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 .

https://community.oracle.com/ideas/18996





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1) The hamburger menu has been replaced by "verical elipses" - or a diet and vegetarian friendly "pea" menu.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)
  • Line Detail. (PAGE.EOAWMA_TXNLDTL_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.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

5 Things about the UKOUG PeopleSoft Roadshow on 26 April

It was very hard to pick only 5 things from the annual UKOUG PeopleSoft Roadshow event but ... somehow... I did it.

1) ORACLE SPEAKERS: It was wonderful to have Marc Weintraub (Senior Director, Product Strategy) and Julie Alonso (PeopleSoft HCM Product Manager) attend this annual one day event to recap on recent new features and enhancements in PeopleSoft applications and technology and to share with us news about the exciting things that are in the pipeline.
Marc Weintraub (Oracle) - UKOUG Welcome

2) ONGOING INVESTMENT: Oracle continue to invest heavily in PeopleSoft applications and PeopleTools and have performed some real "magic" with PeopleSoft Cloud Manager.  PeopleSoft has proven itself over and over again to be a robust and highly extensible and adaptable system for running enterprises.  A skilled innovator is only as good as the tools they have available and the 1,100 innovators in PeopleSoft development team around the world continue to bring more and more value to our PeopleSoft systems.

More PeopleSoft value - Julie Alonso (Oracle)
PeopleSoft ticks all the boxes for me:

  • Strong commitment from Oracle and continued investment.
  • Broad and deep functionality.
  • Highly configurable for complex and demanding global organisations.
  • New features and functionality released every few months.
  • Customers can choose which features to take and when to adopt them (Selective Adoption).
  • Mobile enabled through the Fluid user interface.
  • Highly scaleable, standards based integration framework.
  • Complete development environment to build your own fully integrated applications
  • Ability to fix bugs yourself or make customisations (all the source code is accessible)
  • Features like Event Mapping allow you to customise without actually customising.
  • PeopleSoft runs in any cloud thanks to PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture and has the "game changing" Cloud Manager, a platform to support easy provisioning, cloning and management of PeopleSoft instances in the Oracle Compute Cloud.

3) COMMUNITY: The PeopleSoft community of customers and partners is strong in the UK.  Much of the value of these events is found in networking with other users and Oracle and in sharing ideas, stories and solutions.  I love this aspect of user groups and in the PeopleSoft world and I find most of the chatter at events is about the exciting new features rather than grumbling about the product.

Networking

4) LIVE DEMOS: There was a time when only the brave (or mad) did a live PeopleSoft demo during a conference presentation but now, it's expected and commonplace.  At this Roadshow event there were plenty of live demos of PeopleSoft all of which went exceptionally well.  These included:
Live PS instance provisioning in Oracle Cloud
* Guided Self Service in HCM from Julie Alonso, Oracle.
* Related Content and Fluid Development tips from Sarah Hurley and Naman Jain from Cedar Consulting.
* PeopleTools Test Framework - brilliant demo and insight from Ken De Landro, Hays.
* Provisioning an entire instance of PeopleSoft HCM Image 022 in the Oracle Cloud using Cloud Manager .

Black Friar Public House





5) NETWORKING: At what other user group in the world can you end with after event drinks and networking at the historic 1875 built Black Friar public house in central London.

Drinks at the Black Friar


Thursday, 13 April 2017

5 things about PeopleSoft Update Manager Change Packages



PeopleSoft 9.2 applications have been following a continuous delivery model since March 2013. Selective Adoption is the term used to describe this model and is characterised by the ability for customers to choose what updates they apply and when they apply them (a key differentiator between PeopleSoft and cloud SaaS applications).

PeopleSoft Update Images (often referred to as PIs (PeopleSoft Images), PUM Images or just Images) are the delivery mechanism for all PeopleSoft application updates (fixes, regulatory updates and new features).  

PeopleSoft Update Manager is a tool within the PUM Image which is used to select updates and define Change Packages for deployment.

Change Assistant tool is then used to take these package definitions and build the physical Change Package.

