How Microsoft ClickOnce Platform Benefits ECM Deployments for Capture, Document Management & eForms

ClickOnce is a deployment technology that enables you to create self-updating Windows-based applications that can be installed and run with minimal user interaction. ClickOnce deployment provides 3 major benefits for any .NET application:

  • Updates are provided automatically, downloading only those parts of the application that have changed.
  • Each application is self-contained and cannot interfere with other applications.
  • Deployment enables non-administrative users to install, granting only those security permissions necessary for the application.

As manufacturers of an ECM platform built on the .NET Framework, we are able to take advantage of ClickOnce to provide simple deployment of the complex and powerful applications we create. Personally, I’ve found that ClickOnce strikes an excellent balance between the two things most often encountered in enterprise environments: requirements for rich client applications that can be frequently and rapidly updated, and the simple access and deployment thin client web applications are known for.

When software needs to be deployed to many users across an entire enterprise organization, like is often the case with our content management product, ILINX Content Store, ClickOnce successfully gets the software where it needs to be, when it needs to be there. This also holds true for our capture and workflow product, ILINX Capture, which requires complex interaction with both other software suites and several classes of image capture hardware.

But what if your platform has limitations that prevents you from taking this route, forcing you to package the software into a .MSI file instead? This is adequate for some situations, but quickly becomes a pain to deploy proportional to the number of machines it needs to be installed on.

Facing this challenge with our electronic forms product, ILINX eForms, we have found a workaround that allows us to avoid the headache of one-at-a-time deployment .MSI files create. In short, the same API used to build the standard ILINX eForms client is available for use in building custom .NET applications, which allows you the freedom and flexibility to integrate ILINX eForms into your own .NET software. When combining this benefit with even basic ClickOnce configuration, you end up with a strong, rich-client application that can be seamlessly deployed and updated across your organization as needed in a matter of seconds.

But what about building out the custom app itself? The highlights of that process will be covered in a future entry, but if you’re ready to go right now, just open up the Help file in your copy of the ILINX eForms Designer and take a look at the Standalone Application contents section for some guidelines to help get you started.

Jesse Kinney
Solutions Developer
ImageSource, Inc.

Transferring ILINX Release Configurations When Upgrading

Starting with ILINX Capture v6, the Release configurations are stored within the ILINX database. In ILINX Capture v5x, the ILINX Release configurations were stored in XML files on a disk. ILINX Capture called ILINX Release using a SendAndReceivedReply IXM. The change to store the settings within the ILINX database is very useful for a number of reasons: Release settings are part of the batch profile allowing for simpler migrations between environments, Release is much easier to configure, all configurations are in the database, etc. However, this change can create some extra work when upgrading from ILINX Capture 5x to ILINX Capture 6x. Because of the different architecture, ILINX Release needs to be completely reconfigured for the existing batch profiles. In addition, the Release XML doesn’t change, but there is a shortcut that can be taken. After you have upgraded ILINX Capture to v6, you’ll notice a new IXM in the palette: ILINX_Release_IXM_Icon

The existing ILINX workflow will likely have a SendAndReceiveReply IXM on the map that the 5x version of ILINX Capture used to call ILINX Release. Most likely, it would look like this:
SendAndReceiveReply_IXMTo configure ILINX Release for ILINX Capture 6x, the SendAndReceiveReply IXM will need to be removed from the map and a Release IXM must be dragged onto the workflow map in its place. Once the new Release IXM is on the map, it will need to be configured. This is where the shortcut can be taken. Instead of having to manually enter in the correct URLs, map the metadata values, and configure any other settings, do this:
Configure and save Release with some place holder settings: I normally leave the settings at default and enter in the bare minimum:

