Category: PeopleTools

PeopleTools 8.54: Looks Exciting

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…

  • Code Completion:  HUGE — this is a feature I have been looking for for years!
  • 64-bit developer client:  Application Designer, etc. is going 64-bit.  So, a developer must run a 64-bit machine to develop, and now no 32-bit database drivers are required.
  • Automated Configuration Manager: looks like tools that will make automating refreshes much easier
  • %SelectDummyTable: allows for a better way than using the DUAL table for Oracle or PS_INSTALLATION for platform independence
  • Mobile Application Platform: new interface for smart phones
  • Fluid Layout: Creating interfaces with CSS positioning rather than fix positioned pages.  It will be a learning curve for developers
  • Application Designer: PNG files supported for images in Application Designer
  • Application Engine changes: it will now split the trace file into multiple files if it gets too big, you can now choose not to commit at the end of the program
  • Branding Framework: tools to allow customizing the look and branding without needing to code; it looks like it is all in the PIA
  • Query: Default values for prompts and support for images in Query results
  • BI Publisher Updatable PDFs: users can update the report and submit the content back into PeopleSoft
  • Global Temporary Tables (for batch App Engines): supporting in-memory tables
  • Materialized Views: for Oracle — App Designer will create views that store their data in the database for quicker retrieval
  • Portable PS_HOME: On Unix the psadmin binary is only located in the bin directory, paths are not saved in configuration files to moving and cloning the directories easier, and the PS_HOME variable is not set by the script (you set that before calling the script and everything is relative to PS_HOME)
  • Push Notification Framework: looks like it allows the PIA/Web Server to initiate messages to the browser
  • PIA-Based Definition security: ability to secure App Designer definitions using the online pages plus additional new features
  • Query Security: new advanced option to allow up to 5 security records for an individual record
  • SQR: new XML output option
  • Component Interface: new errors sheet to consolidate errors

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?

  • Activity Guides: “Activity Guides are a useful PeopleTools feature that helps guide users through complex or infrequently performed processes.”  What’s new: “With PeopleTools 8.54, Activity Guides will be even easier to create and manage because PeopleTools includes an Activity Guide Management WorkCenter.”
  • Data Migration Workbench: “Data Migration Workbench is a lifecycle management tool first delivered with PeopleTools 8.53 that enabled customers to move and compare configuration data easily and securely between PeopleSoft application instances such as DEV, TEST, and PROD”
  • JSON: The PeopleSoft Documents Technology mentions using JSON, and I hadn’t kept up that JSON was available.
  • Oracle Secure Files: mentions that Report Repository files can be exposed as a “virtual mount point”

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:

  • PeopleTools 8.48 — Unix Application server converted to 64-bit
  • PeopleTools 8.50 — Linux Application server
  • PeopleTools 8.51 — Web Server
  • PeopleTools 8.53 — Windows Application server
  • PeopleTools 8.54 — Developer Tools



Installing PeopleTools Client on Ubuntu Linux Host

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…

Read More

Changing Records in Queries

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:

SET RECNAME = ‘<new record name>’
WHERE QRYNAME = ‘<query name>’
AND RECNAME = ‘<old record name>’;

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.

Troubleshooting Report Repository Error

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

Blank Report Repository Path

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:

Determining Current Web Profile from Last Loaded

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:

Report Node connecting to 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”:

Default Local Node Search

Now, make sure the node is set to password authentication.  I am not sure what else to check here.

Node Options

Finally, check your 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 location

The Repository path is in that file:

Repository Setting in Configuration.Properties


Deleting Projects from PeopleSoft

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

If your project contains any Roles or Permission Lists, you need to remove those from the User Profiles first.
A Role in a Project

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:

[sourcecode language=”SQL”]
WHERE ROLENAME = ‘<role name>’;

If it is a permission list, you may want to check this query:

[sourcecode language=”SQL”]
WHERE C.CLASSID = ‘<permission list name>’

Here’s where I am deleting the Role from my user:
Deleting the Role

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.
Clicking on the Upgrade Tab in the Project

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:

[sourcecode language=”SQL”]
WHERE PROJECTNAME = ‘<project name>’;

You can see it from the Upgrade tab in the project:
Upgrade Action set to Delete

Step 3: Export the Project to file

Use the menu Tools > Copy Project > To File… Make sure all the object types are selected, and key in the path to a temporary folder.
The Copy to File Dialog

Step 4: Import the Project back from File

Use the menu Tools > Copy Project > From File … Browse to the same path where you save the project. Select that project and import it:
Selecting the Project

Make sure that you select to use the project definition from the File:
Selecting to use the project from the file.

Again, select all the object types and hit copy:
Copy Project From File dialog

Step 4: Confirm Objects Deleted

Now, try to open a few of the objects from the project. You should get a message that it doesn’t exist:
Object Does Not Exists Message

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:

[sourcecode language=”SQL”]
WHERE B.PROJECTNAME = ‘<project name>’

WHERE B.PROJECTNAME = ‘<project name>’

This is the SQL Server version:

[sourcecode language=”SQL”]
WHERE B.PROJECTNAME = ‘<project name>’

WHERE B.PROJECTNAME = ‘<project name>’

Step 6: Delete the Project

Now, you are done with your list of definitions, and you can just remove the whole project using App Designer. Use the File > Delete … option.
Deleting 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.

HEUG: PeopleTools 8.51 in Action

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!

HEUG: PeopleSoft Test Framework Review

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.

HEUG: PeopleTools Tips and Tricks Review

Today, I attended Jim Marion’s PeopleTools Tips and Tricks session at the HEUG Alliance 2011 conference.  I really enjoyed the session, and now I need a client who wants one of the features that Jim discussed in the session.  I’m eager to try this stuff out!

First, I learned that I have the personality of a cheesehead!  But, that’s okay.  I can admit to the geek label.  Also, I was only 4 chairs away from getting the free book!  Oh well, I am going to have to quit being cheap and just buy it.  After hearing the session, I really want it now.

The first topic presented was the use of Pagelets.  One of the cool parts about them is that they aren’t a customization.  Rather, they are considered configuration.  So, they are a great way to add to your system without having to customize and worry about upgrade costs.

One of the examples was to take a YouTube video and get the embed HTML to include in a Pagelet.  Another example was to place a navigation collection on the home page.  Then, I thought it was really cool to see how the XSL Template was used to make the collection a accordion style menu.

In passing, Jim pointed out the differences in the tools navigation between 8.50 and 8.51.  I think I read this on the Grey-Sparling blog but didn’t understand it.  In 8.50, you just hover over the folder in the menu to open it, but in tools 8.51, you have to click each folder to open it.  Something to watch out for…

The related content is a great tool.  Two of the cool examples were to take the title of a page and display Google search results next to the PeopleSoft page.  Similarly, the other example displayed search results from Amazon based on the page title.  I have a scenario where I would like to display a customized data page beside the delivered data without customizing the delivered component.  Related content solves that problem.  I wish Jim would have had the time to delve into how he set up the Related Content.

Integration Broker Ajax was another topic that was great to see.  Again, I wish he would have had time to show how he was able to make it work.  I know that Integration Broker is a complicated topic, and it would have taken way too long.

The Mobile app idea was quite interesting.  I know how to create a native Android application, but I didn’t realize that you could create an HTML 5 app that would run across the different mobile platforms — something to look into.  Then, using Integration Broker to power it was a great idea.

Finally, Jim suggested using Fiddler and Wireshark as troubleshooting tools because you can see what data passes between systems/clients.  It was nice to see that work and you can use it to troubleshoot setup.