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What's New on AFEPL

New Publications

New Forms

Last Update: 01/20/2002 1235hrs.

The AFEPL CD will be distributed on a quarterly basis.   The next AFEPL CD will be distributed on 1 July 2002.  We have gone to long file names. As such, you must have Windows 95, 98, NT4, 2000, or XP to use the AFEPL.

The AFEPL now consists of five CD-ROM volumes, due to quantity of data. The presentation of the available files has been arranged logically, but is subject to slight changes in future months as more publications are converted to electronic format.

Adobe Acrobat Reader  with Search is required to view publications and some forms. You will need to download and install the latest version Acrobat Reader with search from the adobe website. A free download from the Adobe Corporation on their website at http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html .

The interface used to run the table of contents for publications and forms is an HTML application, requiring a web browser application to run. The vast majority of publications are still now and will continue to be presented as Acrobat Reader files, but the interface used to find and select these publication files will require a Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer installation on your PC.  IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU CHECK WITH YOUR NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR BEFORE UPGRADING AN EXISTING WEB BROWSER INSTALLATION! There are many reasons why it would be unwise to install a new browser without checking on your network policy, and you very well may create a lot of work for your administrator if you upgrade to a new browser or install a new type of browser without first clearing it with him or her.

As always, we encourage everyone to use the website instead of the CDs whenever that is possible. The Air Force already considers the website at http://afpubs.hq.af.mil to be the official publications and forms distribution medium, and the AFEPL CD-ROM is already restricted to Distribution X in anticipation of a massive scaling back of the number of CD-ROMs that are distributed every month.

Installation and Setup

You must run the AFEPL set up application this month since we have distributed the content across a fifth CD. The setup file appears only on volume 1 of the CD set, and so volume 1 must be in your CD drive when you go about running setup. To initiate setup, choose the "Run" option in Windows, and type in "D:\setup.exe" (assuming D:\ is the CD-ROM drive that has the AFEPL inside); or else you can open your File Manager or Windows Explorer program, scroll through the CD-ROM drive wherein the AFEPL resides, and double-click on the "setup.exe" file that appears on the root of that directory. The entire setup program will then run until completed; it will assume that you are working from a standalone PC, and will ask you whether you have separate CD-ROM drives to use to accommodate all four disks. If you are using a CD tower or else you do have four available drives for these four volumes of the AFEPL, then specify where the second, third and fourth drives are located and the setup program will handle the appropriate mapping.

The Acrobat Reader with Search (version 4.0 or higher) is still needed to use the AFEPL. Aside from the installation of that, which only occurs if the software is not already present, only one other job is performed by the new AFEPL setup. A program group will be created to assist you in opening AFEPL each time you want to access an Air Force publications or forms. The AFEPL Vol 1, AFEPL Vol 2,  AFEPL Vol 3, AFEPL Vol 4, and AFEPL Vol 5 icons, in this program group, will each contain a command line that will open up the default web browser that you have selected and pull up the first page of the AFEPL application, from where you can gain access to everything that AFEPL offers. Double clicking on the AFEPL icon in the AFEPL Program group with your mouse\cursor (or clicking on Start|Programs|Afepl for NT/95 users) opens the AFEPL application.

Manual Setup

After the setup process has completely run, you will be notified that you need to install a web browser and Acrobat Reader to use the AFEPL CDs. If you already have a web browser and Acrobat Reader with Search installed, you do not need to perform any software installation tasks (but see the Known Problems section, below, if you have trouble). IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU CHECK WITH YOUR NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR BEFORE UPGRADING AN EXISTING WEB BROWSER INSTALLATION! There are many reasons why it would be unwise to install a new browser without checking on your network policy, and you very well may create a lot of work for your administrator if you upgrade to a new browser or install a new type of browser without first clearing it with him or her.

