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PeopleSoft Spotlight Series: Branding Fluid Applications

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Customers have been branding their PeopleSoft environments for many years with Classic PeopleSoft. This typically included rich websites. Now that PeopleSoft is moving to Fluid user interface, the concentration is shifting toward Fluid branding capabilities. There are many resources available for Classic branding, but since Fluid is the strategic direction for PeopleSoft, this PeopleSoft Spotlight Series video focused only on branding Fluid applications.

Overview of Branding Fluid Applications

The PeopleSoft team feels that branding Fluid applications is just as important as branding in Classic because customers want to create a system that reflects their company or institution. They want their company’s colors, logos, icons, etc. to show in their PeopleSoft system.

The new Theme Builder that is part of the Interaction Hub makes branding Fluid applications easy, especially across the cluster. If you have a cluster of PeopleSoft applications, you can brand in one place and then propagate that across all of your PeopleSoft system. The three-step activity guide is quite easy to use.

In addition, you can create different themes for different user constituencies. So, for example, if a university has different campuses in their university system, they might have different brandings for each of the campuses. Similarly, in a commercial enterprise, a company might have different brandings for different divisions or regions within their enterprise.

The Theme Builder is part of the Restricted Use license in Interaction Hub, so the Interaction Hub can be installed free of license charge, and customers can use the Interaction Hub as part of that free Restricted Use license. In addition, there is now branding that is part of PeopleTools – PeopleTools Macro Sets. This offers the same kind of deep branding options. It’s important to know that you can do the same sort of branding with Theme Builder that you can with PeopleTools Macro Sets. The only difference is that Theme Builder is a bit easier to use, so it is recommended by PeopleSoft.

Branding Fluid Applications with Theme Builder

Theme Builder Overview

Theme Builder is a three-step guided process that is part of the Interaction Hub. It is delivered in Image 2, which is the currently available Image for the PeopleSoft Interaction Hub. You can also choose this feature individually through Selective Adoption (Bug No. 21607541). However, the PeopleSoft team feels that most people will benefit from taking the full Interaction Hub product, which you can do as part of the Restricted Use license.

Theme Builder enables customers to update their most common and essential branding parameters. This typically includes items like the company logo, banner color, homepage background, etc. This constitutes roughly 80-90 percent of what most people will do when branding Fluid applications. In addition, there are advanced settings that let you update additional branding parameters in great depth.

You can also have approvals turned on. So, for example, you may have users that can design branding schemes and then submit those for approval. They will not be published until they are approved.

You can also create a change package that will migrate branding themes from one system to another using Application Data Sets (ADS).

How to Access Theme Builder

In order to access Theme Builder, you must be assigned one of two roles:

  1. Theme Builder Administrator
  2. Them Builder User

Typically, the Theme Builder Administrator, in addition to having privileges to create themes, is also an approver. So, if a Theme Builder user submits a theme, the Theme Builder Administrator would approve it.

The most common way to access Theme Builder is through the Theme Builder tile on the Hub Administrator homepage. That tile is not found there by default, but you can add it to the homepage using the Personalize option on the homepage.

personalize

You can also access Theme Builder in the Portal Administration folder of the Navbar.

Creating a New Theme

The steps for creating a new theme using Theme Builder are as follows:

  1. Navigate to Theme Builder
  2. Click “Create Theme” and enter the name and description of the new theme
  3. Update the parameters in the Define Theme step
  4. Assign the theme to the appropriate user attributes
  5. Publish changes
  6. Migrate changes to content systems

For a demonstration of these steps, check out the video below (starting at timestamp 7:36).

Updating an Existing Theme

In addition to creating new themes, you have the option to update an existing theme. Many customers clone delivered themes and then update parameters for the clone.

The steps for updating an existing them are as follows:

  1. Navigate to Theme Builder
  2. Click the “Edit” link of the theme that you want to update
  3. Update the parameters in the Define Theme step
  4. Update the user attributes on the Assign Theme step (if needed)
  5. Publish changes

Note that if approval is turned on and the current user does not have admin access, then the request will be sent to the approver. Changes will be published after the administrator approves the change.

Branding Fluid Applications with PeopleTools Macro Sets

Theme Macro Sets are a new feature delivered in PeopleTools 8.55. They are meant to ease styling in Fluid applications and make things easier than styling using Application Designer. Theme Macro Sets, however, are not as easy to use as Theme Builder but are a good alternative for customers that don’t have Theme Builder or the Interaction Hub.

A Macro Set is essentially the total set of elements that can determine the appearance of your system – including items like header, background color, logos, etc. The macros themselves are like parameters where you set the color, the logo, etc., and the total set of those macros will determine what your system will look like.

The process for using Themed Macro Sets is similar to using Theme Builder. Initially, you will want to analyze the delivered list of macros and identify those which you want to change in order to reflect your organization’s branding requirements. Next, PeopleSoft recommends cloning an existing delivered theme and then update the different macros that you want to change. Then, assign that macro set to the theme that you want to use. Finally, test and migrate the changes to other content systems if that is what you want to do.

macro-set-process

Once you’ve cloned your macro set and edited the clone to give it the styling features that you want, you will assemble the theme. This essentially means determining which macro set is applied to the theme. In PeopleTools 8.55, there is a new Macro Set field that you will need to set to the value of the clone that you created. You will also want to set the other fields shown below boxed in red.

macro-set-fields

This basically ensures that all of your components, whether Classic of Fluid, receive the styling that you want.

For a demonstration of Theme Macro Sets, check out the video below (starting at timestamp 19:27).

The video also pointed out additional helpful resources that can help users learn more about branding Fluid applications with Theme Builder and Theme Macro Sets:

  • Theme Builder in PeopleBooks: PeopleSoft Interaction Hub (Image 2) > Branding > PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface for Branding in PeopleSoft Interaction Hub > Managing the Them Builder Guided Process
  • Defining Macro Sets and Macros in PeopleTools 8.55 PeopleBooks: Using PeopleTools Branding Features > Administering System Branding

To learn more about branding Fluid application, check out the video below.

Additional Resources

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