MForms Automation in Mashups

Let’s explore MForms Automation in Infor Smart Office Mashups.

MForms Automation

MForms Automation execute sequences of steps through M3 programs, e.g. run CRS610, enter a customer number in field W1OBKV, and press ENTER:
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MForms Automation Builder is located at C:\SmartOfficeSDK\External\M3\Tools\MFormsAutomationBuilder.exe:
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In Mashups

To use them in Mashups, we tell MForms Automation Builder to create an MForms URI encoded, we copy/paste the URI into the desired property in Mashup Designer which will XML-encode it, and we carefully replace the hard-coded values by parameter names in curly braces with the corresponding parameter binding:

Smart Office will do the variable substitution, and will execute a CMDTP=RUN with the XML:

I find the whole process of URI-encoding, XML-encoding, and curly brace replacement too error-prone and time consuming for routine maintenance, so I found an alternative.

Alternative

I find it easier to preserve the original XML in a CDATA section in the XAML:
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Note: We must omit spaces between the CDATA start and XML declaration; the rest can be indented.

I find this alternative to be more elegant and easier to maintain than the double-encoded surgical process above.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

That’s it.

260 subscribers!

Clear global customization cache

Here is a refresher on how to clear global M3 personalizations for non-administrators:

mforms://_command/?value=clear custcache

M3 personalizations

I am currently doing maintenance of M3 personalizations (hyperlinks, conditional styles, shortcuts, labels, tab orders, views, show/hide fields, and scripts), for all users (role GLOBAL_CUSTOMIZATIONS):
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Maintenance

To change a personalization, either I use the Personalization Manager (for that I need the administrator role), or I change the file with a text editor directly in the MNEDATA folder (for that I need read/write access to the MNEDATA folder):
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Clear customization cache

To clear the global customization cache, I use the Net Extension Manager > Clear customization cache (for that I need to be administrator):
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Non-administrators

There is another environment where I am not administrator, there is no Net Extension Manager, and yet I need to clear the global customization cache. I realized I can simply execute the clear command, and it will clear the global customization anyway:

mforms://_command/?value=clear custcache

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7

That’s the actual command behind the Clear button.

I traced the calls, from the Smart Office Dlls, to the MNE server Java classes, and it seems to really do a global clear, even without being administrator:

MForms.dll
MForms.Services.Applications.Admin.NetExtensionManager.IComponentConnector.Connect
MForms.Services.Applications.Admin.NetExtensionManager.OnClickClearCustCache

mne-app-10.2.2.0.jar
com.intentia.mc.command.RunCmd.doChangeEnvironment
com.intentia.mc.mgmt.ServerMgr.clearCustomizationCache
com.intentia.mc.customization.CustomizationManager.clearCentralCache

Maybe there’s a good explanation for the lack of authorization; or maybe I am administrator somewhere afterall. I haven’t read the administrator’s guide or looked any further.

That’s it!

Related posts

Continuous integration of Mashups #4 – Command line

Finally, I was able to develop a command line to deploy Infor Smart Office Mashups. This is important for me to save time when deploying many Mashups, on many environments, many times a day, so I can re-invest that time in the Mashups, instead of wasting time on their deployment in the various graphical user interfaces. Read #1, #2, and #3 for the backstory.

Disclaimer

I will use the internals of Smart Office and MangoServer which by definition are not public. Infor Product Development may change any of it at any time.

Project

I will create my C# Console Application project in the free (as in free beer) Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition:
10.1

Add references to the Smart Office assemblies Mango.UI.dll and Mashup.Designer.dll which you can find in your Smart Office local storage (search for the path in your Log Viewer); you can also get them from the Smart Office product download, or in the Smart Office SDK:
b4

When you Build the project, Visual Studio will automatically grab the additional assemblies Mango.Core.dll, log4net.dll, and DesignSystem.dll.

