Getting Started with IBM Rational Publishing Engine

The GEBS Reporting team  continues their RPE&Document Generation Webinars series with a new free webinar scheduled for August the 12th : Getting started with IBM Rational Publishing Engine

Join us for this whistle-stop tour of IBM Rational Publishing Engine. You’ll learn the basic concepts that underpin RPE and see how to get started generating simple documents. Focussing on just the essentials of RPE, this hands-on webinar starts by introducing the RPE user interface, and then walks through the basics of template design including data source querying, output formatting and how to use simple conditional logic.

Presenters: Alex Feseto and Dan Ani

Knowing the presenters’ experience with document generation topics and their deep knowledge of RPE I highly recommend attending this webinar.

Managing data connection errors

Updated 2014.07.31

Data connection errors are critical errors in RPE/RRDG and by default any such failure will cause the document generation to abort immediately. There are however scenarios where this default behavior is not desirable:

  1. data containing known broken links
  2. peak load times when requests might sporadically be rejected by the server

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Word: Styleref fields

Microsoft Word offers a very interesting field called STYLEREF. Quoting from Office Help:

The StyleRef field inserts text that’s formatted with the specified style. When inserted in a header or footer, the StyleRef field prints the first or last text formatted with the specified style in the document body of the current page, allowing you to print dictionary-style headers or footers.

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One more technique for debugging DNG document generation

In addition to the methods described in Troubleshooting DNG document generation with RRDG there is one more technique you can use to debug document generation in DNG: replicate the DNG document generation in a standalone RPE installation but the using RPE templates deployed on the DNG server and the DSX files created by DNG.

NOTE if the RRDG engine in DNG and the RRDG version in your standalone RPE are different the results you obtain in the two environments can be very different. Still this method remains valid and useful to understand the inner workings of RRDG in DNG.

When you use the “Generate a Document-Style report” function DNG will use all the selections you make in the wizard in order to build a document specification ( dsx) which it then passes to DNG. The DSX file are stored in <SERVER_INSTALLATION>\server\tomcat\temp\rrc_reports

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Use Word stylesheets and run macros in DNG

The Word and RPE templates examples used in this article are available in the CLM Templates Page of the RPE DevWorks wiki.

Using Word Stylesheets with DNG templates

Using Word stylesheets with your template allows you to keep a consistent look&feel and simplify the design and maintenance of the RPE templates.

To use Word stylesheets with the templates deployed in DNG you need to:

  1. use the same name for the stylesheet and the dta file. Use doc extension for the stylesheet
  2. copy the stylesheet in <Server Installation>\server\conf\rm\reporting\initialization\templates\word
  3. reinitialize the DNG publish service by making a request to https://clmserver:port/rm/publish/initialize

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RPE Stability Testing

The RPE SVT team ( System Verification Test) performs periodically what we call a “long run” test of RPE. This test involves running a large number ( 6000) of remote document generations. The jobs are started using the RPE Launcher Command Line API.

The purpose of this test is to observe the stability of RPE and measure if any degradation of performance, which would indicate a resource leak, is observed over the duration of the tests.

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Troubleshooting DNG document generation with RRDG

When DNG’s “Generate a document style report” feature misbehaves you should go through the following actions:

  1. check rrdg.log for additional information. The log file is location is <SERVER_INSTALL>\server\logs\rrdg.log.
  2. delete/move the rrdg folder located in C:\Program Files\IBM\JazzTeamServer\server\tomcat\temp\rrc_reports\ See this technote for scenarios where this also helps. You do not need to stop the DNG server for this.
  3. create C:\Program Files\IBM\JazzTeamServer\server\tomcat\temp\rrc_reports\rrdg\ if missing and step #2 did not help. You do not need to stop the DNG server for this.
  4. reinitialize the RM Publish Service http://server:9443/rm/publish/initialize

One more thing to be aware of is the UAC Data Virtualization trap.  If you use Document Studio to edit the DNG templates directly in the server installation make sure you run Document Studio.

A problem that I troubleshooted and resolved recently using the above techniques was DNG not running macros on my machine despite everything being in place for that. The rrdg.log gave the first clue:

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