I'm speaking at OpenWorld 2017

Thursday, 5 October 2017

OOW17 Tuesday Day 3

Yet more blue sky outside, it's warm and we're all stuck in an air conditioned conference centre.  I hope you're feeling suitably sorry for me.  Today I've attended a number of conference sessions. Here's some highlights.

PeopleSoft PeopleTools Platform and Infrastructure Overview - Mark Hoernemann doing a most
excellent job juggling a million and one platform version number combinations.  Microsoft Windows Server 2016 hasjust been certified on 8.55 and 8.56.  Me thinks the myriad of ever increasing layers of software each with the version dependencies in just the kind of thing that drives people to the cloud.

Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft PeopleTools: Tips and Techniques - The legendary Jim Marion accompanied by Sarah (book co-author, editor and Jim's wife) gave a brilliant masterclass in Fluid development and Event Mapping.  I love Jim's style and I always learn something new when I attend his sessions and I leave inspired to learn more.  Check out Jim and Sarah's training courses here ....  http://www.jsmpros.com

Sorry Jim.... as exciting as Fluid development and Event Mapping is .... I want to focus today on the exciting news about Classic Plus announced in session CON6948- PeopleSoft User Experience: Improving Classic Pages with Classic Plus.

At OpenWorld 2016 we first heard about Classic Plus in Paco's keynote - a new style sheet coming in PeopleTools 856 that will make Classic pages look like Fluid pages.

What we didn't realise until Dave Bain's session today is that the Applications teams are working towards converting all Classic Pages to Classic Plus.  Here's what I know and what I read from Dave's session:

  • To enable Classic Plus you need to be on PeopleTools 8.56.
  • It's enabled at a Global level in PeopleTools > Portal > Branding System Options
  • Once globally enabled each Classic component needs to have the "Apply Fluid like theme for Classic" property set ON if you want the component pages to appear with Classic Plus styling.  
  • In making Classic pages "look" like Fluid the Classic Plus stylesheet changes certain cosmetic characteristics of the page. Fundamentally, the changes relate to creating more space between page objects.   Inevitably, this results in some cosmetic tweaking on the page itself using Application Designer.
  • What the Applications teams (HCM, FSCM, ELM, Campus, CRM, etc) have been doing/done is to make every Component/Page work with Classic Plus and to fix any easy to make cosmetic page issues.  Most pages work straight away and some have required just some minor tweaking to fix field alignment issues.  We'll see the results of this work in the next round of PI releases (HCM024 and FSCM026)
  • Whilst the intent is to make every page work with Classic Plus there are some pages that are just too complex and cannot easily be tweaked.  These pages, for now at least, will remain on Classic.
All sounds simple right?  Well, it get's a little more involved.  Here's what's going to be delivered in the next PIs.
  • If the PeopleSoft Apps team opened every Component and set the "Apply Fluid like theme for Classic" property ON to make it Classic Plus then that Component would have changed AND when you came to do a get current you'd be picking up lots of modified Component definitions. This is too big an issue for customers to deal with as it would involve a significant re-customisation effort plus the size of the change package would be considerable.
  • To solve this problem PeopleSoft are delivering a Classic Plus Configuration page.  The customer selects the Components they want to enable for Classic Plus and a batch process (AE) then does a bulk update of the "Apply Fluid like theme for Classic" flag on each of these.
  • This will provide customers the choice of enabling Classic Plus on all pages, some or none.
So, why Classic Plus?  Here's a good summary slide.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

OOW17 Monday Day 2

Let me try and summarise my OpenWorld Day 2.  The sky is blue and the walls are red with the only clouds being those mentioned in all the Oracle advertising.

The opening PeopleSoft session of the day was Paco Aubrejuan (Senior Director of Product Strategy) delivering the high level Product Line Update and Investment Strategy.  It's true to say that there's been a significant amount of investment in PeopleSoft over recent years and that's planned to continue.

