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PeopleTools 8.58 Is Now Available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

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David Bain, Sr. Director of PeopleTools Product Management, released a blog yesterday announcing the release of PeopleTools 8.58 on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The release will not be available for on-premises environments until the 8.58.03 patch. Until then, Oracle invites customers to take advantage of the many benefits offered by PeopleSoft Cloud Manager and of running PeopleSoft applications in the Oracle Cloud.

PeopleTools 8.58 is a significant milestone for Oracle, according to Bain. He said that now is the time to take your PeopleSoft applications to the next level. Customers can use PeopleTools 8.58 to simplify the user interface, leverage emerging technology with chatbots, enhance analytics with Kibana, lower the cost of your customizations, and take advantage of what the Cloud has to offer by migrating your PeopleSoft applications to the Oracle Cloud.

Bain explained that with PeopleTools 8.58, PeopleSoft has:

  • Modernized the look and feel with:
    • A new stylesheet that gives applications a modern look
    • Support for conversational interfaces using Oracle Digital Assistant
    • Centralized management of notifications and added support for Text messages
  • Enhanced analytics with:
    • Powerful new integration with Kibana Analytics
    • Extended analytic driven notifications
  • Supported emerging technology with:
    • New Chatbot Integration Framework to make chatbots easy to deploy and manage
    • Support OAuth standard for chatbot authorization
  • Enabled customers to take advantage of elasticity, performance, and cost of the Oracle Cloud by:
    • Automating the PeopleTools 8.58 upgrade using Cloud Manager Image 10
  • Helped customers manage change to their PeopleSoft environments by:
    • Isolating customizations to AppEngine programs
    • Increasing the value of Event Mapping with more events and use in more places
  • So much more!

PeopleTools 8.58 Highlights

Some of the highlights of the new features in PeopleTools 8.58 covered topics like:

  • Chatbots
  • User Interface and Interaction
  • Configuration and Isolating Customizations
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Search
  • Integration: CI to REST Interface
  • Lifecycle Management: PUM Images Using Oracle 19c
  • Platform and COBOL
  • Security, Data Privacy, and Monitoring

Chatbots

PeopleTools 8.58 chatbot enhancements include:

  • User preferred Favicon for any Fluid component, including components configured with a chatbot
  • Support for attachments in chatbots
  • An option to authorize RESTful services using oAuth support

To deploy chatbots, you must have PeopleTools 8.57.07 or later and an application image that supports chatbots. Update images that support chatbots include:

  • PeopleSoft HCM Update Image 9.2.031 or higher
  • PeopleSoft FSCM Update Image 9.2.033 or higher
  • PeopleSoft ELM Update Image 9.2.020 or higher
  • PeopleSoft CRM Update Image 9.2.018 or higher
  • PeopleSoft Campus Solutions Update Image 9.2.015 or higher

You will also need a subscription to Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA).

The Absence Assistant chatbot was released in HCM Update Image 31, and the Requester Inquiry chatbot was released in FSCM Update Image 34. Additional PeopleSoft chatbots will be released in future update images.

The PeopleSoft Chatbot Integration Framework provides all of the technology that you need to deploy chatbots with PeopleSoft and provides integration to ODA. The PeopleSoft Chatbot Integration Framework elements include:

  • A chatbot interface that is accessible through select components and homepage tiles. This interface provides the chat dialog area and is set up as a channel to communicate with ODA.
  • The Application Service Framework, which provides a simple means of communicating between ODA and PeopleSoft using RESTful services and has built-in authorization for each call between ODA and PeopleSoft
  • The PeopleSoft chatbot dialogues, which are installed in ODA as skills and control the dialogue flow of the chat conversation

Although chatbots use the cloud-based ODA application, you can use them with PeopleSoft deployed either on-premises or on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

chatbot-integration-framework

User Interface and Interaction

PeopleTools 8.58 enhances the user experience with an updated user interface and includes enhancements to activity guides, interactions within Fluid applications, push notifications, and related information. PeopleTools 8.58 also delivers an updated contemporary look to the user interface, beginning with the sign-in screen and continuing through Fluid homepages, components, and activity guides, as well as to Classic Plus components.

user-interface

User Interface

The updated stylesheets and other branding elements have new colors, headers, widget designs, icons, and effects. These updates apply to Fluid homepages, Fluid components, Fluid activity guides, Fluid pages, and secondary pages, along with two modal windows and dialog boxes launched from Fluid applications.

