It’s been a while since I have tried to install Application Designer directly on my Linux host. In fact, the last time I tried was many tools versions ago. Since I’ve been playing with a PUM again, it’s time to give it another try.
Here’s my notes:
I’ve been a bit behind on reading my news. Back in April, PeopleSoft released their “Release Value Proposition” for PeopleTools 8.54, and it’s got me excited about it. Then, a week or two ago, PeopleSoft published the pre-release notes. I don’t have any inside information, but I thought I would list the features that looked exciting to me…
As I went through the documents, I noticed a couple of features that are already released and that I need to do some learning and catch up. Do you mind if I just take some notes out loud here?
64-bit History: The 64-bit requirements have been of notable interest to me because I spent some time working for a client who had challenges switching away from 32-bit hardware. One of the documents listed the history of the migration of PeopleSoft from 32-bit to 64-bit. Here’s a nice summary:
Ubuntu has been my choice of OS for some time now. It works great for the most part until I start trying to interact with the Microsoft-centric business world. App Designer is one of those pressure points. Normally, my clients give me a Windows-based remote desktop, but for playing around with things outside a client, I needed a way to run App Designer locally on my laptop.
I finally figured out how to install App Designer for Oracle’s PeopleSoft VM images directly in Ubuntu. Here’s what I did…
This isn’t best practice, but I found a way to switch out a record in a query without redoing the criteria. Here’s the situation: I have a query in which the row-level security is causing problems. It is slowing down the query and also eliminating future-dated rows from the results. So, I created a view of the table which would select all of the rows from the original table. It was basically a copy with the query security view removed. The next challenge was to change the query to use that new record. If I remove the old record and add the new, I would have to redo the whole complicated query just about.
So, I found that I could update two records in the database:
UPDATE PSQRYFIELD SET RECNAME = '<new record name>' WHERE QRYNAME = '<query name>' AND RECNAME = '<old record name>'; UPDATE PSQRYRECORD SET RECNAME = '<new record name>' WHERE QRYNAME = '<query name>' AND RECNAME = '<old record name>';
After that, I found that I needed to open the query online in query manager, make a small change, and save it. After that, it worked fine with no problems.
Warning: use at your own risk. This isn’t the intended way to edit queries.
I had hoped to be able to get the PeopleTools Testing Framework posts complete before I proceeded to installing the latest update patch for PeopleTools. After constantly reading that you need to update to the latest for PTF, I decided I was being silly, and I broke down and went through the update.
Here’s what I did:
I have seen several articles on the next version of PeopleTools. So, here are the links. The best date I have seen so far is Quarter 3 of 2011.
I thought I had my environment built, but I keep finding little problems. Well, this time it was the report repository. I got the reports posting, and I thought I was home free. The solution ended out being simpler than I thought.
Let me just walk you through some of the things I checked to see if it helps any of the problems you may be having.
My specific error was: “Site name is not valid“.
The cause was that my Report Repository path was not configured. PeopleTools > Web Profile > Web Profile Configuration
The catch was that somehow I got mixed up on which Profile I was using. You can check your profile easily from the Web Profile History:
On the search page of the Web Profile History, you can see which profile was loaded last. You can sort the list by clicking on the “Profile was Loaded” heading. If you click a second time, it will sort it descending. Notice that previously I was using the Dev profile on port 8000. When I last installed PIA, I must have configured it for the Prod profile on Port 80. So now, I need to configure things on the Prod profile.
Here’s some other things you can check. Make sure your distribution node is connected to your server:
Then, check the Report Node. Make sure the URL matches the URL you are using to connect to the Portal. The domain name and port should match. If there is no port number like mine, you are using port number 80. Then, check the portal domain name. For me, I am using the default “ps”.
According to this post, you also need to check the local node. In PeopleTools > Portal > Node Definitions, look for the node with Local Node set to “Y”:
Now, make sure the node is set to password authentication. I am not sure what else to check here.
Finally, check your configuration.properties file for the path. I am not sure what this setting controls because mine was wrong just now, yet it seemed to be working.
Look in <PS Home>\webserv\<domain>\applications\PORTAL.war\WEB-INF\psftdocs\<domain>\configuration.properties.