  • 2013 Selective Adoption and first Update Image released
  • 2014 Fluid user interface
  • 2016 Page Composer / Fluid Approvals and Elasticsearch
  • 2017 Cloud Manager

Oracle continues to invest because there's over 5000 PeopleSoft customers.  72% of these are on release 9.2 but a notably low count of only 500 live on Fluid.  Paco's message was one of assuring customers of Oracle's continued commitment to invest in PeopleSoft applications and technology.    This commitment to support PeopleSoft is at least until 2027 and there was every expectation that each year that would get extended.   He encourage customers to continue to exploit all the features and enhancements delivered to date taking advantage of the PeopleSoft continuous delivery model and the availability of innovative and value added services on Oracle Compute Infrastructure.

Paco showcased several customers that had fast-tracked new application features and then gave a live demo of the new HCM Onboarding feature and a live demo of new eBill applications in Financials  and the Supplier Portal.

Later that day I sat through Dave Bains' PeopleSoft Technology strategy in which I heard that Oracle are continuing investment in Lifecycle Management, deployment automation and Cloud manager.  Oracle's website has a quote which I'm sure is true of many IT operations in that we spend a lot more time on maintenance than we do on delivering value and innovations.  It seems PeopleSoft future investment will continue to be in this area - helping customers reduce their maintenance costs and realise this vision.

Because PeopleTools 8.56 was released a few months ago now the news of enhancements to Event Mapping and Page, Field Configurator and Cloud Manager were not new.

Cloud Manager got a much more thorough coverage by Platforms Strategy Manager, Mark Hoernemann.  Basically Cloud Manager is a new PeopleSoft application which provides a self-service like interface to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services and allows users to provision and patch instances of PeopleSoft running in the Oracle Cloud.

My final session of the day was my own which explored Selective Adoption and how using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Cloud Manager can help.  I'm going to blog more on this in the coming weeks but for now here's my presentation.

Monday, 2 October 2017

OOW17 Sunday Day 1

Moscone Centre - OpenWorld 2017
It's a blue San Francisco sky and the buildings, buses, flags and posters are all red.  Yep... it's Oracle OpenWorld.  It's 2017 and Oracle have the gloves off - it's Oracle Cloud vs Amazon AWS.

Self aware database?
Watch Larry Ellison's Sunday night keynote for all the news and live race-demos of Oracle Cloud vs AWS.  Larry argues that Oracle Cloud  is cheaper, faster with higher availability than AWS for data-warehouse loads.  He also featured Oracle's new "autonomous database" - fully automated, real-time security patching, tunes itself, can assign additional compute resources when it's needed without downtime and more is coming in the data warehouse product available in December 2017.  (Apparently Amazon spent $60m on Oracle technology this year).   Oracle continue to be serious about becoming the number one player in the cloud services space.  Oh yes... they intend to win this battle.

Sasank addresses a packed room on Sunday
Most of the PeopleSoft sessions are located in Moscone South this year and after a painless registration and collecting my disappointingly empty conference backpack (not even a pen! ) I made my way up to floor 3 for some terrific Life Hacks for PeopleSoft by Sasank Vemana - PeopleSoft, JavaScript, Fluid and CSS genius.... I'm not even going to try to cover anything in my update today - simply going to point you to his very useful blog.  These were some of the things he did live coding demonstrations of.
Sasank also wins my Quote of the day.... "Somehow the stars were aligned and Push Notifications started working".  Thank you Sasank :-)

Now I'm a "real" PS Admin - no more pretending !
Today I feel like I made it into the special club of PeopleSoft Administrators.  I was given a very special badge -- a laptop sticker from Dan & Kyle at psadmin.io .  Thank you !

These guys have brought together an amazing grass roots community  of PeopleSoft techs/admins/DBAs and developers on their Slack channel and have been prolific pod casters, bloggers and all round useful repository of vital information on DPK, ACM , Puppet and all things YAML.  So, this session on all things PCA (PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture) certainly ticked all the boxes with a really neat live demo of a DPK reconfiguration of PIA and some very useful insights into how GIT can be used effectively to manage DPK code and configurations.  Download their presentation, become members of the Slack channel, listen to the podcasts, sign up for the DPK training and join the fun.    What their presentation shows is that fully automating the installation and configuration of PeopleSoft instances is not just a dream.... start small, learn more advanced DPK features, broaden the scope and automate more each time.

