Monday Sep 24, 2012

Configuring trace file size and number in WebCenter Content 11g

Lately I've been doing a lot of debugging using the System Output tracing in WebCenter Content 11g.  This is built-in tracing in the content server which provides a great level of detail on what's happening under the hood.  You can access the settings as well as a view of the tracing by going to Administration -> System Audit Information.  From here, you can select the tracing sections to include.  Some of my personal favorites are searchquery,  systemdatabase, userstorage, and indexer.  Usually I'm trying to find out some information regarding a search, database query, or user information.  Besides debugging, it's also very helpful for performance tuning.

One of the nice tricks with the tracing is it honors the wildcard (*) character.  So you can put in 'schema*' and gather all of the schema related tracing.  And you can notice if you select 'all' and update, it changes to just a *.  

To view the tracing in real-time, you simply go to the 'View Server Output' page and the latest tracing information will be at the bottom. This works well if you're looking at something pretty discrete and the system isn't getting much activity.  But if you've got a lot of tracing going on, it would be better to go after the trace log file itself.  By default, the log files can be found in the <content server instance directory>/data/trace directory. You'll see it named 'idccs_<managed server name>_current.log.  You may also find previous trace logs that have rolled over.  In this case they will identified by a date/time stamp in the name.  By default, the server will rotate the logs after they reach 1MB in size.  And it will keep the most recent 10 logs before they roll off and get deleted.  If your server is in a cluster, then the trace file should be configured to be local to the node per the recommended configuration settings.

If you're doing some extensive tracing and need to capture all of the information, there are a couple of configuration flags you can set to control the logs.

#Change log size to 10MB and number of logs to 20
FileSizeLimit=10485760
FileCountLimit=20

This is set by going to Admin Server -> General Configuration and entering them in the Additional Configuration Variables: section.  Restart the server and it should take on the new logging settings. 

Update - Sept. 27, 2012

 Kevin Smith has a nice blog post that describes some of these trace sections in detail.

Friday Sep 14, 2012

Mass Metadata Updates with Folders

With the release of WebCenter Content PS5, a new folder architecture called 'Framework Folders' was introduced.  This is meant to replace the folder architecture of 'Folders_g'.  While the concepts of a folder structure and access to those folders through Desktop Integration Suite remain the same, the underlying architecture of the component has been completely rewritten.  One of the main goals of the new folders is to scale better at large volumes and remove the limitations of 1000 content items or sub-folders within a folder.  Along with the new architecture, it has a new look and a few additional features have been added.  One of those features are Query Folders.  These are folders that are populated simply by a query rather then literally putting items within the folders.  This is something that the Library has provided, but it always took an administrator to define them through the Web Layout Editor.  Now users can quickly define query folders anywhere within the standard folder hierarchy.  

Within these new Query Folders is the very handy ability to do metadata updates.  It's similar to the Propagate feature in Folders_g, but there are some key differences that make this very flexible and much more powerful.

  • It's used within regular folders and Query Folders.  So the content you're updating doesn't all have to be in the same folder...or a folder at all.  
  • The user decides what metadata to propagate.  In Folders_g, the system administrator controls which fields will be propagated using a single administration page.  In Framework Folders, the user decides at that time which fields they want to update.
  • You set the value you want on the propagation screen.  In Folders_g, it used the metadata defined on the parent folder to propagate.  With Framework Folders, you supply the new metadata value when you select the fields you want to update.  It does not have to be defined on the parent folder.

Because of these differences, I think the new propagate method is much more useful.  Instead of always having to rely on Archiver or a custom spreadsheet, you can quickly do mass metadata updates right within folders.  

Here are the basic steps to perform propagation.

  1. First create a folder for the propagation.  You can use a regular folder, but a Query Folder will work as well.

    CreateQueryFolder1

    CreateQueryFolder2

  2. Go into the folder to get the results.  

    Query Folder Result

  3. In the Edit menu, select 'Propagate'.

    Propagate Menu

  4. Select the check-box next to the field to update and enter the new value  Click the Propagate button.

    Propagate Window

  5. Once complete, a dialog will appear showing it is complete

    Confirmation

What's also nice is that the process happens asynchronously in the background which means you can browse to other pages and do other things while it is still working.  You aren't stuck on the page waiting for it to complete.  In addition, you can add a configuration flag to the server to turn on a status indicator icon.  Set 'FldEnableInProcessIndicator=1' and it will show a working icon as its doing the propagation.

Propagate Indicator

There is a caveat when using the propagation on a Query Folder.   While a propagation on a regular folder will update all of the items within that folder, a Query Folder propagation will only update the first 50 items.  So you may need to run it multiple times depending on the size...and have the query exclude the items as they get updated.

One extra note...Framework Folders is offered as the default folder architecture in the PS5 release of WebCenter Content.  But if you are using WebCenter Content integrated with another product that makes use of folders (WebCenter Portal/Spaces, Fusion Applications, Primavera, etc), you'll need to continue using Folders_g until they are updated to use the new folders.

About

Kyle Hatlestad is a Solution Architect in the WebCenter Architecture group (A-Team) who works with WebCenter Content and other products in the WebCenter & Fusion Middleware portfolios. The WebCenter A-Team blog can be found at: https://blogs.oracle.com/ ateam_webcenter/

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