The Repository path is in that file:
Have you ever needed to delete a project with all of its objects from an environment? I don’t know if this necessarily something you would do in a real production environment, but maybe some of the thoughts will help someone out.
I wanted to get all of my little development projects out of this environment to return it back as close to a clean demo environment as possible. Here’s what I did:
Step 1: Security
I learned this the hard way. My user was connected to one of the roles that I deleted via the project. All of the sudden, I couldn’t get to anything inside PeopleSoft Online. I couldn’t log back into App Designer anymore. I had to remove the role from PSROLEUSER manually in the database before I could do anything.
You can use this query to check any roles:
SELECT ROLEUSER, ROLENAME FROM PSROLEUSER WHERE ROLENAME = '<role name>';
If it is a permission list, you may want to check this query:
SELECT R.ROLEUSER, R.ROLENAME, C.CLASSID FROM PSROLEUSER R, PSROLECLASS C WHERE C.CLASSID = '<permission list name>' AND R.ROLENAME = C.ROLENAME;
Step 2: Check your project
Make sure you know what you are deleting! You can’t get these objects back unless you have a backup.
Click on the Upgrade tab and just go through all the folders to make sure you know what objects are included. You want to watch for any delivered objects that you had modified that you don’t really want deleted.
Step 3: Change the Upgrade Action
Now, you need to change the upgrade action for each of the objects. If this is a large project, you will want to do this from the database:
UPDATE PSPROJECTITEM SET UPGRADEACTION = 1 WHERE PROJECTNAME = '<project name>';
Step 3: Export the Project to file
Step 4: Import the Project back from File
Step 4: Confirm Objects Deleted
Step 5: Clean up the Database
Here is some SQL that should generate the Drop statements for all of the tables involved in the project. This is the Oracle version:
SELECT 'DROP TABLE ' || TABLE_NAME || ';' FROM DBA_TABLES A, PSPROJECTITEM B WHERE B.PROJECTNAME = '<project name>' AND B.OBJECTTYPE = 0 AND 'PS_' || B.OBJECTVALUE1 = A.TABLE_NAME; SELECT 'DROP VIEW ' || VIEW_NAME || ';' FROM DBA_VIEWS A, PSPROJECTITEM B WHERE B.PROJECTNAME = '<project name>' AND B.OBJECTTYPE = 0 AND 'PS_' || B.OBJECTVALUE1 = A.VIEW_NAME;
This is the SQL Server version:
SELECT 'DROP TABLE ' + TABLE_NAME + ';' FROM DBA_TABLES A, PSPROJECTITEM B WHERE B.PROJECTNAME = '<project name>' AND B.OBJECTTYPE = 0 AND 'PS_' + B.OBJECTVALUE1 = A.TABLE_NAME; SELECT 'DROP VIEW ' + VIEW_NAME + ';' FROM DBA_VIEWS A, PSPROJECTITEM B WHERE B.PROJECTNAME = '<project name>' AND B.OBJECTTYPE = 0 AND 'PS_' + B.OBJECTVALUE1 = A.VIEW_NAME;
Step 6: Delete the Project
Step 7: Check your system.
Run the DDDAudit and the SysAudit and make sure that you haven’t left anything broken. You can run those from PeopleTools > Process Scheduler > System Process Requests.
This afternoon, I attended Jim Marion’s PeopleTools 8.51 in Action session. I understand that someone else was supposed to present it, but Jim did a great job. I left excited to delve into the new tools features.
The intro was kind of fun again. I felt like I just missed the book give-a-way — the winner was directly in front of me 4 rows! Oh well. Also, I noticed that Jim is a hard core HTML guy: it’s obvious when someone uses a web page with check boxes to show and check off topics covered. I thought it was cool. Is that the cheese grater showing through?
First, he mentioned again the different between tools 8.50 and 8.51 in the drop down menu. In tools 8.51 you have to click on each menu item whereas tools 8.50 only required you to click on the first item that opened the menu. As a result, in tools 8.50, the menu is called a hover menu, and in tools 8.51 it is called a drop down menu. Jim showed how you can change the navigation type in PeopleTools > Portal > General Settings.
One great point that Jim made was that you need to pay attention to documentation. When you switch your stylesheet / look, your documentation screenshots will not match. Just something to think about.
