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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Oracle EPM, IE11 and Enterprise Mode Explained

The following message and the Bindows information page are familiar to those who have attempted to use current Oracle EPM versions with Internet Explorer 11. In August last year Oracle published an article stating that use of Internet Explorer 11 is now supported with EPM versions 11.1.2.2 and 11.1.2.3 as long as you use Enterprise Mode in the browser. In this post I will explain what Enterprise Mode is and how you can enable it for your EPM environment.

Note that later EPM releases 11.1.2.3.700 and 11.1.2.4 are tested and certified with IE11 and they do not require Enterprise Mode to be configured in the browser.





Requirements

The following requirements must be met in order to enable Enterprise Mode in IE and to use EPM software in this mode:
  • Internet Explorer 11 installed on Windows 7 or 8.1 (preferably including the MS14-065 update from November 2014 - see below)
  • Oracle EPM release 11.1.2.2 or 11.1.2.3 with Patch Set Update .500 or later installed.


Enterprise Mode Basics

Enterprise Mode for IE (EMIE for short) is a new compatibility mode built into IE11 that allows selected websites to be displayed in a way that emulates Internet Explorer 8. But unlike the older Compatibility View, this functionality cannot be switched on by end-users by default and therefore needs to be maintained by IT administrators. There are two functions that can be enabled either via registry keys or using Group Policy:

  • Enable EMIE: Gives users possibility to toggle Enterprise Mode for any site
  • Site List: A centrally maintained list of websites for enabling or disabling EMIE

It is interesting to note that according to Microsoft the Javascript performance of IE11 is way better compared to original IE8 even though Enterprise Mode is enabled.

Registry Settings

For your own tests it is easiest to enable Enterprise Mode using Windows  registry. You need to create either of these keys depending on whether you want to enable the features for a single user or for all users on the computer:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode
Adding a string value named "Enable" under EnterpriseMode will enable EMIE in the browser and give the user a chance to force any website to use the mode.

In value called "SiteList" you can enter a URL pointing to an XML file stored on the computer or on a website. This XML document will be read upon starting the browser and it will be used to control behaviour for the included sites.


Global Policy Settings

The settings mentioned above can also be distributed via GPOs using the setting Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Internet Explorer\Use the Enterprise Mode IE website list. See this MSDN page for a simple example if you want to use policies to enable EMIE: Turn on Enterprise Mode and use a site list

EMIE Site List

The site list is an XML file that controls the use of Enterprise Mode based on simple rules. The file can be edited manually or by using a tool called Enterprise Mode Site List Manager. I prefer the manual approach for my own purposes because to me the tool seems quite unstable. In the most basic form the file may look like this:

<rules version="2">
<emie>
<!-- Enable Enterprise Mode for site myepm.local -->
<domain>myepm.local</domain>
</emie>
</rules>

When started, IE will check the availability of a Site List and compare the version number to determine if the list should be updated. Therefore you should always increment the number when saving a new version of the list so you can be sure that the update gets applied.

There are some additional syntaxes for the file allowing for subdomains and paths to be included or excluded. See this MSDN article for the full syntax: Add multiple sites to the Enterprise Mode site list using a file and Enterprise Mode Site List Manager

Testing EMIE

After enabling EMIE using Windows registry or GPOs, you should close all browser windows and start IE11 again. If you used the Enable value to give control to end-users you should see "Enterprise Mode" added into the browser's Tools menu. This menu item can be used to toggle EMIE on or off for the current website.



To verify that websites added into the Site List are correctly being loaded in Enterprise Mode, you can browse to the desired URL and press F12 to enter Developer Mode (Note that pressing F12 refreshes the active page which may mess up some web interfaces like EPM Workspace). You should see the icon signifying Enterprise Mode besides the URL bar and in Developer Tools the browser profile should be shown as "Enterprise". As seen in the screenshot below, the Document Mode is set to "IE8" when browsing EPM Workspace.


Considerations Regarding Support

In the IE11 Support policy document Oracle gives the following statement regarding EMIE:
If a problem is a known Oracle issue, Oracle support will recommend the appropriate solution in a certified browser release.  If that solution does not work in Internet Explorer 11 Enterprise Mode, the customer will be referred to Microsoft for support.   When the customer can demonstrate that the Oracle solution does not work when running on a certified browser, Oracle will resume support, including logging a bug with Oracle Development for investigation if required.
As I see it, Oracle Support promises to assist you in EMIE related problems as if you were actually using IE8. If the IE8 emulation functionality in Enterprise Mode is not working properly they tell you to turn to Microsoft instead. Based on my tests the document mode emulation seems to be pretty solid, but please be cautious and let your EPM administrators test the web UI properly before rolling the feature to end users.

Update: Oracle has informed us that native support for Internet Explorer 11 might be released for EPM 11.1.2.3 later in form of Patch Set Updates. Currently there is no further information available about these PSUs though.