Web service client

Smart Office already has client code for its web services in the namespace Mango.UI.Services.WS, but it’s missing the method DeployMashup which is precisely the one I need:
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It’s easy to generate the code in Visual Studio, select Add Service Reference, and enter the URL to the MangoServer /mangows/InstallationPointManager?wsdl:
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In the App.config file, add the <transport clientCredentialType=”Basic” /> and add the name/address of the target M3 environments, e.g. DEV, TST, EDU, PRD:

Source code

Add the C# class Deploy.cs:

 using System;
 using System.IO;
 using System.Reflection;
 using Mango.UI.Services.Mashup;
 using Mango.UI.Services.Mashup.Internal;
 using MangoServer.mangows;
 using Mashup.Designer;
 
 namespace Mashups
 {
     class Deploy
     {
         // Usage: deploy.exe Mashup1,Mashup2,Mashup3 DEV,TST
         static void Main(string[] args)
         {
             // get the M3 userid/password
             Console.Write("Userid: ");
             string userid = Console.ReadLine();
             Console.Write("Password: ");
             string password = Console.ReadLine();
 
             // for each directory
             string[] directories = args[0].Split(',');
             foreach (string directory in directories)
             {
                 // for each Mashup
                 string[] files = Directory.GetFiles(directory, "*.manifest", SearchOption.AllDirectories);
                 foreach (string file in files)
                 {
                     Console.WriteLine("Opening {0}", file);
                     ManifestDesigner manifest = new ManifestDesigner(new FileInfo(file));
                     string name = manifest.DeploymentName + Defines.ExtensionMashup;
                     Console.WriteLine("Generating {0}", name);
                     // generate the Mashup package
                     if (SaveMashupFile(manifest))
                     {
                         // get the resulting binary contents
                         byte[] bytes = File.ReadAllBytes(manifest.File.Directory + "\\" + name);
                         // for each M3 environment
                         string[] environments = args[1].Split(',');
                         foreach (string environment in environments)
                         {
                             // deploy
                             Console.WriteLine("Deploying to {0}", environment);
                             DeployMashup(name, bytes, environment, userid, password);
                         }
                         Console.WriteLine("DONE");
                     }
                 }
             }
         }
   
         /*
             Create the Mashup package (*.mashup) from the specified Mashup Manifest.
             Inspired by Mashup.Designer.DeploymentHelper.SaveMashupFile
         */
         static bool SaveMashupFile(ManifestDesigner manifest)
         {
             try
             {
                 // validate Manifest
                 typeof(DeploymentHelper).InvokeMember("ValidateManifest", BindingFlags.InvokeMethod | BindingFlags.NonPublic | BindingFlags.Static, null, null, new Object[] { manifest });
                 // create Mashup package
                 string defaultFileName = manifest.DeploymentName + Defines.ExtensionMashup;
                 FileInfo packageFile = new FileInfo(manifest.File.Directory + "\\" + defaultFileName);
                 PackageHelper.CreatePackageFromManifest(manifest, manifest.File, packageFile, PackageHelper.DeployTarget_LSO);
                 // check Mashup profile
                 if (manifest.GetProfileNode() != null)
                 {
                     string message = "Please note that this Mashup contains a profile section and should be deployed using Life Cycle Manager. Warning - Using the Mashup File Administration tool will not result in a merge of profile information into the profile.";
                     Console.WriteLine(message);
                 }
                 return true;
             }
             catch (Exception exception)
             {
                 Console.Error.WriteLine(exception);
                 return false;
             }
         }
 
         /*
             Deploy the specified Mashup name and file (*.mashup binary contents) to the specified M3 environment (see App.config) authenticating with the specified M3 userid and password.
             Inspired by /mangows/InstallationPointManager/DeployMashup
         */
         static void DeployMashup(string Name, byte[] MashupFile, string environment, string userid, string password)
         {
             InstallationPointManagerClient client = new MangoServer.mangows.InstallationPointManagerClient(environment);
             client.ClientCredentials.UserName.UserName = userid;
             client.ClientCredentials.UserName.Password = password;
             client.DeployMashup(Name, MashupFile);
         }
     }
 } 

Final project:
b10

Here is what the folder looks like:
10.6

Build the solution, the resulting command application will be Deploy.exe with the required assemblies and config file:b11

Usage

Suppose you have the following Mashups\ folder with Mashups inside, e.g. Mashup1, Mashup2, Mashup3, Mashup4, Mashup5, Mashup6:

And suppose you want to deploy only Mashup1, Mashup2, and Mashup3.

The usage is:

Mashups\> Deploy.exe Mashup1,Mashup2,Mashup3 DEV,TST

Where Mashup1,Mashup2,Mashup3 is the comma-separated list of Mashup folders, and where DEV,TST is the comma-separated list of target M3 environments as defined in Deploy.exe.config.

