Wednesday, June 15, 2011

PeopleTools 8.52, starting to look like Fusion Applications

The Release Value Proposition for PeopleTools 8.52 has been posted on metalink.

This realese of PeopleTools introduces and extends current PeopleTools technology that look and behave more and more like Fusion Applications. With this version the transition or fusion of PeopleSoft customers to Fusion Applications will be more streamlined.

In this post I will highlight some of the new features of PeopleTools 8.52

PeopleSoft Application Search

PeopleSoft Application Search is a group of features that offers an improved means of searching for application content, business objects and business process steps within a PeopleSoft application. These capabilities provide users with access to more powerful, keyword-based search components that present a familiar, more intuitive search experience. Instead of browsing through menu hierarchies to find a component, menu item, application data, or transaction, users can use PeopleSoft ApplicationSearch to directly navigate to desired application data or transactions.

Similar to how you might initiate navigation across the internet by first searching for a set of keywords, PeopleSoft Application Search allows application users to initiate steps of a business task with a simple, intuitive keyword search. This capability may reduce or even eliminate the need to navigate PeopleSoft applications using the existing application menu system.

Inter-Pagelet Communication and Interactive Pagelets

Inter-pagelet communication fundamentally changes the way in which WorkCenters, Dashboards, application homepages, portals, and PeopleSoft Pure Internet Architecture (PIA) pages can bedesigned and constructed. It enables a more interactive and Web 2.0 style of design, where user actions in one pagelet can affect and be reflected in the content in another pagelet. PeopleSoft pagelets can communicate with each other by allowing key fields to publish their values to other pagelets and frames.This new capability allows application page developers to construct PeopleSoft applications in a manner that will give users a much more comprehensive and interactive view of inter-related data.

Related Content Enhancements

The PeopleTools 8.52 release provides the following new capabilities and options for the Related Content framework:
  • Related content frames can now optionally appear on the right-side of the page or at the bottom ofthe page. When displayed on the right side, related content services appear as individual pagelets rather than tabs, and any number of pagelets can be open at once. This functionality enables users to view and interact with multiple services at once.

  • Each related content pagelet can be scrolled. Display actions permit users to refresh or minimizepagelets, or pop them open in their own window should more screen space be needed. Minimized pagelets can then be maximized when needed. Users can configure where related content is displayed, and the frame can still be displayed at the bottom of the page in contexts where doing so is preferable or improves the display of information.

  • Related actions can be grouped into folders for better organization.

  • Users can enable or disable services for easy control of the services displayed, without the need to delete or remove them from the menu structure.

  • Content references from remote nodes can be consumed as services.

  • Homepage pagelets can be used as related content, allowing reuse of these pagelets in conjunction with transactional pages.
WorkCenters and Dashboards

In PeopleTools 8.52 WorkCenter pages have been enhanced in two main ways: The left-hand navigation area has been enhanced for greater usability, and users can now associate any homepage pagelet with a WorkCenter. These enhancements increase the amount of content that can be used in WorkCenter pages.Dashboards can now be configured using a wizard-like tool by business analysts. This obviates using administrative tools in PeopleTools. Both WorkCenters and Dashboards also leverage the interactive pagelets and inter-pagelet communication features, which enable configuration and deployment of functionally rich, highly usable applications.

Charting Enhancements

The Organization Chart feature has been updated with several enhancements to allow users to interact more extensively with organizational charts. These new intuitive and simple-to-use capabilities include:
  • Zoom levels have been added to allow more or less data to be displayed.

  • Instant messaging (IM) presence indicators are now available in organization chart nodes.

  • Additional flexibility is available for node content design and display.

  • The Actions List dropdown list is improved to allow the foldering of actions and the launching of PeopleTools related actions.

Oracle BI Publisher

Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT) support has been added as a pre-processingstep for BI Publisher reports. Report developers may now use Oracle's JDeveloper XSL Mapper, or anyXSLT tool of their choice, to generate XSLT files and apply them to selected data source xml files ahead of BI Publisher template processing. This allows developers to rename or restructure their incoming xml without modifying the actual data source in order to map their data to pre-defined templates.