Network Setup

If you are a network administrator and want to install the application onto your network for all of your users, you will essentially have two choices. The first choice exists if you have a CD tower with five CD-ROM drives to dedicate to the AFEPL. Place each of the five volumes into one of the available drives and then run setup from volume 1. When prompted as to whether you have a second CD drive, you would answer Yes and then specify the path to the second, third, fourth, and fifth  CDs as prompted. Then setup would continue on its own, and when it finishes, the proper command line for each of the AFEPL icons will be written. As long as the CDs remain in their appointed drives, there should be no interruption of operability when the user switches from volume 1 to volume 2, volume 3, volume 4, or volume 5.

The second option exists if you want to install the entire AFEPL program onto a network hard drive. To do this you will need approximately 2.3 GB of free hard drive space. Within Windows Explorer, you can copy the entire volume 1 CD up to the designated hard drive, complete with its given directory structure. Then put in volume 2 and copy the entirety of that into the same directory where you put volume 1 (the root directory is suggested). Perform this same process for volumes 3, volume 4, and volume 5. Allow any overwrites to occur if you are prompted to make a decision about that during this copying process. Everything from the four  CDs will now be in the same single directory. Since all volumes have been combined, you need to overwrite the *.htm files (afepl.htm, pubs.htm, newpubs.htm, newforms, forms.htm, etc.) on your hard disk with the files located in the APPS directory on volume 1. At this point, all you need to do is create a shortcut for the AFEPL application that points to the afepl.htm file which will appear in the root directory of the folder to which you copied all of the contents of the four  CDs. The command line for this icon will read something like "J:\afepl.htm", assuming that you have copied all of the 5  CDs to the root of the J drive. You can then copy this shortcut and send it out to all of your network users.

Formflow Installation

Jetform Formflow 2.15  is currently used to view, fill, print, store, and electronically distribute forms data. The older versions of Formflow, such as those from Delrina and Symantec, will no longer open the forms on the AFEPL.  This is a new development which affects all users of the AFEPL who require access to any forms that are available on this CD. The Air Force has purchased Formflow version 2.15 software for all Air Force users. This software is not contained on this CD. If you are an Air Force military (with an af.mil extension in their URL), you can download it free from the e-Publishing website at http://afpubs.hq.af.mil/formflow_products.asp. Other government and civilian users must purchase this software at their own cost. Any problems downloading this software from this site by eligible personnel should be reported to the AFEPL help desk for assistance, as should any further questions or solicitations.

Network Administration Tool - Identifying Search Indexes

The AFEPL now includes a software application that will prevent the trouble of the end users having to connect to the search indexes each month before being able to use the search function. This has been included primarily for the benefit of network administrators; many users are unaware of how the search function works and do not realize the requirement of connecting to indexes. Hence, in many cases the search function goes unused. This new application is designed to let network administrators control that problem by inserting the new application into login scripts that would automatically update the end users’ PCs to point to the search indexes. This application will work only for 32-bit operating systems. The path to the application is Apps/acrosrch/addreg.exe. In that same folder is an .ini file that can be used in lieu of this application when necessary. If you have any questions about how to use this application, you can direct your questions to the application’s creator, Haskell Reece, at Haskell.Reece@pentagon.af.mil, or to the Help Desk at the numbers and e-mail listed below.


Opening the Application

As noted before, we recommend that you launch the application by double-clicking one of the AFEPL icons that was created during setup. If you want a publication locataed on volume 1 click the AFEPL Vol 1 icon. You need to make sure, if you are using the AFEPL on a one CD-drive standalone computer, that disc 1 is indeed in your disk drive. This action will open the selected web browser software and bring up the table of contents of the AFEPL volume that you chose. You will be able to select between several options provided onscreen in order to navigate beyond that point. Opening the publications and forms listings will help you determine which CD volume they are located on.

Navigating To Needed Files

This first page of the AFEPL interface leads to many others, which all combine to form the AFEPL table of contents. Each Series listing serves as a link to another page, where further options within that Series selection are available. For example, selecting Publications 10 Series is a matter of clicking your cursor over the words "10 Series" in the Publications TOC. This will deliver you to a page that separately lists each of the publications available within that series (10-101, 10-102, etc). Each individual publication can be opened in the same manner, by clicking on the individual listing for it. And, the Forms table of contents works in the same intuitive manner.