The program will recursively descend the specified folders. So you can also specify the parent folder – Mashups\ – and the program will deploy every Mashup that’s inside.

The program will ask for the M3 userid and password at the command prompt, as it’s more secure to not hard-code them in source code nor in a config file.

Result

Here is an example of deploying three Mashups on two environments:
b12

Here is the result in the MangoServer database of one of the environments:

Here is the result in Smart Office:
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Variations

  • Instead of using Microsoft Visual Studio, you can use Xamarin’s MonoDevelop which is free software (as in freedom) and open source and recently acquired by Microsoft, or use Microsoft’s .NET SDK’s C# command line compiler csc.exe
  • If you are more familiar with the JScript.NET programming language than C#, you can re-write the program in that language and compile it with Microsoft’s .NET SDK’s JScript.NET command line compiler jsc.exe (you could also run it as a script in Smart Office but that wouldn’t make sense)
  • Instead of generating web service client code, you can use the Smart Office method Mango.Core.DynamicWs.WSDataService.CallAsync

Future work

  • Remove the Mashups from LifeCycle Manager as Karin instructed
  • Replace our generated web service client code with the built-in Smart Office code, if and when Infor Product Development will provide it
  • Explore the Mango Admin tool
  • Explore the FeatureServlet of the latest Smart Office hotfix
  • Encrypt the password in the config file using a symmetric cipher as in the Grid applications, or use a YubiKey (hey, Sweden)

Conclusion

That was my solution to deploy Mashups at the command line. This is useful when deploying multiple Mashups, on multiple M3 environments, multiple times a day. It can potentially save hundreds of clicks and keystrokes per day compared to using the graphical user interfaces of Smart Office Mashup Designer and LifeCycle Manager. The time saved can be invested in the Mashups rather than on their deployment, aiming for continuous integration.

That’s it!

Please let me know what you think in the comments below, give me a thumbs up, click the Follow button to subscribe to this blog, share with your co-workers, and come write the next blog post with us. Pleeease, click something. Your support keeps this community going. Thank you for your support.

M3 Ideas, now 244 subscribers.

Related posts

Continuous integration of Mashups #3 – HELP GOTTEN!!

I will explore useful information I received from Karin – Principal Software Architect at Infor Product Development and technology evangelist at the Smart Office blog – in response to my ask for help with continuous integration of Mashups. Refer to my posts #1 and #2 for the backstory.

Disclaimer

I will be exploring web services and APIs that are internal to Smart Office, and not supposed to be used by anyone other than Infor Product Development. Also, they may change at any time in a future version. So use are your own risk.

No command line😦

Karin confirmed “unfortunately there is no command-line support in LifeCycle Manager (LCM)”, at least not publicly available. And regarding the Velocity scripts, she said they “are only for applications so via LCM it is not possible to use command line.”

Bummer!

Use MangoServer, not LCM:)

She added “In the latest version of 10.2.1. you can consider using REST/Servlet upload to automatically upload Mashups. But that means that you will be managing them from outside of LCM from that time on which kind of leaves the installation you will be working on in a limbo since it will have old entries in LCM that you should never care about again. But it might still be worth the effort to remove all the mashups in LCM and manage them in the Management pages for the Mango Server. [The service] is internal as we use it from the Management pages it is not a real WS/REST service but grid internal.”

Waaaa? We can deploy directly to MangoServer and short-circuit LCM?
board__

Web Services

I think Karin is referring to the /mangows Web Service used by the Mashup File Administration tool as identified with .NET Reflector and Fiddler:
4
1_

I explored the various WSDL and found that InstallationPointManager has the method DeployMashup:
5

The method takes two input parameters: Name takes the Mashup’s filename+extension (e.g. Thibaud.mashup), and MashupFile takes the Base64-encoding of the Mashup’s binary contents; I use the bash command $ base64 -w 0 Thibaud.mashup or whatever Base64 encoding tool, and make sure to copy/paste the result as a single line:
11
8

The web service adds the Mashup to the MangoServer database:

Finally, we restart Smart Office, and we can now use the Mashup:
12

FANTASTIC! I can easily write a command line that calls the web service.

Note 1: We can keep calling the web service to deploy new versions of the Mashup, and it will override the old version with the new versions; good.

Note 2: I could not find a web service to un-deploy a Mashup. So if we need to remove a Mashup, I guess we have to change the access to None in the Mashup File Administration tool; to be tested.

