Automic Workload Automation

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Different GUI setups for different UC4 systems/environments

  • 1.  Different GUI setups for different UC4 systems/environments

    Posted 11-28-2013 05:19 AM

    At Swiss Re, we have several distinct staging environments:

    • EXP: Experimental, used for testing new versions and anything that requires interrupting the system
    • DEV: Development, where workflows are designed, created, and fine-tuned
    • ITE: Integrated Test Environment: testing & validation of workflows using real-world data
    • PROD: Production

    Each system runs on its own dedicated hardware, and has its own dedicated & independent database. To further ensure separation of the staging environments, we have chosen unique user names, TCP/IP port numbers, UC4 system names, and UC4 client IDs for each of the UC4 systems.

    Our typical way of working with the systems has been to launch the UC4 GUI and open multiple connections, with each connection appearing in it own tab at the bottom of the GUI window. I have personally chosen to stick to a convention wherein I always choose the same color for each stage:

    • EXP: yellow
    • DEV: blue
    • ITE: green
    • PROD: red

    The color cues at the top of GUI windows serve as a useful reminder of which UC4 system I am working with, and help to reduce the likelihood that a command intended for EXP or DEV is accidentally issued in PROD.

    However, I have been dissatisfied with this approach for the following reasons:

    • The GUI provides no way to force the user to use a particular color for a given UC4 system. This limits the usefulness of the color feature.
    • The GUI provides no way to specify a particular client ID for each UC4 system.
    • The GUI has a bug that causes it always to select thelast system alphabetically when the System Overview window is opened, regardless of which UC4 connection is active. Because "PROD" is the last system alphabetically in our environment, this bug has on several occasions led us to accidentally issue commands to stop agents oreven Automation Engine processes inPROD when we intended to stop them in one of the other less critical UC4 systems.

    I have been looking for potential solutions to these problems. I submitted a product enhancement request topm@automic.com, suggesting that it should be possible to name the colors in the uc4config.xml file, and to specify a limited subset of colors for each connection. (I also suggested that it should be possible to specify the client ID of each connection.) I have not received any feedback to this request so far; so in the mean time, I have developed an effective work-around.

    My solution is to makedistinct GUI configuration files for each UC4 system.

    1. Create ashortcut to ucdj.exe, and specify an INI file specific to the UC4 system:
      Target: C:\UC4\v9.0\uc4_userinterface_9.8.0-13v1.0\bin\ucdj.exe-iucdj-DEV.ini
    2. In theucdj-DEV.inifile, specify login_dat.xml and uc4config.xml files particular to the UC4 system:
      ... -O%TEMP%/uc4/login_dat-DEV.xml -I%TEMP%/uc4/uc4config-DEV.xml
    3. In theuc4config-DEV.xmlfile, remove all color definitions and connection definitions except those associated with that particular UC4 system:
      ...     
        <colors>
          <color b="255" g="152" r="42"/>
          <color b="255" g="255" r="255"/>
        </colors>
        <timeout>60</timeout>
        <connections>
          <connection name="UC4 DEV" system="UC4_DEV">
            (connection info for UC4_DEV)
          </connection>
        </connections>
      </configuration>
      If desired, specify unique locations for the log and trace files too.
    I followed these steps for each of our UC4 staging environments, and ended up with 4 shortcuts on my Desktop, each one pointing to a particular independent and distinct GUI configuration that points to a particular UC4 system/staging environment. To further distinguish these different instances of the GUI, I plan to create color-coded versions of the UC4 GUI icon, and assign these color-coded icons to each of the shortcuts. This will allow me to tell at a glance which icon in the task bar corresponds to which system.

    This approach has several advantages, but also a few disadvantages:

    Advantages
    • Complete separation of each staging environment, reducing the likelihood of running errant commands in the wrong system
    • Ability to hard-code color(s) and client ID for each system, simplifying logging in, and providing consistent & reliable color cues to further reduce the incidence of operator error
    • Modal dialog boxes that appear block access to only one UC4 system.
    • Possibility to specify a unique task bar icon for each system
      Update 1, 2013.12.01: This does not work, because the UC4 GUI changes its task bar icon after launch to ucdj.jar/com/uc4/ucdf/images/uc432.png.
      Update 2, 2013.12.02:It is technically possible to specify a particular task bar icon, but doing so is not straightforward. Seecomment #1030, below.
    • Optional separation of GUI logs by system
    Disadvantages
    • UC4 GUI Icons/windows are not grouped together in task bar
    • Not quite as easy to switch between systems
    • Multiple JREs running means increased CPU & memory usage



  • 2.  Different GUI setups for different UC4 systems/environments

    Posted 12-02-2013 03:07 AM
      |   view attached

    I created a version of the Automic Spirograph icon for each of our four primary staging environments, with a rounded rectangle colored border in the same color as specified in the environment’s corresponding uc4_config.xml file.

