Monday Feb 09, 2015

Configuring user authentication with AutoVue 20.2.3

As noted in the AutoVue 20.2.3 Security Guide (section 2.1.1) and the AutoVue 20.2.3 Installation Guide (section 13.1), AutoVue offers a user authentication mechanism if needed. Oracle recommends that all client connections to the AutoVue server be authenticated, and supports two different options:

  • DMS authentication (where “DMS” implies any integrated Document Management System, Product Lifecycle Management system, etc)
  • Authentication plug-in (for example Kerberos)

If AutoVue 20.2.3 is installed without either of these mechanisms in place (the non-recommended approach), by default users won’t be able to connect to the server. In this scenario, the AutoVue server administrator will need to configure the ‘jvueserver.authentication.enable’ parameter to FALSE as outlined in the documentation as well as My Oracle Support KM Note 1956742.1.

Friday Dec 19, 2014

Setting up the ABV Sample with Agile 9.3.3

Hello all,

As we wrap up things towards the end of the year, I wanted to talk a little bit about how you can set up our Augmented Business Visualization sample PX with Agile 9.3.3.   If you are running Agile 9.3.3, and are using Agile EC to manage your 3D CAD data, it is quite simple to set it up so that users can create new ECRs or ECOs directly from the 3D view in AutoVue.   There are a couple of constraints around the sample PX - for example, you need to have the CAD connector configured so that the part, design and CAD file name all have the same name - but the PX is relatively easy to extend if this doesn't apply in your environment.

If your 9.3.3 system matches the constraints of the PX, all that is needed is to copy the PX file into the Agile extension folder - Once the PX is installed, you will be able to right click on any part in your 3D models, and create an ECR or ECO - and have the current assembly and the part you selected added as an affected item to the new object.

You can see what this looks like in action in a video on our youtube channel with the link below:


Screenshot of ECR Creation


There is a whitepaper that describes in more detail how the PX sample works, and gives advice on how to set it up and extend it if necessary


The sample PX and the whitepaper can be found on OTN: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E49948_05/otn/doclist.html  - the specific links are Whitepaper  and PX Sample

I'll close with wishing you all a happy holiday season whatever holiday you may choose to celebrate, and a happy new year!   We'll talk again in 2015!

Wednesday Nov 19, 2014

Analyzing AutoVue’s File Load Time Performance

As organizations continue to increase their volume of digital content, migrate business processes to software-driven frameworks, and expand the complexities of the underlying software/hardware architectures, system performance becomes an increasingly important success factor.

In the world of AutoVue, the most important aspect of performance is file load time – the time it takes from when the user clicks “Open” or “View in AutoVue” to when the file is displayed and the user can start working with it. There are many factors involved in file load time, including:

  • Deployment architecture
  • Specifications of each node
  • Configuration of each node
  • Network performance
  • System load
  • Customizations/extensions
  • Etc.

A proactive approach to performance tuning requires expert understanding of the network and all involved nodes (e.g. load balancers, firewalls, proxy servers, application servers, DMS/PLM systems, AutoVue servers, client machines, etc) as well as load-testing prior to go-live. In addition to proactive planning, many customers identify the need to continue performance tuning after go-live, as the usage patterns evolve.

Dissecting the performance bottlenecks of file load time requires collecting various information including configuration settings and log files. In order to provide general guidelines for this process, our Support team authored a 2-part troubleshooting whitepaper which is published in the My Oracle Support knowledge base:

  • Note 1595727.1 - AutoVue Client/Server Performance Troubleshooting Guide -Part I-
  • Note 1605087.1 - AutoVue Client/Server Performance Troubleshooting Guide -Part II-

I highly recommend this read for any AutoVue admins and SIs interested in file load time performance analysis – whether it be during pre-go-live planning stages, or during ongoing system maintenance.

Tuesday Nov 04, 2014

Simplifying Creation of ECRs and ECOs

Some of you may have seen in our recent videos how you can simplify your creation of change requests and change orders by taking advantage of Augmented Business Visualization in Agile - but you may not realize that if you are using Agile 9.3.3 and AutoVue 20.2.2, then you can easily set this up with a sample that is provided on OTN.  