Next, Jim talked about the SWAN styles sheets. I think I did this part wrong when I did my tools upgrade steps (and no one said anything!) because I was modifying stylesheets in App Designer. I was following the directions in the tools upgrade document. Jim simply went to PeopleTools > Utilities > Administration > PeopleTools Options. Then, he changed the stylesheet name to PTSTYLEDEF_SWAN (if I remember the name right).
Type-ahead was another topic. Someone asked a question about the chatter/network traffic caused by the type ahead. Jim pointed out that it may break even considering you don’t have to reload the whole page. So, you are sending less data more often, which makes for more consistent traffic rather than spikes.
The Work Center is another new feature to PeopleTools 8.51. It seems to work similar to Related Content except that the extra information displays to the left of your main content rather than at the bottom. A great example is to add a navigation collection to allow easy navigation within a group of related screens.
On a side note, Jim pointed out the new operational dashboard feature. In structure and content, you can open up homepage tabs under portal objects. When you create a new content reference, you can change the Usage Type to Homepage Tabs. Then, you see a new option call Operational Dashboard.
Persistent Search is another new feature to Tools 8.51. You have to enable it on the Web Profile, and it is the Recent Search Results on the bottom of the Caching tab. The local cache uses the browser’s HTML5 local storage to save search results. Once you search, you will can reopen the search results from the bread crumbs bar without generating another query to the database.
One of the questions asked at the end caught my interest. The person asked if persistent search created a security concern since it was storing information on the user’s computer. Jim referred her to another person for the answer, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the answer. From what it looked like in the session, the search results only persisted during life of the user’s session. When Jim logged out and back in again, the search results were gone. So, that doesn’t seem like much of a security concern to me.
Jim talked about a few other features. He pointed out that pagelets load independently via AJAX. So, even if you have many pagelets, you see the homepage immediately, and the pagelets slowly load as the info comes across. He also mentioned embedded help, which is something you have to turn on from the page in App Designer. Finally, he pointed out the way you can pop grids out of the page, modal messages show as AJAX dialogs, and secondary pages are modal.
So, this was a great session, and I have a bunch of new features to blog about!
Today, I also attended the PeopleSoft Test Framework: Simplifying Upgrade and Maintenance session by Scott Schafer. Again, I was very impressed with the tool. I think this is going to revolution implementation projects in PeopleSoft and routine maintenance for systems.
Scott listed many of the advantages of PTF as the test framework is frequently called. The PTF has a record and playback feature that allows a power user to easily generate a test by recording his actions in the system. One of the key features is that PTF understands PeopleTools metadata. It does not just record clicks on the screen at a specific coordinate but clicks on a particular record, field on a particular row. Also, because they are managed as PeopleTools objects, the tests are comparable between environments and migrate-able to another environment.
First, Scott discussed the Usage Monitor. He said it was an extension of the Performance Monitor. I need experiment some more with this because I didn’t quit understand whether or not a full implementation of Performance Monitor is required. Basically, this tool tells you which of the delivered objects you actually use. You turn the monitor on in production, and it records which objects get touched by your every day use.
One of the questions I would have is how accurate is this list of objects? I mean what about periodic events such as year-end processing? Unless you keep your monitor on for a full year or you happen to build your list during the year-end time frame, you are not going to get objects specific to that process.
Next, Scott mentioned a new feature of App Designer. Now, it stores the compare report data in the database. So, you can build your own tools to automate processing the compare results.
Then, Scott demoed the product. He showed how you can click a record button. The browser would open and you could perform a basic activity in PeopleSoft. The client tool would list the steps that you went through to make the activity happen. Then, he clicked the play button, and he showed how it would step through those actions rather quickly to reproduce the activity. Finally, he showed how an error would stop the test and show the problem.
The cool part is the object tracking. Each test represents a business process. PeopleTools tracks the objects related to the test. Therefore, you can tie an object to a business process. Also, your usage data shows you which objects you use, and you can make sure that you have a test for each one of those objects. Finally, you can compare the objects included in a bundle or maintenance pack with your usage data to see which part of it affects you. Again, you can then tie that back to the tests and see which business processes gets affected by the new code/objects.
All in all, I think this is the first iteration of a cool tool that will revolutionize PeopleTools.