Two Stupid Tricks in One

Introduction

Okay, one of these tricks is definitely not stupid. It’s actually kind of awesome. The other one isn’t stupid either, unless, of course, you do what I did. I know, I know. Why would you want to read about something not terribly bright? Mostly because: a.) it’s amusing to watch an “expert” shoot himself in the foot and b.) this “expert” could be you. Let me make the mistakes and you learn/be amused.

Stupid Trick the First

Really, this is kind of a minor one, but oh so cool. How do you make Firefox work with EPM 11.1.2.3? To be charitable, I am not the world’s greatest fan of Internet Explorer. I am, in fact, the world’s greatest fan (or so I like to think) of Firefox. As much of EPM 11.1.2.3 is web-based, how, oh how, to marry the two? What comes out of Firefox doesn’t initially appear to be good news:

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Actually, the answer to the “How do I run EPM in Firefox” issue is right there in the dialog box (praise be, an error dialog that actually gives you a hint on how to resolve the error)—Remote XUL Manager. And what, oh what, is Remote XUL? The best answer I’ve found is right in Mozilla’s Developer Network. For those of you too lazy to follow a link, XUL is an XML-based language used to build application interfaces with all of those lovely buttons, menus, dropdowns, etc. Apparently, Oracle EPM uses it. Somewhat alarmingly, Mozilla pulled XUL out of Firefox because of security concerns, but allows whitelisting of sites to enable XUL. What that means for EPM 11.1.2.3 users who want to use Firefox is that the EPM site must be whitelisted. And that is done through the Remote XUL Manager add-on as described above.

Getting, Installing, and Configuring Remote XUL Manager

Note to all: You are about to enter magical Firefox land, where everything Firefoxy is wonderful. You have been warned. But honestly, you might want to give it a try. I cannot say what Chrome is like as I’ve had all of my browser needs met by Firefox. Mozilla-branded rose colored glasses are not required because Firefox is that good.

Getting Geeky with Firefox

Firefox has a handy way of extending tool functionality via add-ons. As Remote XUL Manager is an add-on, all we need to do find it is go to the Firefox menu and click Add-ons.

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If you have enabled menus, simply go to Tools->Add-ons:

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Once in the Add-ons screen, type “remote xul,” and hit Enter. When Firefox brings up Remote XUL Manager, click on the Install button. Did I mention this was easy?

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When that is complete, click on the Options button.

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Click on the Add button to add the your EPM domain to the XUL whitelist manager.

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Enter the name of your domain. In my case, as this is running on an all-in-one virtual machine, it’s pretty easy, but you should be able to get the domain from the Workspace URL. Once you’ve entered the name, hit the Okay button. You are almost done.

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Close the Add-ons tab, and try refreshing your heretofore failed Workspace url. Ta-da! Didn’t I tell you Firefox was Awesome? Oh yeah, I did. But it’s true.

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Honestly, does it get any browser sweeter than this? I thought not. That is the very latest version of Firefox (and Mozilla seems to increment release codes every week), with full fledged EPM 11.1.2.3 in the background:

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Did I mention Firefox seems to be way faster than Internet Explorer?

Thus endeth the first stupid trick. And if you're a Firefox fan, not stupid at all. Check with the EPM Compatability matrix to see what release of Firefox is certified to work with your release of Oracle EPM.

Stupid Trick the Second, or How to Be Too Clever

Oh my goodness, where to start with this one? Let’s briefly review what this particular stupid trick is going to reveal, why it is oh so cool, and then the bit that you should never, ever, ever do, and how to recover from that.

Classic to EPMA and Back Again

You probably knew that since EPMA has been around (my version of history is not encyclopedic, but I remember first encountering what was then called BPMA in 2008, so I am guessing some release of System 9), it has been able to convert Classic applications (Planning is my world, but I believe this is true for HFM as well) to EPMA. What you maybe didn’t know is that it is possible to unconvert (sort of) an EPMA Planning application back to its Classic state. This has been around for a long time, but despite its age (here is a discussion from 2008 on the topic) it is not widely known.

Classic to EPMA

Wait! Stop! Please!

Do yourself a big favor by first using Shared Services’ LCM (Lifecycle Management) to make a complete copy of your Planning application AND the related Calculation Manager rules before you start getting creative. Trust me. This section ain’t called “Stupid Tricks” for nothing.

The stupid will be strong in just a wee bit, and if you don’t back everything up, you will be sorry. As this isn’t an LCM stupid trick, and most people are familiar with this tool, this article will not cover how to use LCM to backup the various application components. If you’re not familiar with LCM, please check out the documentation.

One very important thing to remember about Planning LCM backups is that they do not handle Essbase data. Why Essbase LCM has the option of exporting Essbase data and Planning LCM does not is not a question I can answer. That means you must explicitly use either EAS or MaxL to export the data to an easily recoverable spot.

Remember--before you do any of this interesting work:

  1. Backup that Planning application via LCM
  2. Backup the Essbase data via EAS/MaxL
  3. Backup the application's Calculation Manager rules

Making that Change

Assuming that you backed up your Classic Planning application via LCM, its Essbase data via EAS or MaxL, and Calculation Manager rules via LCM, the actual act of converting that Classic Planning application to EPMA is really quite easy in 11.1.2.3. All you need to do is go to Workspace’s Navigate->Administer->Transform Classic to EPM Architect, and follow the friendly wizard.

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Welcome

Sometimes pictures really are better than words. Follow the steps and it’s all pretty easy. Just focus on that Next button.

