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Access other users workspace

Access other users workspace

When a designer checkout a model and work on it for a week without checking in but save and upload to his workspace there is no way to retrieve or collect that data if that designer cannot access the system anymore.

assume that the designer get serios injury and needs to be on hospital for few weeks, an admin could access his workspace and checkin all the object so that another user can continue working on them.

currently this is not possible but my customer would be really happy to have this. instead of doing undo checkout to his work, it would be nice to checkin his changes in the place of him.

33 Comments
Level 1

Hi,

This is a common issue with 'offline' authoring which I would tackle it using a workflow.

1). Listen for the desginer's checkouts of the Assembly into their workspace.

2). On the listener create a new Work Item. The Work Item would be called 'Undo Workspace Checkout'.

     Note: The workitems responsible role would be 'Product Manager'/'Administrator'.

3). In the 'Synchronise' code of the Workflow you can use the Workspace API to undo the checkout of the primary business object. You could also (with some querying) find the other 'dependent objects' and undo their checkout too. This would all work as (I would assume) the Administrator would have a high level of privelages.

The Adminsitrator could then go the their 'Task List' and search for objects used by that designer. He would then fine his associated 'Undo Checkout from Workspace' and submit that task.

P.S.: we have written code which manipulates the workspaces quite regualy via workflow tasks. It makes quite a lot of sense to do it this way. For example: we refresh the workspace throught the workflow to ensure the latest versions of the objects are being refered to.

Level 1

Hello,

but what you describe is only to enable undo-checout, so his one week of work is gone now..

what i am after is to checkin the updated content which resides in the workspace. so that another user can work from where he left in the last day he works not the last checkin point.

Level 1

Ok,

So in the workflow task form you need a user picker. This allows the administrator to pick a 'healthy' designer.

In the workflow create a task called: 'Reassign Outstanding Work'. This will:

1). Checkin current work from the hospitalised designer.

2). Create a new Workspace for the healthy designer.

3). Assign all business objects to the new workspace.

4). Send an email to the healthy designer to alert him to their new work schedule.

Level 1

Hi,

so this is a customization we are talking about, but why dont we have simply the org admins having access to any users workspace by default? if the owner of workspace shares the workspace url, org admin can open that url and see the details of workspace, however if org admin clicks on checkin that doesnt work. so basically all i want is to have ootb way so that an org admin can search for objects in the workspaces and check them in if its necessary (if owner is not available)

Level 5

To checkin the objects you need physical access to the user machine.

If something like this happens, you would have to upload the data first (not all companies do this).

If you just had access from Server Side, you would miss the Data.

Level 5

An administrative role should be able to access any workspace and act on the objects within that workspace as a part of the standard Windchill UI, without the creation of code.  If the configuration of the system has upload on save enabled then the administrator should be able to check in content.  Now the trick is that these actions should be logged as the administrator's actions.  So I would extend this idea by suggesting that an administrative role should be able to take ownership of the workspace and the associated checkouts in that workspace so that the administrative role could then process the objects as needed, all within the OOTB UI.

Level 1

It would be a good feature to have. I voted for it but, for now: In the example given worker hurt and cannot work an administrator could always change there password and then log in as them and check the data back in. If you have access to there computer you could even check in items that were not uploaded.

Level 15

The only way to get ALL files out of a workspace are to be logged into the computer as the original user and then access his workspace.

If you have save and upload enabled, then you only need access to his workspace from any computer to get the files.

My default settings have always been Save and Upload just for this purpose.

Level 5

There are many enterprises where this is strictly forbidden, particularity in the FA&D segment.  In many cases Windchill Administrators are not part of the enterprise that is responsible for user accounts (in a corporate LDAP) so there is at least lots of paperwork to gain access to a userid/password combo.  Besides that in a Single Sign On installation one would have to take extra steps to have Windchill in a basic authentication mode or as you point out would be logged into a device as that user.

Level 12

That is why I have it set as an organization to have all files uploaded automatically.  Unless someone can provide a reason I cannot understand why companies don't upload automatically.

It's also a safety feature.  I have had users not be connected and therefore their files were not uploaded.  Then either their workspace on the computer get corrupted or their hard drive crashes.  They lose all that work.

But I voted for it because I think it would help some companies.

