Technically speaking, what is Grooper? Grooper is a repository of information made up by 13 tables (11 as of Grooper v2021) in a SQL Server Database and associated files in a Windows file share. This information is displayed to the user via an application(s) that displays a 1 to 1 relationship of what exists in that database and fileshare. Gaining an understanding of how to properly create using Grooper begins by first understanding the structure of its architecture, and why it is built the way it is. This sets a foundational groundwork for knowing how to think and interact with the application.
System Architecture and Requirements
End User PC
- The end user pc would include Grooper Thick Clients and installations on premisis.
- Network latency should be (ideally) less than 50ms.
- Network throughput should be (ideally) greater than 50MB.
Grooper Processing Server
- A Grooper processing environment can have as many servers as is necssary to meet business requirements.
- Windows 10 and/or Windows Server 2012 or later is required.
- Server RAM should be 16GB or more.
- The CPU should consist of 4 or more cores.
- The port for licensing is 13900 by default.
Grooper SQL Server
- SQL Server 2012 or later is required.
- The Grooper Database should allow for a size of 20GB or more.
- The scaling of the Grooper Database should be set to percentage, ideally, not the default of a few MB. This will reduce frequent scaling that hinders performance.
- The SQL Port is 1433.
- This can be local to the Grooper SQL Server or managed on a separate server.
- The ieal filesize would accomodate for roughly 150GB for small to medium installs.
- The authentication requires CIFS or SMB.
The following are included in the installation package of Grooper and are required for installation (listed are x64 packages.)
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Redistributable (x64) - 11.0.61030
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 x64 Redistributable Setup
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2013 Redistributable (x64) - 12.0.30501
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable (x64) - 14.10.25017
- Visual C++ Redistributable Packages install runtime components of Visual C++ Libraries on a computer that does not have Visual C++ installed. The libraries are required to run applications that are developed by using the corresponding version of Visual C++.
- Microsoft .NET Framework 4.6.2 Developer Pack
- .NET is an integral part of many apps running on Windows and provides common functionality for those apps to run. For developers, the .NET Framework provides a comprehensive and consistent programming model for building apps that have visually stunning user experiences and seamless and secure communication.
- In LINQ to SQL, the data model of a relational database maps to an object model that is expressed in the programming language of your choice. When the application runs, LINQ to SQL translates the language-integrated queries in the object model into SQL and sends them to the database for execution. When the database returns the results, LINQ to SQL translates the results back to objects that you can work with in your own programming language.
- In order to translate data between the object model and the database, a type mapping must be defined. LINQ to SQL uses a type mapping to match each common language runtime (CLR) type with a particular SQL Server type. You can define type mappings and other mapping information, such as database structure and table relationships, inside the object model with attribute-based mapping. Alternatively, you can specify the mapping information outside the object model with an external mapping file.
- Microsoft Access Database Engine contains essential components that make it possible for Microsoft Office programs to interact with software services and applications that do not belong to Microsoft. For instance, if you are working in a program that gives you the possibility to export tables directly to Microsoft Access, then you need the database engine to make that happen.
- The Microsoft Access Database Engine is available in multiple editions, which mainly depend on which Microsoft Office product you’re using. The hint is in the year. As such, if you use Microsoft Office 2016, then you need Microsoft Access Database Engine 2016.
- Used for viewing built in Grooper Reports, which uses a Microsoft Reporting framework.
The Four Layers of Grooper
Grooper consists of four main components that constantly interact with one another:
- File Store
This is the core component of Grooper as all aspects of the functionality and configuration of a Grooper repository are stored here as metadata in tables. There are 13 tables (11 as of Grooper v2021) that make up the Grooper database:
- This table contains the information necessary for implementing Grooper’s node-level security architecture.
Column Name Data Type Size Description Id int 10 unique number referencing the table's row NodeId uniqueidentifier 16 guid associated with node from Grooper node tree PrincipalId uniqueidentifier 16 Permissions in 4
- This table contains a name / value pair of processing activity statistics. The name is the name, and the value will be a whole integer if the statistic indicates a quantity of actions, and a floating point decimal if the value represents a cumulative time span.
Column Name Data Type Size Description SessionId int 4 Name Varchar 64 Value Float 8
- This table contains the information necessary for associating filestore objects with Grooper nodes. Note: a node with associated files will also contain those files’ filestore object locations, names, and mimetypes in the “files” column of TreeNode.
Column Name Data Type Size Description Id int 4 sequential number assigned to object in row FileId uniqueidentifier 16 guid assigned as the name of the object (stored in the filestore with this number followed by .grp) NodeId uniqueidentifier 16 guid associated with node from Grooper tree FileStoreId uniqueidentifier 16 guid given to the node referencing the file store
- This table has been deprecated as of Grooper v2021
- This table contains information relating to Grooper licensing, including the licensing and tamper keys.