Pivot Grids

The pivot grid is a new analytic capability that gives users the ability to quickly and easily pivot and filter data within PeopleSoft applications without having to export data to Microsoft Excel. Data for pivot grids is generated by PS Query and can be rendered in charts or analytical grids. Users can add pivot gridsto application pages or pagelets.

PeopleSoft Test Framework

In PeopleTools 8.52 a new recorder tool bar has been added to PTF. The recorder tool bar optimizes the test case record process by giving users the ability to quickly set variables, add documentation, screen shots and pause recording sessions.In addition, beginning with the PeopleTools 8.52 release users can export test cases to flat files, so that large volumes of test data can be edited more readily prior to importing it back into the database for playback.

Change Assistant

A new three-way merge capability for PeopleCode objects is being introduced with the PeopleTools8.52 release. This new capability is an extension of Change Assistant and allows users to streamlinethe process of reviewing, analyzing and developing PeopleCode objects during an upgrade. Change Assistant users will be able to quickly and easily compare PeopleCode from three different database sand create one merged version. Users will be able to apply rules individually or in batch as they review and analyze the code before they move their code to the PeopleCode tables. PeopleTools 8.52 will also extend Change Assistant to provide a compare user interface for Managed Object Compare. This user-interface enhancement combines the Project and Upgrade tabs of Application Designer into a single view within the new user interface. Users will be able to initiate acompare, validate and/or copy a project, and filter the results to show a subset of the data.

Apple iPad Browser Certification

The popularity of the Apple iPad and other similar tablet devices is growing and they have found their way into the business community. PeopleTools 8.52 will be certified on the Safari browser on an iPad running version 4.2 or later. This is an exciting new user interface platform with unlimited potential for users looking to gain access to PeopleSoft application content from their mobile devices.

Oracle Golden Gate

A great way to extend the usable life of production hardware is to offload work to stand-by servers whenever possible. PeopleTools 8.52 enables the use of Oracle Golden Gate to provide the ability to offload read-only work from an Oracle production database to a stand-by Oracle database.

PSAdmin Support for PIA

PeopleTools 8.52 will provide a unified interface for managing PIA environments running on a webserver. An additional top-level menu has been added to the PSAdmin utility to manage the configuration and state of PIA domains, add new PIA domains, as well as clone or delete existing PIA domains.

Oracle Identity Manager (OIM) Integration

To ensure more seamless integration and interoperability between PeopleSoft and Oracle systems and products, PeopleTools will deliver a web services-based connector to take advantage of cross-version integration of web service security features.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) Support

Beginning in this release PeopleTools Encryption Technology (PET) will support the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).  AES is accepted by the industry as offering the highest level of encryption protection. As part of PeopleTools support of this standard, AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256 keylengths will be supported.

Application Designer Enhancements
  • Improved IDE when working on long pages

  • Improvement for working with hidden frames/group boxes

  • “Find In” directly from project workspace

  • Find references capability for application packages

  • PeopleCode – Last modified in the UI of Application Designer

  • Improved the performance of copy projects to and from files

  • Related content and feeds are now PeopleTools managed objects so they can be added to PeopleTools projects and moved easily between PeopleSoft systems.

Authorization as a Service

A significant advancement in PeopleTools 8.52 is the new Authorization as a Service framework. The framework allows application developers to externalize the row-level or data-level security of PeopleSoft applications, and make it available as a service. Row-level security is determined at runtime and is widely used in PeopleSoft applications to ensure that users who really need to access data get the access they need. This then allows the related actions, related content services, and third-party applications that provide information relevant to a transaction to be secured using the web services provided by this new framework. The new framework is modeled such that the authorization logic developed for use with PeopleSoft Application Search indices can be reused and exposed as a service.

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