If you use Engineering Collaboration to handle your SolidWorks or ProE 3D models, you'll be able to quickly create ECOs or ECRs by right clicking on parts in the 3D model and selecting "Create ECR" or "Create ECO", similar to what is shown here:  http://youtu.be/gsG30QmMCeU?t=1m52s

The sample is provided as a PX that can be installed on your Agile 9.3.3 instance.  You can find the sample PX, and a whitepaper describing how to set it up and to extend it if necessary on OTN at http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E49948_05/otn/doclist.html - here are direct links for the sample PX  and the whitepaper

If you try this out - let us know what your thoughts are in the comments


Wednesday Sep 24, 2014

Developing a Solution With AutoVue’s Hotspot Feature - Where to Begin?

It’s been a while since the last couple blog posts regarding AutoVue’s “hotspot” feature, part of the Augmented Business Visualization (ABV) framework. With the rising popularity of this feature among customers and partners, our Support team recently published a new How-To knowledge base article to complement the existing documentation. The article takes a closer look at how to set up the hotspot sample application that ships with AutoVue – known as the “VueActionSample”:

Doc ID 1677471.1 - How to Configure and Run the AutoVue VueActionSample

For anyone looking to develop an ABV solution for AutoVue, the VueActionSample is a great starting point to learn the basics, and the above article is a great additional resource to help you get set up.

Friday Jul 25, 2014

Enhance AutoVue's Performance with streaming files

Performance is a critical issue for most users of AutoVue - They need to be able to access documents, drawings and models to do their work, and they don't want to be watching a 'Loading' bar move when they could be approving a change request or adding a comment to a new design.

There are a number of factors that can influence the final performace that users get with AutoVue - but this post will focus on one of the most important items:  Effective use of AutoVue's Streaming Files.

Streaming files are a long-standing feature of AutoVue (they were originally called 'metafiles', and you may still occasionally hear someone refer to them that way) - they are a single, self-contained file that contains a 'pre-processed' visual representation of a document, drawing or model, plus a collection of attribute data.   The idea is that when AutoVue has read the native file(s) - for instance a Creo 2 assembly - it creates a streamlined form of the same data in a single file, that can be read much more quickly than the original data.

For large 3D models, loading from streaming file can have a huge impact on performance - we've seen Creo 2 assemblies that were over 2 gb in size, where the native data took about 1.5 hours to load in AutoVue (and over 10 hours to load in Creo 2) but from streaming file it loaded in AutoVue in around 2 minutes.   This isn't necessarily typical, and for smaller assemblies you might "only" get a factor of 5-10x speed up - but it will still be a *very* substantial speed up.   Non-3D formats will also often get a big boost from this as well, although the speed-ups may be more like 2-5x.   PDF is an exception where you often will not see a major improvement, as well as raster formats like Tiff, and AutoVue does not generate streaming files for these formats out of the box.

If you are using AutoVue with Agile, you can configure pre-generation of streaming files for all models checked in through Engineering Collaboration - For other documents and drawings what will generally happen is that AutoVue will load from the native file the first time, and will save the Streaming file in Agile so that subsequent views are done from the streaming file.

To tell whether streaming files are in use is very easy - just go the the 'File->Properties' menu item - at the bottom of the 'File Properties' tab you will see it say "Loaded From Streaming File" if a streaming file was used for the current session.

Ensuring that streaming files are properly configured is one of the best ways to get a quick performance boost for users of AutoVue.

I'll talk about other aspects of performance in future posts.  Until then - if you have specific questions around performance or any other topic, just let us know in the comments section below!

Wednesday Jun 18, 2014

New Automated Data Collection Utility for Troubleshooting AutoVue Client/Server Issues

The process of troubleshooting issues with AutoVue Client/Server Deployment (for example, users suddenly unable to connect to the AutoVue server) sometimes requires collection and analysis of specific files from the AutoVue server. Such files may include log files, property files, and user profile files.

