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Client Connection Dialog in Helix 7.0
Introduction

Helix Client 7.0 debuts a new, unified connection dialog. The three potential actions — establish a connection to a local Server, establish a connection to a remove Server, and reconnect to a Server — are merged into a single dialog that opens automatically when Helix Client is launched. This dialog also appears when disconnecting from a Server (but not quitting Helix Client) and when there is no current connection and Helix Client is activated after having been placed in the background.

The Connect button (keyboard shortcut: Enter or Return key) establishes a Server connection, whether for a saved connection document or a new Server connection. For most users, connecting to a Server is now a simple matter of launching Helix Client and choosing to Connect.

This technote describes the features of this dialog as well as options for changing its default behavior.

Connect To…

The first panel shows all saved connection documents (fka: structure files) on your computer. This is the same list of items as shown in the “Connect To” menu.

To reconnect to a Server, simply choose it from the list and click the Connect button.

If a needed connection document does not appear in the list, open the connection document directly. (Drag and drop it onto Helix Client, use the “Open” menu item, or double click the connection document.) Once a connection document has been opened, it appears in the list until the connection document file itself is deleted.

Closing this dialog and choosing “Clear Menu” from the “Connect To” menu clears the list shown in this panel as well as in the “Connect To” menu.

See the Client Configuration Tips technote for more information on connection documents.

Local Servers

The second panel shows a list of all collections currently being served on the local network. This is a ‘new’ macOS feature in Helix 7.0, having last been seen in Helix Client 5.3 (a Classic application). If there are no saved connection documents, this panel is automatically activated.

As with the Connect To… panel, connect to a Server by choosing it from the list and clicking the Connect button.

Once the connection to a local server has been established, its connection document is saved on the local volume (in ~/Library/Application Support/Helix/Client/) it is added to the list in the Connect To… panel. Subsequent reconnections should be made from the Connect To… panel to maximize performance.

Should a connection document become corrupted or lost, the Local Servers panel can be used to create a new connection document. Creating a new connection document resets all saved window positions, queries, etc., as per the Client Configuration Tips technote.

New Server

The last panel provides a field to entering the Hostname or IP Address of a Helix Server that is not running on your local network. (It can also be used to specify a local Server.) If there are no saved connection documents and no local servers, this panel is automatically activated.

Connecting to a remote Server is done by entering the Hostname or IP Address of that machine and clicking the Connect button. Progress in making the connection — as well as any errors that are encountered — are displayed in the panel.

Once the connection to a remote server has been established, its connection document is saved on the local volume (in ~/Library/Application Support/Helix/Client/) it is added to the list in the Connect To… panel. Subsequent reconnections should be made from the Connect To… panel to maximize performance.

The Connect button is disabled until a valid Hostname or IP Address is entered. “Valid” simply means that the address entered is a legal internet address. It does not mean that there is a Helix Server running on that machine. Attempting to connection to a machine with no Helix Server running will return a ‘No Server found at that address’ error.

When connecting to a secure server, the hostname that matches the certificate used must be supplied or the connection will be refused.

Should a connection document become corrupted or lost, the Local Servers panel can be used to create a new connection document. Creating a new connection document resets all saved window positions, queries, etc., as per the Client Configuration Tips technote.

Additional Features

The Close button (keyboard shortcut: ⌘-W or ) closes the dialog without establishing a Server connection. This provides access to the menu bar, where Check for Updates can be used to download and install updates, connection documents can be revealed in the Finder (by holding the Shift key down while selecting it from the menu), and other functions provided by the menus can be done.

The Quit button (keyboard shortcut: ⌘-Q), quite naturally, shuts down Helix Client — without establishing a Server connection.

The Connect To… dialog can be bypassed temporarily by holding the Option key down while launching Helix Client. To permanently disable it, set the HxShowConnectionWindow preference to false. (See this technote for more information on editing preferences.)

Disabling New Connections

The ability to make new connections can be disabled, forcing users to work with saved connection documents. This is useful for network administrators who need to limit their users’ ability to initiate new connections.

To disable it, set the HxDisableNewConnections preference to true. (See this technote for more information on editing preferences.)

When new connections are disabled, the Connect To… dialog appears as shown at right. See its section above for further information on this panel.

The Classic method — the presence of an HVIS resource — is still supported, enabling distribution of a Connect-disabled Client. Be aware that the resource fork is being phased out, so this option will not be available in a future release.

A machine configured to disable new connections can temporarily provide a new connection option by closing the dialog and holding down the Option key when clicking on the File menu to enable the New Connection menu item in the Connect To menu.