The Saga Continues

Vjoon looked at the layout which MEI forwarded to them. Their observations were the American as mine and they have passed the layout to Adobe.

Vkoon confirms that there are no Prepress plug-ins for InCopy CS6 and that InCopy must handle this missing plug-in in a special way so as to not disturb the user. For some reason our layouts end up disturbing the InCopy user.

Perhaps this is the problem

I keep wondering why InCopy CS6 will complain about a missing plugin if it is attached to a layout created from an template as opposed to a layout created from scratch. In both cases, if I examine the article, there is a missing plug-in reported, but only in the former case is there an obnoxious dialog box. I am suspecting that trigger is our use of a custom preflight profile that we put in our InDesign templates. I will work on this theory today.

Nope, that didn't fix it

While using official releases of ID and IC updates fixes the Extensions Manager issues, it still leaves open the question why InCopy CS6 is having this missing Plug-Ins issue. I looked back at InCopy CS5 and opened an article from the previous issue and examined associated plug-ins and no problem. I examined the plug-ins associated with articles attached to layouts in InCopy CS5 and the Package and Preflight plug-in is listed, but InCopy CS5 is handling it fine.

I compared InCopy CS5 and CS6 plug-ins. CS5 has the Prepress Plug-ins folder, CS6 doesn't. For some reason our InCopy CS6 Installer isn't installing these plug-ins.

Is it the Rapid Release Update?

Purchases of K4 who pay for Adobe updates get Rapid Release Updates. These are updaters created by Adobe. They have been tested by MEI. Just think of early updates before they are available to the public.

I do not know if they are related to the problem of opening articles in InCopy CS6 and getting a message about a missing plug-in, but both the 406 and 407 updates will cause the Adobe Extensions Manager CS6 errors for ID and IC plugins.

On both a test system and my iMac installing the standard Adobe updater gets Adobe Extensions Manager CS6 to stop complaining about ID and IC plug-ins not being imported.

And Adobe, please decide if you want to call these extensions or plug-ins. Consistent language would be a bit helpful.

Why the Adobe Extensions Manager?

Patrick at MEI suspects the problem we are having with InCopy CS6 complaining about the missing plugin is related to the Adobe Extensions Manager CS6. Why did Adobe made extension management so complicated?

After trying many combinations we discovered that if a layout was created from scratch, an article attached to it won't throw the annoying missing plug-in dialog, but when we examine the article in InCopy it notes that this plug-in is missing. If we detach the article from the layout and open the article again in InCopy, the missing plug-in status is now empty.

To view this information on Mac OS X check out an article from K4 and then press command key while selecting About InCopy... from the InCopy menu. You should see a dialog.

InCopyScreenSnapz001.png

We see the missing plug-in listed here. What is odd is that in some circumstances we will see the plug-in listed as missing but not get the obnoxious dialog.

After a bit of exploration we found that Adobe Extensions ManagerCS6 would complain about bad plug-ins for InDesign and InCopy. Extensions Manager was complaining about bad native plugins, not the K4 plug-ins. We duplicated this problem on a Mac that had InDesign installed without the K4 plug-ins. We tried various magics, such as launching ID as the admin user and performed various incantations. Nothing worked. Patrick had seen this issue at other sites. We are hoping that once we fix it the annoying dialogs will disappear.

Current thinking, or superstitions, is that you should install ID or IC from an admin account and then run it from that admin account and then run Adobe Extensions Manger from that admin account before allowing a non-admin account to run these programs. More testing should show if this is superstition or truth.

In any event, proper installation of ID and IC seems to be more complicated that it should be.

InCopy CS6 Is Annoying

If anyone knows the solution to this problem please let me know. I will post the solution once I know it.

We are having a problem with InCopy CS6. Every time we open an article that is attached to a layout with InCopy we get a warning that the Package and Preflight.InDesignPluginis missing. If there are 3 articles attached to the layout this will appear 3 times. If you click on the OK button the article will appear and can be edited. But this is a major pain.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 10.48.59 AM.jpg

Independent Tasks

How to Create and Independent Task

1. In K4 Admin edit the workflow

2. Click on the expand point next to the Output Channel. The number in this tab shows how many Independent tasks have been created for this workflow/channel. 

Ind Task Step 1.png

3. Click on the add button

ind task step 2.png

4. Setting up an independent task is the same as any other task at this point. Assign which categories of staff can perform this task and what can be accomplished.

step 3.png

Attaching to a Button in the Query Panel

Independent tasks are normally access by right-clicking or control-clicking on an object in a query panel. Buttons can also be set up to activate independent tasks.

