Workaround for ImageRight and Remote Desktop Display Bug

Many months ago, I wrote about using ImageRight via Server 2008 RemoteApp.  There’s been a problem with accessing some of the drop down menus and as we’ve upgraded ImageRight a few times since then, I’ve been hoping the issue will just go away.

But after moving to 5.4 and having more and more users accessing ImageRight via RemoteApp, the issue really need to be addressed. Turns out there is a quick and easy workaround.  Hold down the CTRL key when you select the drop down menus. Simple and effective.

Now, go forth and be Merry for the Holidays!

The Next Rev: ImageRight 5.4

My office is a week or so post-upgrade to ImageRight 5.4 from version 5.2.  While this version integrates some post-5.2 hotfixes to resolve some annotation and image display issues, it comes with it’s own post-5.4 hotfixes that need to be installed after the primary installation. If you deploy the desktop client with Group Policy, you’ll need to create an MSI file and a third policy to fully deploy the software and hotfixes automatically.

While the desktop client hasn’t changed much from a user standpoint, there were some security additions and tweaks that are important to know about.

  • Alphabetizing Lists and Annotations – In previous versions, many of the lists that users interacted with were sorted by creation date.  This was less than ideal when selecting from a long list of private annotations or selecting from the document type tree drop-down. Those list displays are now alphabetized. 
  • Read/Write permissions added to File Notes – while this is a great addition as a security feature, it’s turned on by default post-upgrade with the result being that users can’t see or add any file notes.  I needed to make a support call to find the odd place that permission change was located. (The Security properties of the “Storage Types” container in the EMC.)
  • Annotations Limited to Specific File Types – There is a feature in version 5 where you can filter or limit on what file types an annotation is available for use.  When migrating from version 4 to 5.2 the system defaulted all the private annotations to be available on all file types (which was the behavior in previous version), but didn’t automatically check the “include all file types” option box.  In version 5.4, the check box status is enforced, which may make private annotations seem to disappear for the end users.
  • New Permissions for “Desktop – Modify Document Date” – also defaulted to not having any permission set in 5.4, users will need this permission added to change a document date.  Also new is some functionality to track the date and time a document is received (“Desktop – Modify Receive Date and Time”), you may or may not want to let users change that.

Also, if you do any automated processes where you are using the FUP tool for updating file information, it’s not working correctly.  Hopefully, that one is resolved quickly.  We don’t use it often, but when we do we tend to have a lot of files that need a change and a manual process would be tedious.

Overall, ImageRight 5.4 brought several new features and welcome changes to the document management product, with a relatively easy upgrade process from 5.2.

Rotating Pages in ImageRight

Looking for the super-secret keyboard shortcuts for rotating multiple pages in the ImageRight Desktop 5.2? Oh, it’s very secret, it’s not even in the list of keyboard shortcuts in the help file.
1) Click to highlight at the document level (if you want to rotate all the pages in that document) or control/shift click to select the multiple pages you want to rotate.
2) Press Control + Shift + F to rotate 180 degrees.
3) Press Control + Shift + S to rotate 90 degrees.
You can also use just Control + F or Control + S on individual pages.

The How and Why of an ImageRight Test Environment

Over the last few days, I’ve coordinated setting up a new test environment for ImageRight, now that we’ve upgraded to version 5.  Our previous test environment was still running version 4, which made it all but useless for current workflow development.  However, workflow development isn’t the only reason to set up an alternate ImageRight system – there are some other cool uses.

ImageRight has an interesting back-end architecture.  While it’s highly dependant on Active Directory for authentication (if you use the integrated log on method), the information about what other servers the application server and the client software should interact with is completely controlled with database entries and XML setup files.  Because of this you can have different ImageRight application servers, databases and image stores all on the same network with no conflicts or sharing of information.  Yet, you don’t need to provide a separate Active Directory infrastructure or network subnet.

While our ultimate goal was to provide a test/dev platform for our workflow designer, we also used this exercise as an opportunity to run a “mini” disaster recovery test so I could update our recovery documentation related to this system.

To set up a test environment, you’ll need at least one server to hold all your ImageRight bits and pieces – the application server service, the database and the images themselves.  For testing, we don’t have enough storage available to restore our complete set of images, so we only copied a subset.  Our database was a complete restoration, so test users will see a message about the system being unable to locate documents that weren’t copied over. 

I recommend referring to both the “ImageRight Version 5 Installation Guide” and the “Create a Test Environment” documents available on the Vertafore website for ImageRight clients.  The installation guide will give you all the perquisites need to run ImageRight and the document on test environments has details of what XML files need to be edited to ensure that your test server is properly isolated from your production environment.  Once you’ve restored your database, image stores and install share (aka “Imagewrt$), its quick and easy to tweak the XML files and get ImageRight up and running.

For our disaster recovery preparations, I updated our overall information about ImageRight, our step-by-step guide for recovery and burned a copy of our install share to a DVD so it can be included in our off-site DR kit.  While you can download a copy of the official ImageRight ISO, I prefer to keep a copy of our expanded “Imagewrt$” share instead – especially since we’ve added hotfixes to the version we are running, which could differ from the current ISO available online from Vertafore.

Because setting up the test enviroment was so easy, I could also see a use where some companies may want to use alternate ImageRight environments for extra sensitive documents, like payroll or HR.  I can’t speak for the additional licensing costs of having a second ImageRight setup specificially for production, but it’s certainly technicially possible if using different permissions on drawers and documents doesn’t meet the business requirements for some departments.