Note 3: The web service will always return the same response regardless of if it succeeded or not. I had to turn on the DEBUG and TRACE log levels of the MangoServer application and of other Grid applications to get the details I needed:
14

Note 4: I think you have to be in the MangoServer/Administrator role:
15

To LCM, or not to LCM?

As Karin said, from now on that Mashup cannot be administered in LCM, it doesn’t even show in LCM:
13

We can still continue to use LCM to administer legacy Mashups and to upload new Mashups, as long as they don’t have the same name as the Mashups we deploy via the MangoServer web service. That’s mixed administration.

Now we have the choice of how to administer Mashups: either we administer them all in LCM as before, either we administer them all in MangoServer with the web service, in which case it’s probably best to un-register the legacy Mashups from LCM to avoid confusion, either we administer them mixedly, in which case it will probably be confusing.

UPDATE 2016-06-06: Karin said it is very important to remove Mashups from LCM and only manage them via Smart Office if that is what we decide to do.

MangoAdmin

Karin adds: “[You can] use the MangoAdmin tool to import mashups files. But since they require a metadata file with table entries it’s a bit too much work to do them manually. But it is an alternative if you create one zip and then import against different environments. But it needs to be in the UI to be able to upload the file. There is a command line version but it requires the zip to already be uploaded to the server in the MangoData/Import folder. With the Mango Admin tool I mean the stand alone tool (exe) that is found in the download zip. It has one UI version and one command line exe version.”

I could not find said MangoAdmin tool. I found some tools in the Smart Office SDK but they do not take Mashups as input nor output:

PackWin.exe:
18

Pack.exe:
16

InforApplicationBuilder.exe:
17

UPDATE 2016-06-06: The Mango Admin Tool is explained at, https://smartofficeblog.com/2014/11/20/mango-admin-tool-the-import-and-export-tool/

Instead, I decompiled the Mashup Designer again, and replicated how it generates the Mashup file:
19

It calls the method Mashup.Designer.DeploymentHelper.SaveMashupFile which calls the private method ValidateManifest and the public method CreatePackageFromManifest:
20

Here is the source code to do the same:

import System.IO;
import System.Reflection;
import Mango.UI.Services.Mashup;
import Mango.UI.Services.Mashup.Internal;
import Mashup.Designer;

package MForms.JScript {
    class Test {
        public function Init(element: Object, args: Object, controller : Object, debug : Object) {
            var manifest: ManifestDesigner = new ManifestDesigner(new FileInfo("C:\\Mashups\\ThibaudMashup.manifest"));
            DeploymentHelper.InvokeMember("ValidateManifest", BindingFlags.InvokeMethod | BindingFlags.NonPublic | BindingFlags.Static, null, null, [manifest]);
            var defaultFileName: String = manifest.File.Directory + "\\" + manifest.DeploymentName + Defines.ExtensionMashup;
            var packageFile: FileInfo = new FileInfo(defaultFileName);
            Mango.UI.Services.Mashup.Internal.PackageHelper.CreatePackageFromManifest(manifest, manifest.File, packageFile, PackageHelper.DeployTarget_LSO);
            var message: String = "Please note that this Mashup contains a profile section and should be deployed using Life Cycle Manager. Warning - Using the Mashup File Administration tool will not result in a merge of profile information into the profile.";
            if (manifest.GetProfileNode() != null) {
                debug.WriteLine(message);
            }
        }
    }
}

FeatureServlet

Karin said of the latest Smart Office: “I looked around to see what we had to upload a .lawsonapp and we just added it to the HF that will be released now. Anyway we have added a upload servlet that needs to get a single file using: “A file upload request comprises an ordered list of items that are encoded according to RFC 1867, “Form-based File Upload in HTML”. FileUpload can parse such a request and provide your application with a list of the individual uploaded items.” You post a file to /FeatureServlet and then it will be uploaded. You need to be a Smart Office administrator to do this. This servlet is completely new so if you browse to /mango/FeatureServlet and get HTTP 404 you don’t have it. No documentation available.”

My server does not have that hotfix so that’s future work.