Here is the button bar of the query panel if no objects are highlighted.

buttonbar1.jpg

When we click on an object, additional buttons may show up to activate independent tasks associated with that object's workflow. Note that a new button appears to the right in the picture below.

buttonbar2.jpg

To control independent task buttons open K4 Admin. In the image below se see that various workflows have assigned independent tasks to Button 1 but no tasks have been assigned to Button 2. 

k4adminbuttons.png

Click on the pencil button to edit the button settings.

pencilbutton.png

Click on Button 2 tab to create a new independent task button.

K4editbuttonbar1.png

Click on checkbox Button is active to activate the button.

K4editbutton.png

Click on one o the Independent Task popup menus and select an independent task for the specific workflow.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 10.08.08 AM.jpg

We see in K4 Admin that for the Hed workflow there is a 2nd independent task button to trigger the task Emergency Edit.

K4buttondone.png

After creating button 2 we go to InCopy, open a query panel, click on an hed object and two extra buttons will appear. The first is Add/Edit Metadata and the second is Emergency Edit. Hits will identify each button as the cursor hovers above it.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 10.16.52 AM.jpg

The Problem of Independent Task

By definition an Independent Task can be triggered at any time. You need to be very careful in providing access to an Independent Task because that allows the user to violate the workflow.

My hope is that K4 will allow the administrator to set an Independent Task to work only at given statuses. For example, once an article has shipped to the printer I would like to lock out all editing of the article. We have had staff who hadn't realized that the pages have printed and changes are impossible. More importantly, I want to ensure that our copy editor will always be aware of any changes made my an editor.

That Went Smoothly

Today we moved everyone from CS5 products to CS6. Surprisingly nothing went wrong. I switched people over today and they kept working like it was yesterday.

We used Adobe Application Manager to create pkg files with updates, so we were able to push installation and the .406 update via Apple Remote Desktop. We mound AAM 3.1 very easy to use.

The steps I took to install InCopy CS6 on each Mac is as below. All work was done via Apple Remote Desktop

  1. Install InCopy CS6.
  2. Install InCopy CS6 rapid release updater.
  3. Push the vjoon K4 plugins folder to the Macs.
  4. Run Adobe Updates to update all Adobe software except for InCopy CS6.
  5. Pushed a folder with the name of the hard disk into the InCopy application. All of our Macs hard disks share the same names. This folder is located in  Adobe InCopy CS6.app. You need to open the package (right or command click on the app and select Show Package Contents from the popup menu), then open the Contents folder then open the MacOS folder and create the new folder here. I pushed this folder from my iMac to all of the Macs running InCopy CS6.
  6. When the user was in the office I pushed my InCopy preferences to their accounts. This provides a common starting point. I let users know that we could copy their InCopy CS5 preferences into CS6 if they preferred.
  7. Made sure that they had the Universal Type Client plugin by either installing a new version of UTC on the Mac or pushing the UTC plugin from my Mac.

So I prepped the Macs earlier this week, did final installations this morning, and let staff to let me know when they logged into their Macs. I removed InCopy CS5 from their Dock and put in CS6 and tested each workstation. I checked with staff later in the day and they confirmed that everything was working fine. Fortunately for InCopy users CS5 and CS6 work in an almost identical manner.

InDesign users were updated in an almost identical manner.

Even Rapid Releases Can Be Dangerous

I've been working the past week to upgrade art and editorial departments from Adobe InDesign/InCopy CS5 to CS6. I installed it a few weeks ago on a few Macs, tested, success. So in the past week I started installing CS6 on all editorial and art Macs.

Big failure. Users could log into K4 but every time K4 attempted to access the local folder, complaints, complaints, complaints.

I called MEI for support. Never heard of this problem. We try various approaches. No success. We at least narrow it down to failing on non-admin Mac OS X accounts. So we just revert to CS5 until we find a better solution to this problem. This problem exists in K4 6.5r1 and earlier. Vjoon plans on fixing this problem with the next K4 release. Note: I didn't know there was a K4 6.5 release.

I do a fresh install of InCopy CS6 but do not apply the rapid release updater. Success. Apply the standard Adobe InCopy update. Success. So perhaps the rapid release updater messed up permission in Adobe InCopy and InDesign?

