8.55 – Build PeopleSoft Images with DPKs (Part 2)

As you have likely heard – and if you haven’t, go see Dan’s post now– the first 8.55 PI has been released. It is a big change from how 8.53 and 8.54 PIs were delivered to us in the past. Oracle is now leveraging DPKs to get us our images. As Dan had mentioned in his previous post, there are two options with this new delivery method: VirtualBox and Native OS. Now, you may see VirtualBox and assume you will still be downloading zip files and then running good old ova_gen.bat to generate a PI .ova file. This is actually NOT the case anymore. The new ‘old’ way is still run in VirtualBox but delivered via DPK. Here is a basic run down of what happens now:

  1. Download the Update Image VirtualBox zip files.
  2. Extract the first zip file, which should produce a setup folder.
  3. Run the `psft-dpk-setup.ps1` script via PowerShell. Note: I had to adjust my Execution Policy to get this to work.
  4. The rest of the zip files will be extracted.
  5. A bunch of validation happens related to VirtualBox.
  6. If validated, a shell VM will be imported into your VirtualBox via a delivered .ova file.
  7. You will be asked some networking questions.
  8. The script will launch the shell VM and finish.
  9. The shell will now be running and prompt you with a few more questions.
  10. At this point the DPK files are actually imported into the shell VM.
  11. You are prompted with a few options to customize your deployment.
  12. The DPKs are deployed and the PI is up and running!

That was pretty high level, but I wanted to point out that the VirtualBox method is using DPKs – similar to the Native OS option. So again, don’t expect to find a ova_gen.bat file and full .ova file to drop into VirtualBox. There will be a slight learning curve with the new DPK method, even if you stick with VirtualBox.

Luckily, Oracle does a pretty good job going into detail in the DPK for Update Images installation guide. To find this guide in MOS, navigate to the PUM Home Page and then your Update Image Home Page. Under the Installation Documentation section, you should find a link to the document – PeopleSoft Deployment Packages for Update Images Installation (PeopleSoft PeopleTools 8.55). This is a fairly lengthy document, walking you through all the different use cases and requirements for installation. It also covers the PeopleTools Client DPKs, which we will be covering in a Part 3 future post coming soon.

As always, feel free to join the conversation in the comments below. I would be interested to hear how others are fairing with this new process so far, and how it may change the way they currently operate.

#13 – PeopleTools Patching

This week, Kyle shares his lessons learned from a recent PeopleTools patching project, we discuss the pro’s and con’s of Unified Navigation, new PeopleSoft Rundeck plug-ins, and changes to the 9.2 upgrade with PeopleTools 8.55.

We want to make this podcast part of the community discussion on PeopleSoft administration. If you have comments, feedback, or topics you’d like us to talk about, we want to hear from you! You can email us at podcast@psadmin.io, tweet us at @psa_io, or use the Twitter hashtag #psadminpodcast.

You can listen to the podcast here on psadmin.io or subscribe with your favorite podcast player using the URL below, or subscribe in iTunes.

Podcast RSS Feed

Show Notes

8.55 – Log Analyzer

The Log Analyzer is a new PeopleTools 8.55 tool that helps you get more information from App Engine trace files. Log Analyzer is specific to analyzing App Engine traces. It feels like a simplified version of TraceMagic (a good thing!). If you have used TraceMagic for PeopleCode, or the Trace2SQL utility to parse .tracesql files, Log Analyzer feels like the two tools combined.

Trace Settings

You need to set the App Engine trace settings to at least these values in the psprcs.cfg file for the Log Analyzer to work:

  • Trace SQL: 3
  • Trace PC: 64

If you are using Config Manager, that translates to these options:

PeopleCode Trace

  • Trace Start of Programs

App Engine Trace

  • Step
  • SQL

Last, you can set them at the process level:

  • -TRACE 3 -TOOLSTRACEPC 64

You can use higher trace values, but these are the minimum for the Log Analyzer to correctly parse your files. Make sure to specify the App Engine SQL trace. If you select the PeopleTools SQL trace, you won’t get an *.AET file when the app engine runs. You can generate a SQL trace (.tracesql) and an App Engine trace (.AET). But at a minimum, you need an *.AET file. Log Analyzer also uses the .TRC PeopleCode trace file.

Log Analyzer GUI

The Log Analyzer tool is a separate java application located under PS_HOME\bin\client\winx86\AELogAnalyzerTool. To launch the tool, run the runTraceAnalyzer.bat batch script. After launching the tool, you’ll see an empty screen. You need to load in an *.AET file.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.38.48 PM

Once you load an *.AET trace file, the Log Analyzer will display the heirarchy of the trace program in the lower window. You can expand each section and click on the SQL steps. To view the associated SQL and parameters, click on the “View Details” button. You can also look at the trace in execution order (without the parent/child nesting) by clicking on the “Linearize” button.