Opening Files and Returning To the Table of Contents (TOC)

Once you are able to see the listing that you want to select, opening it up for use is no more difficult than clicking on it. All publications files are now available in Acrobat Reader format, and since that software application will not already be open, your PC will launch Acrobat reader and the publication you have selected will open up in front of you. If you are selecting a form to use, that will require that Formflow software be opened up. That will occur in the same manner as Acrobat Reader opens for publications, except that Jetform Formflow will not be automatically installed during the initial setup process. By using the TOC as described above, you will launch the form that you want, simultaneously with the Formflow software, by double clicking on the form’s listing.

Once you have whatever form or publication that you need opened up in front of you, you may eventually want to return to the main TOC. If you close the publication or form that you are in, and the application (Acrobat Reader or Formflow) that it is using, you will be returned to the last screen that you had left to arrive there in the first place, in other words, you would backtrack to the table of contents page which lists that specific file. You can then use the Backtrack buttons in your web browser to return to previous pages of the AFEPL interface. When you are on one of the AFEPL interface pages within the web browser, you will have a banner across the top of some of the pages with links that connect you to other pages (for example, the "Forms" link on that banner connects you to the Forms table of contents). Check each of those links to become familiar with them.

Using the Search Function on the AFEPL

You must be in Acrobat Reader in order to perform any searches, and you need to have at least Acrobat Reader version 3.01 with Search Capability in order to take advantage of the function. Because the interface is now using a web browser software, you will not automatically be in Acrobat Reader. You have to open Acrobat Reader and go there (the screen may be blank), and use "Search" from your Tools option on the menu bar. From "Search" you should choose "Query" and then follow the onscreen prompts. You may have to first attach your search indexes in order to perform any searches, and if you are unable to initiate a query then probably this is the necessary step. To do this, go to "Search" from the Tools option on your Acrobat Reader menu bar, and select "Indexes" from there. Then choose "Add Indexes" and browse to the root of your CD-ROM. Depending on which volume you have in your drive, you should scroll to and select the file named stdpubs1.pdx, stdpubs2.pdx, stdpubs3.pdx, stdpubs4.pdx, or stdpubs5.pdx and attach this file. Then the Search functions will work. If you are unclear on these instructions then please contact our Help Desk for support.

Known Problems with this AFEPL

There are three known problems with this AFEPL edition that you need to be aware of:

  1. Some PCs that already have a web browser installed will not run this AFEPL from the menu bar the way it is supposed to work. Selecting AFEPL Vol 1, AFEPL Vol 2, AFEPL Vol 3, AFEPL Vol 4, or AFEPL Vol 5 from the AFEPL icon group will not bring up your installed web browser and will appear to do nothing. This occurs because the .htm file extension is not associated with your installed web browser. In cases like this, you should simply associate that file extension with your browser. If you need help doing that, contact our help desk (see bottom).
  2. The "Tools" and "Policy and Standards" links that appear on the banner across the top of the AFEPL’s pages link to our website on the Internet. This is true also of many of the links in the Forms section (DD and SF forms, for example). If you do not have Internet connectivity on your network or PC, then selecting those links will not yield any positive results. We may change this aspect of our program for future releases, or we may leave it as it is now. Please note this aspect of the navigational banner.
  3. The "DD" folders on volume 4 of the AFEPL, where Department of Defense forms had been, no longer contain all the forms that had been there before (see #2, above). The DoD has directed us to remove their electronic forms from our distribution media, because they have their own distribution media and they want to consolidate their documents on their own media. We have had to comply with that directive, and so those folders are empty in many cases. The folders are acting only as placekeepers now, and will be removed from the CDs altogether.

If you have any questions about these instructions or you need assistance in performing them, contact our Help Desk at DSN 754-2438 or 202-404-2438.