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.

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