Load PeopleCode

If you generate a PeopleCode .TRC trace file, you can import the .TRC file into Log Analyzer. If the trace file has the “Trace Start of Programs” lines (value 64), Log Analyzer will correlate the PeopleCode statements to the app engine step. In the lower window, you can click on the PeopleCode step and view the PeopleCode much like the SQL.

Apply Filters

Log Analyzer has different ways to filter and view your trace file. There are four options to view the different SQL operations: insert, select, update, delete. You can also filter the log output based on a text value, the duration of the step (useful for tuning), or by the number of rows updated.


Log Analyzer feels like a new tool. It functions are still limited (you can filter, but not search), but I think it will be a great tool to add for admins and developers. If you have used TraceMagic, Log Analyzer will be easy to pick up.

8.55 – Cross-Origin Resource Sharing

In PeopleTools 8.55, Cross-Orign Resource Sharing (CORS) is now supported. Don’t know what CORS allows? Here is a good primer on the topic.

The Same-Origin Policy restricts the browser from performing certain actions by scripts or documents based on the origin. The origin is everything in the URL before the path (for example, http://www.example.com). For certain actions, the browser will compare origins and, if they don’t match, won’t allow things to proceed. For example:

  • A parent document can’t access the contents of an that comes from a different origin. This prevents a malicious site from opening up your bank’s website and stealing your credentials, as an example.
  • While one document can send information to another via a form post, AJAX requests across origins are generally disallowed.

The Same-Origin Policy is a vital piece of web security architecture, but it also poses a problem. What happens when you want to allow a site with a different origin to access your content?

Here is a great example of where CORS support can benefit PeopleSoft. In Enterprise Learning Management, you can link to hosted web-based training. Often, that web-based training is on a different domain. With CORS support, you can add in remote sites in the Web Profile and display remote courses in your ELM environment.

To enable Cross-Origin sites, open your Web Profile. There is a new tab, Authorized Site, that lets you list many sites to support.

HTML Compare Report Issue

The other day I ran into a situation where I needed to generate HTML compare reports. When I created the report though, all the support HTML files like the CompareViewer.html file were not generated. At first, I thought there might be a bug that was preventing the HTML compare reports from building. But I dug into the process and found that there was an easy fix. Before we get to that, let’s dig into the HTML compare reports and how App Designer builds them.

HTML compare reports are great for sharing with users who don’t have App Designer access. You can drop the HTML reports on a share and anyone you want to can view the reports. To view the reports, you open CompareViewer.html and you see all the information in the report. But if some of the HTML support files are missing, the reports won’t work.

Support Files

There are some base HTML, CSS and JavaScript files to support the HTML reports:

  • CompareViewer.html – Main HTML file. Open this one to view HTML Compare Reports.
  • projectHeader.html
  • projectList.html
  • projectList.xml – Contains all the HTML compare report projects in the directory.
  • projectList.xsl
  • source* – Support HTML, CSS, JS, images
  • projectName* – If you ran more than one HTML compare report to the same directory, each project will have it’s own folder. Each project folder will have any entry in the projectList.xml file.

UPGCOMPVIEWER Folder

In your PeopleTools client folder, you need to make sure the setupUPGCOMPVIEWER folder has the support files. When you generate the HTML compare reports, App Designer drops the HTML files into your output folder. Then, App Designer will add in your project and compare data to the output folder.

The UPGCOMPVIEWER folder has two sub directories:

  • report_files – The main HTML compare report files.
  • project_files – Used for each project in the HTML compare report.

If you wanted to customize your compare report output, you can make the HTML, CSS or image changes there.

Output Folder

You can’t change the output folder for compare reports in the Report Options tab (you should be able to though…). To change the output path, go to “Tools > Options > General” and change the “Report Output Directory”.

PeopleTools Client Install

If you haven’t figured it out yet, my problem was that the UPGCOMPVIEWER folder didn’t exist in the setup folder. I used the PeopleTools client install but it didn’t include the UPGCOMPVIEWER folder and files.

To make sure, I did a fresh client install with 8.53.24, 8.54.16 and 8.55.01. The 8.53 client installs did not contain the folder. The latest 8.54 and 8.55 client installers did include UPGCOMPVIWER in the setup folder.