Column Name Data Type Size Description Id int 4 unique number referencing the table’s row SerialNumber uniqueidentifier 16 guid of serial number LicenseText Varchar 1024 CustomerId Varchar 256 number given to customer owning the license CustomerName varchar 256 string name given to customer owning the license MachineId varchar 40 unique identifier of the machine which the license was generated for LicenseCode varchar 50 shorthand for the type of license assigned LicenseDesc varchar 256 description of the type of license assigned Quantity int 4 amount of licenses given upon assignment Expires int 4 ExpirationDate datetime 8 date and time the assigned license expires ResetInterval varchar 12 basis on which the assigned licenses resets LastReset datetime 8 date and time the license was last reset RemainingCount int 4 amount of licenses remaining since assigned TamperKey varchar 256
- This table has been deprecated as of Grooper v2021
- This table contains information relating to checked out licenses.
Column Name Data Type Size Description Id int 4 unique number referencing the table’s row LicenseCode varchar 50 string defining the license code LicenseDesc varchar 256 definition of the type of license in use UserName varchar 256 windows user to whom the license is checked to MachineName varchar 256 hostname of machine using the license ModuleName varchar 256 Grooper module occupying the license CheckoutTime datetime 8 date and time the license was checked out CheckoutId uniqueidentifier 16
- This table contains one row per locked node; prevents overlapping access to various resources.
Column Name Data Type Size Description NodeId uniqueidentifier 16 guid of node from Grooper hierarchy tree UserName varchar 64 windows user that applied the unlock MachineName varchar 64 hostname of the machine where the unlock occurred ModuleName varchar 64 Grooper module that executed the unlock ProcedureName varchar 64 the procedure executed to apply the unlock CreateDate smalldatetime 4 date and time the unlock occurred
- This table contains the Grooper log, which is represented in the Event Viewer of Grooper Design Studio.
Column Name Data Type Size Description Id int 4 unique row identifier TimeStamp datetime 8 date and time the event was logged Type int 4 type of event logged ProcName varchar(MAX) -1 name of procedure associated with the event Message varchar(MAX) -1 message displayed in and defining, in general, the event UserAccount varchar 64 windows user under which the event triggered MachineName varchar 64 hostname of the machine under which the event triggered NodeId uniqueidentifier 16 guid of parent node associated with ‘NodeName’ NodeName varchar 256 Item Name, or name of node associated with the triggering of the event NodeType varchar 64 type of Grooper Node defining the ‘NodeName’
- This table contains a list of all referenced nodes, and what other nodes they are referenced by. Used to protect referenced nodes from deletion, and in determining what nodes are necessary on exporting.
Column Name Data Type Size Description NodeId uniqueidentifier 16 guid given to node in Grooper hierarchy tree ReferencingNodeId uniqueidentifier 16 guid of parent node associated with ‘NodeId’
- This table contains tasks submitted for activity processing as part of production batches.
Column Name Data Type Size Description Id int 4 unique row identifier BatchId uniqueidentifier 16 guid of batch related to running process NodeId uniqueidentifier 16 guid of node related to batch in running process Settings varchar(MAX) -1 json properties of running node ModuleName varchar 256 module running current task Status int 4 status of current task (i.e. running, error…) UserName varchar 256 windows user that submitted task MachineName varchar 256 hostname of machine running task PageCount int 4 number of pages in batch being processed Submitted datetime 8 date/time when processing batch was submitted Started datetime 8 date/time when processing batch started Completed datetime 8 date/time when batch process completed Priority int 4 numeric value (1-5) given to sort batch priority Scope int 4 the level of the batch that a step is processing StepNo int 4 current step of batch process BatchName varchar 256 name of batch in processing BatchProcessName varchar 256 name of process associated with batch in processing StepName varchar 256 name of step of process associated with batch in processing
- This table contains a list of installed services. Note: If an installed service does not have a reference in this table, it will not show up in Grooper Config.
Column Name Data Type Size Description Id int 4 unique row identifier RepositoryId uniqueidentifier 16 MachineName varchar 64 hostname of pc running Grooper service ServiceName varchar 256 name of Grooper service running TypeName varchar 256 typer of Grooper service running PropertiesJson varchar 2048 json information defining /Node Properties/Properties UserName varchar 64 windows user running Grooper service Password varchar 64 password of windows user running Grooper service InstanceNo int 4 number of a specific service on a machine ThreadPirority int 4 numeric value given to service thread to determine processor priority
- This table contains statistical information regarding batches in Grooper.
