Agile 9.3 Gets Graphical with Thumbnails
By john.sperling on Sep 04, 2009
Agile 9.3 now allows the capability to include graphical thumbnails in the user interface. Thumbnails improve the ability to locate and re-use data in PLM, based on visual recognition of data. While many systems provide thumbnails in the UI, what is particularly exciting about Agile's capability is that we leverage the capabilities of Oracle AutoVue to automatically generate the thumbnail images from many common file types including CAD. Understanding a few of the key concepts behind our implementation of thumbnails will help you make the most of the capability.
Thumbnails are supported for Items, Manufacturer Parts, and File Folders (including Designs)
There is a "one thumbnail per file folder" paradigm. In cases where a file folder has multiple files, one of them is marked as the "master" for purposes of thumbnail generation. Thumbnail files are stored in the Agile file vault in PNG format, but are not explictly listed as attachments in the UI.
Thumbnails can be automatically generated either through the AutoVue server or, in the case of image files, directly in the web client. Specific filetypes can also be designated to have standard icons. If you wish to override the automatically-created thumbnail, you can use the Replace option and provide your own image file.
Thumbnails appear in search results for all supported objects, and you have the option to show search results "with thumbnails", where a small thumbnail is shown in an additional row, or "only thumbnails", where only large thumbnails are shown.
Thumbnails appear in the Title Block, Item BOM, Attachments, Design Structure, and Where Used tabs. Thumbnails can be toggled on or off in the tabular views.
Thumbnails also appear in all "Quick View" windows for supported object types.
A new pop-up window called the Thumbnail Navigator is used as a "graphical Attachments tab" for Items and Manufacturer Parts. The Navigator allows you to view and sort thumbnails, and also to add and remove file attachments. The Navigator appears any time you click on a thumbnail of an Item or Manufacturer Part.
Items and Manufacturer Parts with no attachments will show a gray square in the Title Block tab instead of a thumbnail. Clicking on this square will prompt you to add files and will then show the Thumbnail Navigator.
A view button is available when hovering over any thumbnail. Click on the button will view the corresponding file in AutoVue.
Here are some important administrative aspects of thumbnails to be aware of:
There is a master admin switch to enable or disable thumbnails for the whole system.
Each user has their own thumbnail on/off switch, plus preferences on the display style for both searches and tabs
In order to auto-generate thumbnails with AutoVue, the server must be enabled from the File Manager panel in the Admin client, and the specific filetypes must be identified in the new Viewer & Files "File Assocations" tab.
Standard icons are configured in the agile.properties file. A number of standard icons are provided out-of-the-box but you can create your own if desired.
In order for users to work with thumbnails, privileges must be properly enabled. This involves updating the "Applied To" lists in the appropriate privileges to include the Thumbnail attribute (note that the Thumbnail attribute is not considered a visible attribute).
In order to have thumbnails appear for an environment being upgraded to 9.3, you must run the Thumbnail Generator Utility. This is found in the tools directory in your Agile installation. Note that when you run this utility, it will appear to complete but the thumbnails have not yet been created. The utility simply queues up requests for the AutoVue server, which then will process the thumbnails. This process can take quite a while for large Agile environments.