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  Stonebroom.ASPointer Technical Support

The product support pages contain information about the topics which arise most frequently. If you need more help or wish to report a problem with ASPointer or any of our other products please mail us directly at support@stonebroom.com. You can also use the contact details on the home page to submit comments, suggestions, or technical queries.

Using ASPointer under the .NET Framework.

The ASPointer component is not specifically designed for use under the Microsoft .NET Framework. It is a standard COM DLL, and so will require you to run any managed code application or ASP.NET page that uses it in "compatibility" mode (i.e. include AspCompat="true" in the <%@Page ... %> directive). Alternatively you can use the .NET TLBIMP utility to create a managed code wrapper for the component. However, please note that we cannot provide support for issues that arise in conjunction with using the component within a .NET application.

Checking the component version number.

If you are having problems with ASPointer, you should check the component version number and include this with your inquiry. The component file is aspointr.dll, which is installed by default in your Winnt\System32 folder. To check which version you have installed:

  • Open the Winnt\System32 folder and select the file aspointr.dll.
  • Right-click on it, select Properties, and open the Version page.
  • The version number is shown at the top of this page, in the format xx.xxxx

Changed features in version 1.2x.

Version 1.2 of ASPointer added a new method named readMetaContent that selects <META> elements within an HTML or ASP document, and returns the values of the NAME and CONTENT attributes of each one.

Obtaining the latest version.

The versions of the ASPointer component (the file aspointr.dll) are:
* Non-regression tested: 1.30 (evaluation version) and 1.31 (full version)
* Current version (see Note): 1.20 (evaluation version) and 1.21 (full version)

To check which version you have installed:

  • Open the Winnt\System32 folder and select the file aspointr.dll.
  • Right-click on it, select Properties, and open the Version page.
If the File Version entry is earlier than the current version, you can obtain an upgrade by contacting us at sales@stonebroom.com. We require the name of the distributor where you obtained the component, the date of purchase, and the invoice/order number. You can download the evaluation component DLLs here: [version 1.20] [version 1.30].

See the topic Checking the component version number for help on determining the version number of the components on your system. See the topic Replacing or deleting the ASP2XML DLL file for help on updating or replacing existing component files.

The 'ERROR: Missing element closing tag' message.

When you specify the type or name of the element to access in the target document, that element must follow the XML-style rules, having either a matching end tag (such as </A>) or including the closing forward slash in the opening tag if there is no closing tag (for example <LEGAL />). If you are reading or writing an HTML document, the component will report the error 'Missing element closing tag </xxxx>' if you specify HTML-style single tag elements such as <P>, <META> or <HR>.

Note: in versions of the component prior to 1.30, empty elements can cause this error to be erroneously reported in some circumstances when an empty element is encountered, i.e. an element of the form <tag></tag>. Placing any single character within the element, including a space, will prevent this behavior. Versions 1.30 and 1.31 of the component do not suffer from this problem, but they have not been fully regression tested in all circumstances. If you wish to upgrade to the latest version, see the section 'Obtaining the latest version' earlier in this page.

Note that if the element is of the correct form, and the error still occurs, it may also be due to an extra space or other 'whitespace' character such as a TAB character within the closing element tag.

'Legal' elements are not found in the document.

One other point to be aware of is where opening element tags are spread over several lines in the target document. For example:


If the component is unable to buffer enough of the text to include the complete element tag, it will fail to correctly find the content. While this is a very unlikely event, you can reduce the chances of it happening by increasing the size of the text buffer using the Configuration Manager that is supplied with ASPointer. The program is named XPConfig.exe. It is installed by default in the Program Files\Stonebroom\ASPointer folder of your system, and is available from the Start menu. The optimum value depends on your system free memory, disk speed, and concurrent activity. Acceptable values are from 128 to 65536 characters. The default if not set is 2048, giving a 2KB buffer.

Errors when attempting to open a document.

ASPointr requires appropriate disk access permissions to be able to read and write to the target files. If you encounter errors while trying to access a document, it may be because the account you are using does not have the correct permission. This is most likely to occur when using the writeXPointer method. You should edit the Permissions list in the Properties dialog for the directory specified in the DocumentName parameter (using Windows NT Explorer). Give the account that will use the component Write or Full Control permission. If the component is being accessed anonymously, the account in use will be either IUSR_machinename or IWAM_machinename depending on whether you have installed the component as a Virtual Application in Internet Service Manager.

I can't replace or delete the ASPointer DLL file.

Windows NT and the Web server cache the components they use in memory, and lock them so that they cannot be moved or deleted while in use. In some cases stopping and restarting the Web server may release the component. Otherwise restarting Windows or rebooting the server will do the trick. To avoid this problem, if you are using Internet Information Server 4 or higher, you can create Virtual Applications and place all your ASP pages that use the component inside this folder. It's then possible to unload the component from memory using the Properties dialog of the Virtual Application folder in Internet Service Manager.

I'm confused about physical and virtual file paths.

The DocumentName and FileListRoot parameters of the ASPointer component methods are very flexible, allowing you to specify the files to be accessed or listed in different ways. The main difference is that the file path and name can be specified either as a physical or a virtual path. Physical paths are those that include a driver letter and the normal DOS-style path description, for example D:\InetPub\WWWRoot\Thisfile.xml. Virtual paths are those that start with a Web-style forward slash and then the name of a virtual root - plus an optional path from it to a subdirectory, for example /MyPages/Myfiles/Thisfile.xml.

Tell me more about using physical file paths.

Physical paths give the most freedom when specifying the DocumentName and FileListRoot parameters of the ASPointer component methods. However, this freedom can allow access to files outside the Web site directories on your system, which could provoke security concerns. To avoid this risk, you can use the Configuration Manager utility supplied with ASPointer to prevent users specifying physical paths.

How do I view the documentation from a remote machine?

The documentation and sample pages for ASPointer are found in the directory where you installed it. By default this is \Program Files\Stonebroom\ASPointer . To make these files available through the Web server so that you can view them from another machine, you can either copy them into a directory underneath your WWWRoot directory, or create a virtual root (or Alias) that points to the ASPointer directory. Make sure that you specify 'Script Executable' permission for the directory. If you only want to view the HTML documentation pages you don't need to specify Executable permission for the directory.

Runtime error 800a01ad 'ActiveX component can't create object'.

This general error message can be caused by many things. To cure it, try the following:

  • Make sure you are using Server.CreateObject() in VBScript in ASP pages. CreateObject() alone should only be used in Visual Basic.
  • If you are running the object in a separate process in IIS4, it may be that MTS has become confused and is holding an invalid object pointer. Try unloading the object using the Properties dialog of the virtual application directory. Otherwise reboot the server.
  • Alternatively, it might be that the DLL has been moved or deleted, or that for some reason the registered information is wrong. Re-register the DLL (probably in Winnt\System32) using the RegSvr32 utility:

    regsvr32 path_to_dll\aspointr.dll

Finally, if you've got any suggestions - or any comments on ASPointer generally - we'd love to hear from you.

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