Future work

Next time I will:

  • Call the MangoServer web service from a command line
  • Transform the script into a command line
  • Explore the Mango Admin tool
  • Explore the FeatureServlet of the latest Smart Office hotfix

Conclusion

I now have a solution to deploy Mashups via a web service. It short-circuits LifeCycle Manager and deploys directly to the MangoServer, so we have to decide how to administer Mashups from that point forward. Also, I have a solution to generate the Mashup files from the manifest, with validation and metadata. That’s all I need for my goal of a command line. Next time I will do the command line.

That’s it!

Please leave a comment below, slap a Like, follow this blog, share with your colleagues, and come write something.

Thank you Karin!!

Related posts

Continuous integration of Mashups #2 – Reverse engineering

I will try to explain what happens internally in the various Infor applications when we deploy Mashups. I need to understand this so I can streamline the deployment for my needs. Here is my artistic rendering of the current flow:

Disclaimer

I will reverse engineer the applications by static analysis. This exposes the internals of the Infor applications, which are not supposed to be used by anyone other than Infor Product Development, and which may change with future versions of the applications. So the result is informative only. Also, I am not allowed to show any proprietary source code – I will just show snippets of decompiled code – and I will hide sensitive information such as hostnames, IP addresses, and passwords.

1. Mashup Designer > Generate > Lawson application

It all starts in Infor Smart Office > Mashup Designer > Generate Package > Smart Office > Lawson Application:
1

Reverse engineering

That MenuItem is created with the following event handler:
2

It then follows this stack of methods:

Mashup.Designer.MainWindow.IComponentConnector.Connect
 Mashup.Designer.MainWindow.OnFileDeploy
  Mashup.Designer.FileDeploymentWindow.OnSave
   Mashup.Designer.DeploymentHelper.CreateAppStream

Note: If instead we clicked the other MenuItem to generate a Mashup, it would follow this other stack of methods which doesn’t overlap with the previous:

Mashup.Designer.MainWindow.OnFileDeployMashup
 Mashup.Designer.DeploymentHelper.SaveMashupFile
  Mashup.Designer.DeploymentHelper.ValidateManifest
 Mango.UI.Services.Mashup.Internal.PackageHelper.CreatePackageFromManifest

The previous methods eventually create a .lawsonapp file which is a ZIP archive of the .mashup file and an app.config file:

8

The Mashup file is itself another ZIP archive of metadata files, the manifest, the XAML source code, and optional profile and resource files:
4

\package\services\metadata\core-properties\core.properties.xml:

\_rels\ .rels:
7

\[Content_Types].xml:
5

2. LifeCycle Manager > Admin Products > Upload

Then, we upload the .lawsonapp file to Infor LifeCycle Manager (LCM) > Admin > Upload Products > Upload (I switched Mashups, so the screenshots don’t match):

The result is:
9_____

It creates the Mashup folder in LCM-Server\products\ with a file productinfo.xml and unzips the .lawsonapp file in the components sub-folder:
12

Reverse engineering

A quick search of the upload popup with the command findstr /c:"Select packages to upload" /s *.class in the LCM Client folder gives us the class D:\Infor\LifeCycleManagerClient\LCM-Client\plugins\com.lawson.lifecycle.application_3.2.1.201406300711\com\lawson\lifecycle\application\editors\adminview\ProductsPage.class with method uploadPackages() which calls the interface com.lawson.lifecycle.application.upload.UploadPackage.upload(monitor):
10

A quick search of the success message “Package successfully uploaded to LifeCycle Manager Server” gives us classes Cloud9UploadPackage.class which implements the interface and JavaInstallerUploadPackage.class in folder D:\Infor\LifeCycle Manager\LCM-Client\plugins\com.lawson.lifecycle.application_3.2.1.201406300711\com\lawson\lifecycle\application\upload\

And a quick search in the LCM Client and Server logs gives us com.lawson.lifecycle.server.command.Cloud9App_UploadPackage:
11

Java Decompiler was not able to decompile these methods, so I used Krakatau decompiler in Python by Robert Grosse:

$ python decompile.py -path "C:/Program Files/Java/jre1.8.0_91/lib/rt.jar;LCM-Client/configuration/org.eclipse.osgi/bundles/9/1/.cp/lib/lcm-common-3.2.1.jar;LCM-Client/plugins/com.lawson.lifecycle.client_3.2.1.201406300711.jar" -skip LCM-Server/client/plugins/com.lawson.lifecycle.application_3.2.1.201406300711.jar

13

The method Cloud9UploadPackage.upload() gets a connection to the server, and uploads the file remotely. Then I kinda lost track of who creates the folder components folder and the file productinfo.xml. But it looks like it’s all about files and folders, nothing in a database, nothing cached in memory.

