Serena Blog

How does a developer know when they are done?.  soup.testing.001 How does a business know that their new application or feature does what the customer wants it to do? By testing. Testing is a cross functional activity that involves the whole team and should be done continuously from the beginning of the project. It serves as the gauntlet that a committed change has to run and pass in order to be considered worthy for release.  While testing is a major key ingredient

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We are looking for new and innovative uses of Serena Deployment Automation Community Edition and are announcing a new contest with a chance for a $1,000 Amazon gift card!

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CM_GraphicresizedOn June 10th I announced Serena Dimensions CM 14 – the best ever, and I am pleased to report that we have now secured a number of successful early adopters, many of whom are live and in production, and attracted a significant number of accounts that are now actively pursuing or planning their implementations and upgrades.

We have seen broad

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In our October 2014 Mainframe Virtual User Group (VUG), we highlighted the latest features in the ChangeMan ZMF 8.1 release, set to go GA at the end of the month. In addition to Kevin Parker and I presenting
at this VUG, we were joined by Greg Hughes, President and CEO of Serena Software and some of the lead developers of ChangeMan ZMF, and the Client Pack to demonstrate some of the functionality in his forthcoming release.

You may

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The world of configuration management is no longer just about The future of configuration management webcast servers in the data center. It is rapidly expanding and supporting other environments including cloud, mobile devices, embedded devices, BYOD and devices in the car and home. All these environments need to be configured as a broader system tying into a business platform or application. Everything is growing and becoming increasingly pervasive,

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We are gearing up for our next global user conference, xChange15, to be held March 22-25 in Washington D.C. Like our past xChange conferences, this one is going to be all about helping our customers get the most value our of their Serena software investments, with presentations and workshops featuring the best thought leaders, technical experts, fellow customers and technology partners.

In three jam-packed days, we provide over 60 technical sessions on the products you are using today, like SBM, Dimensions

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If you didn’t see the news yesterday, our friends at CloudBees, the enterprise Jenkins company, announced further strengthening of their partner program to delivery continuous delivery success to software development and IT organizations around the world.

It was

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Deploying software in today’s enterprise environments is an extremely expensive and inefficient process. The cost in terms of resources, time and revenue lost is actually astounding. I was on the phone with a large insurance company recently that was struggling with high costs and time to market issues with their main retail application. Their DBAs were spending over 50% of their time manually deploying 3 releases a day.

Do you have high cost, highly skilled team members deploying software? It shouldn’t be that hard.

You

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Continuous Delivery continues to be one of the most effective approaches to improving application delivery and achieving DevOps improvement.

Serena has partnered with CloudBees, the enterprise Jenkins company, to bring you live full-day summits with industry experts on Continuous Delivery. The first four summits have been sold out and well reviewed.

Please join us at one of the upcoming summits in a city near you:

  • Chicago – October 15th
  • San Francisco

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Patrick Debois coined the term “DevOps” as part of the first DevOpsDays nearly 5 years ago. Now DevOps is a major movement in the smallest start-ups and the largest enterprises.

Patrick and I spoke on a recent Serena DevOps Drive-In webcast about the first five years of the DevOps movement and what lies ahead in the next five years. I think you’ll find the edited recording of the event really interesting.

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Technical blog posts

If you love the process control you get with SBM but are tired of the dated end-user interface, take a closer look at Serena Work Center.

Available in SBM 10.1.3 or later, Work Center brings the power of your SBM applications to a single portal. Along with its modern look and feel, built from ground up in modern UI and server technologies, Work Center is designed to ensure users easily find their favorite features, along with some new ones.

Here are 10 reasons you should give Work Center a try:

1. There's no migration necessary. All of your existing applications will work just as they do in the "classic" User Workspace. Use this simple URL to access Work Center: http://yourservername/workcenter

2. New global capabilities mean users no longer need to figure out which application tab to select when they are searching for or submitting new items. When adding new items, users can search for any project in the system. Recent projects are saved for each access, and users can also save their favorite projects.

3. You can combine multiple applications into a single "application group." This is a great way for users to focus on information in multiple applications rather than figuring out how to access features on different tabs.

 


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Tags: SBM


When figuring out why a problem is happening in SBM or any other web based product for that matter, IIS 7.0 and later offer excellent logging of problems that result in an error code coming back from the server.  For example, if you are seeing an error like a 403 or 500 being displayed in your web browser, then this is a good technique to gather detailed information about where exactly the problem is happening.


