Adding Breadcrumbs to the Fluid Navigator

The Fluid Navigator is the new navigation technique that most closely resembles to old Classic style drop down menu navigation.  If you have not yet had the chance to convert your entire menu structure to use more modern navigation techniques, then you are stuck having to rely on the Fluid Navigator to get you where you need to be in some cases.  One major limitation of the Fluid Navigator is that is does not show you breadcrumbs when drilling down into the menu structure.  Not having breadcrumbs displayed makes it much harder to quickly jump around the menu.  In this post, I will demonstrate how you can add breadcrumbs to your Fluid Navigator.

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Custom Fluid Homepage Background Image

I recently got my hands on a PeopleSoft environment running the new 8.56 PeopleTools.  I have been most curious to see the advancements in the Related Content Framework Event Mapping functionality in the new Tools release.  One huge limitation with Event Mapping in the 8.55 PeopleTools was the inability to inject custom styling into Fluid pages.  The framework did not disallow this practice, but injecting custom styles into Fluid pages would generally result in the page becoming incorrectly rendered and unusable.  One particular interesting use case of injecting custom styling with Event Mapping is to change the Fluid Homepage background.  This use case was proposed by Andy Dorfman of the psadmin.io Community and I had previously tried this in 8.55 and it did not work well. However, it seems to work great in the new 8.56 PeopleTools.  Below I will walk through how one can go about changing the Fluid homepage background with Event Mapping.

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Understanding the %metadata Application Package

The %metadata application package in PeopleSoft is very intriguing.  This app package is unlike any other as we (PeopleSoft Developers) do not have access to the implementation of this package.  When you try to open this package in App Designer, the IDE acts as if the package does not exist.  However, if you correctly reference this package’s contents (sub-packages, classes, methods, properties, etc.) then App Designer does not bat an eye.  It should be well understood that (our) usage of this package is not supported by Oracle as it is undocumented.  However, there are currently no measures in place to prevent blind usage this app package.  While I definitely do not advise the usage of this package in any legitimate PeopleSoft system, I thought it would be a fun educational exercise to try to understand this mysterious app package.

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Location-Based Menu Pruning

Menu pruning is the process of limiting the items that show up in a menu for a user. This process is desirable in situations where you want to prevent a user from accessing certain content references. An example scenario of this could be that you don’t want to let administrators access Query Viewer when they are not coming in from a trusted location. The fashion in which the administrator’s access is limited in this scenario is the process of location-based security. With location-based security, you can let the location that a user is coming from dictate the type of access that a user has in the application. So if we put these two terms together, we get location-based menu pruning. Location-based menu pruning is the process of limiting the items that show up in the menu for a user based on the user’s location.  In this post, I will discuss how we can perform location-based menu pruning on the PeopleSoft Fluid Navigator.

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PT_METADATA and Web Server Cache

A while back I presented a solution to manage configuration data on the web server. This solution involved a servlet-based cache managing utility that was responsible for the storage and caching of data to the PeopleSoft web server. I have been experimenting with ways that I can get custom data cached to the PeopleSoft web server without being so intrusive to the web-tier. I recently came across the PT_METADATA app package which can be used to create object types such as HTML, Style Sheet, and Images. These object types are nice because they are PeopleTools-managed and they have the flexibility to store custom data expressed in any form. Another great perk of these object types is that they can be cached to the web server using the %Response class. I am going to demonstrate a technique that I use to get PeopleTools to manage and cache my custom data.

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Using PT_METADATA to Create Objects

I was recently poking around the delivered code behind the Branding Framework pages. These are the pages that allow us to create HTML, JavaScript, Style Sheet, and Image definitions within the PIA. These pages are interesting because they prove that app designer is not needed to create these types of objects. It turns out that there is a nice delivered library that is used in the code behind these pages to create these objects. The library is nicely bundled in an application package named PT_METADATA. This package contains all of the necessary classes to create HTML, JavaScript, Style Sheet, and Image definitions. In this post I will share some code samples of how this library can be used to create HTML and Style Sheet objects with PeopleCode.

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Classic UI for Administrative Users

A common desire among organizations that adopt the Fluid user interface (UI) is the ability to keep the Classic UI for administrative users. The loudest argument backing the need for the Classic UI for admins is that the Fluid UI does not have breadcrumbs. The response to this argument is that the adoption of Fluid is more than just mobile-enabling the application, but it also entails leveraging the new Fluid navigation paradigm which means using homepages, tiles, navigation collections, search, etc., to give users an avenue to perform the transactions that they need to perform.  A proper adoption of the Fluid UI means leveraging these tools to “create your own navigation” for not only self-service users, but admin users as well.  While I don’t necessarily have a dog in this fight, I would like to provide a proof-of-concept example on how one can go about keeping administrative users Classic in a Fluid environment.

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Making Objects Accessible in the Branding Framework

The Branding Framework pages are really useful because they provide the ability to add and update branding-related objects from within the PIA. These pages provide a convenient alternative to having to open up App Designer to make simple changes to HTML, JavaScript, Images, or Style Sheets. One limitation that I have found with the Branding Framework is that you cannot use it to modify objects that were not created with the framework. For example, if I want to make a change to the PT_COMMON HTML definition, then I would I have to make this change in App Designer. It turns out that there is a delivered PeopleCode library that allows us to manage the Branding Framework objects. I would like to demonstrate how this library can be used to add an existing object to the Branding Framework so that the object can be modified from the PIA.

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POC Google Authenticator Project

A recent comment I received made me go back and revisit my “Implementing Google Authenticator in PeopleSoft” post where I discuss the code involved to get Google Authenticator working in PeopleSoft.  Revisiting this post made me realize that I never actually shared the source App Designer project with the community.  I would like to use this post to share the plug and play POC project that I use to enforce component-level 2FA with Google Authenticator in PeopleSoft applications.

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Response Compression with Custom Servlet Filters

One major drawback of the response-manipulating servlet filters that I have showcased on this site is that the delivered compression functionality needed to be disabled for them to work.  This involved unchecking the “Compress Responses” checkbox on the web profile configuration page in the PIA.  Disabling this functionality causes a performance impact because of the resulting large response messages that get sent to the client.  I recently got a comment from Jonathan Rehm explaining how he has achieved GZIP compression within a custom servlet filter.  I decided to integrate the code he shared into a standalone response compression servlet filter.  This servlet filter can co-exist with any other custom filters that you may have deployed.  I will demonstrate how to deploy this custom response compression servlet filter in this post.

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