Let’s move on. This is becoming too dense.

3. LifeCycle Manager application install/upgrade and repeat per environment

Then, we install the product on the desired environment (e.g. DEV, TST):

14_14__14___14____14_____

Note: Once the Mashup is installed, we can upgrade it to a new version, and repeat the steps for another environment:
23

4. Apache Ant tasks

The install logs show it executed three remote Apache Ant scripts:

templates/cloud9_install.vm
templates/cloud9/install.vm
templates/cloud9_install_relation.vm

15
17
18

5. Apache Velocity templates

The Ant tasks are compiled from Apache Velocity templates at D:\Infor\LifeCycle Manager\LCM-Server\products\Infor_Applications_1.0.0\templates\:

The scripts have control structures (if-then-else, for-loop) and getters to replace property values:
30
19

I think this is it, com.lawson.lifecycle.common.command.RemoteScript_Run:
33

And com.lawson.lifecycle.server.command.RemoteAntScript_Run:
34

6. Remote code

LCM Server will execute code from tasks.jar at D:\Infor\LifeCycle Manager\LCM-Server\products\Infor_Applications_1.0.0\tasks\ :
20

Here we see the first reference to a database, the LCM Server database.

There are also these methods in D:\Infor\LifeCycle Manager\LCM-Server\products\LSO_10.2.1\tasks\tasks.jar and mangoserver_10.2.1.0.16.gar\lib\mangoserver-app-10.2.1.0.16.jar:

com.lawson.lifecycle.mango.DeployLawsonApplication.execute()
com.lawson.lifecycle.mango.GridLCMTask.deployLawsonApplication()
com.lawson.lso.installationpoint.InstallationPointManager.AddLawsonApp()

31 32

7. Apache Derby

The LCM Server database is an Apache Derby database that LCM uses with the Hibernate object-relational mapping framework:
21

The JDBC connection parameters are in the file lcm.properties at D:\Infor\LifeCycle Manager\LCM-Server\ :

hibernate.connection.driver_class=org.apache.derby.jdbc.EmbeddedDriver
hibernate.connection.username=*****
hibernate.connection.password=*****
hibernate.connection.url=jdbc:derby:lcmdb
derby.drda.portNumber=*****
database.read.user=*****
database.read.password=*****
database.name=lcmdb

We can see the Mashup in the product registration table:
22

8. Smart Office

Smart Office gets a copy of the Mashups, we can see them in the My Local Applications and Mashup File Administration tools:

It is populated by Mango.Core.Storage.FileStorageCategory.ListAllCategoryFileInfo:
25

9. MangoServer

That calls ListAllCategoryFileInfo in the SOAP web service /mangows/CategoryFilesManager?wsdl:
26

10. Grid database

MangoServer uses the Grid distributed database – an H2 database – where it duplicates the Mashups contents as blobs and sets authorization (SECURITY=1 means Access=Public, and SECURITY=0 means Access=None):
27

You can find the JDBC connection information at Infor ION Grid Management Pages > Grid DB Broker > View application configuration:
28

You can also use the embedded H2 console application:
29

11. Local Storage

Finally, the Smart Office client that each user starts for each environment will download the Mashup blobs and save them in the local storage:
35

12. Repository

Then there is this repository in the MangoServer grid application with more metadata about the Mashups: D:\Infor\LifeCycle\host\grid\DEV\grids\DEV\applications\MangoServer\Client\Repository\LawsonApps\ :
36 37

Summary

What a rodeo.

Deploying a Mashup globally involves Smart Office client/server, Mashup Designer, metadata and lots more metadata, LiceCycle Manager client/server, remote file copy, Apache Velocity templates that compile into Apache Ant scripts that execute remote code to add records to the Apache Derby database of LifeCycle Manager, then MangoServer gets duplicates of the Mashups from the Grid H2 database via SOAP web services, and finally Smart Office client stores local copies in the user’s computer.

The number of copies that must be kept in sync is 2 + p + pq where p is the number of environments and q is the number of users (1 copy from the developer, 1 copy in the LCM files & folders, p copies in MangoServer H2 databases, and pq copies in local storage). That’s normal for software development, except I did not expect the additional copy in the MangoServer database.