This contemporary look can be seen with the banner, its buttons, the navbar, the menu, and their interaction effects. Similar updates apply to the stylesheet for Classic Plus components, ensuring a uniform look and feel across your PeopleSoft system.

Activity Guides

PeopleTools 8.58 enhances activity guide templates with an option to indicate that multi-language data present in the template is to be copied when creating a new instance from the template. In addition, for activity guide templates and instances, you can now indicate that steps that are not assigned to the current user are hidden and not displayed to that user.

Note that the activity guide menu folder is now located as a sibling of the portal menu folder, meaning the Portal Administrator role is no longer required to create and maintain activity guide templates and instances.

Interaction Enhancements

PeopleTools now includes features previously available in Classic applications. You can now configure edit boxes and long edit boxes to display a counter that indicates the number of characters remaining. You can also enable spell checking for edit boxes and long edit boxes that support text input. On the spell check page, you can correct or ignore spelling errors and add new words to the currently selected language for your personal dictionary.

Similar to Classic components, the new window link can be enabled on Fluid components. The new window link is displayed in the Actions menu, allowing you to open the current component in a new browser tab.

Notifications

The push notification framework now supports additional notification channels and user personalization in Peopletools 8.58. You can configure existing notifications for delivery across multiple channels and send broadcast messages from the PeopleSoft system. For each notification type, your users can personalize how they would like to be notified by selecting one or more channels for the delivery of notifications. All of your users can view their notifications through their preferred notification channels via notifications in the notification window, by email, and by text messages.

Additionally, your users can now personalize how they wish to receive notifications. They can enter a phone number for the delivery of text messages, and for each notification type that allows personalization, they can select which of the configured notification channels they prefer.

notification-preferences

Behind the scenes, several new configuration tasks are required. First, administrators can now maintain notification categories. When defining a notification category, the administrator can specify whether the category is mandatory (which means that each user must subscribe via at least one channel), whether a channel is available, whether it’s enabled by default, and whether user personalization is allowed.

Finally, the delivery of text messages from a PeopleSoft system requires an external Twilio account, which is defined on the PT text messaging URL identifier.

Personalizing Related Information

PeopleTools 8.58 enhances the ways in which you can personalize related information and analytics. The Related Information pane still displays analytics as either links or tiles and related content as tiles only. When you personalize the Related Information pane, you can decide whether to display the links section or the tiles section first.

Drag and drop items in either section to reorder the display. You can manage your analytics separately from the related content, select to display analytics as tiles instead of as links, and delete those analytics that allow for personalization. These changes are reflected when you return to the Display Properties tab.

Finally, you can reset the entire Related Information pane to its defaults. The link section appears first, followed by the tile section. Analytics in the links section will be reordered alphabetically, and tiles will be reordered by the sequence number specified in the Manage Related Content configuration or alphabetically if no sequence number is specified.

Configuration and Isolating Customizations

PeopleTools 8.58 enhances configuration and isolation of customizations with updates to Event Mapping, Drop Zones, Application Engine, and the new Configuration Specialist homepage.

Event Mapping

PeopleTools 8.58 includes several enhancements to Event Mapping that support broader usage of PeopleCode event mapping with Drop Zones for data privacy and other uses.

Event Mapping now supports FieldDefault, FieldEdit, SearchInIt, and SearchSave events for component record fields and SearchInIt and SearchSave events for component records.

