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Tips and Updates

This page is intended to collect tips on how to use Open Campground. Much of this has been collected from suggestions of users or questions about how the system works.
  • How can I update my system to the current version

    The answer to this question will vary depending on the version of the system you currently are running. You should be able to go to admin->about to get that information. On the top line of this display it will show the version of Open Campground you are running. It will be something like or 1.10 or 1.11 or an earlier version depending on when you installed the system. If you are an Open Campground in the Cloud subscriber this process will be handled for you.

    No matter which version you have the first step is to make a backup (admin->maintenance->database backup) and copy the backup to your desktop or a flash drive etc. There may be a facility to help you in admin->maintenance->manage backup files depending on which version of the system you currently have.

    • If you have version 1.10 or earlier and you installed Open Campground from a CD you purchased.
      You can order a new CD (the update CD will cost $10) by selecting this button.
      Simple instructions will accompany the CD telling you how to safely do the update.
    • If you have version 1.10 or earlier which was downloaded over the Internet.
      You have two options:
      1. Download a current version of the system from http://opencampground.com/opencampground-1.11.zip, delete your current installation (this normally means send c:\InstantRails2 to the trash bin) and install the downloaded system. The following is a quote from the Users Manual telling how to do the installation. You should read that manual which is available at User's Manual.

        In windows explorer navigate to the folder the file was downloaded into. Select the open-campground-1.11.zip file with the right button. Select the Extract All menu item. On the next dialog click next. On the dialog entitled Select a Destination enter the place you will install the system. It must be a location where no folder above it has a space in it's name . This means it cannot be installed into your My Documents folder because there is a space in the name of that folder. I suggest you enter C:\ in the space provided. When you click the next button Windows will extract the files that make up the system into the folder you identified. This may take a few minutes depending on how fast your computer is. The folder which you have installed by this process is named InstantRails2.

        After the system is operational, restore from the backup you made as a first step using admin->maintenance->manager backup files->Upload Backup File and then restore from backup using the button by the proper backup.
      2. The other option is to buy a CD (cost $25) by selecting this button.
        Simple instructions will accompany the CD telling you how to safely do the update.
    • If you have version 1.11 (no matter how obtained).
      You will update using the Update facility that is built into the system. To use this the system must be in the production mode and connected to the Internet. In addition the user must be allowed to perform this task by one of the following:
      1. If you do not use logins.
      2. If you are logged in as an Admin user.
      3. If you are not an Admin user but Do system updates has been selected in system options under Functions that an non-admin user can perform.
      If you meet those requirements you will find the admin->updates button available. Selecting that button will start the update process. You will be given the ability to halt the process at each step. Depending upon how many updates there are and which updates they are this process can take as much as a half hour.
  • I downloaded and installed the system and it will not come up

    Sometimes people download and install the system and InstantRails indicates two green lights but the black command window disappears as soon as it comes up and the system can not be accessed from your browser. Most times this can be corrected by bringing the system down and restarting. If this does not fix anything try the following. The command window will stay up as long as the server is running so this symptom means the server is quiting. You can see what is happening by the following:

    • Bring up InstantRails
    • From the I select Rails Applications -> Ruby Console Window
    • in the Console window enter the following:
      • cd OpenCampground-1.11
      • ruby script/server
    This will run the server and keep the window up so you can see error messages. The errors are usually caused by problems in the download and unzip where some files may be deleted by anti-virus programs. Avast has been the problem a number of times. If this is the problem uninstall and reinstall the system but make sure the anti-virus system is not running when you do the reinstall. While the anti-virus system is disabled it is advised to disconnect from the Internet.

  • How do I access my Open Campground system which is behind the router in my office?

    Here is a suggestion submitted by one of the Open Campground users. If you have the common situation where you get your internet from the cable or phone company and you do not have a static internet address, there is a way to access your Open Campground system from home or to even use the remote reservations feature so guests can make their own reservations.

    • I found a way to access my OpenCampground on my PC from the internet with NOT a fixed IP address (for creating reservations from a laptop when away from the office) I signed-up for a "dynamic IP address" from no-ip.com They give me an address like bttc.no-ip.biz, which forwards to my dynamic IP address, and they give a little program that downloads and runs on my PC which sends them my IP address if it ever changes from my ISP. This way I can point a browser from anywhere to http://bttc.no-ip.biz:3000 and I can log into my OpenCampground. It tracks any ISP IP changes!
  • How do I start reservation numbers at a number other than 1?

