KB2710010 Summary of Technical Changes in 2.7

Portfolios in the Browser

Portofolios are now visible in the browser client. If a user is designated as a 'Portfolio User' then they will see a portfolio and project picker on the 'Projects' page. Otherwise, they will see the conventional project picker only.

Multiple Stage Types

Previously, only one stage type existed in a project template. The definition was stored in the 'stage.xml' document. In this version, multiple stage types can be defined. There is still a default stage type in the 'stage.xml' document, and futher types can be defined in method manager in documents called 'stage-type name.xml'. The type name is presented in the client in a drop-down list when creating a new stage.

Local Client Files

In this version, files that are local to the client and contribute to customisation (e.g. images, reporting templates etc.) are now stored in a special folder normally in the user's profile, where the client config file is stored.

For operating in the normal Windows non-roaming or roaming mode this is stored in the profile e.g.


In the 'Portable' mode these files are stored in a 'local' folder in the install folder i.e.

[Install Folder]\bin\piabpe.cfg
[Install Folder]\local\clientsupportfiles\
[Install Folder]\local\clienttemplatefiles\

The 'Client Template Files' Folder

In previous versions, files such as the templated process diagrams were stored in a temporary location, and updated as necessary by the client. In order to be refreshed when the central templates were changed on the server, the user would have to find and delete them manually. In this new version, they are stored in a more obvious location (as above) and can now be cleared using a button in the 'Options | Update Client' form.

The 'Client Support Files' Folder

In previous versions of PIAB, reports created by the clients used local copies of report support files (XSL templates, logos, icons etc.) in the 'install folder\xsl' folder. If the central reporting templates were changed, then a new client had to be deployed to desktops to allow the new support files to be picked up.

In this new version, the client is distributed with a default copy of 'Client Support Files' in the folder:

[install folder]\clientsupportfiles-default

and a copy is taken to a local path. If in normal mode, i.e. a Non-Roaming or Roaming Windows user, this is in the user's profile e.g.


or if in 'Portable Mode' within the install folder i.e.

[install folder]\local\clientsupportfiles

On startup, the client checks to see if the 'clientsupportfiles' folder exists in the correct place. If not, it makes a copy of the default set folder.

On login to a server, the client automatically updates the contents of the local 'clientsupportfiles' folder from the server. This feature can be switched off in 'Options | Update Client' if required. These files are sent over the network in a zip format, and unzipped on the client PC as needed.

The 'Options | Update Client' form has buttons to allow users to carry out the update and reset manually, to assist when developing local report templates.

Updating the Server 'Client Support Files'

To help with customisation and implemention, an Admin user may do the reverse operation, i.e. update the server Client Support Files with their local copy. The files are sent to the server as a package, which is then unpacked to the custom content location (see below) for distribution to other users.

When an update is carried out, a copy of the original package is made to the 'saved' folder.

Icons in Select Project and Select Porfolio Forms

When selecting a project from the 'Select Project' or 'Select Portfolio' forms, you can optionally show a project attribute in the list. In addition, in the special case of the 'Status' attribute there were hard-coded status icons (coloured dots) that indicated the project status. In this version, this feature is extended to allow organisations to customise these RAG icons, so that they can be customised in line with project reports.

The 'clientsupportfiles\rag-icons' folder contains .jpg, .png or .gif files of the form:



rag-icons\status-not started.jpg
rag-icons\status-on track.jpg

An image will be automatically chosen and displayed against the project where the attribute name and value match the file name. E.g. in the case where the chosen attribute is 'Status' and the project value is 'Exception', the 'status-exception.jpg' file will be shown.

The match is not case-sensitive.

The case of a blank attribute value matches the image name as follows:


So, in the example above, projects with a blank 'Status' will be displayed with the 'status-.jpg' image.

Support for Legacy Browser Versions

In the previous version, only one CSS stylesheet was supported at a time on the server. We provided legacy support for older browers by providing single browser-specfic stylesheets, but this wasn't ideal in a mixed-browser environment. In the new version, the web application auto-detects the browser type and users can provide a custom stylesheet to work with the browser types. If there is no browser-specific stylesheet on the system then the default 'Styles.css' is used.


Browser Type Stylesheet Name
Default Any Styles.css
Internet Explorer IE6 Styles.ie6.css
Internet Explorer IE7 Styles.ie7.css
Firefox 3 firefox3.0.14 Styles.firefox3.0.14.css

In addition, the browser type can be specialised for version. If there is a version-specific stylesheet present, then that take precidence over the generic type. e.g

Browser Type Version Stylesheet Name
Internet Explorer IE7 7.0 Styles.ie7_7.0.css

Customisable Content

Customisable content is now held on the server in the 'piabws/customcontent' folder. This contains:

  • The central set of client support files: report xsl templates, RAG status icons etc.
  • The web app content e.g. CSS styleheets and supporting images, home page background, customisable text.

Server Sessions and Temporary Folders/Files

In ASP.NET 2.0, the web application can spontaneously reset if there is what Microsoft call a 'significant change' in the files within the app folder 'piabws'. The PIAB app stores user session data in the 'piabws/temp' folder, and writes and modifies files. This could mean that session data is lost and users could be logged off from the hub. Currently 'significant change' means deleting folders (not files), but this might change in the future.

In this version there are three new features to handle this issue:

  1. A server option to delete/not delete the session files (but not folders) on session end.
  2. A server option to delete/not delete the complete session folder on session end.
  3. A server option to specify that temp data is stored in a separate location - this could be a IIS Virtual Directory that is not under the 'piabws' application folder, and so changes within it do not cause an application reset.

The options to clear/not clear session data in the server config file are as follows. One option is to delete the files only, the other is to delete the entire session temp folder.


The option to specify the temp folder physical location and url is:

<!-- You can specify a server temp path or leave blank for the default of 'piabws/temp' 
     If specified, then the 'tempurl' value must match the 'temppath' value
     on your server. 'tempurl' is normally set up to point to a Virtual Directory
     that is separate to the main web app folder, e.g.

<!-- This is the default. -->

N.B. If the <temppath> is left blank, then the default values for the physical path and the URL are used.

Server Folder Permissions

In this version, more server folders require web app R/W or Modify access (to allow folders to be created/deleted). The specific user depends on the version of Windows e.g. 'Network Service' for Windows 2003 Server and 'IIS_IUSRS' for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.

Folder Web App Permissions
[install folder]\doc R/W
[install folder]\saved R/W
[install folder]\template2.0 Modify
[install folder]\piabws\temp (or a custom location, see above) Modify
[install folder]\piabws\customcontent Modify
2_7/kb2710010.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/22 13:13 (external edit)