Archibus Task Highlighting in the Process Navigator

I've started rolling out new processes in our Lease module, after upgrading to Archibus v21.2. I have kept the newer items separated from the familiar, in an effort not to confuse or cold bath my users. However, there is one form which is replacing some antiquated (read: effective but unsupported) custom work and it needs more urgent attention. So, once again my friend, James Castruccio, to the rescue with seasoned advice.
He suggested that I slip the new form in with the other most-used ones, but, subtly highlighted, so that the team (who are all VERY busy right now with active projects) might be nudged to check it out more often and suggest any necessary changes.

So, he asks me, do you know HTML?
Sure, took a class on it in high school and have used it over the years in my work with www.augi.com . Turns out, you can very easily apply basic formatting to our tasks (see my post here for a rundown of how Archibus WebCentral is organized: http://mistressofthedorkness.blogspot.com/2014/03/archibus-processes-users-and-roles.html ) to highlight a new or important item.

As the System Administrator, I drill down into Archibus System Administration > System Integrator > Process Dictionary > View Task by Process and Activity. 
From there, I select the necessary Application, then my Process, so I can see the associated Tasks. 
Press Edit to get the above dialog, then, in the Task* field, I just bracket my Task title with the applicable html tags.
In this case: 
<font color="yellow">Lease Details Form</font>

So their new form shows up in the Process Navigator thusly:

This has worked well, I've gotten more direct feedback in the past two days than I had in the prior three weeks of written and verbal requests to check out the new stuff.

You could change a few things, Font style, height, etc. This type of formatting can also be done through the desktop client. 
I'll be checking out the Help file for more ideas when I have some time.


Action Required: Job Title Poll

This month's www.augi.com homepage poll is asking for your official job title.
Not the many roles you take on, but, what HR actually titles you, since that is what pay is usually based upon.
Over the past 12 or so years, I have been looking at every industry survey or article mentioning job names and industries I could find. I've also requested data from conference organizers... they are helpful, but, always apologize because so few attendees fill out the entire registration form. 

So, I thought, what better way to establish job titles, than by asking the users directly.

Now is your chance to influence the AUGI Annual Survey! 
Pop over to AUGI.com and take two seconds to share your title. Even better? Ask your colleagues to take part, too.
The poll will be there for another two weeks, but, please go ahead and just do it now while you're thinking about it.

I'll also be summarizing the findings in next month's issue of HotNews.

Thus far, here are the top 10 for the replies:


Identifying your Archibus view file

I gave some tips recently on editing Archibus views (.axvw), but, let's back up a step... how do you find the source file for the exact task you want to edit?

In WebCentral, left-clicking on a task obviously opens up the page for use, as on any webpage... but, if you right-click, you can find the details of the specific view file. 

If you like, you can copy/paste the Task File name to aide in your search.

In this particular case (noted above tabs), the AXVW is actually comprised of multiple tasks, so, open it up in a program like Notepad++ and locate the lines pointing to the part you need.


Autocad 2015 from the Dork Side

I was actually asked to blog and tweet on behalf of both myself and AUGI during yesterday's blogger event in San Francisco, so, you can find my notes on the 2015 release over on BLAUGI:

As you know, I don't work on the design side, I work post-construction and often don't use many new features "in production" because I am not actually producing new drawings often. So, I tend to really appreciate the little tools that make consuming and reusing data easier for me and my users. This release has a few of those.

See the above BLAUGI post for a long list, but, here are my personal favorite top 3:
  • Help's Find command button tool
  • Command preview
  • Lasso selection

There are others in that vein as well, check out the list to see which might be your favorites.
A 'bigger' feature would be the continuing refinement of the point cloud support in AutoCAD is something that excites me as an owner. Reality capture (of existing conditions) is a process that has become drastically more affordable and accessible to a much wider audience in the past few years, very exciting.

AutoCAD 2015 wasn't the only thing we discussed, I am planning another blog post later this week to fill you in on the rest of the stuff we went over.


Notepad++ formatting tip

I've used the Notepad++ application to edit before, usually HTML. But, now, I'm using it to edit Archibus views.

When chatting with my friend, James Castruccio, he mentioned I should be able to tweak a setting in Notepad++ that would automatically apply the XML formatting to the AXVW files when I opened them, rather than manually selecting it from the Language menu every time.

I poked around a little and couldn't see an obvious setting, so, I did what any self-respecting cad geek would do, and posted a question on the AUGI Forums. 



Richard Lawrence provided the solution I used.


Under the Settings menu, click the Style Configurator

In the Language list, scroll down to select XML (or whatever applicable format you need) from the list. The Default Ext textbox will populate, then you can add what you would like to add in the User Ext field (in my case, AXVW).

This will save a few clicks and picks for me per day.

Although, on occasion, I'll still manually toggle, such as when accessing SQL components.


Archibus View Field Size Tip

One of our lease specialists asked me to add a comments field to our Taxes and Insurance form (aka task) in Archibus, which would allow space for notes on some of the more obscure situations they run across. In addition to wanting to display all of the text at once, the notes field will serve as a visual break between the current and historic data being displayed.



From the Archibus Help File:

colspan – When the field is presented in a form containing multiple columns of label – value pairs, this attribute allows a field to cover more than one column.

Valid Values: a ‘small’ number between one (the default) and the number of columns used as the panel attribute.

Optional: yes

Since this panel is formatted to have two columns, I set the colspan control to 2.

Editing the .axvw file, I modify the entry for the applicable field.

" <field name="cmts_cam" table="operating_expense" colspan="2" /> "

Also note that each field is paired up with another (either another data field or a placeholder), so I had to remember to remove the second line in this pair, so that the pairs below it in the form were not shifted.



The first change basically did the job, but, I wanted a bit more control over the appearance of the textbox, so I decided to use the style control and input the size in pixels. It did take a couple of tries to get it to line up just how I wanted, but, once you’ve got those numbers handy, you’re gravy for the next time you edit that form, or another using the same panel with the same attributes.

(I am sure there are apps out there that will allow you to measure screen pixels to find the number faster, if I run across one, I will post about it.)


" <field name="cmts_cam" table="operating_expense" colspan="2" style="height:40px; width:743px;"/> "


Remember, you still need to keep the colspan set to 2, otherwise, the style width will push the whole first column wider.


And with that final tweak, the view receives the users’ seal of approval, which means my first of many .axvw edits is completed!


Excel: Concatenating Fields

My next big task at work is adding our hundreds of branch locations to the Work Order & Preventative Maintenance (CMMS) system in Archibus.

Our consultant has a portal where we log in to the system, so, the first step is supplying them with a list of usernames and email addresses to import. The data I have available does not list this information together, so I needed a quick and easy way to produce it.

Concatenating a name to create an email address

While I could just copy the name column and do a find and replace to append the domain, I like concatenating, because it’s so quick and easy.


Just type an equal sign, the first cell name, an ampersand and then the second cell name.

Since I want to drag and copy this down the entire column, I still want to point the latter half of the equation to the top cell. I type a dollar sign in front of the cell number, so it will not increment to match the row number (if I were copying this formula to different columns, I would put a $ in front of both the column and the row, like “$F$1”).



If I were joining other data, such as the city and state fields, I would want to add additional formatting like a comma and a space. All I have to do is place some more &’s and surround the addition with a pair of quote marks.


The above is a shorter way of using the =CONCATENATE function.


MS Excel has an Autofill feature, so, start typing the word, and when it shows up at the prompt, hit Tab to insert the whole command into your cell.



Then proceed as you normally would when typing an expression in, using parentheses to surround the data and commas to separate the components you wish to include.