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Application Summary

Note: If you are not an Application Administrator, you will not be able to migrate the application to EPMA.

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Application Selection

Select the applications you want to transform. In this case, it’s SampApp1, the Planning sample application that comes with every copy of Planning.

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Transformation Summary

Hah! Tricked you. This time you have to click Finish. We’re almost there.

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Confirmation in Job Console

When the status has reached 100 percent, the application has been converted to EPMA.

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The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating

Let’s try some of that delicious EPMA pudding by trying to do a deploy from EPMA.

Here’s SampApp1 in the EPMA Application Library. What happens when we try to deploy SampApp1?

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Uh oh, that doesn’t look good. It seems odd that there could be a validation error when the transformation from Classic to EPMA just went through flawlessly.

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Going to the Job Console and looking at the error message suggests that the Plan Type dimensions haven’t been ordered. We are about to touch upon a minor stupid trick because, of course, the dimension order was set in the Classic Planning application.

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Minor Stupid Trick

When you convert a Planning application to EPMA, understand that—for whatever reason—EPMA doesn’t pick up the dimension order. It’s actually there, you just need to change the order of one dimension to get them all to take.

Go into the EPMA Dimension Library, and select the application. The easiest way to do this is to double-click on the application within the Application Library. Then right-click on the application name, and select Performance settings.

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Change the position of one dimension, and then move it back to its original location, and you have fixed this particular issue.

In this case, I chose Account and moved it up to the top of the list, and then back to its original second position.

Up the Ladder

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Back Down the Chute

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That’s it! It only takes a minute. Now let’s try that deploy.

Deploying the Database

Let’s do a full deploy.

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Did you notice that a Create Outline is not possible in EPMA after the very first deploy (which in this case was handled via Classic Planning)? This is super nice because sooner or later in Classic Planning you will select Create Outline, and then hate yourself as all of your data and other Essbase artifacts get deleted forever. You’ll only do it once, but why experience the pain?

And we have confirmation that the application is now a fully fledged EPMA application. Go on, make those dimensions shared, learn all about the .ads file format, use Data Synchronizer. In short, unleash your inner EPMA geek.

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What’s that? You goofed? EPMA is not for you? What to do?

Enter the stupid trick with a warning.

EPMA Back to Classic

Converting an EPMA application back to Classic (well, mostly Classic as we’ll see in a moment), is trivially easy.

Change Properties

In Workspace, go to Administration->Application->Properties.

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Change the EDIT_DIM_ENABLED property from false…

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…to true, and click Save.

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Planning will tell you that you have to restart the Planning service.

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Bounce the Planning (or Whatever Is Appropriate) Service

As I am testing this on a development virtual machine, my 11.1.2.3 instance doesn’t have a separate Planning service, rather the combined Oracle Hyperion EPM service. That just means it takes longer for this all-in-one service to restart on my laptop.

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Test it Out and Rejoice

Log back in to Workspace, and then go into the Planning application. All is well! In Dimension editor, those highlighted icons inidcate that SampApp1’s dimensions can again be modified through the Classic Planning interface. We’re done. Or are we?

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The Bit that Hurts

For those of us with a semi-obsessive (some would say completely overwhelmingly obsessive) turn of mind, we will likely want to go back into EPMA and prove that SampApp1 no longer exists in the Application Library.

Get Used to Disappointment

Uh oh, SampApp1 isn’t supposed to be there. Well, in our very best let’s-tidy-everything-up way, let’s get rid of that EPMA application that we obviously no longer need. Hint – this is a Bad Idea, but go ahead and watch. And laugh.

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I’m Not Laughing, Are You?

After deleting the application from EPMA, I find that getting back into SampApp1 is a bit problematic.

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What happened? Simply, the change I made to the Planning application to allow editing of dimensions in Classic Planning didn’t really convert the application back to Classic. Instead, it kept the application as an EPMA application that also allowed editing of dimensions through the Classic interface.

I find this sort of inbetween condition confusing—Can I edit the dimensions in EPMA and in Classic? What happens if I do (I am envisioning all kinds of out of sync issues with EPMA taking precedence)? How do I stop admins from doing one or the other? Maybe it was best that I just blew away SampApp1.

Fixing that Whoopsie

Remember how I warned you to do a full LCM backup of Planning and Calculation Manager as well as a data backup via EAS/MaxL? Here’s where you are glad that you listened now that the database and its Calculation Manager rules are gone. Again, this is not an LCM or Essbase stupid trick, so read the documentation on how to restore from LCM and Essbase data backups.

Whew, aren’t you glad you did those backups, and didn’t share my sense of obsessive tidiness?

What Have We Learned?

You most certainly can convert a Classic application to EPMA, and even ignore the EPMA nature of your Planning applications once you set the EDIT_DIM_ENABLED Planning property to true. But we have also seen, somewhat to our sorrow, that this setting doesn’t really back convert a Planning application from EPMA to Classic. Once in EPMA, always in EPMA seems to be the rule. Could you maybe just LCM out the quasi-Classic Planning application, delete the application via EPMA, then reimport the quasi-Classic Planning application? That, gentle reader, I leave up to you.

What I’ve learned from this exercise is:

  1. Firefox is cool, and it works just fine with EPM 11.1.2.3. YMMV based on the release of EPM.
  2. It is possible to experiment with Planning applications in EPMA, but once converted, it’s for life.
  3. Backups, backups, backups.

Thus endeth the stupid tricks for this newsletter.

Be seeing you.

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