PeopleTools 8.51 nVision – Excel forumulas throw UnrecoverableExceptionFilter

How about an upgrade story?  We are upgrading PeopleTools from 8.48 to 8.51 – as well as upgrading from Windows 2003 32 bit server to Windows 2008 R2 64 bit server – and for a trifecta from Office 2003 to Office 2007.

Okay – so we have nVision reports that worked fine in PTools 8.48 and Excel 2003.  One of my tasks was to upgrade the nVision reports to Office 2007 and then test them in the new PTools environment.  Found this problem – which has been reported to Oracle.

Report would error out with the following as part of the log file entry:

PSPAL::Abort: Unrecoverable exception received
PSPAL::Abort: Location: E:\pt85110b-retail\peopletools\src\pspal\exception_winunhandled.cpp:594: PSPAL::UnhandledExceptionFilter::UnrecoverableExceptionFilter

Couldn’t find anything on the Oracle site, went back and forth several times with Oracle on the service call.  This nVision had several pages and a macro associated with it – the macro was run from a call by NvsInstanceHook.  I took out the call to the macro, and started removing pages – finally got it to run by removing two specific pages in the layout.

I’m not going to go thru all the steps I took to find the bug – and it is a bug – what I found was the 8.51 version of nVision does not properly handle IF formulas in cells.

There was a nested IF statement having 5 truth checks.  There was also both an AND and an OR condition in the statement.  If I whittled the formula down to three checks maximum then the layout would run to success.

Some examples are in order here.  This formula is an edited version of the original – which failed:

=IF(AND(O5<>”Condition One”, O5<>”Condition Two”, O5<>”Condition Three”), IF(OR(O5=”Condition Four”, O5=”Condition Five”), , “”), <Add a bunch of cells>)

So – if I got rid of the OR condition – in essence only going with the AND operator:

=IF(AND(O5<>”Condition One”, O5<>”Condition Two”, O5<>”Condition Three”), “”, <Add a bunch of cells>)

The layout would work fine.  Same if I only used the OR conditional portion of the formula:

=IF(OR(O5=”Condition Four”, O5=”Condition Five”), <Add a bunch of cells>, “”)

Clearly nVison can handle having formulas in cells, plus it can handle the AND and OR conditional operators – it’s the number of truth table checks in the formula nVision is having an issue with.  Which is a shame as per Microsoft you can have up to 64 nested inline IF statements in a formula.

What I finally did was break the formula down – do the AND truth table test in one cell, the OR test in another.  Those cells would be hidden in the report – what was shown was an IF statement where if the value of the AND cell was blank use the value from the OR test.


PeopleTools 8.51 nVision configuration in Windows 2008 R2 64 Bit and Office 2007

We have been upgrading to PeopleTools 8.51 recently.  The company I work for uses both PeopleSoft Financials and PeopleSoft HRMS – and I work on the HRMS side.

Currently client machines use Windows 7 with Office 2007.  Our new Windows server environment will be virtualized instances of Windows 2008 R2 in 64 bit – which does pose some problems with installing and running nVision.

After a number of conference calls with Oracle Support and a lot of trial and error here seems to be the right configuration (at least in my corporate environment – ‘your mileage may differ’) :

  1. For each database instance on the server, either using PSADMIN or directly in the psprcs.cfg configuration file, go to the [nVision] section and set the following and then restart:
    • EnableDrillDownForFile=1
    • EnablePollDialogs=1
    • UseExcelAutomation=1  NOTE – if you are going to be using any macro code at all you must have MS Office installed and this switch must also be set.
  2. In your server PSOFT installation directory appserv\prcs\ create nvision\instance folders inside each and every PSOFT database instance that will be using nVision.  So as an example, in my machine I have <Drive>:\psoft\ hrms90\appserv\prcs\<Instance Name>\NVISION\INSTANCE.
  3. In your W2008 R2  server create a C:\Windows\SysWOW64\config\systemprofile\Desktop directory.
  4. We set the psoft directory in our Windows servers as a share and grant change access in our DEV and QA environments to our dev team.
  5. We set the following Windows Services up to use a service account that is created in Active Directory, and that service account is then set up as a local admin on the server.  For some reason both of these services in installation default to the Local System Account – and the PeopleSoft PSADMIN service sets Allow service to interact with desktop. They both need to be changed to use the This Account – interaction with local desktop needs to be turned off – and the account MUST HAVE LOCAL ADMIN RIGHTS:
    • Oracle Process Manager: ORACLE ProcMGR V10gR3 with VS2008
    • Process Scheduler: PeopleSoft <path to installed instance>
  6. Log into the server with whatever account the two services are using.  My suggestion – use the same account for both services but keep it unique for your PeopleTools installation.  After logging in start Excel.  Answer all the pop-up questions that come up.  Click the Office button – the new large button on the upper left of the opened Excel workbook.  At the bottom of the opened menu you will see a button labeled Excel Options – click on that.  On the left navigation bar click on Trust Center – when the Trust Center page loads click on the Trust Center Settings button you should see on the page to the right.  Again there is a left hand navigation bar – you want Macro Settings – it’s just about in the middle of the options.  Click on Enable all macros (not recommended but if you are going to be using macro code fired by NvsInstanceHook you need to do this).  Then click in the Trust access to the VBA project object model.  Click OK on the bottom of the page but don’t leave the menu just yet.
  7. With Excel still open and the Excel Options menu open – navigate to the top of the left hand navigation.  Select Popular – when the page loads put a check mark in Show Developer tab in the Ribbon.  You may need this to work on macros.

That should do it.  Exit out of Excel, make sure the services are up and running and you should have nVision working.  However!  I have been finding a few gotchas along the way – I’ll try to detail some of those in later posts.

