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FileNet is an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution product suite from IBM. Enterprises uses FileNet to manage their content and business processes.
FileNet P8 platform, the latest version of FileNet system, provides a framework for developing custom enterprise systems, offering much functionality out of the box and capable of being customized to manage a specific business process.
FileNet Enterprise Content Management (ECM) product suite includes:
Content Management Products:
Business Process Management Products:
FileNet BPM: BPM manages workflows to reduce cycle times and to improve productivity by streamlining and improving complex processes. BPM component includes Process Engine, Process Analyzer and Process Simulator.
Document lifecycle in FileNet P8 is a sequence of states (like Draft, Review, Publish, close etc) that a document will go though over its lifetime, as well as the action that are triggered when document move from one state to another.
A user or application can move the doc forward or backward in its lifecycle.
FileNet P8 platform supports Asymmetric, Symmetric, N + 1, and N to M clusters. This includes FileNet Content Engine, Process Engine and Application Engine.
Asymmetric clusters include both active and passive servers. i.e. In case of Asymmetric 1-to-1 cluster, there is one active and another passive server. This is simplest form of clustering.
Symmetric clusters include all the active servers. In Symmetric clusters different servers run different services but in case of fail over, multiple services are be moved on to one server.
Please note: While FileNet CE, PE, AE supports active/active clustering, FileNet IS supports only active/passive clustering.
As CE is installed on AE, it uses direct API calls to communicate with AE.
FileNet Content Engine (CE) has two or more databases:
A FileNet P8 domain can contain one or many object stores. Each object store has its own database which could be existing database or can be created by object store creation wizard in FEM.
FileNet Content Engine can be configured to store documents at following places:
The FileNet P8 domain represents a logical grouping of physical resources (such as object stores) as well as the Content Engine servers that provide access to those resources. A server can access any resource in the domain, but cannot access any resource that lies outside of the domain.
The CE Global Configuration Data (GCD) database stores information about the resources and services for the FileNet P8 Domain.
The FileNet P8 domain contains the following entities:
File Store is the physical folder where FileNet stores documents. Multiple File Stores can be created to store documents at two different places. This type of setup is called File Store Farm.
File Store Policy allows distribution of documents in File Store Farm.
CE Query Builder allows FileNet users to find Content Engine objects and to carry out bulk operation on them. Query Builder is part of FileNet Enterprise Manager (FEM) software comes with FileNet Content Engine installable.
The basic functionality of Query Builder includes:
The Query Builder searches can be combined with bulk operations that include the following actions, available on the Query Builder's Actions tab:
In FileNet, Folders are used to group other objects including documents and custom objects. As folders in windows, FileNet folders provide a way to browse through FileNet objects. Folder's helps in organizing the documents and other items.
A document can be filed to multiple folders. FileNet does create copies of document in this case. It actually creates a logical association between then folder and the document.
Few important facts about folders:
Following are few things one can check to find out if FileNet CE is running fine:
Authentication is a process of checking if the user entered credentials are correct. FileNet
P8 uses two different standards for authentication:
When the Content Engine server receives a web service request, the Content Engine Web Service Listener extracts the WS-Security header and performs a JAAS login based on its contents. If this JAAS login is successful, then the Web service listener passes the request onto the Content Engine EJB layer within the EJB container.
Communication with FileNet Content Engine (CE) can occur through the EJB transport or Content Engine Web Services (CEWS) transport.
Web services are commonly used by loosely coupled frameworks like service-oriented architecture for connecting components. IBM FileNet Content Manager provides CEWS for accessing nearly all features available in the CE server.
A Web Services Description Language (WSDL) file is provided by FileNet to use a Web services interface. CEWS clients (stub classes) can be generated from these WSDL files.
As of release 4.5.0, CE supports three Web services endpoints. The difference is in their handling of content attachments. The SOAP endpoint (FNCEWS40SOAP) uses inline content and carries significant performance costs. It should therefore be avoided. Support for the Direct Internet Message Encapsulation (DIME) endpoint (FNCEWS40DIME) is documented as deprecated and will eventually be removed. Therefore, all new code should be written for the Message Transmission Optimization Mechanism (MTOM) endpoint (FNCEWS40MTOM), and existing DIME code should be migrated to MTOM as soon as possible.
Custom objects are for creating composite objects. It can contain content-less document, i.e. only metadata as well as other document classes and/or custom objects as its properties.
Component queues make it possible to process a workflow step using an external entity, such as a Java™ object or Java Message Service (JMS).
Using Process Configuration Console, you configure a component queue with an adaptor, either Java or JMS. The Java adaptor allows you to expose public methods from a Java class as operations on a queue. The JMS adaptor allows you to publish workflow data to a JMS queue, also using operations. Using Process Designer, the workflow author adds a component step to a map and selects operations for that step from the list of component queues. The workflow author also specifies the appropriate expression for each operation parameter.
To create a new component queue:
Workplace provide object search to help users quickly locate they items they are looking for. Multiple options are available to workplace users for searching objects stored in FileNet Content Engine including simple search, stored search, search templates etc.
By default the simple search is available to users. Using simple search users can create customized searches for documents, folders, and custom objects. The search criteria’s and options can be configured using the Search view of the User Preferences page of workplace.
Both stored searches and search templates are predefined searches configured by administrators using Search Designer tool.
A root class is a class without a parent. FileNet object store has multiple root classes including Document Class, Annotation, Choice List, Event etc. The ‘Parent Class’ property of these root classes is ‘None’ (as shown in below screen shot).