#8 – PeopleTools 8.55 Hands-on

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! We have an extra long and fun episode this week but you may want to listen to this it twice 🙂

In Episode 8, we dive into PeopleTools 8.55 and get hands-on! We talk about our first experiences with the PeopleTools DPK’s, changes to Change Assistant in 8.55 and Dan’s experiment with the Let’s Encrypt project. We also ask a big question about a new Related Content feature, and then answer it after the break. This feature has the potential to substantially reduce your customizations!

We want to make this podcast part of the community discussion on PeopleSoft administration. If you have comments, feedback, or topics you’d like us to talk about, we want to hear from you! You can email us at podcast@psadmin.io, tweet us at @psa_io, or use the Twitter hashtag #psadminpodcast.

You can listen to the podcast here on psadmin.io or subscribe with your favorite podcast player using the URL below, or subscribe in iTunes.

Podcast RSS Feed

Show Notes

8.55 – Default Navigation

Before PeopleTools 8.55 was released, Oracle announced that Fluid would be the default navigation. After setting up an 8.55 demo system, I wanted to play around and “kick the tires”. Well, Oracle is quite serious. There is no other navigation option for 8.55. In the past, you could choose between navigation options on the “PeopleTools Options” page.

Update 2/8/2016 – You can use the drop-down navigation style with PeopleTools 8.55. – Dan

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 8.49.10 AM

 

#5 – UMRUG 2015 Recap

UPDATE If you downloaded Episode 5 in the before Monday, we had the wrong audio file attached to the feed. The correct audio file is posted.

In Episode 5, Dan gives a recap of the Upper Midwest Regional User Group 2015 Fall meeting. We talk about Fluid adoption, PUM strategies from local companies, Selective Adoption and new PeopleTools 8.55 information. We also discuss Dan’s biggest Change Assistant pet-peeve and Kyle’s handy backdoor to the login page.

We want to make this podcast part of the community discussion on PeopleSoft administration. If you have comments, feedback, or topics you’d like us to talk about, we want to hear from you! You can email us at podcast@psadmin.io, tweet us at @psa_io, or use the Twitter hashtag #psadminpodcast.

You can listen to the podcast here on psadmin.io or subscribe with your favorite podcast player using the URL below, or subscribe in iTunes.

Podcast RSS Feed

Show Notes

UMRUG 2015 Fall Meeting Recap

The 2015 fall meeting of the Upper Midwest Regional User Group (UMRUG) was last week. There was lots of great information from Oracle and other users. Here are the highlights:

Opening Keynote: Oracle

Jim Ellis, from Oracle, gave the opening keynote. Much of the presentation was also in the OpenWorld slides.

  • Fluid
    Jim asked the audience how many people used Fluid, or were planning to use Fluid. Only a few people raised their hands. Going foward, Fluid will be the new UI for PeopleSoft. Starting in 8.55, it will be the default navigation. New features will soon be Fluid too.
  • CFO Tool (Cummulative Feature Overview)
    The CFO Tool is now image-based so you can check new features every time an image posts.
  • PeopleTools 8.55
    No release date yet, but lots of hints that it may drop before the end of the year. (Obviously, that’s a non-binding hint!)
  • PUM and Selective Adoption
    Jim emphasized the need to stay current. (This was a theme the entire day – more on that later.)

More emphasis on the PeopleSoft Test Framework with the PUM. With selective adoption and the PUM, the need for automated testing goes up. New PUM features include customization detection and test coverage when selecting patches.

  • 9.1 and 8.55
    Jim didn’t know for sure, but PeopleTools 8.55 should support 9.1 applications.

Technical Roundtable

This is my favorite part of the day; all technical people in a room talking about issues and features.

  • PUM and PI’s and Patching
    This topic took up most of the morning roundtable. Everyone is trying to figure out the best way to stay current. Many people have concerns about applying full images frequently, or they don’t have the resources to apply that often. Most organizations are tying to get current once a year, but a few are trying to get current twice a year.

There were also questions about how to manage demo environments. The discussions are similiar to upcoming episode 4 of The PeopleSoft Administrator Podcast. Take a listen to that if you want a deeper recap.

  • PeopleTools 8.54 Patches
    A few organizations said they patched to 8.54.11-13 and had issues with IE 11 rendering. When IE was in Enterprise mode (aka, Quirks mode), pages had rendering issues. According to the Oracle reps, the PeopleTools team has been working to make the HTML generated standards compliant. In the long term, this is a great change. But it needs changes to IE settings. Or use Chrome.

Also, check the Browser Compatability Guide (746222.1) for details on browser certification.