Nope. Got a message from MEI. Vjoon told them that this is a known problem. The K4 client relies on obsolete resources that Adobe had removed from the rapid release version. All I had to do was create a folder in the InDesign/InCopy package to fix it. I've tested to the fix and it works. However, I didn't get it in time to move to CS6 today. Due to this issues schedule I'll put it off for 2 weeks.

The Fix

Detailed fix

Create a folder with the name of the hard disk at the following locations:

  • /Applications/Adobe InDesign CS6/Adobe InDesign CS6.app/Contents/MacOS

  • /Applications/Adobe InCopy CS6/Adobe InCopy CS6.app/Contents/MacOS

Simpler fix

  • Start up InDesign/InCopy CS6 in an admin account on the Mac and log on and off of K4. This should create the folder. Since this folder doesn't hold anything there is no need for a non-admin user to be able to write to it. This helps explain why I didn't encounter this problem earlier.

Network fix

  • If all of your hard disks share the same name you can create this folder one time on an administrative Mac and push it to the other Macs. I did this with Apple Remote Desktop and it worked fine.

Woodwing

My last good look at WoodWing’s InDesign workflow solution was in 2005. I was impressed by it but felt that vjoon’s K4 better met our needs and was more mature. 7 years later  I was happy to meet with Erik Schut, President and co-founder, and Glen Graessley of Woodwing a month ago to discuss their current enterprise product.

The Woodwing Content Station product distinguishes itself in its planning capabilities. 

Using dossiers, editors and managers can plan content packages with files for print, online, and other mediums. A handy Planning tool shows all brands in the system and their scheduled outputs (sometimes referred to as issues). Dossier Templates allow users to drag preformatted content packages, complete with tasks and sample resources, into a scheduled output to quickly build a content plan.

This one feature distinguishes it from K4. You can enter your story list for an issue of your publication without entering any layouts or articles into the system. As articles and layouts get entered they are linked to your planning objects. This is the one feature I been wanting for K4. Eliminate the various story lists that individuals keep on paper, word pressing and spreadsheets and have it all in the editorial workflow system.

Of course there are other differences between Woodwings Content Station and vjoon K4 that are important, but this struck me as Content Station's most compelling feature. I do not have any hands on experience with Content Station, but if you are shopping for an editorial workflow system you should look at it. For more information go to http://www.woodwing.com/en/enterprise-publishing-system/content-station

Update Success

This morning's update to K4 6.4r4-3 worked swimmingly this morning. Took less than 10 minutes. I suspect it worked last time but I had made a major mistake which made it appear not to work.

The preparation for this upgrade was worth having the first one gone wrong. I am now familiar with K4's underpinnings and feel batter about my K4 backups. I am better prepared for future upgrades.

My most important step was setting up a test server. We have limited resources, but we had an iMac temporarily available. I installed K4 6.4r3-2 because I wanted to test upgrading from r3-2 to 4-3.

I installed MySQL on the iMac and prepared it for K4, per instructions for a new K4 installation.

I then needed a backup of the K4 production database and restore it to this MySQL database. Our MySQL backup script predates vjoon's recommendations for the export code, so I updated the code and waited for the next automatic backup. For information on restoring a database look at the upgrade instructions for upgrading from K4 6.3 to 6.4. This provides the code for both backing up and restoring data. Even though we had tested restoring from our backups in the past I am more confident that our backups match vjoon's documentation.

I then installed K4 with Tomcat and followed the instructions. The major steps are

  1. Install K4 with Tomcat
  2. Start Tomcat, wait a few minutes and stop it. K4 creates some files on this install.
  3. Edited the K4_Server_config.xml file to match our current configuration. In addition to uncommenting the code to use the MySQL database we also set the port to 8280.
  4. Because we changed the ports I also had to modify the server.xml file in Tomcat.

And it worked. Now I could practise upgrading the test server to K4 6.4r4-3. The steps provided to me by Patrick of MEI worked perfectly. It worked so well that I realized why my attept of 2 weeks ago failed. The browser's cache wasn't cleared properly. This time I was prepared to use another browser if I had problems clearing Safari's cache.

Everything worked. The update even solved a problem I had with deleting an issue from a publication.

So this morning I followed the instructions for upgrading the K4 production server. I was confident in my backups so, if worse came to worse, I could build K4 server from scratch and restore the data. Since my Tomcat was out of date I backed up and deleted the old K4 Server folder and installed K4 with Tomcat. I needed the mysqlconnector file from the old K4 setup since I did not upgrade the MySQL database this time. The operation took less than 10 minutes and then I just had to update the K4 connection files on InCopy and InDesign.