The root classes are created automatically during object store creation. Once the root class is created, subclasses and properties can be added to the object store.
For example, a document subclass can be added under root class (Document Class) by running the Create a Class wizard from Enterprise Manager.
Except the ‘Document Class’, all other root classes are places under ‘Other Classes’ in Enterprise Manager as shown in below screen shot:
FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=FileNet Enterprise Manager - Root Classes"
An OBJECT STORE is a database repository for storing objects.
But FILE STORE deals with at which it stored format type. File systems that are used for file stores must through the NFS or CIFS protocol.
FileNet Process Engine (PE) stores data in to one database named VWDB.
'Workflow Roster' is a database structure that stores information about all workflows (or workitems) in an isolated region. Workflow Roster is part of Process Engine VW database.
Workflow rosters provide the Process Engine with an efficient way to locate specific workflows.
When we initialize a new isolated reason in process engine, a roster called DefaultRoster is created for that isolated reason. Additional rosters can be created using Process Configuration Console (PCC) to easy administrative tasks.
An isolated region is a logical subdivision of the workflow database that contains the queues for the work items, event logs, rosters, and other configuration information.
Below are few facts about isolated region:
An isolated region is a logical subdivision of the workflow database in FileNet Process Engine.
Different units in an organization who do not want to share workflow data can create different isolated region.
For example the research department and the finance department in an organization have two all together logically different processes. It is recommended to have two different isolated regions for these two departments.
Multiple isolated regions also make it easy to maintain the systems. Changes made into one region don’t affect the users of another region.
Process Engine (PE) queues holds the work items waiting to be processed. The queues in PE can be managed using Process Configuration Console (PCC).
PE has 4 different types of queues:
User queues hold work items assigned to a users or being tracked by a user. There are two different type of user queues created when an Isolated Region is initialized:
Work queue hold work item which can be processed by one or many users part of a group.
i.e. For processing an insurance claim, a work queue 'Claim' can be created and any employee from claim processing department can pick up the work item and process it.
Component queue holds work items to be processed by component step in workflow. The components steps are to process a work item using an external component.
Internally used by Process Engine, System queues are not accessible to the users or administrators. Conductor, Delay, and InstructionSheet Interpreter are few of the examples of system queues.
FileNet doesn't provide any mechanism to delete a queue; whether it is a work queue or a component queue.
The only workaround is to initialize the isolated region in following way:
Export isolated region configuration data to XML - Use Process Configuration Console (PCC) to export all components of selected isolated region.
Initialize a isolated region.
Take a backup of XML file from the export in step 1 and carefully edit the XML file to remove the nodes of unwanted queue.
Import the XML file in recently initialized isolated region with the option 'overwrite'.
Validate the configuration.
Note: When an isolated region is initialized, it makes changes to the workflow database structure and the data in workflow database is deleted.
FileNet developer should design and configure the queues very carefully to avoid a situation where they will have to delete a queue.
Process Engine work queue holds the work items. FileNet P8 doesn't provide any easier way to delete a queue.
Queues can be deleted by initializing the isolated region. When a queue is deleted all the work items in it are also deleted.
There is no gross difference in querying a queue or a roster. Each is a table and the issue in querying them will be based on the number of items needed to be reviewed by the database, the effort in deconstructing what needs to be returned and the number of objects that are returned.
Some general rules.
Your process design will not be impacted by the query you build. You build the query based on the process requirements, the process design and the configuration that is created for the queues and rosters that are needed to support your query.
FileNet Process Administrator allows FileNet administrator to view and manage work in progress.
Process Administrator is a Java Applet based UI and can be invoked from IBM Workplace's admin section.
Following tasks can be performed though Process Administrator: Search workflows, work items, workflow events, and workflow statistics.
It allows the administrator to search in specific area. Following areas are available for search:
It allows to manage the workflows and work items in following ways:
The FileNet Process Administrator allows administrator to search for events in event logs. The information about the terminated work items can be found though Process Administrator by search for events.
Please note that PE queues only hold the information about active work items / workflows.
FileNet BPF provides a configurable framework for rapid development of BPM application. BPF Web Application, an Ajax based application provides a user friendly interface to the business users.
Along with the pre defined screens and functionality, FileNet BPF provides a framework to develop and customize the application to meet business requirement.
FileNet BPF has two components:
BPF Web Application: Deployed on a J2EE server, the BPF Web Application is an out-of-the-box, customizable, and configurable portal for BPM applications, and a UI container with relevant components for BPF applications.
BPF Explorer: BPF Explorer is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC)-based tool for defining and configuring BPF applications.</OL
A document is a file that you can be create, save, and subsequently retrieve and update, replacing the old version with the updated version.
A record is a reference to information and provides metadata to manage the information. Records can electronic or physical (i.e. a document stored in CE or a physical book).
A document which is added to an IBM FileNet P8 content repository, but it is not yet declared as a record is called as ‘document’, not a record. As soon as the document is declared as a record, we consider the document a record.
Document objects are stored in the Records-enabled content Object Store (ROS) and the corresponding record objects are stored in the File Plan Object Store (FPOS).
No. One should avoid duplicating the properties unless and until it represent a specific requirement.
Properties which have functional need for document management should be used in CE, while properties which have functional need for records management should be used in RM. If a property happens to be needed for both, then it should exist in both.
Many ECM architects use the exact same properties in ROS (CE) and FPOS (RM) for simplicity.
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