I'm presenting at the UKOUG PeopleSoft Roadshow in London on 26 April on Selective Adoption and the Oracle Cloud so come along to join in the discussion.

Until then... here's 5 things about Update Manager Change Packages:

1. PeopleSoft Update Manager Change Packages are used to deploy application updates to a target PeopleSoft system.  The package itself is a single ZIP file containing all* files necessary to apply one or more application Updates to a target PeopleSoft system (*see thing 4 below for exception to this).
2. You create a PUM Package using the Define Appliction Package menu option in the PUM Dashboard.  This can be found in the PUM Image: PeopleTools > Lifecycle Management > Update Manager
3. You apply a PUM Package to your target PeopleSoft system using Change Assistant (a Windows based tool which orchestrates the execution of predefined actions such as SQL and DataMover scripts, App Designer Projects, etc).
4. The first time you apply a package you apply it in "Initial Pass" mode.  This will add to the Package ZIP file any additional files necessary to apply the package in "Move to Production" (MTP) mode - additional files such as Datamover DAT files for loading messages and other meta data along with customised Application Designer objects if any customisations had to be re-applied.  In Initial Pass mode Change Assistant must have access to the same PUM Image as was used to create the Package and must have access to the target PeopleSoft system.  Change Assistant is expecting to not only reference the PUM Image for application data but also is expecting to find the defined Change Package in the PUM Image.
5. After Initial Pass you end up with a new ZIP file that contains everything you need to deploy the Updates to your target PeopleSoft systems.  Once you have this final ZIP file Change Assistant does not need access to the PUM Image again.


Thursday, 30 March 2017

5 things about PeopleSoft Cloud Manager



PeopleSoft Cloud Manager was announced at OpenWorld 2016 . On Feb 14 it became available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace.  

  1. Cloud Manager is a PeopleSoft application which can define and manage instances of PeopleSoft in the Oracle Cloud.  
  2. PeopleSoft Cloud Manager only runs on Oracle Compute Cloud infrastructure and you can get it from the Oracle Cloud Marketplace .  Just search for Cloud Manager.   
  3. Cloud Manager is written in PeopleTools using the PeopleSoft Interaction Hub and needs it's own standalone instance just like any other pillar (HCM, FSCM, CRM, etc). 
  4. You can subscribe to software updates that you have an interest in which will be automatically downloaded for you.  This includes:
    • PeopleTools patches, 
    • application PRPs, 
    • PUM Images 
  5. Cloud Manager software is free for PeopleSoft customers but you pay for infrastructure used on the Oracle Compute Cloud.  OCC is charged on the basis of how many OCPUs you use and how much storage you use (there are other chargeable items which you can read more on here). 

Useful Links:


Monday, 20 March 2017

5 things about Fluid Page None Search Type


There are 3 search types you can specify for a Fluid component : None, Standard (also known as Pivot Grid ) and Master /Detail (on page, left side, persistant search results).

Here's 5 things about None:
  1. None is the default Search Type for a Fluid Component and is set in the Component properties Fluid tab.  It is often found in self service applications where the search data is  known and already exists in the database (e.g. employee id)
    Search Type = None
  2. A Search Type of None will not give you a search page (sorry to state the obvious here but some aspects of Fluid development are not always obvious).  However, the component still requires a search record.  This can be a record with no search keys such as the INSTALLATION table or a record with multiple search keys such as HR_SS_PERS_SRCH.  
  3. Even though the Component search record may have search keys a Fluid component will not present a search page.  Instead you must set search keys either in SearchInit PeopleCode event as the component loads or in a parameter record in a TRANSFER(...) function or  as parameters in the URL. 
    Set search keys in SearchInit

    Transfer with keys in record


    Search keys in URL parameters


  4. Use  SearchInit PeopleCode event  SetSearchBehaviorMode(0)to automatically execute the search and land on the first page.  
  5. If you need to open a Fluid Component in Add mode then append &action=A parameter to the transfer URL or use the "A" parameter in the TRANSFER function.  This is not as easy as it sounds with a Fluid component set to search type None and so if you need add mode it might be better to set search type = Standard (more on this in a future blog).

