how to setup an online experiment in DMDX

 

J. Forster has devised a version of how to run a DMDX experiment online, in what he calls remote testing mode. It took us a while to exactly how he did it, so we document it here.

We followed instructions for method 3, where results are posted to the server at the University of Arizona and also emailed.

1. Download the package that contains the communication test from http://www.u.arizona.edu/~jforster/dmdx/commstest3.exe. This is a self-extracting zip file. You can simply extract it by opening it in winzip, or, even easier, rename it to .zip and then extract it using Windows. From this package, you need the poster.exe and dmdx.exe. The .bat is the same that is described in the remote testing overview in the section “The final Yacht solution”.

2. Now assemble your own package. You need the poster.exe, dmdx.exe, your finished dmdx .rtf script, and an adapted .bat file. Our .bat file looks like this:

start /wait "DMDX" dmdx.exe -auto -run power.rtf
if not exist power.azk goto end
poster.exe /cgi-bin/unloadazk4web email=schubert@igroup.org subject=unloadazk4web_power -iemailaddr results=power.azk
if errorlevel 1 pause
:end

The steps:

start… starts DMDX in the easiest mode possible (-auto) that simply accepts the desktop screen resolution and refresh rate settings. It executes the experiment script power.rtf and waits until it’s done.

if the results are saved in the power.azk file, it takes those results and posts them to the dmdx server at the university of Arizona, in addition to emailing a copy to my email address. If there was a problem, it will pause to show the error messages.

You can test your .bat file by simply executing it on your computer. The results should show up when you visit the server. You will see that your experiment file name includes a long number – the hash tag that is created automatically.

3. Now you need to pack it the four files (your .bat, dmdx.exe, poster.exe, and your .rtf) in a self-extracting zip file that automatically executes one element after unpacking. Winzip’s self-extractor is one option to create them. Apparently, there are also open source alternatives. Put the 4 files into a .zip file, but be careful to only pack the files themselves, not the folder that contains them – otherwise, the folder name is included in the path and creates all kinds of problems.

4. If you use winzip self-extractor, you choose to create a “Self-extracing Zip file for Software Installation”, and specify the zip’s file name. We left the Message box empty. Then you choose “Unzip automatically” and “Run as a user”. The command to issue after unzipping is ./dmdx.bat, or whatever name you gave your .bat. As the message for the Software Installation Dialog, we entered: “The experimental software (DMDX) will not actually install. It will just run, send the results to the server and then be deleted. Just click the Setup button.” In the About box, we entered ” This experimental software DMDX is a tachistoscopic experimental display presentation and experiment controller program written at the University of Arizona by K.I.Forster and J.C. Forster”. This should be all to create your .exe file. Test it.

5. Now you only need to put this online and convince your participants that they can trust you enough to download an .exe file and execute it.

 

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8 thoughts on “how to setup an online experiment in DMDX

  1. Hello,
    I have followed your instructions and created the self-extracting .exe file. However, I cannot seem to be able to email it to anyone or post it online to a webpage as .exe files are blocked by email servers and forbidden to upload on my website. Can you suggest a solution for that?
    Many thanks!

  2. Thank you for the reply. I used the public folder of Dropbox as well, it works fine.
    Another problem I am having is that I am now receiving results emails with only the following information:

    emailaddr=poster_1.1.1@xxx-PC
    HTTP_USER_AGENT=poster/1.1.1
    REMOTE_ADDR=xx.xx.x.xx

    No actual results are included and they have not be registered in the AZK on the server. I have received 4 such mails so far. There is no indication of failure in the mail body or subject, but there are no results either. Do you have any idea as to what these are?

    Thanks again!

  3. I do not even understand how I ended up here, but I believed this submit was once great.
    I don’t recognise who you’re but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger for those who aren’t already.
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  4. Hi, thanks so much for the helpful manual. I have followed the steps but when want to test my exe file it gives me that ‘it cannot find the specified file’ and when want to run the bat file from the zip file it says ‘cannot find dmdx.exe’. I’m not sure what’s wrong with it as it works fine (the bat file) when it is not zipped or become an exe file. Would you please help me out?

    1. not sure what is happening… If the unpacked .bat works fine, but the files cannot be found – maybe you made a mistake during packing. Be careful to only pack the files themselves, not the folder that contains them – otherwise, the folder name is included in the path and creates all kinds of problems.

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