    The reservation numbers in Open Campground are auto incrementing numbers. They generally start at 1 and increment from there. This procedure will enable you to cause the numbers to start at another value. This process will work on any version of Open Campground. If reservations have been created in the system do not attempt to start the numbers at a lower value than the latest reservation.

    1. Access InstantRails as described in the User's Manual. If you installed Open Campground from the CD you will have an InstantRails entry in the Open Campground part of the start menu.
    2. Left click on the I in the top left part of the InstantRails window.
    3. Click on the entry reading Rails Applications -> Open Ruby Console Window. This will bring up a command window into which the following commands will be typed. Each mysql command must end with a semi-colon (;). The mysql command itself does not use the semi-colon. The portion in italics is a prompt which you will not type. In this example I used 550 as the last reservation. The next reservation when you resume using the system will be 551. Choose the number you use accordingly.
      rails_apps>mysql -u root campground
      mysql> insert into reservations set id = 550;
      mysql> delete from reservations where id = 550;
      mysql> exit;
      rails_apps>exit
      
    Close out InstantRails and resume using the Open Campground system.

  • How do I change the font size of the header and trailer?

    The header and trailer are just normal html code. If you know html you are a step ahead. The font size is defined by a value called

      font size
    (what a surprise). The value set by default for the trailer is 1, the smallest. The value can be set to anything from 1 to 7. 7 is real big! 3 is normal text size. To set the size to ie. 2, go to admin->setup->system options->edit and change the trailer so it looks like this.
    <font size="2">The rest of your trailer text.
    
    Then save and see how it prints out. Other changes like font face can also be made in this way. You can also insert any html element like <b> for bold or <em> for italic. Make sure you terminate the bold or italic with a </b> or </em>. If you would like to put in a signature element at the bottom of the page use a series of underlines (above the hyphen on the keyboard) to put in the signature line. With version 1.10 of Open Campground the previous limitations on the size of the header and trailer have been removed so you can make them about as long as you want.

  • How can I put my old customers into the database?

    Please read this whole section and do not attempt this unless you understand all of the instructions given. If you have questions send me an email at problems@opencampground.com.

    First you must create a spreadsheet containing the old customer data. The spreadsheet must have the following columns in this order.

    first_name last_name address 2nd address line city state mail code phone number 2nd phone number email address id number

    All columns must be there but they do not have to be used. You should make a top row with those header names. This will result in an entry in the camper database with the name 'first_name last_name' which you can delete when you are finished. The only field that is required to have data is the last name. When you have the data in your spreadsheet to your satisfaction, save it as a csv file. In Open Office you will use file->save as. The file name must be Campers.csv. Select text CSV as the file type. Select ; (semi-colon) as the field delimiter. Select blank as the text delimiter. Select unicode (UTF-8) as the character set.

    Here is what the spreadsheet will look like if you open it in notepad or a similar editor.

    first_name;last_name;address;2nd address;city;state;mail code;phone;phone 2;email address;id_number
    Randolph;Allen;56 Crooked Lane;;Shokapee;MN;;;;;
    Test;Camper;456 Rainbow Drive;Box 345;Livingston;TX;77399;512 555-1212;817 123-4567;test@gmail.com;12345
    Mary;Foley;79 Leytonstone Road;;London;;E15 1JA;01632 123456;;foley@abc.uk.com;
    Tony;Jackson;123 Main Street;Suite 4567;Longview;TX;77399;;;;
    Jack;Jasperson;123 Main Street #11223;;Longview;TX;77399;;;;
    Tony;Jones;123 Main Street #11223;;Longview;TX;77399;;;;
    

    If you are a subscriber to Open Campground in the Cloud mail me the spreadsheet at norm@opencampground.com. Otherwise continue on with the rest of this process.

    Download and unzip csv_import.zip to C:/InstantRails2/rails_apps/opencampground_1.10/lib/tasks/csv_import.rake. The Campers.csv file should be copied to C:/InstantRails2/rails_apps/opencampground_1.10. In both cases the file locations assume you used the default installation locations. If you did not you will have to adjust the locations accordingly. Bring up InstantRails and select the bold I in the upper left which will bring up a menu on which you will select Ruby console window. In the command window cd to opencampground_1.10 and enter the command rake db:load_campers_from_csv. This will enter the data into the training database. You should check the campers in that database to see that you got what you wanted.

    If you are satisfied with the results use the command rake db:load_campers_from_csv RAILS_ENV=production to load the data into the production database.