Future work

Next time, I will explore the MangoServer web services to upload Mashups.

Conclusion

My original intention in reverse engineering the internals of Mashup deployment was to learn how to develop a command line to streamline Mashup deployment and simplify it from thousands of clickks down to a few double-clicks; see my previous post for details.

But after all this rodeo, I conclude it would be a bad idea. There are too many moving pieces, too much to learn that’s not part of my job, and Infor Product Development may change it at any time. I need to go back to the drawing board and find a new approach.

At least it was a good learning exercise.

That’s it!

Please leave me a comment, slap a Like, subscribe to follow my experiments, share around you, and come write the next idea with us. This is a volunteer-based blog to help each other in the M3 community. Thank you for your support.

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Make field mandatory

Here is a refresher of a neat feature in Infor Smart Office to make a field mandatory; it should be used instead of developing scripts.

Right-click on the desired field, and select Personalize > Enable Mandatory:

It will also apply to H5 Client:
2

Note: this personalization will not apply to other entry points such as M3 API or M3 Web Services (MWS) of type M3 Display Program (MDP). If you need to enforce the constraint there, you must do an M3 Java modification.

That’s it.

Continuous integration of Mashups – HELP WANTED!!

I need help deploying many Smart Office Mashups, on multiple environments, fast, several times a day. Think continuous integration. Currently, it takes cubic time. Ideally, there would be a solution in linear time.

Scenarios

Here is a typical scenario: a user reports an error with a Mashup, I fix the error in the XAML file, and I propagate the fix to the server. For that, I generate the Lawson package in Mashup Designer in Smart Office (ISO), I upload the package in LifeCycle Manager (LCM), and I upgrade the Mashup on each environment.

Here are some screenshots:

My best case scenario is one Mashup and two environments once a day. My average scenario is three Mashups and three environments three times a day. My worst case scenario is 13 Mashups and five environments seven times a day.

(Note: normally we should develop in the DEV environment and push to the TST environment for users to test, but we are in a transition period between on-premise and Infor Cloud, and somehow we have five environments to maintain. Also, we could tell users to install Mashups locally or we could share Mashups with a role, but users got confused with versions and roles, so we have to do global deployments only.)

Clickk counter

I count mouse clicks, mouse moves, and keystrokes as clickks. To optimize as much as possible, I suppose that ISO, Mashup Designer, LCM Client, the Manage Products page, and the Applications tab are all launched and ready to use, and that I don’t close them during the day. The clickk counter is approximately the following:

7 clickks to generate the Lawson package in Mashup Designer
20 clickks to upload the package in LCM
11 clickks to upgrade the Mashup in the environment

Having:

x: number of Mashups
y: number of environments
z: number of times per day

The formula is:

(7x + 20x + 11xy)z

That’s:

  • 49 clickks (7*1+20*1+11*1*2)*1 for my best case scenario
  • 540 clickks (7*3+20*3+11*3*3)*3 for my average scenario
  • 7462 clickks (7*13+20*13+11*13*5)*7 for my worst case scenario

The exact numbers are not important. What matters is that the result has order of n3 time complexity, i.e. it takes cubic time to deploy many Mashups on multiple environments, several times a day !!! In reality the number of environments is pretty constant, so the result will tend to order n2, but that’s still quadratic, not linear. Also, the number of Mashups and the number of times per day will eventually reach a limit, and the result will be constant, but still insanely high (in the range of 7462 clickks in my case).

$ command line ?

The goal is to reduce the number of clickks to a matter of a few double-clicks, ideally via the command line. How? The step in Smart Office can easily be done with a command line, it’s a simple archive of an archive (we can use ZIP tools, command line, .NET System.IO.Packaging.Package, or the Pack.exe tool in the Smart Office SDK). But the steps in LCM do not have a command line. They are Apache Velocity scripts, compiled into Apache Ant tasks, that execute Java code, remotely, to upload files to the server and add records to the Apache Derby database (lcmdb), and also the Mashups contents are saved as blobs in the MangoServer Grid database (GDBC) which is a distributed H2 database (h2db). I think. There is probably a distributed in-memory Grid cache as well. I could not find documentation nor a quick hack for all this.

Ideally there would be a command line like this fake screenshot:

Do you have any suggestions? Please let me know in the comments below.

Thank you.

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