Dan & Kyle - captains of admin

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

5 Things to look out for at OpenWorld 2017 - Part 1

Are you going to OpenWorld this year?  Along with many others in our wonderful PeopleSoft community I'll be blogging in real-time (well near-time anyway) throughout so you'll get my take on proceedings if you can't be there.

So to get things started here's my Top 5 Presentations to look out for at OpenWorld 2017.

1)  Life Hacks for PeopleSoft Development by Sasank Vermana on Sunday @ 12:45
Sasank is a prolific blogger with a most valuable array of tips, ideas and techniques for PeopleSoft developers.  His session is sure to loaded with goodies.

2) Advanced PeopleSoft Administration Using the PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture by Dan & Kyle @ 3:45
The psadmin.io community is thriving and the work that Dan & Kyle have done in spreading the word about DPK, ACM, Puppet, Hiera, YAML and all those other things that scare the heck out of most has been outstanding.  Don't miss this!

3) PeopleSoft General Session: Product Line Update and Ongoing Investment Strategy by Paco Aubrejuan  and Marc Weintraub @ 12:15
Paco Aubrejuan
Paco leads the entire PeopleSoft division and Marc is in product strategy.  Paco's practical, hands-on style and Marc's passion and enthusiasm for PeopleSoft makes this investment and strategic insight an essential for the week.

4) PeopleSoft Technology Roadmap by David Bain on Monday @ 2:15
Last year's OpenWorld seemed to be missing the traditional technology roadmap.  PeopleTools is one of the key reasons why PeopleSoft applications remain future proof and so hearing about what's coming up is always useful.  Dave's first time at the OpenWorld helm for this session but he's a great speaker and I'm sure this will be a packed and useful session.

5) PeopleSoft Cloud Manager and Selective Adoption by Graham Smith on Monday @ 5:45
This is my session ... but hey.... it's my blog so I can include what I like.  :-)  I hope, if you're still awake at the end of the first day of this busy conference, that you'll stop by Moscone South (305)  to come and hear some real life stuff on how Oracle Cloud can help your PeopleSoft Selective Adoption strategy.  Something for everyone here.

6) Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft PeopleTools: Tips and Techniques by Jim Marion on Tuesday @ 12:45
Great news that Jim's annual Tips & Techniques session is on the agenda again this year.  Even though Jim doesn't work for Oracle anymore this shows just how much his skills and experience are valued along with his continued contributions to the PeopleSoft community. Again, don't miss this one!

Yes...yes... yes... i know.  I can't count.  I just couldn't get it down to 5.  (there'll be another top 5 coming soon anyway).

Monday, 14 August 2017

5 Things to remember when installing PeopleSoft Update Image on VirtualBox

If you install PeopleSoft Update Images on VirtualBox (and many do) then here are 5 things to remember.

1) Run psft-dpk-setup.bat  with --keep_vbox_alive parameter otherwise all running VirtualBox VMs will be immediately stopped by the installer!

2) Remember to use the --keep_vbox_alive parameter otherwise all running VirtualBox VMs will be immediately stopped by the installer..... and you get a little cross!

3) Don't forget to use the  --keep_vbox_alive parameter otherwise all running VirtualBox VMs will be immediately stopped by the installer!!  Hopefully they didn't get corrupted when this rather daft default behaviour caused all your VMs to suddenly stop!  Note to self.  "Use the --keep_vbox_alive next time"

4) Highly recommend using the  --keep_vbox_alive parameter and putting a post-it note  reminder on your monitor, phone, diary, desk, children, pets and anything else that will take a post-it note.

5) And lastly.... vote on my enhancement idea to change the default behaviour of psft-dpk-setup.bat  so that is ALWAYS adds the  --keep_vbox_alive parameter .


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

5 Things on first sight of PeopleTools 8.56

5 Things in 8.56
Here are my initial 5 thoughts about the new PeopleTools 8.56 release that became Generally Available last week.