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Tags: SBM


When a User requests a process in SDA you can optionally ask them to select or enter inputs properties. These properties are typically passed down from the application process to the invoked component processes. In this post I will look at how to pass application process property values down to component processes and use a couple of tricks to ensure that they are requested in as user friendly way as possible.


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Tags: SDA/Deployment Automation


Not everyone can be root!

b2ap3_thumbnail_linux-root-power.png

One of the first questions I get from customers about installing the Serena Deployment Automation (SDA) Agent on a Linux (or Unix) machine is… can I run the agent under a dedicated account (i.e. anyone but root)? And do you provide an init file?

The answer is…YES. Yes you can. Yes we do.

In fact, Serena recommends that you create a user account dedicated to run the agent on the machine. This allows you to control who can run what and allows you stay within the IT policy and procedures.

To configure the agent to run under a dedicated account is simple.

  1. Create your dedicated agent account if you have not done so already.
  2. Update the agent init file with the account information.
  3. Update your runlevels.

"Sandwich" by xkcd is licensed under CC BY 2.5

 


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Tags: SDA/Deployment Automation


The SBM REST widget provides an easy way to display information that is available RESTfully via 3rd party tools.  The REST grid is useful for displaying data and allowing selected rows within the grid to populate other mapped fields on the form, but out-of-the-box it does not provide an easy way to drive business/process logic.


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Tags: SBM


If you've used SBM much, by now you'll have encountered rules defined in Composer. In this blog, I'll walk you through how to define and use rules in your process design and explore the many common and less common ways they can be used.


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Tags: SBM


Have you ever felt that you spend a lot of time managing the field privileges and orderings for workflows and transitions within SBM?

There could be several reasons including:

  • You upgraded from TeamTrack and still manage field visibility in a similar way.
  • You have a primary table that supports multiple workflows which do not share the same fields.
  • You do not use custom forms for states and/or transitions.

The following recommendations will reduce the time it takes for you to maintain your SBM Process Apps. These recommendations basically all strive to make the fewest changes to your system in order to achieve the presentation needed for your users. An added benefit is that in the end your user experience will be much more consistent as well.

Recommendation 1: Use custom forms for states and transitions

Custom State, Transition, and Print forms can be applied to your system at several places - the same places where field privileges and/or field ordering can be set. The following shows the order of inheritance of settings in SBM:

  1. Tables (controls field sections only - forms cannot be assigned at this level for primary tables)
  2. Workflows and child workflows
  3. Workflow States & Transitions
  4. Projects and child projects
  5. Project States & Transitions

The goal is to place changes as high up in this list as possible to minimize the amount of overrides below.

Establish as few forms as possible and share them as high in the list as possible. To do this you must determine when a user's view of information should change in your process.

State Forms

If you can get away with it, create one State Form and assign it to the highest level workflows. Doing so, your states can inherit and share the same view of fields. Typically users don't mind seeing fields that have not yet been set to a value.

Field privileges and orderings still affect how forms will display fields. However, if a specific order is not needed, then simply set the field ordering to be inherited.

Transition Forms

It is hard to avoid having multiple transition forms since it is not good practice to show more fields to a user on a transition than is necessary for data entry. At a minimum, try to identify which transitions are sufficiently similar and establish forms for them to share. If there are minor differences in the fields which should be shown, address them with field privilege overrides by moving fields to the Hidden section (or at least a section to which they do not have privilege to see) - by using this approach all you have to worry about is whether the field is in a visible field section for the user, not the specific order of the fields.

It is actually not unreasonable to place a form on quick transitions. This can be useful if you want to ensure that in the event of an error (such as from a Webservice, Orchestration, or AppScript), fields are not shown to a user that should have stayed hidden. In this scenario, a user may have even had an opportunity to set fields to which he/or she should not normally have access.

Recommendation 2: For workflows based on a table who share all fields

If you have a workflow structure for your Process App that looks like the example below, then manage field privileges at the table level first.

Process App

Parent Workflow

Child Workflow 1

Child Workflow 2

Take time when adding fields to the table to arrange them by section. The goal is to place the fields in the correct section eliminating the need to manage the field sections on the workflows. Next, the field order can be controlled by forms instead of field privilege overrides.

Recommendation 3: For workflows based on a table who do not share all fields

If instead you have a workflow structure for your Process App that looks like this example below, then place fields in System and Hidden sections primarily at the table level.