  • 2-Tier Query
    8.54 broke some queries that ran in 2-Tier query. With 8.54, some new query features were not added to the psqry application, like Default Prompts.
  • SES and search in PeopleTools 8.55
    The Oracle representatives confirmed that a new search tool will be available in 2016. The new software will be Elasticsearch. SES has been taking off Oracle’s price sheet, so that product is essentially done. PeopleTools 8.55 will support SES, and at release time will only support SES. Sometime in 2016 PeopleTools 8.55 will add Elasticsearch support.

  • The goal for Elasticsearch is to be a drop-in replacement for SES. Most of the work to set up and customize search indexes will carry forward to Elasticsearch.

    This should go without saying, but this information isn’t official. The Oracle reps were attending the conference and giving out as much information as they could, but none of these details are binding.

    PeopleTools Platform and Cloud Architecture Update

    Oracle presented and was like the OpenWorld session. There were lots of updates covered including certification changes and new 8.55 enhancements.

    Here are the highlights for the certification changes:

    • PeopleTools 8.55 will support Java 7, not Java 8.
    • The Microsoft Edge browser will gained support in PeopleTools 8.54.16, and 8.53 will get support in an upcoming patch
    • SES 11.2.2.2 will get Oracle Database 12.0.1.2 support on Windows soon
    • Elasticsearch support in PeopleTools 8.55 sometime in 2016
    • Crystal is not supported in PeopleTools 8.55 (even for 9.1 applications)
    • Excel 2016 support in PeopleTools 8.55 (but not Word 2016 at release)

    PeopleTools 8.55 makes large changes to the server infrastructure and builds on existing features. The highlights:

    • The new Deployment Kits (DPK’s) will focus on making consistent and stable environments.
    • DPK’s will use Puppet and Automated Configuration Management (ACM) to automate deployments to the PUM. You can also use DPK’s in your own environments.
    • In 8.55, the PUM will let you use different VM platforms instead of VirtualBox
    • Tools patches in 8.55 will be a DPK using a single configuration file (via Puppet)
    • The ACM will perform all PIA configuration (for DPK’s)
    • The new PUM DPK’s will have a VirtualBox shell, but you don’t have to use it
    • 8.55 Beta customers were able to spin up new environments in less than an hour using DPKs – exciting!
    • The ACM will ship with 25 plug-ins, but you can write your own to extend the tool
    • Push notifications in 8.55 gain the ability to send native notifications to mobile devices (iOS/Android)

    PeopleTools 8.55 is looking to be a big shift in how administrators will work on the system. I’m excited to try the DPK’s and see how Puppet integrates with PeopleTools. We use the the beta version of ACM (in 8.53) and like it.

    PeopleSoft Update Manager Panel

    The last session I attended was a panel on the PUM and how organizations are adjusting to the Selective Adoption support model. The short version of the panel was: everyone is trying to figure out what works best. A few organizations have applied full images, but most were in the planning stage.

    One organization was trying to apply images twice a year, but they have a large QA team and the development staff to handle the workload. But, they also removed, or re-wrote customizations so they didn’t conflict with delivered code. The rest of the panelists said they plan to get current once a year. That fits with majority of the people in the Technical Roundtable.

    There were good suggestions from the panelists that you may want to adopt:

    • Review the latest PI (PeopleSoft Image) when released. There may be bug fixes in the PI you didn’t know about.
    • Oracle recommends you stay within 8-12 months of the latest image
    • Use the CFO tool to find new features in the images you may want. You can apply the latest image and not enable new features if you’re not ready.
    • Moving to regular release (monthly, quarterly, etc) helps your team incorporate bug fixes from the latest PI
    • Need more testing with selective adoption – especially automated testing
    • Developers must understand the importance of bolt-on customizations to reduce conflicts when appling images. This may be a cultural change, but it will benefit the organization in the long run.

    Closing

    This was a great meeting, and thanks to QUEST and the UMRUG volunteers for putting on the conference.

    #2 – PeopleTools 8.55

    A special Tuesday release! Episode 2 of the PeopleSoft Administrator Podcast is all about PeopleTools 8.55. Dan and Kyle discuss the announcements at OpenWorld and the Planned Features document about PeopleTools 8.55, and make some guesses about some new features.

    We want to make this podcast part of the community discussion on PeopleSoft administration. If you have comments, feedback, or topics you’d like us to talk about, we want to hear from you! You can email us at podcast@psadmin.io, tweet us at @psa_io, or use the Twitter hashtag #psadminpodcast.

    You can listen to the podcast here on psadmin.io or subscribe with your favorite podcast player using the URL below, or subscribe in iTunes.

    Podcast RSS Feed