Event Mapping now also supports records and record fields on subpages and secondary pages at any level of nesting – not just for primary pages explicitly defined in the component. This enhancement also extends support to the Page Activate event for secondary pages and to derived work records.

Finally, you can now use a single application class service ID for multiple configurations. This enhancement simplifies PeopleCode development because multiple blocks of code can be delivered in a single application class. Then, during configuration, you can use a new Event Mapping parameter to selectively invoke the specific block of code that pertains to a specific event.

Drop Zones

Similar to Fluid pages, Drop Zones are now supported on Classic pages, including Classic Plus. These configurable Drop Zones allow you to add new fields that are displayed and processed on delivered Classic pages without customizing the component or Classic page definition.

The three-step Drop Zone implementation process remains similar to that as for Fluid Drop Zones, which were introduced in images on PeopleTools 8.57.

First, PeopleSoft application development teams add Drop Zones to selected Class applications. These Drop Zone-enabled pages will be delivered to customers in upcoming PeopleSoft application update images on PeopleTools 8.58. On Classic pages, a Drop Zone is a special group box with the Drop Zone Group Box option selected. Each Drop Zone must contain the PT_ERC subpage stub, which is dynamically replaced at runtime.

Second, you design and create Classic subpage definitions to be dynamically inserted as replacements for the subpage stub. The fields and page controls on your subpages are displayed and processed along with the fields and controls of the main page without any differentiation of where the items are defined.

Third, you associate your Classic subpages to Drop Zones. Note that unconfigured Drop Zones are ignored and not rendered at runtime.

Application Engine

PeopleTools 8.58 enables you to configure an application engine action plug-in to alter SQL or PeopleCode actions of any application engine program.

Similar to Event Mapping for transactional processing, your modification to application engine programs will not cause any disruption when you decide to upgrade to a new image.

Actions belonging to the same step of the same section can have multiple plug-in actions defined. You will need to decide in which order to perform the actions that you add or replace, as well as the sequence in which the actions belonging to the same step of the same section run during execution.

Configuration Specialist Homepage

Using tile definitions delivered in PeopleTools 8.58, future PeopleSoft application update images will include a Configuration Specialist homepage, a Configuration Specialist role, and additional selected tile definitions – such as Page and Field Configurator, Form Designer, and others.

configuration-specialist

When combined, these features will grant access to these PeopleTools features and other selected items without opening up the entire PeopleTools menu structure. You can grant access to additional items, and your specialists can reconfigure this homepage to suit their needs.

PeopleTools 8.58 includes these seven tile definitions:

  • Manage Dashboard Pages
  • Activity Guide
  • Notifications
  • Pivot Grid
  • Related Content Service
  • Navigation Collections
  • Tile Wizard

Reporting and Analytics

PeopleTools 8.58 reporting and analytics include enhancements to:

  • Charting
  • PeopleSoft Query
  • Using Microsoft Excel templates in BI Publisher
  • Thresholds and Personalized Analytics Notifications
  • Pivot grids
  • Kibana analytics
  • Report distribution
  • Run Control ID management

Charting

PeopleTools 8.58 enables you to set thresholds for a particular data point, or multiple data points, on a bar chart – providing a visual representation that identifies when the threshold is reached. For example, the color gradually changes when the number of visitors crosses a 50,000 threshold. Instead of a gradually changing color, you can also create a band or block to represent a threshold.

threshold

PeopleTools also supports the JET timeline component that displays a set of events in chronological order. To use the JET timeline, PeopleTools provides the timeline class with its methods and properties, which an application developer can use within the chart area in Application Designer. Typically, a chart area is associated with a field on a record. A timeline visualization can use a single series or two series.

jet-timeline

PeopleSoft Query

The PeopleTools 8.58 data masking enhancement in PeopleSoft Query enables you to mask output and prevent the display of sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII). You will need to set up the data masking pattern on the Query Administration page. This feature enables you to control output in various locations in the PeopleSoft Query Output Viewer.