Process App

Parent Workflow 1

Parent Workflow 2

Parent Workflow 3

Focus on moving fields into visible field sections at the workflow level. Taking this approach minimizes the likelihood of the addition of a new field negatively affecting an existing workflow and therefore saves time.

Conclusion

Following these techniques will make it much easier to maintain your SBM system over time. It can take time to retrofit an older system using these techniques, but start with the first recommendation above and then address the field ordering recommendations next as you have time.


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Tags: SBM


On complex forms it can be difficult for an end-user to discover and find required fields, especially when they are hidden behind tabs or collapsed sections. To make this easier in solutions like SSM, we created a small JavaScript utility for enhanced validation that finds and navigates to required fields. Just add the script to your form and you get the following features.


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Tags: SBM


One of the most powerful and useful features of SDA is snapshots. If you are not using snapshots, then you are not really getting the most out of SDA. In this post I will explain what a snapshot is and how to use them effectively. I will also look at some of the more mysterious snapshot features. 


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Tags: SDA/Deployment Automation


(Note: I attended a wonderful class facilitated by Erika recently, where she asked us to share a tip with the other attendees. A couple of my classmates wanted to see my tip, so here it is.)

My current SBM customer uses tabs. Lots and lots and lots of tabs. Progressive tabs representing workflow stages. Functional tabs representing organizational structures. Tabs for system fields, tabs for notes and attachments...


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Tags: SBM


One of the things I like best about being a Solutions Architect at Serena is that I get to meet and interact with our customers face to face. Many times, these present opportunities to share best practices but also learn how our customers use our tools and what challenges they have. One common challenge has been the inability to use Rich Text capabilities or embed images to SBM Memo  Fields. The use case is pretty simple.


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Tags: SBM


As of SBM 10.1.4, you can enable the Submit on Behalf of Another User feature for your users.  This lets service desk technicians easily submit items on behalf of business users who call the help desk.

To enable this feature, edit the Submit transition in your parent workflow, click the Options tab, and then select Allow submit on behalf of another user.


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Tags: SBM


Do you have single or multi-selection fields that you need to add or maintain using SBM Composer?  If you're only working with a few values, it's easy to create, update, reorder and delete them in the selection fields property editor using the command buttons, in-place editing and keyboard shortcuts (see the "Selection Field Shortcut Values" topic in Composer help).


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Tags: SBM


Have you ever wanted to loop within an SDA process, something like this?

Ideal-loop-within-process.png

 

Unfortunately, what I've drawn above isn't supported, and while you can design it within the process editor you can't run it. Attempting to do so will result in an execution error.  But don't despair, there is another way to achieve similar results.


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Tags: SDA/Deployment Automation


Since the beginning, SBM has offered email notifications to alert users of things happening within the workflows that they are involved with. And for about as long, users have been asking for the ability to directly take action from within the email itself.  Over the years, the Serena Services and Field organizations have delivered this capability using various forms of customization, none of which were ideal and most of which involved TeamScripts/AppScripts which were challenging for customers to modify and maintain.

With the release of SBM 10.1.3, this functionality is now available out of the box, and setting it up is straightforward and requires no scripting or customization.  There wasn't a lot of fanfare around this feature, and many customers don't realize that they have it available to them.  This post will walk through setting this up, and an example of what it looks like.  


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Tags: SBM


There is pretty nice functionality in SBM Application Administrator allows administrators to view/update multiple users or groups in one batch. This functionality is also pretty old, but really few people are aware about it.


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Tags: SBM


Sometimes, whether it's with your own custom SDA plugin or a community/Serena provided plugin, we simply don't get the results we are expecting and need to do some troubleshooting.   Today we're going to talk about the easiest way we do it.


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Tags: SDA/Deployment Automation


As an Administrator, you can Change the Logo and text to your Company logo and name, plus change the text in the footer.  Click on your user icon in the upper right and choose Settings and then Branding Configuration.  Enter new text for the header under Header Title, choose your company logo for Image (URL) and set the Footer Text as desired.  Set Image Link to the URL you want to take the user to when they click the logo.

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_workcenter_branding.png


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Tags: SBM


Serena Service Request users have seen the following appear when they have entered words in the title field: 

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This message box informs users that there is a knowledge base article that has matching words in its title. Users can easily view the existing articles, and then use an article to resolve the issue without help from the help desk. 


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Tags: Serena Request Center


We have just produced the latest SBM Architecture diagram so sharing it here. This gives a high level architectural diagram of SBM, its components and how they communicate.

 


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Tags: SBM