Friday, April 27, 2012

HFM 11.1.2.2 User Interface

In this post I will show you what the HFM web interface looks like in the new EPM 11.1.2.2 release. There are quite a few changes - partly because the technical foundation has been changed and partly for the reason that HFM applications now support virtually unlimited number of custom dimensions.


HFM 11.1.2.2 Web Architecture

The HFM web UI was written from scratch for this version and it is now based on Oracle's ADF J2EE framework. This means that the HFM web interface is no more generated in IIS and that there is now a Java based web application that has taken over this task. As HFM is firmly rooted in the Windows world IIS is still needed in the middle but only to provide a Web Services interface that the ADF part uses when talking to the HFM application components. The following diagram should clarify things a bit:


The J2EE based HFM web applications (FM ADF Web Application and FM Web Services) are deployed into a single managed WebLogic server. These web apps must be deployed on the same machine where IIS is running which practically means that they can only be installed on Windows servers.


When performing the IIS configuration tasks for HFM you now need to select the option "Configure IIS to Enable Financial Management Web Services" even if you are not installing Financial Close Management. Leaving this option out (I tried it of course) causes the /hfmapplicationservice application not to be configured in IIS and because of this the FM ADF web application will fail to communicate with the HFM app server.


Each IIS based HFM application gets its own application pool as seen in IIS Manager:


If you open the HFM IIS Web Services URL in a browser (e.g. http://hfmwebserver:80/hfmapplicationservice/Actions.asmx ) you will be greeted by a friendly page listing the methods available via Web Services requests:


The Web Services methods don't seem to be included in any HFM documents yet but the descriptions offered by IIS (and in the WSDL output) can most probably be used to come up with the required information to execute some basic tasks. It will be interesting to see when the first third-party applications using this interface will pop up.


Web User Interface

Here's what the new UI for HFM apps looks like in Workspace. One of the most notable changes compared to previous versions is that the user interface is now a lot more flexible. You can have several HFM applications open at the same time and several tabs holding forms, grids and other components in each applications as well. Panes like the one on the left showing Task Lists can be collapsed to save screen space and most views offer more options for customization than before.

HFM 11.1.2.2 web form
Web form designer
 Note the Filter options that can be used to restrict the data or documents that are shown in each view:

Manage Documents view

Process Control

Member Selection Dialog







Classic application administration (Load Application Elements)

I personally think there is a lot of potential in the new ADF based layout. But we have to keep in mind that the HFM web interface has not seen too many changes since the early versions of the product - and old habits die hard - so it will be interesting to see how these changes are received by the HFM user base.

HFM Windows Client

One last thing which might come as a surprise to many: The Win32 client has been cut down dramatically in this release. The only functions that remain are the Profile Manager and Metadata Manager which means that all the rest like the Load and Extract functions are only available via Workspace. Based on this change it looks like HFM will go completely web based pretty soon.



11 comments:

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for your post. Would you please explain or give an idea - how to create the "Application Profile" for HFM Application in version 11.1.2.2. From the following link I can see the way to create Application Profile and HFM Application; But in version 11.1.2.2 I am not able to create these from "Application Tool Box". Am I doing something wrong?

    http://www.oracle.com/webfolder/technetwork/tutorials/obe/hyp/HFM11.1.2_CApps/creatingclassichfmapps.htm

    I appreciate your help. Thanks.

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  2. The profile file (.per) still needs to be created using the HFM Windows client. So you have to grab the EPM Clients package from eDelivery, extract it and install the client on the server or on your workstation. The sample applications are also installed with the Windows client.

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    Replies
    1. I do not see the sample apps installed even after installing windows client .. is there something that needs to be done after client installation ??

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    2. The sample application files are installed to the HFM client installation path (C:\Oracle\Middleware\EPMSystem11R1\products\FinancialManagement by default) into a folder called "Sample Apps and Starter Kits". Under the Sample Apps folder you can find the "classic" sample application files (profile, metadata, rules etc.) in a zip file like Comma4Dim.zip. You need use the Load Application Elements in Workspace to create a new application and to load these parts into it. Latest versions of the client installer also include zip files for use with LCM (such as Comma4Dim_LCM.zip) that you can put into the import_export folder and import using the LCM functionality in Shared Services.

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  3. Hi Henri (& co.)

    Thanks for your post. I have been exploring the new user interface of HFM 11.1.2.2.0 and have only positive to say about it. The screen is divided in unified way throughout different modules (top, left with the task lists & filters, center of the page with the grid/form, and the right hand side with options). The icons are bigger and, at last, also clearer than before. Also what I think will be very well received by users will be the Favourite members the user can pick.

    It will be interesting to see, how the work of admins & developers will change now with the scaled down Windows Client. I still have my skepticism on working solely with web data grids and SmartView...

    Regards, Lauri

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  4. Nice post, it is my understanding that the custom dimensions are limited by the underlying database i.e. SQL, Oracle,DB2, Example, SQL only allows one more extra dimension, using Oracle allows 10 more, and DB2 allows about 100 more, do you know about this and is there some firm Hyperion documentation to support this.

    Thank you,

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  5. Also see my later post for more information about the configurable custom dimensions and their limits.

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  6. Moi Henri,
    Thanks, nice overview. I have a question - Have you experimented with the new HFM Windows client much? We are finding strange "buggy" behaviour: when you select a dimension member, say, account, and then another, the attributes such as description from the member you selected first get randomly copied onto the second member. Unfortunately, these random copy actions get saved and we discover incorrect descriptions etc. in the uploaded application...

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    Replies
    1. Riikka, I am also experiencing the 'buggy' behavior with the HFM client in 11.1.2.2 while using classic metadata. Have you found a solution or work around? Susan Shane

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    2. should be fixed now (finally) in 11.1.2.2.307 PSU.

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  7. Hi Susan,
    apparently this is bug 15881342 - HFM CLIENT 11.1.2.2.301 SAME ATTRIBUTES COPIED FROM MEMBER TO MEMBER. Last year they told us this would be fixed in version 11.1.2.3.000. No doubt there'll have been updates to timelines since then. No magic bullet I'm afraid, we just studied the patterns of this bug and got around it by being careful: eyeballing the editor and using file comparison tools. More recently, we tend to only use EPMA so problems in the classic dim editor are not really relevant for us anymore. - Riikka

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