In pivot grids and simplified analytics, if PII or sensitive data is selected as a Y-axis, an empty chart will be shown with data displayed as masked in the detailed view. If sensitive data is selected as an X-axis, an error message that says “one or more axis data is sensitive” will appear. If sensitive data is selected as a filter or an editable facet, the data will be hidden from the left pane of the Pivot Grid Viewer and will be masked in the detailed view.

When using Query APIs to fetch data from a query, the Application Data Privacy Framework programs incorporate PeopleTools security by designating record fields as PII or sensitive data and restrict access by user or role.

For BI Publisher reports generated using RTF templates, you can use conditional logic in the template, combined with the runtime parameter $MaskedFields, to detect and either bypass the formatting of masked data fields or replace them with a customized text, for example PRIVATE.

Even if a user is authorized to access certain queries, you can control whether personal data or other sensitive fields are exposed to them when the query executes.

Using Microsoft Excel Templates in BI Publisher

In PeopleTools 8.58, BI Publisher for PeopleSoft enables you to generate spreadsheet reports using Microsoft Excel templates. With Microsoft Excel templates, you can split hierarchical data across multiple worksheets and dynamically name those sheets – creating sheets of data with master detail relationships.

Use native Microsoft Excel functions and formulas to generate financial reports the present substantial numerical data, along with any relevant calculations or aggregation of that data, and design spreadsheet reports with much greater control than with RTF or XSL template. When using a Microsoft Excel template, the initial formatting and layout in the template stay intact.

Thresholds and Personalized Analytics Notifications

In PeopleTools 8.58, you can define thresholds for a single X-axis data point using pivot grids. Previously, you could only define a collective threshold for all data points on the X-axis. This feature also enables you to define varied thresholds for different data points on the same chart. You can set thresholds for an individual data point from the Configure Notifications window for that data point.

PeopleTools 8.58 also introduces support for defining two different thresholds on the Y-axis. When the chart contains a dual Y-axis, the threshold line or area is plotted against the respective axes – enabling you to capture rules with more than one threshold.

Pivot grid models use personalized analytic notifications for thresholds. If threshold boundaries are exceeded, the system sends you a notification. As an extension to the existing email and push notification alerts, PeopleTools 8.58 will support text messaging notification alerts when a threshold is reached.

The notification configuration for pivot grid thresholds is delivered by default in the pivot grid thresholds notification category. If you’re an administrative user, you can change your notification options from the Notification Configuration page. On this page, the administrator can enable personalization settings for the end user.

When personalization settings are enabled, the end user can change the notification options from the My Preferences page. However, to enable text messaging notification support, additional administrative configurations, like setting up the phone number, are required.

Pivot Grids

PeopleTools 8.58 introduces the ability to export rows that are visible on a pivot grid when filters are applied. This enables the export of a subset of data from a pivot gride. The exported data only includes the filtered data that appears in the current view of the pivot grid.

export-filtered-data

PeopleTools 8.58 also introduces the ability to define order or sequence values for data points on the X-axis. You can sort values on the X-axis in the order that makes the most sense to you. Define these sequence values on the Configure Colum Axis Sequence window in Step 3 of the Pivot Grid Wizard.

Once you define your custom sequence and save your preferences, you can view your changes in the Pivot Grid Viewer. Your defined values take precedence over the default character sort order.

sequence-values

Another sorting enhancement is the sequencing of the Facets category in the pivot grid configuration. PeopleSoft introduces the ability to configure which facet categories are expanded by default in the Pivot Grid Viewer. After you define and save your preferences, you can view your changes in the Pivot Grid Viewer.

Sorting facet items is also supported in PeopleTools 8.58. When you select items from a facet category, selected items take precedence in the sorting order over the default character sort order.