  • Why does my monthly reservation end up being 4 weeks and 2 days instead of 1 month?

    Your guest wants a reservation for the month of July so you make a reservation for 1 - 31 July. Open Campground shows that this reservation is for 4 weeks and 2 days and computes that rate instead of the monthly rate.

    This is correct. The dates for the reservation are the arrival date (which is a date the site is occupied) and the departure date (which is not a date the site is occupied). If you make a reservation starting 1 July and ending 31 July thirty nights of occupancy are computed. The meaning of a reservation ending on 31 July is that you are leaving on 31 July and will not occupy the site the night of the 31st therefore the reservation is for only 30 days not a month. A one month reservation ends on the same day of the month it starts on. The site is counted as available on the end date of the reservation and a new reservation can have that date as it's start date.

  • How can I set up my system to support multiple logins on Windows

    Some people installing the system on a Windows system have had problems if they have multiple user logins on the system. If this is the type of configuration you have the following steps will help you.

    • To install from a downloaded zip file onto a multi-user Windows XP system.
      1. Install/unzip the download file into c:\ as the administrator user and verify the system runs when logged in as the administrator user.
      2. Copy the scripts in C:\InstantRails2\rails_apps\Open_Campground-1.11\vendor\scripts (start_mysql.bat and start_server.bat) to c:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Start Menu\Programs\Startup.
      3. Reboot the system, log in as administrator and confirm that Open Campground comes up on http://localhost:3000.
      4. Reboot the system, log in as a non-administrator user and verify that Open Campground comes up on http://localhost:3000.
    • To install from the Open Campground CD onto a multi-user Windows XP system
      1. Install the system from the CD and set it for automatic start on boot while logged in as the administrator user.
      2. Move the shortcut called 'Open Campground' from C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Desktop to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop
      3. Now any logged in user will be able to use the desktop shortcut to connect to Open Campground.
      4. If you want to change the mode the system runs in you will have to login as the administrator user to run reconfigure.
    The process will be generally the same for later Windows systems but some of the folder names will change a bit. Later versions of Windows do away with the Documents and Settings folder and have a Users folder but the concept is generally the same. Where you see Administrator above you may have a name depending on how you set up your Windows system initially.

  • How do I set up my system using Apache2 and Passenger on Linux?

    Apache2 with Passenger gives you a very useful system setup for running Open Campground. To run this you must have a unix/linux like system. This would include any Linux distribution, BSD and MacOS. Passenger does not run on Windows systems. On Ubuntu LTS systems this script should set up the software needed to support the system as well as installing a copy of Open Campground and initializing the databases required. To use this script you must be authorized to use sudo. After downloading the script execute it (sh SWsetup.sh) in a directory where you want Open Campground to be installed.

    This will completely work only if you do not put a password on the mysql database. If you put a password on the mysql database you will have to modify opencampground-1.11/config/database.yml to use the password after Open Campground is downloaded and before the databases are set up. This has been tested and works on Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04 LTS Servers. For other releases and distributions changes may be required.

    When the script completes you should test the system. cd to the opencampground-1.11 directory and enter script/server. You can now accesss the url http://localhost:3000 with any browser and you should get the Open Campground pages.

    You then must configure Passenger. Here is a copy of a virtual hosts file I have used which works well. Note the comment about the version of Apache. With later versions changes are needed. It is installed in /etc/apache2/sites-available. It assumes that there is a user called oc (modify the script as needed to correspond to reality) with a home directory called /home/oc in which the Open Campground software sits in a directory called OpenCampground_1.11. You will have to vary the ServerName, Directory, DocumentRoot and RailsEnv definitions to fit your system. The ServerName is the name the server is accessed by so you will have to put a definition in your dns system or /etc/hosts for this hostname. What I do on my local network is just edit /etc/hosts to add another name for my system so the hosts file looks like this:

    127.0.0.1	localhost opencampground
    .
    .
    .
    
    You can add the entry for the system hosting the server to the /etc/hosts (hosts.txt in c:\windows\system somewhere on Windows) file that you want to access the server from. You will have to access the server by name (not ip address) because that is what is used to distinguish the virtual hosts. When you access http://opencampground it will use the information in the virtual host file to figure out what to run. The ServerName must correspond to the name used to access it.

    You will enable the host with the command 'sudo a2ensite opencampground.conf' and then will have to reload apache with 'sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 reload'. To restart the virtual host touch the file /home/oc/opencampground-1.11/tmp/restart.txt. The procedure on any other Unix/Linux like system will be similar but names of packages may vary a bit.