I have a native install of the HCM 022 Image running on Microsoft Windows and so the first thing I had to do was upgrade this to 8.56 before I could start to play.  Using the PeopleTools 8.56 DPK method this was quite a straight forward 3 step process -
  1. Uninstall old versions of Tuxedo and WebLogic,
  2. install 8.56 PeopleTools files with mid-tier deployment
  3. use CA to upgrade target database

So here's my initial 5 things on 8.56...

1) The hamburger menu has been replaced by "verical elipses" - or a diet and vegetarian friendly "pea" menu.  I think I like it.

The new "pea" menu

2) I'm going to have to re-write my blog on Fluid search pages as  SetSearchDialogBehavior no longer works with with Fluid.  This is probably a good thing. If it doesn't work in Fluid now then it must have "worked" (done something)  in previous versions, whatever it did may not have been useful and presumably the fact that it does nothing now in 8.56 means that's good.... I'll let you know once I work out what and why.

3) Classic Plus.  This is a new stylesheet that can be applied to Classic pages to make them look more like Fluid pages. This is limited to look only and Class Plus styles pages will not be responsive to the device like Fluid is.  Nevertheless, this is still a very useful feature especially when users are switching between Fluid and Classic pages.

It's enabled globally in Branding System options and then takes effect for all components which are set to use Classic Plus.  This setting is at component level and requires a change in Appplication Designer for each component that you want to have rendered in the new stylesheet. For simple pages this setting may not need any other work but for complex pages it's likely some page layout adjustment may be needed.  Clasic Plus has already been enabled for things like Process Monitor and Report manager. Disappointed that this requires a customisation to the component to enable albeit a simple one.

I enabled it for Project Session Administration component (PSPTCOMPAREADMIN) and everything seemed to work and look just fine.  See the next 3 screenshots.

Classic Page Before

Set Component to use "Fluid like theme" (aka Classic Plus) 

Same page now with Classic Plus style

I'm expecting that upcoming application update images will start to contain application pages that have been adjusted to work with Classic Plus.

4) Event Mapping is now available on Page Activate and FieldChange event level.  Excited about this as it has huge potential for all us Selective Adopters out there.  I'll be putting this one through it's paces over the next few weeks and will report back what I find.  Event Mapping is another awesome innovation from the PeopleTools team that can help to reduce customisations.

5) Multiple instances of Change Assistant can now be installed and run on the same workstation.  And.... they can be on different tools versions (as long as the minimum tools version is 8.56).  I know... there's always a gotcha.

So much more is packed into this PeopleTools release including ElasticSearch, Unified Navigation without Interaction Hub, Tile Wizard improvements, new Fluid templates, new PTF features, new PUM analytics, and more. I'll be writing about my favourites over the coming months.  Make sure you book a place on the free Cedar Consulting PeopleTools 8.56 New Features Masterclass scheduled for later this year.  Contact us here,

Thursday, 1 June 2017

5 Things about Page Composer Developer Registration (Part 1)

Page Composer is currently used by Fluid Approvals for rendering AWE Workflow transactions in Fluid.  Using Page Composer you can change the Fluid Approval pages - adding or removing fields, change field layout and style for any device form factor.  What makes Page Composer so powerful is the underlying data structures defined in "Developer Registration"- found in Enterprise Components > Page Composer > Developer Registration.

1) There are 3 "moving parts" to Fluid Approvals

a) AWE Process Definition - This is not new and has always existed since AWE first appeared.  This means if you have an AWE definition and you want to surface your approval transaction in Fluid then you're already part way there.
b) Developer Registration - (Enterprise Components > Page Composer Administration)- This is a developer tool used to define compositions.  A composition describes what transaction data/fields to make available to your Page Composer when you come to define (or compose) your Fluid Approval page.
c) Page Composer - (Enterprise Components > Page Composer) - This a developer/functional tool used to build a Fluid Approval page using fields defined in the Composition.

