This page describes how to install the GenHelm Integrated Development Environment for the first time. Before installing the GenHelm IDE you must first install the GenHelm Application Runtime. If you have not done so, please visit Installing the GenHelm Application Runtime.

To install the GenHelm IDE you will be completing the following steps:

PC or Mac
Create genhelm Subdomain
Download and unzip the genhelm files
Transfer or copy the files to your web server
Generate a temporary password
Save an initial password file under your desired id
Log into GenHelm
Stow site_settings within system and genhelm
Define yourself as a user in genhelm
Synchronize the save dates on the installation files

Let's review these steps in detail.

Define the genhelm Subdomain

If you are installing on a remote server you should define a new subdomain on your sandbox named genhelm. This is not necessary if you are installing GehHelm on a stand-alone PC or Macintosh computer.

Download and Unzip the genhelm Folders

If you have not already done so you will need to download and unzip the genhelm folders. Here we see the folders that are part of the GenHelm IDE installation:

GenHelm IDE installation folders

Copy the Files to your Web Server

You will need to copy the genhelm folder located under private_data to the private_data folder on your webserver.

You must also copy the genhelm folder located under public_html to your web server's document root folder.

When you are finished, your web server should contain the following folders:

Web Server Folders

Depending on how you installed the GenHelm Application Runtime, the public_html folder might be named htdocs or some other name.

At this point the GenHelm IDE is installed but you won't be able to access it until you define yourself as a user.

Generate a Temporary Password

If you have installed the GenHelm runtime on remote server, try loading the url:


If you installed on a local PC or Mac try loading:


You should see a screen that looks like this:

GenHelm Temporary Password Generator

If you don’t see this screen try an alternate version of the url that includes the page name as part of the query string. In this case the server based URL will look like this:


If you installed on a local PC or Mac use this URL:


If this second form of the URL works (but the first did not) it likely means that one of the following needs to be corrected:

  1. Your default document is not set to index.php
  2. Your ErrorDocument is not correctly pointing to index.php
  3. The version of index.php in the document root folder does not agree with what is in the public_html folder on the installation zip.

If neither one of these URLs load, you will need to debug the problem before continuing with the installation.

We don’t provide a default user id and password as part of the installation so as not to tempt hackers to try to use this default id.

Since GenHelm requires a login to access the system you must manually create a login for yourself as the first user. Then you will be able to define other users using GenHelm itself.

Decide on Your User Id

Next you will decide what user id you intend to use with GenHelm. Often this will be a combination of letters from your first and last name or you could also use your email address. User ids cannot contain spaces and must begin with a lower case character followed by any combination of lower case characters, numbers or the characters “.”, “-”, “_” and “@”.

Locate the Template File in the Extracted Zip

Locate the extracted file named private_data/genhelm/includes/user/

Here we show this file as part of a local installation:

User Id Template File

Rename the Template File

Rename this file to correspond with the user id that you want to use in GenHelm, making sure that you keep the “.inc” extension.

Edit the Renamed File

Open the file in Notepad or any other editor to change the file contents.

Open user template file in any editor

This file initially contains the following:

// Paste line generated by page genhash

Update your user file with the temporary password.

Replace the second row of the file with the contents from the genhash page that you loaded in your browser. 

Notice the page contains two important things:

  1. A temporary password that you will enter into the password screen
  2. A line of code that you will copy into a .inc file that you just renamed

Copy the last line on the page to the clipboard and paste this into the .inc file that you are editing. When you are finished the file will look something like this:


and will be named something like where yourname is the id that you want to use to access GenHelm. Be sure to save your changes to the file.

Copy the Temporary Password to the Clipboard

Next copy the temporary password shown on the genhash web page (this is on row two between the double quotes). Be sure not to refresh the page since this would generate a new password and hash value.

FTP the User File to the Sandbox Server

If you installed GenHelm on a server, you will need to transfer the renamed user file to the private_data/genhelm/includes/user folder within your sandbox environment. If you are an administrator for this server or if you are installing GenHelm on a PC or Mac you should consider copying this user file to the system site, rather than the genhelm site. In such a case you will copy this file to the folder private_data/system/includes/user instead. By defining your user id within system you will be granted logon access to all (developed) sites on the sandbox server, not just genhelm.

You should now be able to log on to GenHelm

Logging Into GenHelm

You should now be able to login to GenHelm using the user id that corresponds to the file name you chose and the temporary password shown on the genhash page.

