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, 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.

ImageRight 5.2 FYI – Some Issues and Defects

If you are looking to move from ImageRight 4.x to 5.x, here are two bugs we’ve found post-upgrade that have made the official ImageRight defect list.  One is totally minor but interesting to know and the other is more of a big deal.

Window Size Changes after “Printing” in a Document
The ImageRight Desktop application has two main windows, the “image view” which displays whatever page you are working with and the “file manager” which allows users to navigate between different files, documents and pages within them.  If you have multiple monitors and happen to like to have the file manager window maximized to fill one monitor, you’ll notice that if you print or import a new document into the application when the “Import” confirmation/configuration window appears, the file manager window will change size, reverting to whatever size it would be if you had clicked the “restore down” button in upper right side of the window header bar.

Current workarounds include clicking the “maximize” button again to make it fill the screen, or to just make the non-maximized version of the window larger and not use the Windows maximize feature to fill the screen.  This currently affects version

Annotations Resized/Wrapped in 4.3 Are Not Wrapped in
The ability to annotate or add “stamps” to documents in ImageRight is one of the greatest features of the product.  In 4.3, it was possible to have the text of an annotation wrap to another line by resizing the text box.  After the upgrade to 5.2, annotations that were previously wrapped in this manner essentially “unwrapped” themselves, running the full text on one line.   This line of text could then cover valuable information on the orginal page or cover over another annotation.  Sometimes it even runs off the printable area of the document itself.  

While it’s possible to turn hide the annotations in order to see the complete original document, users generally place annotations in a way so that do not disrupt the ability to read the document.  Also, if any documents need to be exported or printed for another purpose the annotation may be a critical part of the document history and need to be rendered correctly. 

Workarounds are currently setting the Image View windows to “Fit to Height” which will show annotations that run off the page to the right, or resize the view window to allow for more viewable area on the right side.  This is a handy temporary fix so that you can see the complete annotation text.

The second suggested workaround is to promote a previous version of the document (or create a new document copy without annotations) and re-apply the necessary annotations.  While this might work for some documents, if you use annotations as part of a workflow where you generate several by different people or your stamps are considered part of your audit trail for official documents, this workaround is simply not acceptable.

Our company extensively uses annotations for approving invoices for A/P processing, complete with dates that line up with check runs and batch numbers.  Not only would simply redoing annotations be impractical as we have thousands of potentially affected documents, it’s simply doesn’t pass muster from an audit standpoint – all the annotations would have a new date history.

This issue has been given a “Priority 1” status at ImageRight and I hope to see a fix for it soon.

ImageRight 5.2 Has Arrived!

Over the weekend, I worked with Vertafore support staff to upgrade our ImageRight installation from 4.x to 5.x.  While it wasn’t a flawless process, it was successful in the end.  The support techs had to reinstall several of the server-side components twice, but this could have been related to the fact that our 4.x system was an upgrade from a 3.x version and there was a lot that needed to be cleaned up.

Outside of that hurdle, any other delays or issues we ran into over the weekend stemmed purely from a “documentation” standpoint.  For example, I was provided with the “Installation and Upgrade Guide” which I reviewed before the upgrade.  There were a couple things to note in there that weren’t the case when we were actually doing the implementation.

  • The application server software lists Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 (Not SP1) as a requirement, but SP1 was okay to have.
  • It was noted that there were two new functionality rights for the enterprise scanner software that needed to be enabled – “Scanner – Scan to File” and “Scanner – Scan to Workflow“.  However, “Scanner – Source Menu – Scan Batch” is also required.  There are several new scanner related functionality rights that control other options that you might need to enable as well, depending on what features your scanner operators already use.

When tackling the client desktops there were a few more road bumps.  I was missing the very important “ImageRight Desktop Installation Using Push Technology” that provided some key information for getting the desktop application deployed with Active Directory group policies.  For the 4.x version, we only had to deploy the desktop MSI file.  This time around you need two policies to deploy some prerequisite components that the manual installation process automatically call, as well as a transform file to make sure your application server and authentication information  gets in the local configuration files on the workstations. 

All of that (and more) is detailed in the “Push” guide – I didn’t even use all the recommendations because I thought they were a bit too lenient for GPOs just used for software installation. Also, it was recommended that we completely uninstall the previous components from the workstation, so we pushed a different script first to remove all the ImageRight software and then applied our new GPOs.

Finally, we do have a post-upgrade issue with annotations not displaying correctly when “wrapped”.  There were some added features related to annotation control, specifically the ability to control if an annotation can be resized or not.  Many of our users resize boxes to automatically wrap the text in a text box or stamp, so it’s likely this display issue stems from that feature change.  Hopefully we’ll have a good resolution for that shortly.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to joining other ImageRight users at the Vertafore Connection Tour next week in Las Vegas.  I’m sure there will be plenty to talk about!

ImageRight 5.2 Improvements

I’m looking forward to spending a couple days in Las Vegas next month at the Vertafore Connection Tour so I can chat with other people who are using ImageRight. We’ll be looking to upgrade to version 5.2 soon and here are some of the new and improved features. You can find these and more in the version 5 release notes.

  • The ImageRight Application Server is certified for Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit).
  • The ImageRight Desktop is certified for Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit).
  • Installer was improved to make the selection of native vs. integrated (AD) security more user friendly.
  • Created a Microsoft Outlook plug-in that will allow users to work ImageRight tasks directly from Outlook. (additional licenses required)
  • The user interface for Business Process Reporting has been redesigned for a better experience. Includes reports for managers to see volume of images being added by users.
  • The enteprise scanner application now has keyboard shortcuts and Windows access keys for many of the menus.
  • ImageRight Desktop can now run inside IE 7 or higher, by utitizing Click Once technology. (This will probably be great for remote access scenarios!)
  • Export utility allows for bulk exports based on file search or flat file parser. (There used to be a bulk exporter in version 3.5, but it was not ported to version 4.0. I’m looking forward to having it back in version 5.2.)
  • Device Merge Utility provides the ability to merge images from an existing storage device to one or more other storage devices.
  • The burning service can now support blu-ray discs.
  • Retention Management functions have been added, to allow sites to set retention and cut off dates throughout the system. (additional licensing required)

Many of these features are just what I’ve been wishing for. I hope its all worth the wait!