Thursday, 2 March 2017

5 things about PeopleSoft Page Composer

  1. Page Composer creates Fluid pages through configuration.  At the moment this is only available for Fluid Approvals (introduced in HCM & FSCM Images 020 and CRM 012 and ELM 015) but as a general framework for page construction you can see where Oracle is taking this.  It is part of Enterprise Components NOT PeopleTools. Although you will need to be on at least PeopleTools 8.54.27 or 8.55.10 (See Doc ID 2166359.1

  2. Page Composer pages are based on a Page Composer Registration in which you define the sections of the page (summary, header, detail, etc) and the data sources and custom business logic.  You can define up to 5 header and 5 line sections.  
  3. There is currently only one Page Composer composition type of APPROVALS.  The approvals pages are all based on the same component EOAWMA_MAIN_FL.  Page definition EOAWMA_RSLT_SBF renders the initial summary list view and page definitions EOAWMA_TXNHDTL_FL (header) and EOAWMA_TXNLDTL_FL (line) render the Detail you see when you click one of the summary list items.  (TOP TIP:  Of all the pages delivered with PeopleSoft I think I would try and avoid customising this page due to a) it's high complexity and b) the likelihood of it changing with each image release.  
  4. When defining the Page Composer Registration it takes a bit of trial and error to identify which page fields can be referenced and used.  Suggest looking at delivered Page Composer definitions in Image 020 and cribbing these for your own definitions.  
  5. You can assign custom PeopleCode to page field events.  Create an App Package class which extends class EOPC_RUNTIME:pcFieldEventAction and assign to a field in the Page Composer Registration Field Event page.  

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

PeopleSoft in the Oracle Cloud

In 2016 Oracle released the PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture in 8.55, PeopleSoft Update Images on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace and produced a significant amount of tutorials and guides on running and managing PeopleSoft instances in the Oracle Compute Cloud.

Exciting times.  There are some real opportunities here for customers to take advantage of the benefits of cloud - including cost savings, converting capital expenditure to operational, infinite on-demand compute capacity, performance improvements, ease of management, subscription based costs, simplification of database and operating system licenses, and more.

I wrote an article "PeopleSoft and the Cloud" which was published in the December edition of UKOUG's Oracle Scene magazine and I wanted to begin a series of discussions on the benefits and practicalities of running PeopleSoft in the cloud.

Let's simply start with "What is the cloud?"

My definition is quite simple.  When a vendor claims to provide compute infrastructure, platform (database and middleware) and application services they should exhibit these key characteristics:



1) Infinite On-Demand Compute Capacity.  If you need more compute capacity (servers or storage) then it's got to be available immediately.  If your "cloud" provider needs a few weeks or even a few days notice to provision additional servers then it's not cloud... it's hosting.  Compute capacity must be available on-demand.

2) Pay As You Go.  Subscription based pricing where you only pay for what you use is another characteristic of cloud.  If you can't quickly and easily add a few more servers because "it's not in your contract" then it's not cloud.

3) Automated Routine Operations.  Relocating one piece of server hardware in my data centre for another similar piece of hardware in someone elses data centre may still give some benefit in terms of cost saving, performance improvement and increased security.  However, what I really want is a cloud service that provides automation of routine operations such as server monitoring, operating system and application upgrades and patches.  SaaS typically provides this service but IaaS and PaaS should too.

Opportunities for PeopleSoft customers:


Experts in PeopleSoft and Oracle Cloud
  • Host your PeopleSoft Update Image in the Oracle Cloud
  • Lift and Shift your PeopleSoft environments into the Oracle Cloud
  • Implement PeopleSoft Cloud Manager (when it's released) to manage your PeopleSoft instances in the Oracle Compute Cloud
  • Get upgraded to PeopleSoft 9.2.  Highly recommend talking with Cedar Consulting.  We run a very popular Rapid 9.2 Upgrade Masterclass and have completed 16 upgrades to-date with another 3 currently in flight. 
  • Implement a Selective Adoption Strategy.  Cedar Consulting are experts in Selective Adoption and can help your organisation gain the value from the continuous software delivery model that is in PeopleSoft 9.2.