Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Running PEBL without installing

Currently, versions of PEBL running on Windows require that you install the software into your c:\Program Files\ directory.  This is inconvenient for some folks, as you must have administrator access. PEBL doesn't really require that you install in order to run, but by doing so you can do things like launching from the menu and letting all users on a computer access PEBL.

If you are having trouble installing, try downloading the stand-alone version here:


This will download a .zip file.  Put it wherever you want (i.e., the desktop), and then right click and select 'Extract All...' to unzip it (there are other ways to do this too, so use whatever you are comfortable with).

A dialog like you see below will pop up.  This creates the entire PEBL directory for you, including the test battery.  The next dialog will ask you were to put it.  You usually can just accept the default:

Now, a window will open that unzips the entire directory.  This will include the test battery and a copy of the manual:

Finally, if you open the folder (it is now two deep; first called pebl_0.13_noinstall, inside of which is PEBL-portable, you will see a file called runPEBL.bat (the .bat may not appear on your computer, as it is on the computer shown below).  Double-click this to launch the pebl launcher.

That is all there is to it.  The launcher will open in the directory seen above.  You can then navigate to the battery if you want to run a script there, or place your own experiment in this same directory.

One use of this is to create a test that remote experiment participants or collaborators will download and run on their own computer.  If you want to do this, you can replace the runPEBL.bat file with a similar one running just the study you are interested in.  However, this archive is fairly big because it includes the entire battery AND a full set of .dlls and font files.  If you want to distribute this to participants, you may be concerned with its size.  You can easily delete the entire battery\ and demo\ directories, saving tens of megabytes.  You can also delete many of the font files located in PEBL\media\fonts--most experiments will only use the DejaVu fonts.  Then recreate an archive (possibly as a self-extracting one) and distribute to your subjects or collaborators.

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