Introducing ModScript - the next evolution in SBM scripting

Introduction

Beginning in version 11.3, SBM supports a scripting language called SBM ModScript, which offers a degree of power and flexibility beyond that available through the standard administration interfaces. SBM ModScript is accessible from the same contexts as SBM AppScript—you can associate scripts that implement custom features with transitions, notifications, and the self-registration form. You can also set up scripts that run when a user visits a special SBM URL. SBM ModScript is modeled after ChaiScript and contains extensions to support SBM. Programmers can use SBM ModScript to implement custom features in an SBM system.

Now that ModScript is available, questions have come up about the future of AppScript. To help understand what this all means, please review some of the frequently asked questions below.  And feel free to ask additional questions in the comments section. 

So what happens to AppScript?

We here at Micro Focus want to ensure that the transition from AppScript to ModScript is a smooth one, so the two will co-exist in SBM releases for some time.  We want to be sure that ModScript exceeds the capabilities of AppScript before we deprecate AppScript.  AppScript will eventually reach its sunset, but we will give customers advanced notification before that happens.

Do I have to re-write all my App Scripts?

If you want to update your current library of SBM AppScripts, you can use the SBM ModScript conversion utility. Note that this utility is provided on an experimental basis.  It is important to note that the utility provides a way to convert existing SBM AppScripts to SBM ModScript; however, the resultant script does not represent what is considered SBM ModScript that was written with best practices in mind. The utility converts the script into a usable SBM ModScript, but when you begin writing new SBM ModScripts, you do not need to follow the same conventions that resulted in the converted script.

Does this mean support for AppScript is ending in SBM 11.3?

No.  While support for AppScript will eventually end, this would be a future event. AppScript will continue to be supported in releases of SBM that include AppScript until those releases are no longer themselves supported.  By the way, you can see the Product Support Lifecycle Matrix on Micro Focus SupportLine for information on expected end-of-support dates. 

Can I continue to use AppScript in SBM 11.3?

Yes.  While Micro Focus / Serena recommends using ModScript for any new scripts to obtain the most modern and premium experience, organizations may enable and continue to utilize AppScript until such time that it is no longer included in SBM.

Will legacy process apps calling AppScript be affected by this change?

Legacy process apps are expected to continue using AppScript and should function as designed with no modifications required.  There will be no conversion of calls to AppScript to ModScript automatically.  Any changes must be done consciously by a designer.

Will defects in AppScript continue to be addressed?

It is expected that development against AppScript will end with the release of 11.3.  Any non-critical issues encountered with AppScript are not expected to be addressed in patches or to future releases of SBM.

When you say that non-critical issues will not be patched, what defines the difference between a non-critical issue and a critical issue?

A non-critical issue is an issue where business functions are still accessible but may be cosmetically affected or require an inconvenient workaround to operate properly.  Critical issues are those where no workaround is available for a required business function and the business function is not accessible or usable.  While Micro Focus / Serena will work with customers on a case-by-case basis to define the severity of any discovered issue, final characterization is at the discretion of Micro Focus / Serena.

When will AppScript be removed from the product?

At this time, Micro Focus / Serena has not identified a specific release for the removal of AppScript.  When such a release is identified, a Statement of Direction will be issued with more information.  

What resources are available to assist users in transitioning to ModScript?

The best resource is the ModScript Transition Guide in the Documentation Center. You can also ask questions here on Serena Central.

 

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Team Guru Gets a Raise with Baselines Request Templates

I was recently working with a client whose deployment process consisted of having developers email their team guru with a list of files to grab, the version of the files, the location of the files and what machine to deploy said files onto. Can you say bottleneck? Can you say lost in the (e)mail?

Now in all fairness to the client, these weren’t your typical files. They consisted of Informatica files, Oracle files, and shell scripts that needed to be deployed together in some cases and separately in others. In other words, not your typical deployments.

Luckily the client was looking for a solution to manage their parallel development as well as with automating their deployments. Dimensions CM and Deployment Automation to the rescue. With these two products, we could also help the team guru get more control on the incoming tsunami of requests. Ironically we did it with a request. Dimensions CM Request that is.

Below I will show you how to use Requests to create a Baseline to contain only the files that need to be deployed and then how to map Dimensions CM with Deployment Automation to perform the actual deployments.

Please note, that I don’t have an Informatica system to show you but I think you’ll get the gist.

Create Baseline Template

First thing to do is create a Baseline Template where the Scope is Requests. This will allow you to specify the criteria for inclusion of file revisions based on a list of requests. Later when we make modifications to a file and deliver into a stream, we will relate it to a request. This will automatically create an In Response To relationship in which the baseline will use to include the files. 