Also, with PeopleTools 8.58, the pivot grid detailed view enables you to format non-monetary numeric fields to display the thousand separator. You can configure this feature by selecting the “Display 1000 Separator” checkbox in Step 3 of the Pivot Grid Wizard.

Kibana Analytics

Prior to PeopleTools 8.58, Kibana was used for search index and Elasticsearch server monitoring. With PeopleTools 8.58, you can now use Kibana to visualize and analyze existing PeopleSoft application data stored in Elasticsearch indexes for search or create new Elasticsearch indexes for additional data you want to visualize or analyze. This functionality provides user authentication based on PeopleSoft user and role security. It also includes data authorization where the data displayed to a user is filtered similar to search results, which are based on the user’s role security.

PeopleSoft enables you to create and edit visualizations by accessing Kibana and provides visualizations at two levels:

  1. A summary level visualization through tiles in PeopleSoft
  2. A detailed visualization where you can apply filters and set time ranges in PeopleSoft

Report Distribution

In PeopleTools 8.58, you can now add a “From” email address while distributing reports – helping you manage, organize, and filter emails from different PeopleSoft processes. Set this option while scheduling processes or jobs or at the job or process definition level.

Run Control ID Management

PeopleTools 8.58 introduces Run Control ID Management – enabling you to retrieve, validate, and delete Run Control IDs. Administrative users can retrieve, validate, and delete any Run Control ID while end users can retrieve, validate, and delete any Run Control ID that they created. This feature allows PeopleSoft application teams to deliver Run Control ID Management interfaces in their products.

Search

In PeopleTools 8.58, PeopleSoft Search Framework supports Elasticsearch 7.0 and Kibana 7.0. The search framework also ships a new Elasticsearch DPK that contains the ELK stack, which includes Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash. Initially, Logstash will work exclusively with PeopleSoft Health Center.

PeopleSoft enables you to mask personally identifiable information (PII) and sensitive data on Classic and Fluid search pages, including prompt pages. Use PeopleCode to mask PII data by using masking characters. You can define the trailing characters that can remain unmasked. If ListView or facets contain PII or sensitive data, they are removed from the search page.

Integration: CI to REST Interface

Integration Broker creates web services, including REST-based web services from a component interface. This makes it easy to expose business login in standard ways. In addition to sending and receiving these services in XML format, PeopleTools 8.58 introduced support for sending and receiving the services in JSON as well.

Lifecycle Management: PUM Images Using Oracle 19c

When you obtain a PUM image, one of the DPKs you download includes Oracle Database server software. The Oracle Database server software is used to deploy the preconfigured application database when you set up the PUM image. The PUM images built on PeopleTools 8.58 will use Oracle 19c Database server software. Oracle 19c is the terminal release of the 12.2.x database code line and will be supported for an extended period of time.

Platform and COBOL

PeopleTools 8.58 includes platform and COBOL enhancements to infrastructure DPKs, universal tablespaces for Db2 z/OS, and adopt micro focus visual COBOL 4.0.

Infrastructure DPKs

PeopleTools will deliver infrastructure DPKs that contain up-to-date CPU patches or supporting software components soon after they are made available. When you download the PeopleTools DPKs or the PeopleSoft PUM Images, check for an infrastructure DPK with a later delivery date. The infrastructure DPK will be delivered as needed with updated CPU or possibly other patches that PeopleTools deems necessary for Oracle WebLogic, Oracle Tuxedo, JDK and JRE, Oracle Database Client, and Oracle HTTP Server.

Download the infrastructure DPK, along with PeopleTools DPKs or PeopleSoft PUM Images, into the same directory and use them for a new installation.

When you use the DPK setup script, it uses the components from the infrastructure DPK to install your environment with the updated versions of Oracle WebLogic, Oracle Tuxedo, JDK and JRE, Oracle Database Client, and Oracle HTTP Server from the infrastructure DPK.

