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UKOUG RoundUp – Part 2 – Wednesday December 19, 2007

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools.
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On the second (and final) day of PeopleSoft content at the UKOUG I attended the following sessions:

  • Oracle Business Intelligence (XML) Publisher and PeopleTools Demonstration
  • PeopleSoft Keynote
  • PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal – What’s New and Where It’s Headed
  • More Advanced Reporting Tips and Techniques for PeopleSoft Enterprise
  • PeopleSoft Technical Discussion Forum

Oracle Business Intelligence (XML) Publisher and PeopleTools Demonstration by Daan van Egmond

It’s great to see XMLP presentations coming through, however I’m yet to see one that really gets as deep as I’d like into what it can do though. The enthusiasm for the product (both from PeopleSoft/Oracle and the customers) is clear, but there isn’t a whole lot of material out there if you’re looking for PeopleSoft specific content. Daan was just warming up when he was curtailed by lunch and I believe he said that there were still 60-odd slides to go so I’d have loved to have heard what else there was to discuss. His slideshow isn’t posted yet so I can’t see what we missed either.

PeopleTools 8.48/8.49 – New Database Features by David Kurtz

Despite it being listed as a 4 on a scale of 1 (Technical) to 5 (High Level) those of you who know David will appreciate that this was always going to be a heavily technical session. David spoke about the ‘subtle yet significant’ changes in 8.48/9, important highlights were:

  • the changes in %UpdateStats in 8.48 – it now resolves to the correct function but the defaults may be sub-optimal, the suggested changes are in the presentation
  • issues with building indexes with NOLOGGING, again the method to force logging is in the Powerpoint
  • David also had a theory about field defaults in tables (to prevent the need to specify values for all the columns with ‘not null’ constraints in every insert statement).
  • Longs and CLOBS, alter DATABASE_OPTION in PSSTATUS to change LONGS to CLOBS.
  • descending indexes are back (good for max effdt/effseq queries)

Finally, in what I believe was a first for David, he mentioned SQL Server in a context other than a joke 🙂

Now that SQL Server 2005 has multi-versioning (which isn’t on by default, it has to be turned on) it is becoming a genuine competitor and David stated that there is really no reason not to go to SQL Server 2005 if you are still on an older version but 8.49 tools. There were numerous murmours of agreement from the audience so it was clear many agree with David’s opinions on this point.

The presentation is on David’s website.

PeopleSoft Keynote by James Bennett

This was more geared towards customers than partners, but Jesper Anderson was one of the co-presenters and mentioned (these probably weren’t his exact words, so I’m paraphrasing here) that some kind of Fusion suite will be out in late 2008 but this will be a limited beta. After that phase finishes there will be a limited trial release to maybe 50 companies. The ‘General Availablility’ comes in a third phase. There were no dates on this, but I’d guess it’s the first half of 2009 at the earliest and possibly much later. Very interesting …

PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal – What’s New and Where It’s Headed by Jeff Robbins

Jeff had lost his voice so this was taken by Daan van Egmond instead with Jeff chipping in. Personally, this was a great presentation to see as it confirmed my belief that customers should be using more of the portal functionality than they are (of those I’ve worked on, only my current client does this – the rest just use portal to combine the menu from each product into a huge ‘superset side menu’ – which Daan/Jeff termed a Framework Portal).

There’s plenty of productivity gain to be made by using a ‘Functional Portal’, with Portlets, Navigation Pages etc (containing items such as Workflow, Alerts, Company Calendar, Reports, discussion forums and other documents) and removing the need for everyone to use the side menu. It was also mentioned that Portal is part of the Apps Unlimited promise, so development on it hasn’t ceased. Finally, a comparison was made between PeopleSoft’s portal
and products from other ERP vendors (including Oracle), plus dedicated portal companies (like Plumtree) and the PeopleSoft product is a really strong candidate – and in many ways the strongest – it just lacks the publicity and take-up that the other products have had.

More Advanced Reporting Tips and Techniques for PeopleSoft Enterprise by Larry Grey

I’ve attended Larry’s presentation last year and there was a little overlap. It was worth attending though for his method of deep linking to PeopleSoft pages. Those of you who’ve worked with Recruitment or ePerformance will be familiar with Components that have search pages that look and act differently from the PeopleSoft norm. If you send your users emails or reports containing hyperlinks directly to these pages Larry showed it’s possible to bypass these search pages and go directly to the target page using extra URL parameters and the %Response.GetParameter function. I’ve used this on client site already! Larry also spoke about taking this a few steps further by filtering the data shown on a page by a parameter passed in, and setting the cursor position to a particular cell in a grid based on a parameter.

PeopleSoft Technical Discussion Forum

This was an interesting little chat as there were some good people present. We covered a range of topics but the ones that I was most interested in were:

  • XML Publisher output and how the REN Server chooses whether to display the resulting PDF or the ‘report index’ page
  • using the REN Server, if a user is already running the report or process that a new user starts, the new user’s REN Window can attach/subscribe to the existing process, rather than starting a new duplicate process
  • outputting custom text into the REN Server window. This was a real gem of an idea, and Chris Heller mentioned that on one site he’d output the last ten or so lines of the process log file to the window to give a better idea of how far the process had progressed. This opens up a few possibilities, including a rudimentary ‘progress bar’ for AE. I can’t recall whether the Grey Sparling guys were going to blog about this so I’ll give them a month or two before I steal their thunder on how it’s done …

The presentations are available from the agenda grid on the UKOUG website, but you need a username and password to download them. I’m probably not allowed to give out the password, so please don’t ask.

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Comments

1. Chris Heller - December 20, 2007

I’ve had a half-written “Mysteries of the REN Server” post for a number of months now, so feel free to jump in and write something up 🙂

2. David Kurtz - January 1, 2008

The point I was making about SQL Server was that in PT8.49 you can enable dirty reads for the query server process (PSQRYSRV). This avoids the locking problems in Read Committed mode (without multi-versioning), although at the risk of returning uncommitted data. However, I can’t see many customers needing to use this feature of PeopleTools. If you have upgraded to PT8.49, why would you not have upgraded to SQL Server 2005? In which case, you can enable multi-versioning and you don’t need to enable dirty reads.


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