2) Page Composer is used to define a Fluid page for Approvals. This is known as a Composition.  All Fluid Approval pages use the same component and page definitions - namely COMPONENT.EOAWMA_MAIN_FL along with it's main pages PAGE.EOAWMA_MAIN_FL, PAGE.EOAWMA_TXNHDTL_FL and PAGE.EOAWMA_TXNLDTL_FL.  I strongly advise not to meddle with these definitions as they are very complex, tightly bound to existing Compositions and also liable to change through PUM Updates as new features are added and the inevitable defects are fixed. Think of this component as a template used in a mail merge.  The template has a fixed set of "sections" in which there are a fixed set of "field placeholders" of various types which are available if you need them.
The template COMPONENT.EOAWMA_MAIN_FL has 3 main pages
  • Main (Summary). This is what you see when you click the Approval tile .  Approval transactions, shown on the right, are actually rendered using a sub-page PAGE.EOAWMA_RSLT_SBF (main page is PAGE.EOAWMA_MAIN_FL).
  • Header Detail. This is the page you see if you click one of the approval transactions. (PAGE.EOAWMA_TXNHDTL_FL)

To keep this blog post digestible I'm just going to describe some characteristics of the Main Summary page.  Lookout for a blog post on the "wonders" of the Header Detail page in the very near future.
  • The EOAWMA_RSLT_SBF has 2 sections that are available (technically there are 3 but the third is a special case used for handling the Mas Approval function).
  • If the Section bound to a HTML field on the Page (see Page Registration Section Definitions below) then Page Composer allows you to drag and drop fields into the section.  You can also define the number of columns that will displayed which can help with field and field label alignment.
3) The Developer Registration tool is used to create a Registration that is based on this template.   Each Registration is bound to an AWE Process Definition. In fact the Registration name must be the same as the AWE Process Definition.  The Registration is also associated with a Component (think of this as the template) Actually, there's only Approvals available at the moment so you have to specify COMPONENT.EOAWMA_MAIN_FL here.  PeopleSoft Enterprise Components team have other Registration Types available here (namely Email HTML Page, Email Rich Text Email and Stand-Alone HTML Area) but to-date only one example of a Component Type , Approvals, has been delivered.

4) Each defined Registration has a set of Sections for each form factor (X-Large, Medium, Small, etc).  Each row in the Registration is a Section for a particular Form Factor.  Each Section has the following attributes:
  • one or more Application Source Records.  These records provide the transaction data that will become available to the Page Composer tool when building an Approval page.
    Application Source Records
  • Page Reserved Field.  This is the method used to reference specific HTML, Link and Button fields on the physical page.  Each Section is bound to one and only one field (referenced by Object Name) on the page.  Finding the correct Page Reserved Field can be a bit tricky. There's a little bit of trial and error and copying other delivered Registrations required but suffice to say that if you try and define a Section on a Page and use the wrong Page Reserved Field the Registration component will throw an error at save time.  
    Page Reserved Field binds Section to Physical Page
  • Composition Key Fields.  These are used to bind your section to the underlying AWE Xref Record.  
    Composition Key Fields

CLICK TO VIEW - Relationships between Page Composer, Registration and Approval Summary

5) How to add a field to the Approval Main (Summary) Page using Page Composer
I'm going to tackle some more involved use cases in future blogs such as adding new fields into Registrations, adding hyperlinks into Header Detail sections and adding custom business logic (PeopleCode) to events in the Approval Pages.

However, for now I'll just walk through a simple Page Composer change to add a new field to the summary row of the AddressChange Composition.

1) Open Page Composer (Enterprise Components > Page Composer)
2) Enter Definition = Approvals and Search
3) Select AddressChange Composition
4) Under the Pages TAB select Approval Summary to show the Main Summary sections (this should be the default view).
5) Under the ToolBox TAB select Fluid Approval View (AAV) Record to show all available fields.  AAV is just an alias for the Record specified when you create the Registration.
6) Find the AAV:Empl Id field and drag and drop the field from the left pane to the Address Change Approval Summary Section.
7) Save the Composition
8) Open the Approvals tile to view the resulting change.
9) The video below demonstrates this and adds a 2 column option for controlling layout.