RPE 2.0 Beta on Bluemix is running the M5 build

The IBM Rational Publishing Engine 2.0 Beta running on Bluemix at https://rpe.mybluemix.net/rpeng/ has been refreshed with the M5 build. This build adds many new capabilities to RPE 2.0 and improves the ones already seen in the M4 build.

Attached are the announcement letter and the updated tutorial in PDF format:

  1. IBM Rational Publishing Engine 2 M5 Announcement
  2. IBM Rational Publishing Engine 2 M5 Help

We appreciate the time you take to evaluate RPE 2.0 and we are looking forward for all your feedback. In particular this is what we aim to achieve with this milestone and in general with our beta.

  1. Is the design simple enough for the end users?
  2. Do you see all the capabilities that your report designers need?
  3. Is the interface intuitive enough and the flow simple enough?
  4. What is missing from this new RPE component to make it attractive for your organization?

We welcome all your feedback at rpe20_beta_support@wwpdl.vnet.ibm.com

Please ensure you go through the tutorial first. If you choose to skip it for a fast start than your first step should be go to the “Design Page” and use the “Create examples” link.

To further help users explore this build we have recorded presentation videos:

  1.  Document Generator Walk-Through: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAaQ0dHPtwk
  2.  Report Designer Part 1 – First Steps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa5y0aX3w1w
  3. Report Designer Part 2 – Create your Own Reports: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvPSSyeI2R0
  4. Report Designer Part 3 – Quick Report Creation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaCx3mKhfHE

 

RPE 2.0 Beta – Open Social Widgets

A feature available in the RPE 2.0 open Beta that is more difficult to notice in the Bluemix deployment is the ability to embed document generation capabilities in Open Social containers, such as the CLM dashboards.

The RPE 2.0 Web UI provides an example widget that provides access to the last version of the documents create for a report and also allows to invoke the document generation from the dashboard. Additional widgets can be created using the REST APIs exposed by RPE 2.0 Web Services.

RPE_20_Widgets

Creating a Table of Contents with RPE

To create a Table of Contents in RPE you can proceed in two ways:

  1. use the “Table of Contents” element from the RPE Palette.
  2. use an external stylesheet

For option #1 please see Adding a table of contents element in the RPE Infocenter

For option #2 you simply have to create the TOC in your stylesheet and follow the steps outlined in Using external styles from Word stylesheets  to associate the stylesheet with your Word or PDF output.

My recommendation is to use option #2 since  using Microsoft Word to edit the settings of your TOC has the following benefits:

  1. separate the layout of your document from the formatting
  2. a simpler user experience
  3. immediate visual feedback
  4. it is less error prone as the template designer does not need to copy paste the field codes from Word to RPE

RPE 2.0 Beta – Q&A

I’ve received some very good questions on email for the RPE 2.0 Beta and I want to share them along with their answers here.

 

Q: How do you intend to deal with separate organizations. I’m sure that Company X would not be keen on having Company Y looking at their templates + docs (and vice versa).

A: the RPE 2.0 Bluemix deployment is meant to show what the application can do and how it will do it. In other words the Bluemix deployment is the easiest way for us to provide an installed version of the Web UI for our users to try with no additional setup. When RPE 2.0 is released the web application will be included in the installer so each organisations can deploy it in its own network.

Also in the Bluemix deployment a user’s documents, templates and reports are private, no other beta user can access them. On a private deployment the templates and reports are shared while the documents are still private.

 

Q: Will it eventually be available as a Bluemix Service that one can instantiate as part of an App?

A: yes. The Web Application that you see on Bluemix has 2 parts: the Web UI and a set of core services. The core services which are named DGaaS ( DocGen as a Service) expose a REST API to configure, start and control the document generation. We do consider offering these services as a Bluemix service  and they will of course be available to be used from a local deployment.

 

Q: How do you anticipate usage of this? Are all users generators or do some people generate and then let other people view the generated output?

A: We envisage that all users will generate documents and some will upload templates and create reports for the others to use. But the generated document will only be visible to the user that generated them. The sharing/reuse in the RPE 2.0 is limited by design to templates and reports.

 

Q: How will you be able to connect to a DOORS data source?

A: DOORS 9 is not supported by the Web UI as it requires a Windows server machine with a DOORS 9 client installed and could create scalability problems.

Also note that the RPE 2.0 Beta on Bluemix is limited to the new Web Services and Web UI. The RPE 2.0 will continue to ship the existing Eclipse based clients but that is not included in the beta. The RPE 2.0 Thick Clients ( Launcher, Studio) continue to fully support DOORS 9.

Using external styles from Word stylesheets

When designing templates with RPE it is recommended you separate the formatting of the document from the rest of the template.You can define most formatting properties in the template but that makes for a template that is difficult to manage. The better option is to use external styles defined in Word stylesheets.

applyStyle

Using Word stylesheets will make the template simpler to maintain and it will also allow you to change the appearance of the document simply by providing a different stylesheet.

Continue reading Using external styles from Word stylesheets

Requirement Management Document Generation for IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation

Einar Karlsen has published two new articles on producing document style reports from DNG on his blog: Basic Reporting for  IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation and Advanced Reporting for IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation.

The entry point for the articles is https://ewkarlsen.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/requirement-management-document-generation-for-ibm-rational-doors-next-generation/ and I strongly recommend following Einar’s blog as he has tremendous experience in designing and deploying complex solutions using Rational and open source tools.

Up to date information and comments on RPE and Document Generation for Rational tools

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