VBA – what kind of computer am I?

In a previous post I explained I have Excel macros that run in various environments.  One of the things I found I had to check was if a macro was running on a server or in a client workstation – that would help direct the macro to a template location if it was needed.

So – here is some VBA to help determine the type of machine Excel is runing on. Something to note – the VBA is making a call to the WMI scripting library – here is a link to a Microsoft TechNet article providing more background on WMI Scripting.

First, in the General Declaration portion of the module:

Private mvalIsServer As Boolean
Private mvalMultipleOS As Boolean

Private Const mvalWorkStation As Integer = 1
Private Const mvalDomainController As Integer = 2
Private Const mvalServer As Integer = 3

Then the actual function – I wrote it to return a boolean value:

Private Function AmIAServer() As Boolean
On Error GoTo AmIAServer_Err
  Dim ErrorMessage As String
  Dim objOS As Object
  Dim lProductType() As Long
  ErrorMessage = “Error in AmIAServer GetObject Count.  “
  Set objOS = GetObject _
  ReDim lProductType(objOS.Count)
  Dim i As Integer
  i = 0
  ErrorMessage = “Error in AmIAServer GetObject ProductType.  “
  For Each objOS In GetObject _
    lProductType(i) = objOS.ProductType
    i = i + 1
  Set objOS = Nothing
  If i = 0 Then
    mvalMultipleOS = False
    mvalMultipleOS = True
  End If
 ErrorMessage = “Error in AmIAServer Evaluate.  “
 Select Case lProductType(0)
   Case mvalWorkStation
     AmIAServer = False
   Case mvalDomainController
     AmIAServer = True
   Case mvalServer
     AmIAServer = True
   Case Else
     AmIAServer = False
 End Select

Exit Function
    WriteErrorLogEntry ErrorMessage
    AmIAServer = False
End Function

Get Computer Name and other useful VBA functions

I have a number of PeopleSoft nVision reports that have macros attached to them.  PS nVision on the client can be thought of as a wrapper around Microsoft Excel – so from this point on we’ll treat any nVision layout as an Excel workbook.

These workbooks are on different servers or can be run on a clients PC.  A lot of them use templates to create a final report.  The macros need the path to the templates – and while the directory structure in our development to QA to production environments all stay the same – it’s the computer name that obviously changes.

I have some helper functions that I use to help get information used by my various macros.

To get the computer name – in the General Declarations of the code module add:

Private Declare Function GetComputerName Lib “kernel32” Alias “GetComputerNameA” _
(ByVal lpBuffer As String, nSize As Long) As Long

I also declare some other variables:

Private Const sNameUnknown = “NOT_FOUND”
Private mvalComputerName As String
Private mvalHaveValidName As Boolean

Then it’s all put together in this function:

Private Function ComputerNameIs() As String
    Dim lngLength As Long
    Dim lngResult As Long
    Dim strNameBuffer As String
    ‘Maximum Computer Name + Terminating Null Char
    ‘Create Buffer
    strNameBuffer = String(lngLength, “X”)
    ‘Get the computer Name
    lngResult = GetComputerName(strNameBuffer, lngLength)
    If lngResult <> 0 Then
        ComputerNameIs = Mid(strNameBuffer, 1, lngLength)
        mvalHaveValidName = True
        ComputerNameIs = sNameUnknown
        mvalHaveValidName = False
    End If
End Function

I’ll be adding more in future posts.

Check for a printer in Excel VBA Macro

I’ve been doing upgrades to Microsoft Office 2003 Excel workbooks – specifically to VBA macros in the workbooks.

The workbooks are used as PeopleSoft nVision layouts.  PS nVision utilizes Excel to provide reports – however nVision is run on a server.

During the upgrade I kept running into one error in particular – due to the server I was working on not having a printer driver installed.  A number of the macros did print set up as part of the report formatting – without a printer driver the code would bomb.  So I came up with the following function – it determines if a printer is set up on the machine, and returns a Boolean value:

Public Function IsPrinterInstalled() As Boolean
On Error GoTo IsPrinterInstalled_ERR
Dim objWMIService, colInstalledPrinters As Object
Dim strComputer As String
Dim i As Integer

strComputer = “.”
Set objWMIService = GetObject( _
“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” _
& strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)
Set colInstalledPrinters = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
(“Select * from Win32_Printer”)

i = colInstalledPrinters.Count

Set objWMIService = Nothing
Set colInstalledPrinters = Nothing

If i > 0 Then
 IsPrinterInstalled = True
  IsPrinterInstalled = False
End If

Exit Function

 If Not objWMIService Is Nothing Then
   Set objWMIService = Nothing
End If

If Not colInstalledPrinters Is Nothing Then
 Set colInstalledPrinters = Nothing
End If

IsPrinterInstalled = False

End Function

Access 2007 – Setting a default hyperlink

I have a project in Access 2007 with hyperlink fields.  What I really needed to do was create a default link to a specific directory – at which point the end user can drill further down into a sub directory and select a specific Word file.

Well – seems to be a bit of a problem – spent some time searching and found requests and questions on how to do this, but not a lot of answers.

So – based on suggestions from here, here and  Allen Browne’s Introduction to Hyperlink Fields page I was able to come up with a VBA function:

Private Function SetHTMLLink(ByRef myControl As TextBox)
  If IsNull(myControl.Value) Then
    myControl.Value = “#\\<hyperlink to source>”
  End If
End Function

What is going on is MS Office Hyperlink fields – this is not limited to Access, Excel uses the same algorithm it seems – works like this:

display text # file name (the hyperlink) # a reference within the file

Okay – so MS parses based on the pound (#) character and passes three parameters to some built-in function.  Which can then be assigned to the Value of the Hyperlink control.  It works – and that is all that matters.

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