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How My Clients & Profits! Works

A WHITE PAPER The My Clients & Profits! web server acts as a gateway between your shop's Clients & Profits database (see SERVER below) and any number of users -- whether in the office (your "intranet"), working at home, in a client's conference room, or in a hotel room somewhere on the road.

Setting up My Clients & Profits! is reasonably simple: You'll need a separate Mac or Pentium 4 (or better) PC running WIndows XP, Windows NT, or Windows 2003 which is dedicated to running the My Clients & Profits! web server. The web server computer doesn't have to be the newest, hottest box in the shop; instead, an older model with lots of RAM (256mb is recommended) should work well. My C&P! doesn't need much attention, so the PC can sit off in a corner somewhere. The computer needs to have a full-time connection to the internet, as well as a constant connection to the shop's Clients & Profits file server. (For performance reasons, the same box can't be used for both My Clients & Profits! and as the C&P file server.)

My Clients & Profits! installs and runs just like the regular Clients & Profits software. It uses the same C&P Player, so using it will be familiar to anyone who's used Clients & Profits. My C&P! features an industry-standard HTTP server for publishing custom web pages that include real-time data from the Clients & Profits database. Users access My Clients & Profits! by entering the web server's address, or URL. The URL can be computer's actual IP address (e.g., or a custom domain name (e.g., "my.clientsandprofits.com"). In fact, the web address of the My C&P! can be any variation of the shop's domain name (for more information, see My C&P FAQs). The web server is started by opening the My C&P! application, opening the shop's C&P database from the file server, then choosing the Start Web Server menu command. Once the My C&P! web server has started, it begins listening for incoming HTTP requests from users.

Any web browser any where can access the My C&P! web server -- as long as the user has the right access privileges. Only authorized users can access the My Clients & Profits! web server, which share access privileges with the user list in Clients & Profits. The My C&P! administrator (typically the Clients & Profits system manager) needs to first set up who can access Clients & Profits via the web. Anyone can potentially be added as a web user, including clients, vendors, freelancers, and contractors -- all with specific access privileges to what they can and can't see and do.

From a user's point-of-view, using My Clients & Profits! is even simpler. A user opens the browser then logs onto the My C&P! web server using a special URL (e.g., http://my.clientsandprofits.com). An introduce yourself page prompts them to enter their user ID and password. My Clients & Profits! instantly verifies the ID and password, then displays a personalized home page. This home page contains links to the various client, job, and costing features available to them, as well as links to company and industry news, a company calendar, and an optional online company handbook.

My Clients & Profits! will let any number of web-based users access the shop's database concurrently. To the database, the My Clients & Profits! web server looks like any other user on the network. It takes up one of the database's user slots (for example, a 10-user version of Clients & Profits that also uses My C&P! will have 9 slots available for non web-based users).

Unlike regular Clients & Profits users, web users don't have a full-time connection to the shop's database. This means they won't get padlocks that indicate record-locking, and losing the network connection can't damage the database. Instead, each request is a separate transaction that's received by the My C&P! web server, processed, then returned to the web page in the form of a web page. Because there is no full-time connection to the Clients & Profits database, there is no interactive error-checking when a user tabs from field to field. Error checking only occurs when the transaction is saved; if an error occurs (such as an invalid job number), the My C&P! displays an error page to the user explaining what they did wrong.

The performance of the My Clients & Profits! web server depends on three factors: (1) the speed of the internet connection, (2) the speed of the server running the My C&P! web server, and (3) the amount of traffic on the LAN and the Clients & Profits file server. Stress in any of these areas will be noticeable to web users when they request a web page or wait for data to be submitted (although data-entry will be unaffected). Transactions from My Clients & Profits! have no greater or lesser priority over regular Clients & Profits users -- everything is handled first-come, first-serve.

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