Level 17

Enabling automatic upload creates the following issues:

  • Increases network saturation
  • Increases server load
  • Greatly increases file vault size
  • Requires constant purging of unreferenced files

This is Creo (Pro/e) we're talking about.  "Unexpected exits" are included in the software package.  Everyone here is well trained to save constantly (every few minutes, whenever switching models, and sometimes after every new feature created).  The amount of data pushed to the server from each of those saves would be insane.  I don't want 50 copies of every object sent to the server when only the last one really matters.  Our designers do understand that if they don't upload at least daily they are setting themselves up for trouble, but on the other hand, I don't want every copy from every time they saved pushed up to the server.

I've also heard that those with auto-upload enabled can get complacent and assume everything has been uploaded and then get burned when something wasn't (due to name conflict, etc.)

Level 11

Tom, I am curious and have some questions for you:

  1. How many Creo users are at your company?
  2. How big are your file sizes?

We have ~50-100 users and we have not knowingly had to purge unreferenced files, as we just delete our WSs when we are done with them.

Entire asm, components and dwg is not small for us, however Creo only saves what changes, so if I save a dwg 20 times in an hour, it is only saving the dwg, not the asm and the components.  Even when I am saving the asm, it is typically only saving the asm and maybe a couple other components.  If the other components don't change, they don't get saved and therefore don't get uploaded.

We find that it is really hard to get light users to understand (or care) about the significance of uploading.  If something happens they expect to loose it but are please when sometimes it can be recovered from the auto-uploads (or from the WS frames).  I think that light users are complacent regardless if it gets uploaded or not, and these type of people are very hard to get good training in for, or to get them to remember it...so it is nice that it happens in the background.  Heavy users will save rigorously either way because they know what it will take to redo work, however because they are heavy users it would require too much time and focus to upload their work all the time, especially when often required to switch between projects due to road blocks or other changes.

Level 12

Tom,

You still haven't provided a good reason why a company wouldn't upload automatically unless your belief is you would rather lose work and redo it.  Wasting all that time rather than have the safety of it also saved on the server.  In fact, your 3rd and 4th bullet point is not even true.  As Lawrence said, PDMLink does NOT save another iteration every time a file is uploaded.  It overwrites it.  Only when you check in is when an iteration gets created.

You never said whether you believe auto-upload SHOULD be on or not.  You just stated what you believed uploading does.  In the long run it is my strong belief that auto-upload should be on and that those companies that don't have it on are looking for trouble.

Could it still be possible to lose work?  Absolutely.  But you minimize the chance of it significantly.

As to your comment about user's getting complacent.  One of the things you must do is add the different status update columns to the workspace for every user.  If there is a conflict there is a noticeable red icon.  If the user doesn't look at their workspace then that is on them.  They have to understand and be trained this is important.  If they don't pay attention to it then they will lose work.  They will understand losing work.

Level 17

Sorry, been busy...

PDMLink does NOT save another iteration every time a file is uploaded.  It overwrites it.  Only when you check in is when an iteration gets created.

This is not correct.  When auto upload is turned on, every save and corresponding upload is creating new data in the vault.  I've tested this and watched it happen.

Yes, the history of an object (on the details page) only shows the check in events (new iterations).  This is not the same thing.

Level 12

Well what do ya know.  I stand corrected.  It does create a new object for ever save on an upload.  Interesting.

I still believe it is in the best interest of anyone that uses PDMLink to set it to auto-upload.  But that is my opinion.

Level 15

Purge Unreferenced Files should be run periodically on your vaults for this reason.

Every Upload adds a file to the vaults. When that file is checked-in, all other files that have been uploaded at that Revision become unreferenced files back to the last checked-in file/iteration.

Level 11

Agreed, to benefit from WS Frames, every save would have to be kept separate and stored.

Ben and Tom, If a user deletes a WS, doesn't that purge all the files on his computer and server that were associated with that WS?  If so why would you have to purge unreferenced Files from vaults?  If it does not work this way, why not?  Is there some benefit of them being stored even after a WS is deleted?

Tom, I am still interested in the answers to those questions I wrote for when you can spare the time to answer them.

Thanks.

Level 17

Workspace frames are stored on the user's computer locally, not on the server.  Yes, when you delete a workspace, the locally stored data is supposed to be deleted.  As the cache gets older and grows in size, this doesn't always work correctly - hence the "Cache Clear" function. (Second tab on Creo's Server Management dialog.)  Again, this is all local.