If you installed GenHelm on a remote sandbox you will use the url:


If you installed on a local machine the url will be:


The URLs should lead to a login page.

GenHelm Login Screen

Enter your user id and temporary password into the first two fields. You will also need to enter a new password in the third field and repeat this in the fourth field. Your new password must include both letters and numbers and must be at least eight characters in length.

After logging in you should see the following screen:

GenHelm Initial Screen

You interact with GenHelm by entering commands into the Command field and clicking on the right arrow or pressing the Enter key.

Make note of the question mark icon on the main screen. Later you can click on theQuestion Mark to begin learning about GenHelm. 

Securing GenHelm

One of the ways GenHelm secures your sites is by associating secret keys with each subdomain. These keys will be randomly generated when you stow your site settings for the first time. Let’s go through this process next for the genhelm and system domains.

The following screen samples reflect the localhost domain however the same procedure will be followed when using a remote sandbox.

Logon to genhelm

Logon to genhelm

Edit site_settings

Edit site_settings


Stow genhelm site_settings

Logon system

Logon system

Edit site_settings

Edit system site_settings


Stow system site_settings

Stow Confirmed

system site_settings confirmed

Defining Yourself in GenHelm

In order to create new websites in GenHelm you will need to define yourself with the proper privileges. If you copied your temporary user definition into the system folder you should define yourself as a user within system. If you copied your temporary user definition in genhelm you should logon to genhelm before defining your user profile.

When you are within the correct site invoke the user model using the command “e user”:

Invoke the user model

Fill in the screen with all of your user details. Be sure to include your email address and phone number since these are used to reset your password if you forget it.

Scroll down to the Group/Role definition and define a row for group site-admin with role site-creator. This will allow you to define new sites within GenHelm. If you are involved in promoting sites to production, you should also define yourself to the promoter role within the live environment. Since you are installing GenHelm, you should also add yourself to the installer role. All three of these roles should be within the site-admin group.

Define yourself to the genhelm site-creator role

When you are finished entering the information stow the definition under the name that corresponds to your user id:

Stow your user definition

To learn more about using GenHelm follow this link General help link near the command line.

Installing the Sakila Demo Site

If you are planning to build database applications using GenHelm you should consider installing the Sakila Demo site locally so that you can refer to the settings used to build the site at Follow this link to learn about installing this sakilademo site.

Synchronizing the Save Time on Installed Components

One of the features of GenHelm is that it can detect when generated components have been modified by hand. This is done by comparing the save dates of the generated components with that of the specification used to generate the components. Depending on how you installed GenHelm, these save dates may have been overwritten by the operating system. Therefore, we recommend running a synchronize utility to restore the save dates back to the time when the components were last generated. To use this utility, follow these steps.

  1. Copy the installation zip files to your GenHelm server environment
  2. Launch the install/syncsavetime wizard from your browser
  3. Synchronize the save times for the system runtime
  4. Synchronize the save times for the genhelm site
  5. Optionally synchronize the save times for the sakilademo site

These steps are described in detail below.

Copy or Upload the Installation Zip Files

One of the folders that you created when you installed GenHelm is named private_data/genhelm/install/installation_zips. In this step, you will be copying the three installation files into this folder. These zip files are used by the date synchronizing process. It is a good idea to keep these files even after you have finished this process so that you have a backup of all installed files in case you accidentally delete or change one of this installation files. After copying the zip files to the installation_zips folder your genhelm folder will look like this:

Installation Files Uploaded to GenHelm

Launch the install/syncsavetime Utility

The sync utility can only be launched by users of the group site-admin who are assigned the role installer. If you just updated your user id with this role you will need to log in again in order for the role designation to take effect.

To launch this utility, change your normal GenHelm url to page install/syncsavetime in your sandbox environment. This will present the following page.

Synchronize Save Time Screen

Synchronize system Save Times

Select system in the drop-down control and enter the version number you just installed in the Installation Version, then click the Synchronize Time button.

This may execute for several minutes then, when it is completed, you will see a summary form at the bottom of the screen such as the following:

install/syncsavetime results

You can use the View Install Logs link to see the details of any files that were not synchronized.

Synchronize genhelm Save Times

Repeat the process above except select genhelm in the drop-down field.

Synchronize sakilademo Save Times

If you installed the sakilademo site, repeat this process for that site as well.