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Introductory Batch Tutorial

Please note that these practical sessions are designed to be completed in sequential order. This tutorial should take approximately 1.5 hours.

Practical Sessions


Let’s assume an organization uses analysis tools, which may include in-house codes and/or models created using commercial applications such as Excel® or MATLAB®. Let’s also assume there is a requirement to deploy some of these tools, in an easy-to-use form, to end-users who may not be expert at using these tools in their “native” form.

This tutorial is a guide through the creation of a custom web application called an EASAP to simplify and automate the use of an analysis tool. We create an intuitive interface to enable error-free usage with a minimal learning curve for end-users. In addition, we would like end-users to be able to store results in a central repository and to share results with colleagues.

Tutorial Summary

Any batch mode software, either in-house or commercial, can be driven by an EASAP. Here we use a batch mode program that performs a simple structural analysis of a rectangular plate. This application was written by Herbert Whitman ( and is free.

This application is an example of a simple DOS program that does not have a graphical user interface – it is a ‘command-line driven code’. To run this program as intended in its original form, open a DOS command prompt, change to the directory containing the program, and type in the name of the main executable femrctpl.exe. The user is prompted for a series of inputs, as shown in the following figures.

The program prompts for the name of an input data file that must be created with a text editor prior to running the program. An example of the expected form for this input data, plate.txt file is shown on the next page.

The program produces lines of text and tabular data output. A portion is shown in the figure below.

The results computed by the program include:

  • local displacements
  • local bending moments
  • reactions on the supported edges.

Clearly, this is not a process that you would expect a new user to be able to execute in its current form without some training. More generally—while many commercial applications offer capable GUIs—they are usually designed to allow expert users to solve many different types of problems, rather than enabling a non-expert to quickly and intuitively execute a specific process.

In this tutorial, we will take a difficult, “expert-only” process, and “wrap” the process into an intuitive web application, enabling error-free usage by non- experts.

This tutorial is designed for use with an EASA Server that is running under Windows. If the EASA Server is running under Linux, then please contact our support personnel at to make arrangements for receiving a Linux server compatible version of the tutorial.

Tutorial Files

For this tutorial, both the planning of the EASAP and the generation of batch files for the underlying software application have been completed previously. Additionally the report template has been already created to focus on learning to Author an EASAP.

The files that we will need to complete the tutorial are listed in the table below:

File Name Description
femrctpl.exe Main executable of rectangular plate analysis program
input.txt File containing inputs for rectangular plate analysis program
plate.txt Data file for rectangular plate analysis program
EASAlogo.jpg Image file of EASA logo
plate.gif Image file used as a thumbnail or selection image
load.gif Image file used in application diagram
report.html Template HTML file for report of results
PLATE.OUT Template file for extracting output

These files are available in .zip format on the EASA Server:

  • Start EASA, log in, and Set Mode→Author.
  • Click the EASA→Help→Tutorials tab.
  • Under Introductory Batch Application Tutorial:
  • Click Tutorial Files (Windows zip format)
  • Save the archive.
  • Unzip the archive

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