Beoynd IE8

The November 2014 Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer (MS14-065) added some extended features to the Enterprise Mode Site List. In addition to the default IE8 mode used in EMIE, you can now force websites and paths to be loaded in other Document Modes such as IE7, IE9 or IE10. The IE Blog gives a good explanation of the new syntax elements: Announcing improvements to the Enterprise Mode Site List. The new features may not be that useful for use with Oracle EPM but may help to troubleshoot compatibility issues with other web interfaces.

Note: I recommend sticking to the "real" Enterprise Mode (IE8 mode) when using EPM 11.1.2.2 or 11.1.2.3 with Internet Explorer 11. This is achieved using the <emie> setting in the Site List. Some issues may occur when using the newer document modes (such as provisioning tree views not expanding properly in Shared Services).

Further Reading

Some useful blog posts and Microsoft articles:

16 comments :

  1. great article. A point to note for the site list XML file location is to note the syntax for local file location -

    HTTP location: “SiteList”=”http://localhost:8080/sites.xml”
    Local network: "SiteList"="\\network\shares\sites.xml"
    Local file: "SiteList"="file:///c:\\Users\\\\Documents\\testList.xml"

    A question i have is - while EPM runs under Enterprise Mode, I noticed the document type has been defaulted to 5. Is there any performance improvement if we default Document Type to 8, while running Enterprise Mode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also noticed that some pages generated by EPM web applications (like the Workspace login page) are indeed displayed in IE5 document mode. I think this has more to do with generic HTML compatibility than with Enterprise Mode though. If you look at the document mode being used on the later pages (like the Workspace Home page) you should see docmode 8 being used there.

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  2. This is really a very nice post.

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  3. Setting IE 11 to compatibility mode has been quite successful for us with HFM. This is also much easier to turn off when Oracle finally gets around to updating for IE11.

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  4. Has anyone seen an issue in HFM where the mouse doesn't line up within the Explorer section after you turn on Enterprise Mode?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I saw that issue at some point... It can be caused by the browser's zoom level being other than 100%. According to Oracle you are not supposed to use other zoom levels (at least not with EPM 11.1.2.2.500). See this Support article: Workspace Zoom In Feature Has to be Set to 100% to Avoid Browsing Issues When Using Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) (Doc ID 2009053.1)

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    2. You are correct. Good old zoom, thanks!

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    3. Thanks Henri! I was wondering what was causing that issue. Our company has moved to IE11 as the browser standard but we're still on 11.1.2.1 for FDM, HFM, Planning, Essbase, and DRM. We did note that enabling the built-in 'Compatibility View' settings in IE resolved that Bindows issue and after many months of testing, the hierarchy/tree browsing issue (e.g. in HFR) where the cursor does not align was the only problem, until I saw this post. Thanks again for your great blog!

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  5. Has anyone run into issues in Shared Services with provisioning? When clicking one of the + signs next to an app to change roles, it never expands to display the current roles of a group/user.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Add Shared services URL <>/interop URL to sitelist as IE8 Enterprise Mode.This helped us to resolve the Shared Services issue.

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    2. I have also seen this issue with EPM 11.1.2.3.500 and IE11 when testing IE rendering mode newer than IE8 in the site list. I you're running this EPM version I recommend sticking to the IE8/Enterprise mode.

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    3. Hi Henri,
      Have you seen any issues running FR reports from Smartview with IE 8 EM ?

      Getting following error when running FR reports from SV.

      "This product could not be displayed because you are using an unsupported browser"

      FR reports works fine from IE 11 browser with IE 8 EM.

      Thank you,
      Vani.

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    4. Vani and Henri,
      Was there any information on this last post from Vani on October 12 concerning Smart View and reports not opening? We can open reports in IE and then export them to excel, but we can't open them in Smart View and this is very important.
      Thanks,
      Mike Adoue

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  6. Hi all,

    Have you seen an issue regarding Task Flow with 123PSU700 or 124? It seems a blank screen appear after applying the POV for HFM task, and it' not possible to save...
    My workaround so far: using Firefox...

    Cheers.

    Cédric.

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  7. Henri,
    Have you tried to use the IE9 or IE10 emulation? I would assume that IE 9 would actually perform better and have less compatibility issues. At one of my clients, with many environments, at versions ranging from 11.1.2.1 to now 11.1.2.4, we found IE 9 to be the "sweet spot" browser, since all of the versions support it and performed acceptably. Most notably, ADF performance was vastly improved in IE 9 vs. IE 8.

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  8. Hi Henry,
    I've found your article very useful the first time I encountered Hyperion EPM version 11.1.2.3:500 with IE11.

    However, when I tried to update the EMIE sites file at a later time I had no immediate success. I found out that there are issues updating the EMIE file worth mentioning.

    First, when updating the file (probably you may need to add more sites to the list as you go) you also have to update the rules version number, or IE won't observe the change.

    Second, when IE starts, it first looks for cached EMIE lists and it takes 65 secs until it reads your XML file. Therefore, you have to wait for IE to read your changed list, before you try to view your newly added sites in enterprise mode.

    Finally, I found out that IE11 in enterprise mode also works with older versions of Hyperion, like 11.1.1.3:500.

    Regards,
    Kostas

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