Start Fishbowl

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This guide provides instructions on what to expect when starting Fishbowl for the first time, and how to change the default database to your own.


Launching the Fishbowl Server and Client
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Fishbowl has two parts which work in tandem: The Fishbowl Server and the Fishbowl Client. The Fishbowl Server must be running before the Fishbowl Client can be used. See Fishbowl fundamentals for more information about the relationship between server and client.

To run the Fishbowl Server and Client you may do either of the following:

FB install Program Files.png

When the Client Login screen comes up, enter the username and password. If this is the first time running Fishbowl, enter the following:

Login client.png

To connect to the Fishbowl Server remotely you must have the Client installed on the remote machine. At the log in screen, choose the Details button. Replace the word localhost with the IP address of the computer that is running the Fishbowl Server and click Login. Clicking the Search Button.png Search button next to the Server Address field will search for any Fishbowl Client signals being broadcast from the Fishbowl Server.

If you are unable to connect to the server, you may need to open port 28192 on the server in order for clients to connect to the server.

For details about staring Fishbowl on Linux, see Start Fishbowl on Linux.

Running Fishbowl for the First Time
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With a new installation, the server will be running an example database called Bicycles Unlimited. This database is already populated with parts, vendors, customers, etc. and is designed for you to test and explore before creating your own default database.

To login to the example database for the first time, enter the following:

A Welcome wizard will be displayed letting you know that you are connected to the Example database.

Welcome Example.png

Parts of the Screen
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Fishbowl is organized by modules. A module is an area of Fishbowl that is used for a specific business function. Some common modules include Part, Product, Sales Order, Purchase Order, and many more. The layout of Fishbowl is designed to make it easy to navigate between modules. Below is an image and description of the parts of the Fishbowl window.

Parts of the Screen.png

1. Menu Bar

  • The File menu contains useful options such as Logout, Exit, Print, etc. Imports and Exports are also located in the File menu.
  • There is a menu for each Module Group. Any module can be opened by selecting it from the appropriate Module Group menu.
  • The Reports menu provides convenient access to reports that are associated with the currently open module.
  • The Tools menu contains Module Options as well as Bookmarks and Program Options.
  • The Help menu contains access to training materials as well as information about the installed version of Fishbowl.

2. Tabs

Tabs are used to display all of the currently open modules. Right-click a tab to close the module.

3. Module Tabs

Most modules have several tabs that contain different information regarding the module.

4. Action Bar

  • When logged in as admin, click the Broadcast Icon Button.png Broadcast button to send a message to all users that are logged into Fishbowl.
  • The Load Bookmarks button will load the saved tabs.
  • The Home button will load the Small.Home.png Home module.
  • Clicking the green bubble will logout or a login. Hovering over the bubble displays the user that is logged in.

5. Component Toolbar

Several modules have component toolbars. A component toolbar is a column of small buttons that are used to perform functions such as Add, Edit, etc.

6. Module

The currently active module will display in the center of the window.

7. Search Pane

Most modules have a pane that allows searches to be performed. Double-clicking a search result will open the item in the module.

8. Module Groups

A module group is a logical grouping of modules. Clicking a module group button will display the list of modules.

9. Modules

This is a list of the modules in the current module group. Clicking a module button will activate that module.

10. Module toolbar

The module toolbar displays buttons for the currently active module. Each module has a several buttons in the module toolbar that perform functions such as New, Save, Delete, etc.

Changing your Default Database
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Whether you are trying to create a blank database or connect to a different existing database, the following information will provide step-by-step instructions on how to do so.

Creating a new database

To create a new database you will need to be on the Fishbowl Server computer. The Fishbowl server will also need to be stopped, which will not allow any existing clients to stay connected.

  1. Right-click the Fishbowl Server icon in the system tray and choose Options. Click Yes to stop the server.
    Server Options.png
  2. Click the New Icon Button.png Add Database Connection button on the Database tab of the Fishbowl Server Administration window.
    Fishbowl Server Admin.png
  3. Enter a new database name and then click Connect. The checkbox to Include Demo Data will populate the new database with example data.
    New MySQL database.png
  4. Choose the costing method for this database (Average, Standard, FIFO, LIFO). Once this costing method has been chosen, it cannot be changed.
    New database costing methods.png
  5. The new database should now appear in the database list of the Fishbowl Server Administration window.

Connect to an Existing Database

To connect to an existing database, you will first need to be on the Fishbowl Server computer. The Fishbowl server will also need to be stopped, which will not allow any existing clients to stay connected.

  1. Right click on your Fishbowl server in the system tray and choose options. Click Yes to stop the server.
  2. The Fishbowl Server Administration box will be displayed. Choose the Add Database Connection icon from the Component Toolbar. The New Database Connection Wizard will be displayed.
  3. Step one of the New Database Connection Wizard requires you to choose between Creating a New Database, or Connecting to an Existing Database. Choose Connect to Existing Database and click Next.
  4. During Step two, use the browse local hard drive icon to browse to your existing database. The Firebird Server Settings are set by default during the Fishbowl Installation and normally do not need to be modified. Select Finish when you have browsed to the correct datafile. Your newly connected database will appear in the list of Database names in the Fishbowl Server Administration window.

Switch Between Databases

To switch between databases that have already been connected, you must first be on the Fishbowl Server computer. The Fishbowl Server will also need to be stopped, which will not allow any existing clients to stay connected.

If you have an existing database and would like to switch to another database, the following instructions will assist you in doing so:

  1. Right click the Fishbowl server icon in the system tray and choose Options. Click Yes to stop the server.
  2. The Fishbowl Server Administration box will open and default to the database tab.
  3. Highlight the line of the database you wish to switch to by clicking on the database name listed.
    Fishbowl Server Admin.png
  4. At the bottom of the wizard box click OK.
  5. A message box will be displayed to inform you that your database has been changed. Click OK.
    Changed database connection.png
  6. Right-click on the Fishbowl server icon in the system tray and select Start.
  7. You can now log in to the Fishbowl Client and connect to the selected database. For new databases, the Startup Wizard will be displayed.

The Startup Wizard

If you are connecting to a new database, Fishbowl provides the Startup wizard to help your company enter some basic information. Below is a description of the steps in the Startup wizard.

This step allows the user to enter the company name and address. This information will be used throughout Fishbowl. If necessary this information may be modified at a later date through the Small.Company.png Company module. This module also allows you to associate additional contacts and addresses with your company.
This step requests you to change your admin password. If necessary, this password may be changed later. If you have forgotten your admin password and need to have it reset, please contact Fishbowl Support.
In this step a few remaining steps are listed, as well as a link to the Implementation Checklist.

Change license key after Fishbowl is installed
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Sometimes it may be necessary to change a trial license key to a permanent key, or to enter a new license key for a new version of Fishbowl.

Throughout the year, Fishbowl releases several minor updates called point releases (for example, Fishbowl 2017.1, Fishbowl 2017.2, etc.). Point releases do not require an updated license key.

Once a year, a major version of Fishbowl is released for the upcoming year (for example, Fishbowl 2018). In order to update to the latest major version, Fishbowl users must have a current support contract and must enter a new license key. Click here to receive an updated license key instantly.

Follow the steps below to change the license key after Fishbowl is already installed.

  1. Right-click the Fishbowl Server icon in the system tray and choose Options. Click Yes to stop the server.
    Server Options.png
  2. Click the License tab, enter the Name and License Key, and click the Activate button.
    License Tab.png
  3. Click Activate in the pop up dialog.
    Activate Dialog.png
  4. Click OK to close the Fishbowl Server Administration dialog. Then right-click the Fishbowl Server icon in the system tray and select Start.
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