IPConnection
This connection will be detected when a network adapter on your computer provides an IP which matches the one you entered here. A network adapter can be either a network card, a DSL modem, a cable modem, a phone modem...
This is useful when you are connected to a LAN or when your ISP gives you a fixed IP address, or an address in a known range.
Clicking the Activate button will try to call netsh to set the values you have indicated in the advanced parameters window.
RAS Connection
RASConnection
This connection will be detected when the indicated dial-up connection is active. Dial-up connections are those indicated by Windows and include Phone connections, DSL connections (RASPPPoE), or even VPN connections.
This is useful when you want to setup actions that depend on a particular ISP, say the SMTP server for instance.
Clicking the Activate button will try to connect this Dial-up connection using the given username and passowrd.
Container Connection
Container Connection
This connection will never be detected as applying. It only exists as a container for other connections in the hierarchy list. This way, you can group common actions in a container and only put the specific actions in the child of that container.
Clicking the Activate button does nothing.

Connections are checked in the order they appear in the priority list. This means that if two connections apply at the same time, only the actions associated with the first one in the list will be launched. Moreover, the last action in the list is considered to be the default action and will be activated if no other connection apply.
You can specify when the actions of a connection are started. If you select "before the children", the actions will be launched before any action of its children are. If you select "after the children" the actions of the connection will be started after the actions of all its children are launched.

Adding an action

Once you've added a connection, you can associate actions ot it by adding them in the bottom left list. When you click on the add button add , the following form appears:

Add an action

The following standard actions are available

Application Launcher
Application Launcher
Launches an application, or opens a document (if it is associated to an application)
Proxy settings changer
Proxy Settings Changer
Changes the proxy settings in Internet Explorer and Netscape (6 and above)
Port redirection
Port Redirection
Redirects a connection to the local machine to a distant server on a given port. This is really useful to redirect SMTP requests from your email software to a different SMTP server according to the connection. You just need to change your email software settings to use localhost and CnxManager wil do the rest.
If your SMTP server requires authentication, have a look at the SMTP Redirection action.
SMTP Redirection
SMTP Redirection
This is a specialized port redirection which allows you to change some parameters in the SMTP commands passed to a server. At this date, all you can change are the AUTH parameter to the FROM command and the login used with the AUTH LOGIN command

Network Resource Manager
Connects or disconnects a network resource such as a drive or a printer.
Internal Redirection
Internal Redirections
This set of redirection is a bit special as it doesn't connect to a distant server but still answers the connection requests. This can be useful to remind you that you are not connected to Internet, in the default connection for instance.
The following protocols are supported : HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP, IMAP

The following actions are available from plugins

Password monitor
Pasword Monitor
Monitors the list of opened windows and if one corresponds, answers it with a username and a password. This is useful for some applications don't allow the user to store the username and password permanently.
PasswordMonitor.dll
Time counter
Time Counter
If you want to know how much time you spent using a connection, this is the action you need. You can keep track of the time in a log file
Counters.dll
Traffic counter
Traffic Counter
If you want to know what traffic you generated while using a connection, this is the action you need. You can keep track of the traffic in a log file
Counters.dll

Actions can be put in two different lists, identified by the "On start" and "On stop" tabs beneath the list. Actions in the "On start" list will be launched when their connection becomes active. Actions in the "On stop" will list will be launched when their connection becomes unactive, before the next connection becomes active. This way you can connect a network resource when the connection becomes active and disconnect it when it becomes unactive.
Actions are launched in the order they appear in the list. If you require a certain order between the actions, simply use the arrows to change it.

Options

The following options can be setup :

Startup
Use this tab to decide what CnxManager should do when it is starts.
You can override these options by using the command line parameters
Auto
Use this tab to determine the time interval between two checks for the active connection.
This interval will only be used if the automatic discovery mode is used.
Notifications
Use this tab to set different options that affect the user interface. You can decide if the program should be resident in the notification area (aka system tray) and what it should display in the hint message.
The use of notification when the connection has changed is only working under Windows 2000/XP as it uses balloon tool tips.
Minimizing in the notificaition area means that when you press the minimize button, the application disappears from the taskbar.
Minimizing instead of closing means that when you press the close button, the application gets minimized and not closed, much like some instant messaging agents
Priorities
Here you can set the priorities for both the program (processus) and the thread used to regularly check for a change of connection. Don't mess around with these values, you could render your system unusable, especially if you start CnxManager when Windows starts
Language Choose here the language you want to use. If the language you chose is not available, the program will use English text.


Plugins

Using the Plugins button, you open the following form:

Plugins

This shows the plugins that were found upon startup and different informations about them. If you added a plugin after having launched CnxManager, you can use the 'Update list' button to use the new plugins. If you want to develop plugins, please refer to the specifications here: DLL Specifications

About

Using the Help, About menu, you will show up this form:

About

This displays the credits to the people who developped greats components used in CnxManager.