Technical Information about DIALANG

Updated 5 February 2014

Installing DIALANG

To use DIALANG, you first download the client software, and then you install it on your PC.
You can download the DIALANG client zip file (2.8 Mbytes) by clicking here.

DIALANG also needs Java (the Java Runtime Environment or JRE).
• You may download the most recent Java JRE from the Java website.
• Alternatively we have saved an older version with which DIALANG is known to work correctly. Click here.

After installation, you start the client software (by clicking the DIALANG icon) and it connects to the DIALANG Test Server via the internet to run the tests. Sometimes it is necessary to try (click the icon) several times - before your computer makes a first connection to the DIALANG Test Server.

Connecting to the DIALANG Test Server


When it fails to find the DIALANG Test Server, the DIALANG client on your computer sometimes asks you to check your proxy settings. Please ignore this (unless your institution has a complex firewall system, when you should talk to your network administrator).

If the client continues to fail to connect to the DIALANG Test Server, try "pinging" the server:
For example at a (DOS) command prompt, type "PING dialang2.lancaster.ac.uk".
If you receive a response to the ping - then the DIALANG Test Server is running, and there is probably a fault local to your PC or LAN.
The box below shows a reply. Your reply will probably be slower (because I am near the server).


We changed to a new DIALANG Test Server in October 2006. If you installed DIALANG on your computer before then and have not used it recently, your computer may be trying to connect to an old server. Reinstalling DIALANG from a new download may fix this problem.
If you still can not connect to the DIALANG Test Server, check the server allocators file on your computer. In a standard installation this file is C:\Program Files\Dialang\etc\Allocators.XML. Check that the server hostname is the name in the box below. If you need to change this file, you can use Notepad or a similar text-editor program:


It may be necessary to configure your anti-virus software or your firewall software to allow the DIALANG client access to the internet. The DIALANG client may appear to that software as "javaw.exe"

If the DIALANG Test Server stops running, I expect to receive hundreds of emails telling me - and I will update these pages!

Computers in a lab or on a local area network

If you are trying to install and use DIALANG in a computer lab or if your computer is connected to a local network, for example in a school or a university or a business, please check the following points:

Note that DIALANG cannot be run from a server but must be installed on each individual machine on which DIALANG is to be used.

Check that you have permission to install programs on the computer. In many schools and universities, for security reasons, only the system/network manager can install new programs.

Check that the installed programs are not erased from the local hard disk when the computers are re-booted. For security reasons, a computer lab may be set up so that any new programs installed on (a particular) hard disk are automatically erased after the system is shut down.

Check that DIALANG is allowed to write on the hard disk where it is installed (or at least in subdirectories below the directory where it is installed). DIALANG creates a file cache during the sessions. However, writing on the hard disk where DIALANG is installed may be disabled in some labs for security reasons.

Outages

The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable from 01:00 on 3 Feb 2014 until 18:00 on the same day.
The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable from 01:00 on 7 July 2013 until 12:00 on 9 July 2013.
The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable on 12 Dec 2012 from 00:01 until 15:30.
The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable from 6-12 Sep 2012.
The DIALANG Test Server was migrated to a new virtual server installation on 17 Feb 2012.
The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable from 28 December 2011 to 9 January 2012.
The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable for about 28 hours from 03:30 GMT on 14 November 2011
The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable for about 24 hours from 06:30 GMT on 8 November 2011
The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable from 20 Sep 2011 to 1 Oct 2011.
The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable because of a network fault from about 07:00 GMT on 3 May 2011 until 07:00 on 4 May 2011.
The DIALANG Test Server was down for about 3 days on 25-28 Jan 2011.
The DIALANG Test Server was down for about 28 hours from about 09:15 GMT on 13 Sep 2009 until about 13:45 GMT on 14 Sep 2009, because it failed to restart fully after a power interruption.
The DIALANG Test Server was down for about 48 hours from about 11:00 GMT on 11 May 2009 until about 11:00 GMT on 13 May 2009, because of a software problem.
The DIALANG Test Server was down for about 72 hours from about 10:00 GMT on 31 August 2008 until about 10:00 GMT on 3 September 2008, because its database failed to restart correctly after a power interruption.
The DIALANG Test Server was unavailable during late summer 2006 due to hardware problems.

The main DIALANG website has been unavailable from 18 December 2009, replaced by this website.
The DIALANG website was unavailable for short periods 28-30 March 2008, when it moved to a higher bandwidth facility.
The DIALANG website was unavailable from 12-22 November 2007, due to hosting problems.