We are all set to move to Adobe InDesign and InCopy CS6. That update is scheduled for January 2 and should be stress free.

Update Fail

Today I tried updating our K4 Server from version 6.4r3-2 to 6.4r4-3. This should have been a simple server update. Patrick at MEI sent me wonderful instructions and we reviewed what needed to be done. The only reason for the update is to support InDesign and InCopy CS6.

Big fail. Everything looked OK until I signed in as the schema administrator. I could not see the Schema or Users and when I look at the admin profile it showed that I had no ability to do anything. We had 2 admin accounts and both had the same problem.

So I called MEI and Patrick helped me. He created a new k4base database. Still had problems. He checked my logs and saw that I was running an old version of Tomcat. Updated that. Didn't help. He couldn't believe that we had these problems and I took screen shots and he wrote up nots and they have all been sent to vjoon.

Fortunately the problem we were having prevented any of the publicatioin schemas from being updated, so when I restored the backed up K4 folder, you do remember to backup everything before trying a critical upgrade, everything just worked.

It is frustrating and I cannot attempt another update for at least 2 weeks. Let's see how well that fits in with the installation of our new phone system.

On a positive note I learned more about K4 internals. Of note, the K4 database holds your publication information. The K4base database only holds information about schema administrators. So if the K4base is messed up it is easy to create another K4base and your K4 database isn't trashed. 

Is this Article Placed in a Layout?

K4 6.3 lost the ability to see if an article or layout is attached to a layout. 6.4 has brought back this feature and improved it. Not only can you see if an article or layout is attached to a layout, but you can see if it is placed in the layout.

The Query Panel has 2 new columns: Attached to and Placed in. These are helpful for both designers and editors to see if objects haven't been put into a layout. The status for each article and text object is shown. This makes it easier to see if an item is missing from a layout. 

Transient

If an object is attached or placed in multiple layouts, an arrow will show with the number of layouts. Clicking on the arrow will cause K4 to display the names of the layouts associated with the object.

There is a Workflow Column

It turns out that there is a workflow column after all. To see it you just have to expand the size of the Type column.

Here is the default Type column.

Queryworkflowclosed.png

It turns out that there is a workflow column after all. To see it you just have to expand the size of the Type column.

Queryworkflowopen.png

[Fixed this page, the 2nd image was incorrect]

Missing: Batch Changes

This morning I am reminded how much I want a batch change option in the Query Panel.

I am making the same 2 changes to over a hundred objects in a Section. I select multiple objects and perform the Manage Tasks... operation.Then object by object I  (1) change the issue from current  to previous and (2) remove the prefix form the name of some objects. Life would be easier if I could do these operations via a batch process.

Why am I manually moving layouts and articles from one issue to another? We publish a few titles only once or twice a year and creating separate publications for every title adds a lot to the overhead of managing users. If K4 had a single user list for a server and then automatically populated the users to each publication, I would create a publication per title. But since K4 creates a separate user list for each publication, user management get onerous as you create more publications. Perhaps I should look into Open Directory integration.

First Issue Completed on K4 6.4r3-2

We just finished our first issue of The Washingtonian since upgrading to K4 6.4r3-2 and workflow went much more smoothly than in a long time. Rewinds worked, staff received e-mail notifications (though sometimes with a delay), and I didn't have any calls to help with withdrawn tasks. So many bugs were obliterated.

There were some changes, such as search by object name in the Query Panel, which is more of a filtering feature. At times I wondered if my queries were broken, only to realize that I had entered a filter earlier. So the problem was learning something new as opposed to something not working.

We did have a problem one day doing a query of work assigned to a particular editor, but it went away the next day, so I suspect a corrupted index that fixed itself overnight.

2 real issues. If you close a checked out document you will be asked to check it back in, or to "complete the task" to use K4 6.4 terminology. If you finished the task you wouldn't be able to set the next task. vjoon is aware of this issue and I had to train two people to always use the Finish Task menu option. The other problem is that in the K4 Attachments panel the articles are not sorted alphabetically. Nor are they sorted in a Query Panel if you do a query on layouts and then look at the articles attached to the layout.

So I've deleted the image of our K4 6.3 installation CD and deleted the logical drive holding the old K4 database.