A very intense week

Mark Frischman and Christian Semmel from Managing Editor visited us for 4 days to install our K4 v6.3 server and teach us how to administer the system. They did a great job and we were able to cover everything despite also dealing with having to deal with unrelated server problems at the same time. They were invaluable in repairing a problem that crept in to our K4 server, which took up half a day.

The installation took 1 day but went smoothly. I installed the software while they guided me through the steps. Much easier than our original K4 5.8 (or was that 5.7) installation. It looks like K4 v6 upgrades will also be simpler to install that K4 v5.

The amount of time you will need for training will depend on your background. At The Washingtonian we have been running K4 v5 for 4 years. We had already reviewed our workflow with Margot Mancini of Technology for Publishing so we were already familiar with many differences between K4 5.9 and K4 6.3. We installed a configuration that Margot had prepared for us. These factors all made training go faster.

But we weren’t ready for the amount of MySQL training required. K4 v6 supports MySQL, MS SQL Server and Oracle databases. Since we don’t work with any of these databases we purchased an OEM version of MySQL from Managing Editor. This does not offer all of the tools included with MySQL purchased directly from Oracle but is less expensive, only $3,995.

The tool we will miss most from K4 v5.9 is the PrimeBase backup tool. Right now it looks like we will be running a batch file that will launch automatically to backup the database. The PrimeBase tool allow for scheduling, one time backups and managing the backup files. For example, PrimeBase backup could be set to keep only X number of backups. Our PrimeBase script, written by Mark Frischman, will make uniquely named backups but will not delete older backups. Plus we plan on using launchd to run this script, meaning that we will have to log in and out of the K4 server account if we want to make changes to when we run this script. So we are looking for more flexible but inexpensive solutions.

We also now need to learn the basics of MySQL administration. This will enable us to take better care of the system and to fix problems if they arise.

Overall K4 v6 will be easier to manage than v5.9. No more DAL scripts. The web admin interface is greatly improved. You can log into all of your publications for admin purposes at the same time. The one missing feature is batch operations and that is promised in v6.4, hopefully to be released in May.

Besides MySQL most of the K4 admin training centered around the workflow editor. The new task orientation is a major change. The mechanics are not overly complex. But how to best take advantage of the new workflow tools is the true challenge.