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Synergi Gas and the ‘Jump List’

Here’s another great contribution from our own Alex Hollis, Senior Principal Product Engineer for DNV GL’s Simulation & Optimization products, which includes Synergi Gas.  Here he will share a great set of tips and tricks, under the title of “What’s that Noise?”.  For the origin of this title, check this post…  And now, the rest of the story…

What’s That Noise?   A blog about some of Synergi’s lesser-known capabilities

Say What?

A jump list?

Ever heard of a jump list?  If you have, award yourself 5 points and a chance to play in the bonus round, where the scores can really add up.  If you haven’t, join the club.  I learned the name just a couple of days ago.

I had always called the thing an MRU list, as in Most Recently Used.  When you go to open a Synergi Gas model, for example, we show you a list of recently-opened models, as shown here.

Yup, that’s an MRU list.

Tips and Tricks - MRU listPlease forgive all the blurry stuff; there are some folder and file names that must remain confidential.   And I’m too lazy right now to open enough demo files to have a list fit for general consumption.   But there are a few things that can be discerned from this MRU:

  1. It’s from my computer, because there are my initials, sah, right there on the screen.
  2.  I’m obviously working on Synergi Gas version 4.9.
  3.  I’m working on a new demo model, for the multiphase and liquids steady state modules, using the fictitious company name “Smoky Mountain Exploration Company”, which is NOT a real-company name, and saying “SmokEx” sounds cool.  But I’ll probably change it later, once I’ve had time to do a thorough copyright search.
  4.  I’ve been working on a model with 5 pipes, and cleverly named it Five Pipes.

OK, there’s really not anything you can discern that is worth discerning.  So, let’s keep moving.

Tips and Tricks - Jump List

Oh, good, the point

There is a difference between an MRU and a jump list.  Without getting all technical (and also without actually bothering to look this up), a jump list on the start menu is associated with a program by Windows itself (I think they started this about Windows 7), while a software product itself manages its own MRU lists.  Here’s a sample jump list. And the actual point of this blog:

Whenever I start Synergi Gas, I just pick the model I’ve been working on from the Jump List and the model opens.  In other words, it skips the Opening Assistant stuff.  It’s very convenient, saves a bit of time, and minimizes mouse clicks.

Now you try it.  Click your task bar’s Start button,  .

A list will display.  Just hover your mouse over Synergi for a few seconds, and through the magic of programmatic prestidigitation, Windows will present the jump list.  Surprise!  Not all of you will see the jump list.

Fair warning!

Dr. McCoy

“I’m an engineer, not a developer!”, said Dr. McCoy never.

What I’m about to say is based on an admittedly dim understanding of Windows development.  I know Synergi and the math and engineering and the matrix fill and systems of equations and equations of state and quadratic equations and that kind of stuff, but I am extraordinarily not a software developer.

My theory is that Windows uses file associations to create the start menu jump list.  Windows knows that the ‘.doc’ or ‘.docx’ extensions are associated with the Word product, or that ‘.xls’ is for Excel, ‘ppt’ for Power Point, and so on.

And the Synergi model files is a ‘.mdb’, which Windows automatically associates with the Access database program.  Open your Windows Explorer, find a Synergi model, and double-click on the file name.

• If Synergi opens, you saw the Jump List.
• If Access opens, you didn’t.

So we now understand the mystery of the jump list.  You can associate a file extension with a particular program to open it – Notepad for ‘.txt’ files, for example, or how many times has iTunes asked you about video files?  It’s pretty simple.  From your Windows Explorer, left click once on a Synergi database, then right-click.

From the pop-up menu, select Properties.

Tips and Tricks - Changing file properties

Changing file properties

From the General tab, click the Change button (Figure 4).  You should be able to figure it out from there.

My work here is almost done.  There’s just one more thing to talk about.  In my job, I really need to use Access to look at the contents of databases, so I want to run Access with a double-click in Explorer.  But I really like to use the jump list.  During a common day I might open 10 or 15 different models, and having that list of the last 10 is really handy.  So, I want it both ways.

I’m funny like that.  But I digress.

Anyway, I ‘tricked’ Windows.  It’s a three-step process.

1. From Windows Explorer, do the RMC thing and change the ‘.mdb’ extension’s association from Access to Synergi Gas.  Click OK.
2. Double-click on that file.  Yep, Synergi opened.  Cool.  Now, shut Synergi down.
3. Repeat step 1, except this time change the association back to Access.
Windows will remember that Synergi Gas association, although you changed it back, and now you’ll have a Jump List.

You might want to always be able to double-click on a Synergi Gas model name in Windows Explorer and have Synergi Gas automatically launch & open the file.  In that case, skip the third step in my ‘trick’, above.

Happy Modeling!

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