Column Name Data Type Size Description Id int 4 unique row identifier BatchId uniqueidentifier 16 guid for batch node BatchName varchar 256 name of batch BatchProcessId uniqueidentifier 16 guid of process node related to the batch BatchProcessName varchar 256 name given to process by end user StepName varchar 256 name of step in the process ProcessingScope in 4 the level of the batch that a step is processing ModuleName varchar 256 name of Grooper module ModuleDisplayName varchar 256 name of Grooper module given to batch process step MachineName varchar 256 hostname of pc running batch UserName varchar 256 windows user under which the batch is running StartTime datetime 8 time batch was initiated EndTime datetime 8 time batch ended or was terminated TasksProcessed int 4 number of tasks processed in batch
- This table contains only the Database version, including build number.
Column Name Data Type Size Description Name varchar 64 DatabaseVersion Value varchar 1024 Current installed Grooper Database version
- The main Grooper table, TreeNode contains one entry for every object in the Grooper node tree. Composed of the following columns:
Column Name Data Type Size Description Id uniqueidentifier 16 The node’s unique ID. A GUID autogenerated by Grooper. RowId int 4 Identity Column for the table. Generated by SQL server. RowVersion timestamp 8 A timestamp column, updated when the node is changed. Used by certain processes to determine if the node has been updated. Name varchar 256 The name of the node. TypeName varchar 64 The name of the object type of the node ParentId uniqueidentifier 16 ID of the node’s parent. The Grooper Root node has a parent ID with all zeros. NodeIndex int 4 Index of the node in its containing object (usually a folder) Attributes int 4 A flags attribute indicating whether the node has the following attributes: read-only, fixed contents (no children may be added), sorted (children will always show up in alphabetical order), has ACL, is a system object (may not be changed). NumChildren int 4 Number of children. Properties varchar(MAX) -1 Column containing the JSON properties for this node. NodeValues varchar(MAX) -1 metadata about the node that pertains to Grooper modules Files varchar(MAX) -1 objects in the Grooper file store associated with the node
Using a SQL database as the core of Grooper allows for great efficiency. Every property of every object in Grooper, as a result of being a simple entry in a table, can be loaded into memory and accessed nearly instantly. This would not be the case otherwise (if for example Grooper repositories were defined by something like a project file), as file i/o is one of the slowest aspects of modern computing. This also allows the discrete management of objects on an individual basis to allow multiple users to work in one environment and prevent work overlap by locking objects.
The File Store
The File Store in Grooper is a file share in a Windows environment. It houses the files associated with objects in Grooper that have information that would otherwise be inefficient to store in (a cell in) a database table.
The Grooper Filestore exists at a user-specified location. This may be a local or an network path, but if a filestore is given a local path, computers connecting to that repository remotely will not be able to access it. If you want to set up a repository so that other computers can connect to it, make sure you reference the filestore using a UNC path!
The filestore contains three levels of directories. A typical filestore entry will exist on disk as, e.g. 00 > 00 > 00 > [guid].grp. Each of the lowest-level folders in the filestore will have a maximum of 256 files, at which point a new folder at that level will be created. If the lowest level contains 256 folders, a new folder will be created at the level above; this gives the Grooper filestore a limit of 256 ^ 4 = 4,294,967,296 files stored on disk.
While the filestore entries are all given .grp extensions, the contents of the file are unaltered from their “actual” form. If you navigate, for example, to the .grp file associated with an pdf imported using full import, you can open it and view it with a pdf viewer. The files in the filestore are intentionally obfuscated to prevent users from interacting with them outside of Grooper, as they are essentially Grooper-internal objects.
Although the majority of files in the filestore relate to batch objects (split pages, imported documents, image processing undo objects, etc.), some files are the result of other in-Grooper processes such as layout data, OCR character data, etc.
This is the most visible aspect of Grooper as it is the software you interact with that displays the currently active repository. It consists of several pieces:
- Grooper Design Studio
- Grooper Config
- Grooper Dashboard
- Grooper Attended Client
- Grooper Unattended Client
Every object in the Grooper Node Tree is an object, or row, in a specific table, the dbo.TreeNode table. The GUI of Grooper is essentially wrapping information from the Grooper database, and associated files from the Grooper File Store, into a series of grids and windows that allow you to directly interact with that database, and its related Windows file share, without writing SQL queries.
A Grooper license is provided to you after confirmation of purchase. This license key is entered in Grooper Design Studio either on the Licensing tab of the Grooper Root Node or on a License Server object by pressing the Activate Online button. The licensing is ultimately stored on the License Server object, so either of these methods accomplishes the same end goal. This applies the licensing to the Grooper repository that was being represented by Grooper Design Studio upon activation. This license can, subsequently, be hosted from that repository to any other Grooper repository via an instance of a Grooper License Server service pointed at the repository that has an active license.