January 19, 2006 | Mark Paradies

Tech Support Thursday: The Magic of XML

Hello everybody, and welcome back to Tech Support Thursday. I was out last week due to some family issues, but now I’m back in action.

Today I’m going to talk about a little file in your TapRooT System Software directory and what it can tell you (and how it can help you troubleshoot, too!).

This article is for advanced users or IT departments only.

The file in question today is called datalist.xml. It is located in the C:\Program Files\TapRooT directory. Here is an example file:




Now for those not fully versed in XML (and few are), let’s note a few things:

There are “Tags” which break up the XML file. An example of a tag is <TEST>. Note the greater than/less than symbols on either side. The “closing” tag is </TEST> This specifies that anything in between <TEST> and </TEST> belong to the dataset “TEST”.

What does this have to to do with datalist.xml? Let’s look closer at the file:

<DATALIST> tells the program that beginning with this tag we’re going pull our data using the specifications inside.

Look at the first part of the next tag, <DATABASE HANDLE=”TAPROOT”

This creates a “Database” tag and creates variables to be used by that dataset tag. For example, TapRooT System Software’s connect name according to the MSDE or SQL server is set to “Taproot”. This is important only for database connection purposes and should never change.


The database name itself is never changed. This should always be Taproot.

Next up is the important part: SERVERNAME=”(local)\TAPROOT”>

This is the crucial section of the file. If you cannot connect to your database server, look here and see what this tells you. What this is saying is SERVERNAME=”Machine_Name\Instance_Name”.

(local) should be listed here ONLY if your machine is in Single User Mode.

If your machine uses a Workgroup installation, (local) would be replaced with your server name. For example:


The same applies to Enterprise installations, with one exception: Enterprise installations rarely set the Instance Name. This means your SERVERNAME field could look like this:


Unless directly specified on a Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise installation, unlike Workgroup installations TapRooT System Software will install without an “instance” name.

We get plenty of calls from IT departments pulling their hair out over the Instance Name field during workstation installations when all along it should be set to blank (ie, nothing). Looking at this file will tell you what instance it’s looking for as well as what server it’s looking at.

I hope this helps. When in doubt and troubleshooting, or when moving Workgroup servers, this information should prove invaluable.

Until next week, thanks for using TapRooT!

Software - Technically Speaking
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