  • Job Name
  • User Name
  • Password
  • Batch Profile
  • Release Directory

Once ILINX Release configuration is saved and the workflow map is published, there will be a new entry in the ILINX Capture database Capture WorkflowAppSettings table. The CaptureWorkflowAppSettings.SettingsXML column is where the Release configuration is stored. Now it’s time to update the SettingsXML column with the XML from the ILINX Release 5x job settings file. The Release job should be on the ILINX Release 5.x server at c:\ProgramData\ImageSource\ILINX\Release\Settings\Jobs. The only caveat here is to be sure to place single quotes around the XML content. Here is what the SQL update statement would look like:

update [ILINX CAPTURE DATABASE].[dbo]. [CaptureWorkflowAppSettings]
set SettingsXml = ‘COPY AND PASTE ALL TEXT FROM 5.4 OR PRIOR RELEASE JOB SETTINGS FILE HERE’
where settingsID = ‘APPROIATE ID HERE’

Following this procedure can save some time if upgrading an ILINX Capture 5x system that has a lot of batch profiles. A lot of the time spent on the upgrade could be in the ILINX Release configuration. If I was upgrading a system with only a few batch profiles, I would probably just reconfigure them. If I was upgrading a system with a lot of batch profiles, I would go through the above steps to save some time.

John Linehan
Sr. Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

How ILINX Capture changed my document conversion workflow

I have been doing document conversion for roughly 15 years and there are numerous applications you can choose from that are a complete waste of time. I have unfortunately had the opportunity to work with some very cumbersome and complicated applications over the years. One of the applications we were using had modules you would have to open separately for every step in the conversion process. After scanning you would have to open the import module then you would have to open another module for document classification then another module for indexing then another module for Quality Control and another module for releasing the final product. I was introduced to a new application called ILINX Capture that changed my entire workflow. I fell in love with it. Now, I no longer have to open a bunch of separate modules to complete the conversion process. The conversion process takes place all in the same window document classification, QC, indexing, etc. ILINX Capture is so easy to use and a complete time saver. I recommend checking it out if you find yourself wasting time going through unnecessary steps when capturing and indexing your content.

Ryan Ivie
Conversion Services Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Steps for a successful ECM migration using ILINX Export

As a Sr. Systems Engineer at ImageSource, I am currently engaged on a project where the customer had a need to migrate all content out of their Stellent IBPM 7.6.0.0 software platform. (This is the same product stack as Optika Acorde and Oracle IPM; the product has gone through a few name changes over the years with the different acquisitions.) In my experience, I have found there are several steps that need to be taken when considering migrating content from your current ECM repository.

The first steps in any migration are to analyze existing content and ensure that the majority has been discovered, identified and prioritized.

  1. Categorize content into categories (document types, applications, folders, etc.)
  2. Prioritize content based on:
    1. A business value rating to the content
    2. A difficulty level associated with the migration effort

Categorizing Content:
All discovered content should be cataloged by the indexes or field data that exists for it and the file formats used. All systems that may be migrated need to be investigated for existing export tools that can export data into various formats, such as CSV or directly to custom databases. If the system is lacking any direct export capability built into the product it is necessary to either develop a migration tool or purchase one. In my current project we are using a tool developed by ImageSource called ILINX Export. ILINX Export supports migrations out of Oracle IPM (along with Stellent IBPM and Optika Acorde), WebCenter Content 11g, EMC AppXtender, IBM FileNet P8, and IBM FileNet ImageServices. Continue reading

How to fix an error when configuring Active Directory Federation Services

While recently working to deploy an Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) instance on a Server 2012 system, I ran into an issue. When I tried to do the initial configuration of the ADFS service from the ADFS console, there was an error that said the Windows Internal Database (WID) could not be started. This WID service is required for the ADFS service to function. I have included the text from the error below, which is very simple to fix once you know the root cause. Continue reading

Converting Image Files

At some point there is going to be a need to convert an Imaging Systems image files from one format to another format when moving to a new Imaging system.  ILINX® Import can be used to handle the conversion.

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Serendipitous Cerebration (Part 2 – Project Planning)

Serendipitous Cerebration as a problem solving technique can only be applied in the rare cases when normal logical troubleshooting has failed.  As much as we hate to admit it, when all logical problem solving avenues have been exhausted and our troubleshooting prowess to a flummoxed state of tentation, this is when we begin to enter the realm where serendipitous cerebration hides in dark, dank crevasses.  In reviewing this project, our hopes are that you can see how the process of Serendipitous Cerebration can develop.

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