Historically, the collection of these files was a manual process. Recently, however, the Oracle Support team released a new automated data collection utility called “AVCollect” (short for “AutoVue Collect”) to simplify this task. The tool is a lightweight Java-based application that runs directly from a Jar file, and collects the abovementioned files as well as the timestamps of the AutoVue server runtime libraries. This automated approach speeds up the data collection process and ensures that the correct files are gathered.

Future enhancements to the utility are underway, including the ability to collect the AutoVue server diagnostics output, system-level info, and so on. For now, make sure your AutoVue server administrators download and familiarize themselves with our first release of the AVCollect tool via the following knowledge base document:

Note 1677441.1 - Using the AVCollect Tool to Automatically Collect AutoVue Server Log Files and Configuration Files

And as always, if you have any additional suggestions for the tool, feel free to share them through the AutoVue MOS Community.

Wednesday Apr 23, 2014

Troubleshooting printing-related issues with AutoVue

Not long ago I posted an article related to troubleshooting connection issues with AutoVue Client/Server Deployment. Following on that theme - since the majority of my posts originate from our Customer Support team - I wanted to highlight a different troubleshooting guide that was recently published in the My Oracle Support portal:

Note 1621489.1 - AutoVue Printing Troubleshooting Guide

This knowledge base document is as the title states - a troubleshooting guide for different types of printing issues that may be encountered on rare occasions with AutoVue (primarily related to the printed output not appearing as the user expects). Printing is impacted by many factors (print drivers, user-defined settings, input document, Java version, etc), and the troubleshooting guide provides a consistent approach for narrowing the scope of the issue and gathering the necessary details and logs to resolve it.

Thursday Mar 27, 2014

Tip: Set JVM Heap Size with 32b and 64b JVMs

Hi all,

I wanted to share a tip I learned about the hard way recently.   If you are using AutoVue with large 3D models it is often valuable to increase the maximum heap size available to the AutoVue client. 

However, this can be unexpectedly tricky if you have both 32b and 64b Java virtual machines installed - the traditional way to do it is to select Java from the windows control panel and set the heap size there.   However if you have both 32b and 64b JVMs installed, that control panel will only give access to the 64b JVMs - you won't be able to change the 32b JVM settings there.

If you are running a browser that is 32b - you will need to change the 32b JVM settings - and the way to do this is slightly counter-intuitive. In the 64b java control panel accessed through the windows control panel, go to the Advanced tab, and scroll to the very bottom and turn on "Place Java icon in system tray".  
Screenshot - place java in system tray
Then start AutoVue the way you do normally.   You should see a Java icon appear in the windows sytem tray at the bottom of your screen. 

Screenshot - System Tray

Right click on that icon, and select  'Open Control Panel' - from here if you change the heap size parameters it will do it for the JVM that is actually running AutoVue.

Screenshot - Java Environment Settings

If you want to be completely sure whether you are setting the parameters for the 32b or 64b version - look at the "Path" field of the "Java Runtime Environment" settings - if you see "Program Files (x86)" then it is the 32b version.


Hope this helps!!

Thursday Mar 13, 2014

How-To: Searching for list of bug fixes in a given AutoVue version

I wanted to add to the couple different posts I submitted in the past on how to track and understand Bug reports in the My Oracle Support (MOS) portal. I've received the occasional question from customers and partners regarding where to find a list of bug fixes for a given version of AutoVue (e.g. in order to evaluate the potential advantages of upgrading, beyond the product enhancements outlined in the Release Notes hosted on the documentation website).

The easiest way to view the bug fixes for a given version of AutoVue is through the Advanced Search feature in the MOS portal, which allows you to search the Oracle BugDB based on the specific products and version number you're interested in. For example to search for the list of bugs fixed in AutoVue 20.2.2:

  1. Log into the MOS portal
  2. Click on 'Advanced Search' in the upper-right corner
  3. In the Advanced Search dialog, specify the following:
    • Source: Bug Database
    • Related to the Product: Add all 5 flavors of AutoVue (Oracle AutoVue Office, Oracle AutoVue 2D Professional, Oracle AutoVue 3D Professional Advanced, Oracle AutoVue EDA Professional, Oracle AutoVue Electro-Mechanical Professional)
    • Fixed in Version: 20.2.2
  4. Click on 'Search'

If needed you can further refine the search by keywords - e.g. if interested in fixes related to specific file formats, platforms, features, etc.

Also if you have questions regarding any of the bugs or enhancements listed as fixed/implemented in a given AutoVue version, feel free to post into the AutoVue Community and our team will be happy to follow up.

Friday Jan 17, 2014

Java 7u51 and AutoVue

Hello all - As you may be aware, Java 7u51 was released earlier this week.  This release includes a lot of important security fixes for java - However these fixes do have some impact on users of the AutoVue client.

The first potential impact is that all applets (including the AutoVue client) must define a 'permissions' attribute in order for them to run.  We released a patch for all supported versions of AutoVue late last year that included this attribute.

The other issue is that 'LiveConnect', which is what allows Javascript to call Java code, is disabled in Java 7u51.  Most AutoVue integrations, including our integrations to Agile PLM, Web Center Content, and Documentum, make use of this mechanism to open files, start comparing files, and various other operations.  

Additionally, some older versions of Java, including Java 7u45, will disable LiveConnect once they 'notice' that Java 7u51 is available, so if a user is prompted to upgrade to Java 7u51 and refuses, LiveConnect will also be disabled.

To renable 'LiveConnect' in Java 7u51, the easiest approach is to make use of the 'Exception Site' configuration.  This configuration allows a user to indicate that a certain set of URLs are trusted - and any Java code provided from those URLs will have LiveConnect enabled.  

The 'Exception Site' list can be configured by an individual user by going into the Java control panel, but it is ultimately controlled by a text file stored inside the local Java deployment - so administrators can update the file centrally, and then push the file out to all members of an organization who need to use AutoVue.

We've published KM note 1615032.1 with more details on how to deal with these issues.

Wednesday Nov 13, 2013

How-To: AutoVue Bug Status Tracking & Email Notifications

I’ve posted a number of different Support process-related and tool-related blog entries over the past few years, and one common question I received back from various customers and partners is “How can I easily track AutoVue bugs & enhancements for status updates?”

The capability to track bug status through the My Oracle Support (MOS) portal has existed in different forms for a while, although hasn’t necessarily been easy to find without going through specific segments of the extensive MOS training. Recently, the instructions were consolidated into the following highly recommended knowledge base article:

KM Note 1298390.1 - How to Monitor a Bug from My Oracle Support

The note covers various capabilities, including:

  • How to add the new ‘Bug Tracker’ widget to your MOS dashboard
  • How to add and manage bugs within the Bug Tracker
and probably most interesting to MOS users...
  • How to enable email notifications for bug status updates

Make sure to pass this KM Note along to your MOS users in case they haven’t already configured this valuable feature.

Wednesday Oct 02, 2013

Searching for AutoVue Enhancement Requests in the My Oracle Support portal

Most users of the My Oracle Support (MOS) portal are familiar with the ability to search the knowledge base for technical articles. But did you know that the MOS portal can also be used to search for Bugs and Enhancement Requests? Here are the steps to look up all of the Enhancement Requests (ERs) that are under consideration by the AutoVue team:

  1. Log into the My Oracle Support (MOS) portal: https://support.oracle.com
  2. In the upper-right corner, beside the search field, click on ‘Advanced’ to open the Advanced Search dialog
  3. Set the Source field to “Bug Database”
  4. For the ‘Related to the Product’ field, click on the dropdown arrow, then enter ‘autovue’ in the upper-right field of the dropdown list, and click the right arrow in the upper-right corner of the dropdown list:
  5. Select all the products of interest (e.g. AutoVue Office, AutoVue 2D Professional, AutoVue 3D Professional Advanced, AutoVue EDA Professional, AutoVue Electro-Mechanical Professional), then click ‘Select’
  6. For the ‘Status Code’ field, select the status of interest. Currently this field only accepts a single choice, however a request has been submitted to the MOS team to allow multi-select. For now, here are the status codes representing ERs under consideration (which you can run as separate queries):
    • 15 – Enhancement Req. Internal (Oracle) Review
    • 21 – Cost Required, To Development
    • 22 – Approved for Future Release
    • 23 – Scheduled for Future Release

Note that the AutoVue team uses statuses 21, 22 and 23 to represent ERs that are under consideration (not yet committed, despite the naming of the status codes).