From the Admin Console create your baseline template like the one below.

 

Next add the Requests that should be included in the template along with the criterion like below.

 

  • Request Type: The request type for which this criterion applies.
  • Request Status: The lifecycle state of requests to be used in the selection criteria.
  • Baseline status code:
    • Choose SUP to include requests at the specified state and upward.
    • Choose EQS to include requests only at the specified state.

Note, that once you use the template to create a baseline you cannot modify the template. It’s best to just add all your request types that could be used for creating baselines. 

Map Dimensions CM Product with Deployment Automation Application

Beginning with Dimensions CM 14.2 you could optionally install Deployment Automation (DA) with Dimensions CM. But starting with v14.3, you could use DA instead of Dimensions Deployment areas when deploying baselines.

If you have not already configured Dimensions to use DA, modify your Product in the Admin Console like below mapping the CM Products to the DA Application. For complete details see the Dimensions CM Deployment Guide. You will need to make modifications to the dm.cfg file, setup authentication between the two products, and map the GSL to DA environments. Note, during a fresh installation this will be automatically configured for you.

 

At this point you may be asking yourself what mappings are allowed. You can map one CM Product to one DA Application or many CM Products to one DA Application. See below for what is okay and what is not okay.

But that’s okay! This is not a limitation.

We can use many Component Processes within the same DA Application to deploy Informatica, Oracle, and shell scripts together or separately. Look for blog later on about the pros and cons on whether to use one component with many processes or many components with their own processes.

 

 

Create Baseline

Now back to solving our team guru’s workload. 

First, we need to make a file modification and relate it to a Request upon delivery (or check out if using Projects). When you do this, CM will automatically create an In Response To relationships between the file and the request.

Second. Action your request to the correct lifecycle state to fit the criterion you specified above when you create your template.

Now you can create your baseline. 

When you do remember to select your Request and Baseline Template as shown below. 

 

 

Now you have a baseline that only contains the files related to the Request (DEMO_TASK_1). 

 

 

If you have Dimensions CM setup with the Deployment Automation tool, you can now deploy your baseline that will only deploy your specific file(s) base on a Request.

 

Summary 

Dimensions CM is a powerful tool in that it allows the developers to relate their source code directly to their Tasks. The In Response To relationship between source code and requests is invaluable. 

That’s great Rose but what about the poor guy that is overwhelmed by all the emails? 

When the developers actions their Tasks to the next state in the lifecycle, Dimensions CM can email the person with all the information that is needed for him/her to deploy the files.

Dimensions knows which files to grab, the version of the files, the location of the files and DA knows what machine to deploy said files onto. Can you say no more bottleneck? 

Okay, so the team guru is still getting emails, but with the time saved from not having to deploy manually allows the guy to keep up with all the requests coming in. Not to mention providing nice reports and metrics for his management. “Look at all this work I’m getting done boss, I think I need a raise” said the team guru.

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Why I Love This Product Essay Contest

We know you love using Micro Focus products, so now’s your chance to tell us about it. The ‘Why I Love This Product Essay Contest’ is a chance for you to tell us how Micro Focus products make your life—and your users’ lives—easier. Whether you’re using ZENworks to manage your endpoint devices or Silk to accelerate the delivery of your applications, we want to hear how much you love Micro Focus products. ONE-T-shirt_smPlus, by entering the contest, you’ll receive a free Micro Focus Community t-shirt.

To participate in the contest, simply send your finished essay to cool.guys@microfocus.com with the subject line that includes the title of your essay as well as the solution group your product falls under. For example: Why Visual COBOL Rocks my World—COBOL Development All entries must be submitted by 10 July 2017 to be eligible.

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YOUR Process Application Help

SBM has come a long way in providing many areas for you to provide contextual help for your users.  In addition to the tool-tips that you have been able to add even back in the TeamTrack versions, now you can add HTML formatted help in the General properties of any state, transition, and workflow.  Even the field end-user help can be HTML.  Another option is to include text boxes on the form it self or buttons that open a dialog to provide users with context specific help.

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Save status update summaries to journal

I have come across some customers that are using SBM for processes that require users to enter weekly status updates or next steps.  This could be for things such as project tasks, sales opportunities, or any other work item where a someone needs to be kept informed of the progress of the work.  In addition to capturing the updates, sometimes there is a requirement to store the previous entries in a journal field.  This way you can go back and review the status update history but still be able to have a clean listing report with just the latest entry.  This blog entry provides details on how to implement this type of functionality using form actions.

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