Thursday May 12, 2016

Uploading assemblies and other multi-part CAD documents (Xrefs) in AutoVue 21.0.0

Hi all,

I wanted to give a quick overview of one of the changes in AutoVue 21.0.0 that I've heard a few questions around.  Many complex CAD documents span multiple files - there will be a base document (often called an assembly in 3D CAD), and a series of associated files that we broadly call external references or Xrefs (often referred to as Parts or sub-assemblies in 3D CAD).  The way these Xrefs are handled when uploading a file from local disk (not when integrated into a system like Agile, P6 or Web Center Content) has changed in AutoVue 21.0.0, and I'll give you some additional details on that here.

In earlier versions of AutoVue there was a mechanism in place that allowed the AutoVue server to request missing Xrefs from the AutoVue client.  The way it worked was that if the user did a 'file open' on a file named 'Assembly1.asm' from their local hard drive, it would get copied to the AutoVue server and processed.  If during that processing it found that it needed a file named 'Part1.prt', the server would tell the client, and the client would search the local filesystem for a file named Part1.prt, and if found, it would copy that file to the AutoVue server.   That process would repeat until all of the associated subassemblies and parts were copied to the server.

 This process has a couple of problems:

  • Performance is problematic, since the copying of files happens as a series of separate transfers, with some processing of the file in between
  • There is a risk of unexpected results.  The algorithm used to find files on the client side was pretty good, but there was a risk that if the files and folders were not set up the way we expected that we might find *some other* local file named "Part1.prt",  and the user might see the wrong part in the model.

As a result, starting with AutoVue 21.0.0, this mechanism of finding and uploading local Xrefs has been removed, and our recommendation is that if you need to open a file with Xrefs from a local file system, that you do it by creating a zip file containing the base file and all Xrefs, and then opening the file through the zip file.    This ensures that AutoVue gets all of the right Xrefs, and improves performance by sending all of the files in single transfer.

To reiterate - this only impacts files coming directly from the user's local filesystem - if you are integrated into a content management system, and are opening a file from that system, it will take care of providing all of the associated Xref files to the  AutoVue server for you automatically, and this change will not impact you.

 If you have any questions about this change, feel free to ask below!

Warren 

 

Friday Mar 11, 2016

Some Paper Sizes Names are Different in The AutoVue Print Dialog

In general when printing in Java mode (which is the standard since AutoVue 20.1.0 and above) the naming of some paper sizes is different than the standard name. In this case it is recommend to look for and pick the matching name as shown in the following wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_size

For example if you do not see 11x17 explicitly listed as a possible paper size when printing with AutoVue then test with 'Engineering B' or 'Tabloid' paper sizes which  refers to 11 x 17. For your reference see Note 171122779.1

Wednesday Mar 02, 2016

Opening Streaming Files Directly in AutoVue 21.0.0

One of the changes in AutoVue 21.0.0 is that we now requires a valid filename extension on all files that we open.  It has long been recommended to always pass valid filename extensions to AutoVue to improve performance, and this was made mandatory in AutoVue 21.0.0.

A side-effect of this is that it is no longer possible to directly open a streaming file from the AutoVue Cache folder.    This is not a common day to day usage scenario for AutoVue, but it is often handy when setting up a system, or attempting to debug system issues.

The recommended approach in situations like this is to rename the streaming back to a name similar to the original, for instance if the original file is "myAssembly.asm.1", you could name the streaming file "myAssembly.stream.asm.1"  - this will allow AutoVue to open the file correctly, while still making it clear which is the streaming file and which is the original file.


Thursday Nov 26, 2015

Support for Creo Combined Views in AutoVue 21

Hi all,

I wanted to say a little bit about one of the new features in the recently released AutoVue 21: support for Creo's 'Combined Views' capability.  

Combined views are a pretty key feature when working with Model Based Designs (MBD) - you can see a bit of background on this here: https://blogs.oracle.com/enterprisevisualization/entry/model_based_enterprise_an_introduction  - when building an MBD in Creo, it is very common to add views that capture a particular aspect of the model that will be important for some aspect of the product's process - assembly, maintenance etc.  

The combined view feature in Creo allows you to create views that substantially filter down what is shown to the user - hiding parts that aren't relevant, hiding PMI information that isn't relevant, even doing a cut through the model to show exactly the part of the model that is relevant.

In previous releases of AutoVue, all that we supported was the camera viewpoint for these views - so you would see that entire model and all PMIs, but from the correct view port.   This makes it very hard to see what was intended by the designer.

In AutoVue 21, we support all of the aspects of the combined view, so you will see the model just as it was intended in Creo.

This will be very valuable for anyone working in a model based enterprise - but will also be useful for many other users of Creo.

Happy visualizing!


