Archive for September, 2013

API Call Fails When Setting Seminar Start Time

In Connect 9.1 or later, when using an API call to set a time for when your seminar will run, you may encounter the following error response:

<results>
  <status code="invalid">
    <invalid field="date-begin" type="string" subcode="not-allowed"/>
  </status>
</results>

This indicates that you are attempting to schedule a seminar for a time that overlaps with another seminar using the same seminar license. Check the schedule for the seminar license to find an available time slot. Also, please see this blog post for details on Using the Connect API to create and schedule seminars.

Error Uploading PowerPoint Files into Adobe Connect

If you are having problems uploading PPT or PPTX files into Adobe Connect, check that the file name extension is correct.

If you have a PPTX file that is named with .PPT extension, then it generate an error when uploading to Adobe Connect. The opposite is also true: uploading PPT files that have .pptx extension will cause an error when uploading.

To check if a PowerPoint file should be named with PPTX or PPT extension, a quick way to verify is to rename the file to have .ZIP extension, and if you can open the file as a ZIP archive and view the internal contents, then it is a PPTX file. If you cannot view internal contents, then it is a PPT file.

Burst Pack Minutes Behavior

When an account exceeds its burst pack minutes quota, and no more minutes remain in the account, the following actions occur:

As long as the room still has a number of attendees in excess of the soft limit, then new users will not be allowed to join. Existing users will still stay in the room. Once existing users leave, they will not be allowed to join.

Once the number of attendees in the room drops below the soft limit, then new users will be allowed to join again as long as room attendance remains below the soft limit.

Reports on Adobe Connect fail to Download

Sometimes, when downloading reports from the Adobe Connect web site, the report will fail to load, or an error message such as “java.util.NoSuchElementException”, “Request not processed” or “Web page not found” will be displayed.

Although this problem occurs more frequently for hosted customers, it can also affect on premise installations.

The reason for the error is that the server is configured to limit the number of rows returned from a single database query. For hosted customers, the limit of rows returned is 20,000. Many times a report that does not have a filter set will return more than 20,000 rows.

The first thing that can be done to resolve the problem is to set a filter that limits the number of rows returned.

For example, after logging in to the web site, navigate to Administrator > Reports > View Downloadable Reports. Then in that page, click on Report Filters. Then set a time limit, like the last month or so, and Save the filter. Then run the report again, and that should succeed because the shorter time frame will generate fewer rows from the database.

A second possible solution, but one that is only appicable for On Premise customers, is to increase the row limit allowed by queries. This should only be attempted if the first method is not viable due to a business need to have larger result sets. You can edit the custom.ini file and add, or update the DB_MAX_ROWS setting. By default, the value is 20,000, so you would want to increase the limit to a higher value. As an example, the following line will allow a maximum of 100,000 rows to be returned:

DB_MAX_ROWS=100000

The value can be safely increased as needed. Increasing the value does not allocate additional resources, it merely allows a larger number of rows to be returned from the database.

Brad’s Short-list for Connect Cluster SaaS Monitoring Options

There are many options on the monitoring theme that are worth considering when trying to decide how to keep trach of Connect server resources in a cluster. Articles describing clustered environments are on the Connect Users Community : http://www.connectusers.com  Simply search the User’s Community using the keywords: cluster, pool, edge, SSL, etc.

To effectively monitor your Connect cluster SaaS options can sometimes be cost effective than home-spun solutions; here are some staff picks with some commentary:

Sumologic- It resembles Splunk. The main difference is that Sumologic is hosted and managed externally and Splunk is hosted and managed on-premise. With Sumologic, there is not any need for software licensing, hardware investments or internal administrator expertise.  Splunk offers a similar service called splunk>storm, but it is not as mature as Sumologic and lacks some of the alerting capability found in Sumologic.

Loggly - An alternative to Sumologic could be Loggly which offers a similar service; it seems that the alerting service is not exactly built in.  It requires a little more work and is called AlertBirds.

Note: It is possible to take an on-premise option like Cacti and port it to Sumologic, so you could effectively kill 2 birds with one stone.  You can setup a forwarder in 30 seconds and be searching the logs in no time at all.

Monitis – Provides capabilities similar to those of Nagios along with external monitoring.  The Monitis community writes custom monitors thereby enriching the options.

LogicMonitor – An alternative to Monitis could be something like LogicMonitor.  You may be able to port your existing Nagios checks over to it (check and verify).  This si a simple solution, installing the monitor and having basic checks like CPU, Memory, Bandwidth, Disk Usage, Disk IO and external ping, http, https and udp monitors setup would take all of 20 minutes.

Pingdom- An alternative to RedAlert at a lesser cost.  It is trusted by millions and is easy to use and has more endpoints than comparable options.  It takes five minute setup.

The beauty of a SaaS monitoring solution is that you do not need to worry about scaling your monitoring solution every time you scale your Connect architecture.  You can have a single solution for 20 Connect Clusters vs having to add Cacti servers, Nagios servers, Splunk architecture and licensing to handle the additional monitoring needs commensurate with expansion.  With a SaaS solution, there in not any build-out time.  You can literally have 20 monitors up and running in under an hour, and work on adding additional ones at your leisure in between casts with your new Deceiver 8 Fly Combo.