ImageRight Hotfixes = Happiness!

My last post about ImageRight covered two defects that we were experiencing that will not show up in the release of version 5.3.  However, since they were critical to actually viewing and interacting with images in the system, last week we received the hotfix that address both of those items.

The fix updated five DLL files on the client side and was provided to us as a self-extracting executable file that needed to be ran on each desktop.  I’m not a fan of sending executable files to my end users to click on via email, since that encourages some email habits I’d prefer to avoid.  Thus, we (meaning my rockin’ programming co-worker) repackaged the hotfix as a MSI file that I could easily deploy via Group Policy.  I tested the fix on my desktop and we rolled it out to the rest of the staff the following morning for installation at the next desktop reboot. 

One little caveat that would have been nice to know ahead of time… Once a user has the fix installed, ANY .tif document they add to the system will cause a “red X” error on a non-fixed ImageRight client.

I discovered this after installing the fix on my machine and then adding in some expense reports for processing.  I then had to go over and install the hotfix on an accounting computer so my tasks could be processed.  Going forward, that user would create documents than everyone else in the office wouldn’t be able to view until they had the hotfix.  So it’s imperative that this particular fix be rolled out en mass, so users don’t see even more errors.

Overall, kudos to the ImageRight Support team and the developers for working hard to make sure that ImageRight continues to work for us.

ImageRight 5.2 Growing Pains – 2 Bugs, Almost 2 Fixes

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, the recent upgrade to ImageRight 5.2 was highly successful, though we did find several bugs and oddities.  Most have been resolved with calls to ImageRight support and some, while interesting, just aren’t critical.  But I’ve got two tickets open that have been escalated to official defects and are worth noting.

Bug 1: Annotation Wrapping and Resize I’ve mentioned the annotation wrapping issue before and this stems from the new 5.x feature where you can control the ability to wrap and resize annotations on a per-annotation basis.  This is no doubt a great feature that adds a lot of flexibility to annotations and stamps.

In our 4.x environment, we have several long annotations that were resized and wrapped to fit specific areas of a page.  In 5.2 version, those 4.x “legacy” annotations are no longer wrapped, often spanning off the printable page area.  This stems from the fact that the older stamps do not have the “wrap” and “resize” flags activated, something that is controllable whenever you created an annotation in 5.2.  Upgrading from 4.x to 5.2 should have automatically defaulted the existing annotations to have those flags, as that is the native behavior of annotations in the older versions.

This will be corrected in the next revision of 5.3, but a hotfix is also expect to be available soon.  It’s important to note that if a page has an affected annotation and a “new” 5.2 annotation is added to that page, all legacy annotations will be “frozen” and not corrected when the fix is applied.

Bug 2: The Red X – Desktop Can’t Display a Page Image When you see this red X in the viewing window instead of the page you selected from your file, you know you have a problem.  The big error message thrown by ImageRight Desktop that can close the application also makes it clear something is amiss.
Turns out some documents can have a DPI issue related to when annotations are placed on a page.  As I understand it, some third party import processes can put in images at a different DPI than expected and when annotations are added it makes the 5.2 software unable to load them in the viewer.  We’ve had some odd DPI issues in the past that were caused by our small Canon desktop scanners and I suspect these are the same images that are unable to be loaded by the viewer now.  We’ve been able to recreate the issue using the desktop scanners, so this issue is not only a legacy problem, but an ongoing one.

It’s possible to export the page to PDF and view it that way, so there is a temporary work around for viewing the page, but the user can’t annotate the file without printing that PDF copy back in.  This may be acceptable in some cases, but the document would then have a disconnect with the annotation history that might not be acceptable.

The fix for this issue is expected in version 5.3.29.1350, but a hotfix is also planned for release.

Recap of the ImageRight Connection Tour in Las Vegas

I had a great time catching up with some of the ImageRight staff and some other ImageRight administrators in Las Vegas last week.  While nothing beats the bigger ImageRight conference that happens every odd year, this was a nice chance to chat about a product with others who enjoy some of the same benefits and experience some of the same pains as I do.
Below are some features and changes you can look forward to in v5. While I don’t do the workflow design and administration for our system, I’m happy to bring back some new workflow features to share.
  • Deadlines can be added to manual steps to help prevent tasks from stagnating in task lists if someone is out of the office.
  • “Split and Rendezvous” allows a single task the capability to break into sub-tasks that then don’t move forward until they all come together as completed.
  • “Authorized user checking” can help prevent tasks from being assigned to a user who can’t view a document.
Another great session was the “Tips and Tricks” for what’s new the “New Architecture” (versions 4.x and 5.x).
  • Attributes can be added at the document level, as well as at all other levels.  These attributes can also be used for reporting purposes.
  • The “thumbnail workpad” was replaced by a combination of the ability to launch additional viewers in new windows and to collect and reorder pages from multiple documents using the “send to” feature.
  • Redaction adds the ability to blackout information in a file that applies to all view of the document, even printing or copying without annotations, based on user rights.
  • Electronic signatures can be used to digitally sign versions of documents.
  • The new Outlook interface and the web desktop will bring new ways of easily accessing ImageRight without needing the full desktop program available.
Hopefully we’ll be able to make use of some of these new features in the coming months to help our office make ImageRight an even more useful part of our company’s day to day operations.