If you come across any particular ER that you would like to flag as important to your company, please submit a Service Request through the MOS portal, referencing the ER number and details regarding the importance of the feature to your business.

Thursday Mar 28, 2013

Best Practices for Collecting Feedback on a document

One of AutoVue's great strengths is the wide range of markup/annotation tools that are available.   However, for the less technical user who is only being called upon to add feedback to a document, the wide range of types of markup entities can be a bit confusing.   I'd like to share some of our best practices around annotations documents - specifically focusing on collecting feedback.

 Step 1: identify a standard way to add textual comments - There are several ways users can add textual comments to a document with AutoVue's annotations - they could add a leader-line, a text entity or a note entity.  What I've found is generally most flexible is to use a Highlight or Cloud entity, grouped with a Note entity - the Highlight or Cloud identifies the area that the comment is associated with, and the Note contains the comment itself.   This has the advantage of making it clear what the context is, and allowing the entry of longer blocks of text without covering up parts of the drawing or document.    The following screenshot shows how this can look in AutoVue - and if the user hovers her mouse over the note, she can see a preview of the first part of the text of the comment.

screenshot of cloud entity with Note and Preview

 Step 2: Identify which other markup entities your 'non-technical' users are likely to need.   In some cases the cloud/note combination described above might be enough - but depending on what your users need to do, they might also need other entities - for instance, the 'Freehand' line entity could allow users to sketch what they really want to see, and the Measurement entity could allow them to indicate specific measurements on a drawing to add additional context.

Step 3: Train the users on just the markup entities you expect them to use - make it clear to them which entities should be used under which conditions and show them where to find the specific entities they need. 

Step 4: Optionally, to make it a lot easier for the users you could create a custom user interface (UI) that displays only the Markup Entities your non-technical users need, and configure your system to provide that UI for the appropriate users.   This could involve providing only a few key markup entities on the top toolbar, rather than adding new toolbars with all of the entities - something like this for example:

example toolbar with navigation and markup tools

This kind of customization can be done by creating a custom GUI file - this is documented in the AutoVue installation and configuration guide - and we'll be talking about it more in an upcoming blog post.

Let us know in the comments how your users are using annotations/markups and if this approach would help them!

Tuesday Mar 05, 2013

Tracking product-specific knowledge articles in the My Oracle Support portal

There have been a number of changes/improvements to the My Oracle Support (MOS) portal over the past year, and one that I find quite useful is the ability to easily add multiple products to the ‘Knowledge Articles’ widget in your dashboard. This allows you to keep an eye on recently created/updated articles for whichever Oracle products you’re interested in, as well as recent Alerts for those products. Here’s an outline of the steps to configure this in your MOS dashboard:

  1. Click the ‘Customize Page’ link near the top-right.
  2. Locate your ‘Knowledge Articles’ widget (if not already added, click on ‘Add Content’ to add it).
  3. In the ‘Knowledge Articles’ widget, click on the wrench icon at the top-right.
  4. Select any products for which you’d like to maintain a feed of recently created/updated articles. For example if you’d like to monitor articles for all flavors of AutoVue, type ‘autovue’ in the Products dropdown and the auto-complete will present all of the different AutoVue products to choose from.

Another nice feature is that you can have multiple ‘Knowledge Articles’ widgets in your dashboard, allowing you to track different product lines separately if preferred. Here’s a screenshot of my MOS dashboard, where I track AutoVue articles and Primavera articles in two separate widgets:

 For more tips & tricks on searching and browsing the knowledge base, click on the 'Webcasts and Recordings' link in your MOS dashboard, from which you'll find a video recording all about search and browse capabilities.

 

About

The authors of this blog are members of the AutoVue Enterprise Visualization team at Oracle. The views expressed on this blog reflect those of the members and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

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