On the server side, deleting a workspace has no impact of the files created or uploaded to the file vault.  While the server may tell the database they are no longer needed, they do not automatically get deleted.  You either need to manually run the "cleanup unreferenced files" utility or schedule it to run automatically.  I believe PTC has chosen to leave the files in the vault so they can be backed up before being deleted.

To answer your earlier questions, we only have a dozen or so CAD users.  Most of the files are small, but there are the occasional 300 MB files out there.  When our system was originally installed our VAR recommend we leave auto-upload turned off.  Since that time we've upgraded both the network and the servers.  It may not be as big of a deal now to enable it, I just haven't had any compelling reason to do so.  We've never had a local hard drive failure (we use overclocked PCs with solid state drives) and the local workspace frames already provide a way to roll back to previous saves.  Much of the work we do is done quickly, in several hours.  Rarely is someone working on a single CAD model for days or weeks at a time.  If they are, they know they need to upload at least once a day.  At this point I'm not sure the benefits of auto-uploading outweigh the growth of the vault (and probably the database since it to has to keep track of each of these uploaded files as well).

Level 12

I guess I am still unsure about the willingness to accept possibly losing 1, 2 or more hours work and time and having to redo it.  Especially since hard drive space is cheap.  Not only that but the fact that the design might be different the second time.  (But maybe that's a good thing sometimes)

We have users that don't check their files in for days even though we mandate they must do so at least once a day...depending on the situation.  If they create one small simple feature today then I have no problem with them not checking in.

I try to drill it into my users head to look out for upload problems.  The first time we went from PDMLink 9.0 to 9.1 I spent a huge amount of time the week before the upgrade trying to help users get their files checked in.  That was even after I sent out several emails to check their files in and don't wait for the last minute.  That is the other thing that helps checking files in.  If they have no errors with the upload then more than likely they will have no problem checking files in.

One last thing is that sometimes workspaces get corrupted.  If that happens and the files were not uploaded then they are SOOL.

Level 13

Steve,

I think every WNC admin fight with what you described.

We moved to 10.2 M030 last weekend, and the user who check in his object for last, did it just 1 minute before scheduled shutdown of Windchill, despite the announcement made a week before, and dozens of reminders send during the entire Friday.

Level 12

From what I have been told earlier versions of PDMLink had a major flow flaw in it.  Removing unreferenced files actually removed needed files.  So it was a good thing we never did this.

https://support.ptc.com/appserver/cs/view/solution.jsp?n=CS17042&art_lang=en&posno=12&q=unreferenced...

Level 8

"One last thing is that sometimes workspaces get corrupted.  If that happens and the files were not uploaded then they are SOOL."

Not entirely true.  See this discussion that was migrated from PTC/USER: Windchill Cache Recovery Tool .  There is a link to the tool at the bottom of the thread.

Ron

Level 12

The problem you have though is many companies won't allow this since it's a homemade program.

Level 17

I noticed this today on my homepage when logged in as an administrator:

ws1.PNG

The functionality we're looking for is almost there.  I did a quick search and all the user's workspaces were visible.

ws2.PNG

Unfortunately the only thing you can do with them is delete them. 

I also tried directly copying the URL for a workspace when logged on as a user to a different session logged on as a administrator.  While this does show the workspace, it doesn't show uploaded, but not checked in objects.

User's view (from stand-alone browser):

ws3.PNG

Administrator's view (from stand alone browser):

ws4.PNG

So technically an administrator CAN get to a user's workspace, they just can't see new or uploaded objects that haven't been checked in yet.

Level 8

Unless I missed it, I have not seen anyone suggest just picking the files off the user's disk. I know CREO obfuscates the filenames but there are methods for extracting the data. For other CAD systems the data is readily available in the local WS folder. This means the admin only needs access to the users local disk, and not thier user credentials which should be easier to obtain and may not violate so of the rules of governing bodies mentioned earlier. This also bypasses the upload or not upload issue. The local copy is the latest.

That said I do think it is odd the admin cannot see the contents of user's workspaces. Taking data from the server side workspace would only be worth doing though if the auto upload was set. Otherwise you might miss modified data on the local disk that had not been uploaded making having access to the workspaces mostly pointless for the pupose described.