Universal Tablespaces for Db2 z/OS

Oracle is aligning with IBM’s strategic direction on the Db2 for z/OS platform by introducing support for universal tablespaces.

Prior to PeopleTools 8.58, PeopleTools used IBM shared segmented tablespaces, which allowed for multiple tables in a tablespace. IBM’s direction has shifted to adopt universal tablespaces, which contain a single table.

Beginning with PeopleTools 8.58, PeopleTools will dynamically create new databases using UTS with Db2 z/OS 12.1 wen function level 503 or higher is enabled.

Adopt Micro Focus Visual COBOL 4.0

PeopleSoft applications that require COBOL will now use the next-generation Micro Focus compiler suite of products Visual COBOL – replacing Server Express and Net Express.

Visual COBOL was introduced as an option with the PeopleTools 8.56 and 8.57 patch releases. In PeopleTools 8.58, it becomes the only supported microfocus compiler.

There is no additional cost associated with the change to Visual COBOL – just a simple exchange of the license file.

Note that support for other COBOL compilers, such as IBM COBOL, has not changed.

If you currently have Net Express for Windows, you have several options, including:

  • Visual COBOL 4.0 for Visual Studio (Windows) – VS 2015, 2017
  • Visual COBOL 4.0 for Eclipse (Windows)
  • Visual COBOL 4.0 Build Tools (Windows)

Select the product that fits with your organization’s needs and development tools.

If you have Server Express, the choice is simple – Visual COBOL 4.0 Development HUB.

You can find answers to FAQs in “Using Visual COBOL with PeopleSoft” (Doc ID 2523494.1) on My Oracle Support.

Security, Data Privacy, and Monitoring

Data Privacy Framework

Data Privacy Framework enables you to identify and mask personally identifiable information (PII) and sensitive data. It is implemented through data masking and filtering.

This functionality enables masking of IDs and other masked data in dropdowns, search display fields, and other PII and sensitive data. Filtering allows role-based rules for different users – restricting users from viewing unauthorized data.

Data privacy covers:

  • Queries
  • Search results
  • Dropdowns
  • Filters

You can set up data masking patterns on the Query Administration page to control output in various locations in the PeopleSoft Query Output viewer. You can mask PII or sensitive data on Classic and Fluid search pages, including prompt pages.

The Filter UserID Values in the dropdown feature enables you to display only those user IDs in the dropdown for which the user has security access. In the dropdown, the masked data disguises the original data link.

Security

PeopleTools now supports open authorization (OAuth) 2.0. With OAuth, an end user’s account information can be used by third-party services without exposing the user’s password.

This is a foundation release for PeopleSoft, so the initial support is for use with Oracle Identity Cloud service and chatbot REST services.

In addition, PeopleTools 8.58 provides consistency in login client IP addresses versus hostnames – making it possible to configure which of the exported type IP addresses are being reported as an individual browser IP.

Monitoring

PeopleSoft Health Center (PHC) replaces the mobile application framework with Kibana dashboards to display monitoring data on the health of your PeopleSoft applications. You can view monitoring data pertaining to a specific application, host, or domain.

PHC uses Logstash for ingesting data, which is shipped with the Elasticsearch DPK.

For PHC to work correctly, install Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash. Kibana uses the PHC index in Elasticsearch to display monitoring data in the visualizations.

PHC delivers dashboards for the application, web, and process scheduler servers in addition to the summary dashboard.

For more information about the PeopleTools 8.58 highlights, check out the video below or visit these additional resources:

Additional Resources

COLLABORATE 20 will take place April 19-23, 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada! Don’t miss this chance to share inspiration, insights, and solutions with your peers, vendors, and the Oracle team! Register before March 6, 2020, to take advantage of Early Bird pricing.

If you’re looking for more PeopleSoft content, join us next year at RECONNECT 20, the premier deep-dive PeopleSoft focused event of the year! The event will take place July 21-23, 2020 in St. Louis, Missouri. Keep an eye out for more information on this event!