  • Can I run Open Campground on my web server using Cpanel?

    I am no expert on Cpanel but I can give some experience on setting up a system hosted on a web server using Cpanel for administration. This system was configured with Cpanel version 11.34.0 and it was set up to support Ruby on Rails 2.3.14 which is the version of Rails Open Campground is built on.

    It was found that some required gems were not available and had to be installed. These included the mysql gem and the rdoc gem. When these gems are installed using Cpanel they get installed in a location under your user account instead of in the normal location so a modification has to be made to tell Rails to look in that location for the gem. There are instructions on the Cpanel gems page that purport to tell you what to do but they work only with version 1.x of Ruby on Rails and do not work with later versions so they should be ignored. The following line should be inserted into the file [installation location]/config/environment.rb anyplace in the first 10 lines.

    ENV['GEM_PATH'] = 'path to gems:/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8'
    
    In this path to gems will be the place where user installed gems are installed on your system. In the system I looked at this was /home/username/ruby/gems.

    You can start the install by following the normal Cpanel steps for defining a Ruby on Rails application and when that is complete download the source version of Open Campground and copy it on top of the application you have defined. If you do that you will have to remove or rename the file [install location]/public/index.html or else you will get the Ruby on Rails: Welcome aboard page. If you see this page you will know you need to get rid of index.html.

    If your system has a later version of the rake gem than that specified in the Open Campground User Manual you may see a series of complaints in the log file at startup. These messages will only be put in the log file at startup and the messages are of no importance to Open Campground operation and should be disregarded.

  • How do I set up a map on the space selection page?

    In update 1275 the capability to display a campground map on the space selection display was added. This is intended to give you some information on how to use that facility.

    First you need a campground map. It can be created any way you want but must be either a .jpg or .png file. You probably have one that you use to direct campers to their site. You can scan that in and it should work. Some experimentation may be required to decide what map looks best on your display. The map will be displayed on the site selection page and will take up about 55% of the page leaving 45% for the textual area. You can modify this somewhat by the choice of what to display on the site selection page. You can get the most space for the map if you turn off display of site length and select navigate by tabs (both in admin->setup->system options). The map will be displayed at its actual size with scroll bars so you can see it all.

    To set-up to use the map, get a .jpg or .png file on your computer somewhere you can find it. You then go to admin->setup->system options and select edit. On the edit display select 'Display Park Map' and then save. You will now find that there is another button in the setup group labeled 'Map'. Select that button and you will be shown a fairly simple display. At the label 'Map File' click Browse and find and select your chosen map file. When that is selected, click on 'Upload Map File' and the file will be ready to use. Start the reservation process to see what it looks like.

    The same process is used for a map on the remote display except in that case the label will be 'Remote Map File'. Be aware that on the remote display you have no idea what kind of display the user has. It may be bigger or smaller than what you use so you should allow for that as much as you can. There will be scroll bars if it is too wide for the display. You can use the same or different maps for the local and remote display. The two displays are independent so you can select either or both or neither.

  • Why can't I get email to work with gmail?

    If you have set email up as described in appendix G of the Users Manual and your gmail account information is correct you might see a cryptic error message like "534-5.7.14" If you see this the corrective action is to log on to your gmail account and change your gmail account security settings to enable "Access for less secure apps"

    Windows 7/10 problems with gmail

    In addition to the above it has been found that there is a problem setting up email using gmail on Windows 7 or 10 systems. Windows 8 is no doubt also affected but I have not tested that. The issue is a Windows code compatability issue. The symptom is that the system will not send email using smtp.gmail.com even when correctly configured as described in the appendix to the Users Manual. It may or may not affect other mail servers depending on the specific setup they use.

    To correct the problem you will have to have admin priviledges on your Windows system.

    • In Windows File Explorer go to c:\InstantRails2\ruby\bin.
    • Click on the type heading to sort files by type.
    • Next you should find iconv.exe.
    • Select that file and with the right mouse button select properties.
    • In the Properties dialog select the Compatability tab.
    • Check the box for Run this program in compatability mode for:
    • In the dropdown select Windows XP (Service Pack 3).
    • At the top you should find openssl.exe.
    • Select that file and with the right mouse button select properties.
    • In the Properties dialog select the Compatability tab.
    • Check the box for Run this program in compatability mode for:
    • In the dropdown select Windows XP (Service Pack 3).
    Reboot the computer and restart the servers and the system should be fine.