Tuesday Sep 22, 2015

Controlling Headers, Footers and Watermarks when Printing

Hi all,

We've had a few requests for this via support recently, so I thought it would be useful to share here how you can control the appearance of headers, footers and watermarks for AutoVue users when they print.

As a refresher - AutoVue allows the addition of headers, footers and/or watermarks when printing, and each of these can include attributes from the repository where the files are stored, such as approval status, when it was last modified, etc.

Under normal conditions, the user can set each of these interactively when printing a document.

However, there are INI options that can be set server-wide to provide defaults for each of these, *and* the user can be disallowed from changing these settings in cases where every document that is printed must have standard information added to them.

More information about the INI options to set up headers, footers and watermarks can be found in sections 9.8 and 9.9 of the Viewing/Configuration Guide (the 20.2.3 version can be found here: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E60531_03/otn/pdf/E60462_01.pdf )

The key is that after you have set up the headers, footers and watermarks to contain the information you want them to, you can add "DISABLEWATERMARKS=1" and/or "DISABLEHEADERS=1" to the "[PRINTOPTIONS]" section of the allusers.ini file.

Note that 'DISABLEHEADERS' actually disables both headers and footers.

Happy Printing!

Tuesday Jul 28, 2015

Diagnosing File Display Issues in AutoVue

File display issues are one of the most common issues that an AutoVue user may be faced with. With the wide array of file formats that AutoVue supports, and the large differences between the formats and their features, there are many different types of display issues that may occur.

It is important to be able to efficiently diagnose file display issues to determine the root cause. Is the issue related to the user's AutoVue configuration, to the files themselves, or is it potentially a limitation within AutoVue?

Common examples of file display issues include, Blank display (either fully blank or partially missing), incorrect display (position, rotation, colors, views, hatching, sizing, etc.), "Unsupported File Format" error message, incorrect display of text/fonts and incorrect display of LineStyles.

There are several key steps that you can take to quickly diagnose file display issues, for example verifying that the file format that you are trying to view is supported by AutoVue and ensuring that your file format is supported by the version of AutoVue that is being used. These quick troubleshooting tips and others are explained in details in following knowledge article Note 789417.1 in My Oracle Support. 

Tuesday May 26, 2015

Configuring Single Sign-On (SSO) for an Integrated AutoVue Environment

A common topic that our Support team receives from customers is the topic of single sign-on (SSO). Specifically, customers are interested in implementing SSO for their AutoVue environment such that users' authorization to open files from a back-end system (e.g. DMS, PLM, ERP, etc) into AutoVue is automatically handled without the user having to re-authenticate.

While the overall configuration process for SSO may be somewhat complex, the AutoVue-specific aspects are extremely straightforward, and can be summarized as follows:

  1. The user must have their web browser configured to accept cookies.
  2. The AutoVue applet must be configured to forward the correct cookies (the ones required for SSO) to the AutoVue server.

That's it. No additional SSO-specific configuration is required on the AutoVue client or server. The AutoVue server automatically includes the cookies when communicating the integration component (e.g. the VueLink, or AutoVue ISDK-based integration), and it's up to the network administrator to ensure that all components between the AutoVue server and the integration component are configured correctly to enable SSO.

For more info regarding SSO configuration and troubleshooting for AutoVue – including a particular limitation of AutoVue's SSO capabilities with regards to the 'HttpOnly' flag – please refer to KM Note 1990144.1 in the My Oracle Support portal.

Tuesday May 05, 2015

"Guided Resolution" (Interactive Troubleshooting) Flow available for AutoVue Client/Server Connection Issues

Our Oracle Support team has enabled "Guided Resolution" Flows for various products such that when you create a Service Request (SR) for a specific problem type you will see a specific set of questions that guide you through to a targeted solution.

When logging a new SR for the AutoVue Client/Server Deployment Issues -> "Client/Server Connection Issues" Problem Type on any of the following products:

  • Oracle AutoVue Office
  • Oracle AutoVue 2D Professional
  • Oracle AutoVue 3D Professional
  • Oracle AutoVue EDA Professional
  • Oracle AutoVue Electro-Mechanical Professional


the Guided Resolution will be triggered and you will see screens similar to the screens below:



You respond to the prompts to come to one or more solutions or to a Data Collection.



You can see all of the selections and the solution. You may also change the edit button to change your selection on any level.



Some options lead to Data Collection



You may give feedback on the Guided Resolution using the Give Feedback button



If for some reason you aren't able to locate the right solution there is still the Next button to log an SR as usual, but the good news is that your answers will automatically be recorded in the SR and this information will be used to help us understand your issue further and to help us improve our tool.



We hope you enjoy using these new tools and that you find your solutions faster than ever!

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.

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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