    Because the GUI replaces its icon in the task bar after launch, getting the new environment-specific icon to display in the task bar was a bit of a chore. I had to create four different versions of the ucdj.jar file, each with its own uc432.png file (in ucdj.jar/com/uc4/ucdf/images), and set the value of the classpath option in the ini file for each environment to point to the corresponding ucdj.jar file.

    It’s a bit of a hack, but it works. I can now easily distinguish the four environments at a glance.

    a2a218c4fcb9d0cace22a1ec09ebea.png

    It would of course be highly preferable if there were a way to specify the icon that the Automic GUI uses in an option in the ini file, in a way similar to Mac OS X’s -Xdock:icon option.

    Or better yet, why not update the GUI so that it automatically adds a color-coded rounded rectangle to the task bar icon, based on the color of the active connection?  :D


  • 3.  Different GUI setups for different UC4 systems/environments

    Posted 02-11-2014 10:32 AM
      |   view attached

    I have updated the 32x32 pixel uc432.png files for embedding into the ucdj.jar file. The new ones are clearer and have thicker borders. They look better in the task bar and are easier to distinguish. Here is how they look side-by-side in my task bar.

    18f813144b52a945a3a7320d129f30.pnghttps://us.v-cdn.net/5019921/uploads/FileUpload/da/18f813144b52a945a3a7320d129f30.png" width="248">

    A ZIP file containing these four colors is attached.

    For display in Windows Explorer (or the Finder on Mac OS X), I still prefer the larger icons.

    94835feb6589d72efa892dcba3dc36.pnghttps://us.v-cdn.net/5019921/uploads/FileUpload/1a/94835feb6589d72efa892dcba3dc36.png" width="650">




  • 4.  Different GUI setups for different UC4 systems/environments

    Posted 05-17-2017 10:21 AM
    This was interesting reading

    Michael A. Lowry

    .  Thanks for sharing.  Am trying to figure out if there is a way to have a single installation of the UI - this is on Citrix and force colors for the various systems.  Like you, we have multiple systems here - DEV, QA, PROD, DR.  For the desktop installations - I have different install packages - one for each system.  I can force the default color to be what I want and have used different colors for each system.  However, for Citrix, we only have one installation.  It doesn't appear to be possible to force a color choice dependent on what system they select in the Connection box.  Can you confirm my understanding is accurate?  Thanks.



  • 5.  Different GUI setups for different UC4 systems/environments

    Posted 05-17-2017 10:24 AM
    We use both Citrix and AppV, but so far I have not gone to the trouble of trying to get this working with any sort of app virtualization technology. I’ll post an update if I ever get around to that.



  • 6.  Different GUI setups for different UC4 systems/environments

    Posted 05-17-2017 10:55 AM
    Thanks

    Michael A. Lowry

    .  We may try to have multiple shortcuts pointing to different UCDJ.ini files to handle this.  



  • 7.  Different GUI setups for different UC4 systems/environments

    Posted 05-18-2017 01:45 PM
    Hey

    Michael A. Lowry

    - we have made progress along these lines, but had a question......

    Any limitations to be aware of?  We have 3 systems here, so we set up 3 versions of the ucdj.ini, uc4config.xml and login_dat.xml files.  We created 3 shortcuts modifying the command so that it uses the appropriate ucdj.ini file for the environment.  2 out of 3 work.  They appear to be configured all the same - same filenames, etc. so it's a bit weird.



  • 8.  Different GUI setups for different UC4 systems/environments

    Posted 05-18-2017 04:03 PM
    LauraAlbrecht608310: I recommend that you run the program from the command line and observe the output. You might also find my UCDJ startup script useful.