With reference to basic on-premise monitoring, make sure you use standard perfmon counters for things like CPU, Memory etc. For meeting count and meeting user monitoring you may use the FMSAdmin API with scripts to make various calls and then parse the data and pass it to an option such as Cacti.  To insure robustness, the FMSAdmin service should be restarted routinely. You could also use similar counters to pull data directly from the Connect database, but this is not without risk as Connect updaters and upgrades can introduce changes that may require rework of your custom counters.

Adobe Connect Servers and Hardware-based Load-balancing Devices

This updated article offers a best-practice configuration of a basic Connect pool/cluster behind a high-end, application-aware HLD such as F5 BIG-IP LTM. This article does not discuss SSL-acceleration. This article does not describe all the possible configurations, but offers a general working example of a basic HTML/RTMP non-SSL cluster/pool of Connect servers.

Adobe Connect Server Pools and Hardware-based Load-balancing Devices: http://www.connectusers.com/tutorials/2009/04/load_balancing/index.php

In Connect 9.1 the Invitation TAB is replaced with Sessions TAB in seminar room.

Problem Description :- In the earlier versions of connect ( 9, 8 or earlier ) we use to have an Invitation TAB in Seminar section using which a host can send an invite to all the participants,hosts,presenters listed in Edit participant TAB by selecting from a drop down as shown below in the picture :

InvitationsTab

Now in Connect 9.1 This Invitations TAB is replaced with Sessions TAB in Seminar Section.

Solution:

In the new version of Connect 9.1 to send an invite to ( participants, hosts and presenters) the workflow has changed. Now when the user creates a session, the only option they get is the below screen shot where when user Press the “Send Now” button it launches an Outlook message with only Host email in the TO: field. The rest of the email’s for ( participants, hosts and presenters) user needs to populate manually.

SessionsTab

 

Initially we used to have Participant Management functionality for Invitation TAB however now since we have replaced that with a new Session TAB which does not have a Participant management functionality because every seminar session will have a different set of participants and currently there is no way to specify participants per session, user has to send the invite through their default mailbox/mail server for instance Outlook, Gmail etc.

Thanks

 

Adobe Connect Web Services Best Practices with URL Encoding

It is always good to review the best practices for URL encoding strings (http://www.w3schools.com/tags/ref_urlencode.asp) before writing your code for any sort of XML API integration with Adobe Connect.  This especially comes in handy when you need to pass in passwords for either a principal or telephony profile, or if you use something as common as the time zone value in a date filter.

One example of a common problem  is the ‘+’ in the service call URL if your time zone for instance, includes a ‘+’ sign (so GMT+01:00 for Paris as an example).  This is a conflicting standards issue with the  URL spec and the ISO8601 time spec.  All customers should make a practice of URL encoding all query strings in their application or if they are just using a web browser to make API calls to Adobe Connect.

The workaround in the case of a time zone on the plus side of GMT would be to URL encode the ‘+’ with ‘%2b’.

So an example would be:

https://{serverURL}/api/xml?action=report-meeting-attendance-details&sco-id=XXXXXXXX&filter-gte-date-end=2013-09-11T15%3A31%3A21.057%2b01%3A00&filter-lte-date-end=2013-09-11T16%3A06%3A10.650%2b01%3A00

Where I substituted the correct ‘%2b’ in the URL string instead of ‘+’ and also %3A instead of ‘:’ .

This Will return the desired:

<results>
<status code=”ok”/>
<report-meeting-attendance-details>
<row transcript-id=”XXXXXXXX” sco-id=”XXXXXXX” principal-id=”XXXXXXX” answered-survey=”0″>
<attendee-login>user@email.com</attendee-login>
<attendee-name>User Name</attendee-name>
<attendee-ip-address>XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX</attendee-ip-address>
<sco-name>Sco Name</sco-name>
<meeting-url>http://{serverURL}/meetingurl</meeting-url>
<unique-meeting-id>XXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXX</unique-meeting-id>
<customer-id>XXXXXX</customer-id>
<date-created>2013-09-11T15:31:21.057+01:00</date-created>
<date-end>2013-09-11T16:06:10.650+01:00</date-end>
</row>
<row>
….
</row>
<row>
….
</row>
</report-meeting-attendance-details>
</results>

 

Note: The error you would get if you did not encode the “+” in the above example would look like this:

<results>
<status code=”invalid”>
<invalid field=”date-end” type=”date” subcode=”format“/>
</status>
</results>

Navigation is restricted from within a Presenter-based, Connect-hosted likert quiz question

Issue: Navigation is restricted from within a Presenter-based, Connect-hosted likert quiz question unless you toggle the synch button in the meeting share pod.

To reproduce the issue, follow these steps:
1. Publish a PPTX having likert question and a normal slide to Adobe Connect using Presenter 9.
2. Share this content in meeting.
3. Move inside the quiz question. (Notice share pod will go in unsync mode.)
4. In un-sync mode try to move out of the quiz to the non-quiz normal slide.

Result: You cannot move out of the quiz to the slide outside of the quiz. Press the next/previous button or  selecting the non-quiz slide from the sidebar will not work in unsynchronized mode.

Workaround: Press the sync button and then you can move out to the normal slide.

This is a known issue and the target fix is for Connect 9.2.

What Camera should I use in my Connect Meeting?

Issue: Many customers ask Adobe what camera to use with Connect

The short answer is, most any camera you would like. Adobe does not recommend specific cameras but we do have this posted for guidance:  Peters’ Camera Options Recordinghttps://my.adobeconnect.com/p11223582/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal