Posts tagged "author-publish"

Understanding and Configuring the Correspondence Management Manage Assets interface

While the out-of-the-box experience of the Manage Assets interface will blow you away, it is worth noting that the interface itself is highly configurable, given that deployments of the Correspondence Management solution may need a different/customized look-n-feel of this interface, based on specific customer requirements.

The overall knitting of the UI components on the interface is done using the AMApplicationSkin.mxml which you can find in the CM Solution Template @ CorrespondenceManagementSolutionTemplate\ManageAssets\src\com\adobe\solutions\cmg\manage\skins\AMApplicationSkin.mxml.

Here’s a quick look at the high-level components:







While what’s shown on the Application Header (the various tab navigators) is largely governed by the (customizable) application’s skin (AMApplicationSkin), the rest of the UI components (i.e., which actions/buttons to be shown on the Application Toolbar, which columns to be shown in the Search Results Grid and which properties to be shown in the Advanced Search panel when searching) are driven by an XML definition, i.e. asset definition FMLs, which require almost no code changes to get yourself a customized UI experience. You will find these asset definition FMLs under /apps/solutions/cm/assetDefinitions in the CRX repository. See snapshot below:












Note that you will find two sets of FMLs there. Ones that are named [Asset type].fml and ones that are named [Asset type]-publish.fml – the former being the definitions used for the solution’s Author instance and the latter for the Publish instance.

The initial view of the Manage Assets interface lists all assets in the system. That is because the default view has all assets selected for search (“Search all assets” in the Advanced Search panel- see snapshot above). This view uses the Asset.fml descriptor as the UI definition/design. The same descriptor is used when searching for assets across multiple asset types. However, when searching for a specific type of asset (i.e., only Texts or only Conditions, and so on…), the descriptor for that asset type drives the UI definition/design. For example, when searching for Texts only (all other checkboxes deselected), the TextModule.fml drives how the interface looks like.

The FMLs are part of the CM Solution Template (@ CorrespondenceManagementSolutionTemplate\package-resources\apps\solutions\cm\assetDefinitions), and can be modified as required. Once modified, follow the steps to build and deploy the solution template for changes to take effect.


Understanding the Asset Definition descriptors (FMLs)

Now that we know the significance of these FMLs, let’s take a look at what’s in there…

The FML has a lot inside it, but we will only focus on what’s relevant towards the Manage Assets UI definition. Let’s take the TextModule.fml as an example here.

The first section of interest is the assetActions item, which defines what action buttons are available on the Application Toolbar when searching for Texts (only). Here’s how the section looks like for Texts:





Note the list of actions highlighted (within the grey boundary). Each <action> also defines the User Groups (names) who can perform that action (groupName=”…”),  whether the action is enabled by default or not (defaultEnabled=”…”), and other styling configurations such as the icons to be used in enabled or disabled states, tooltip and label (enabledIcon, disabledIcon, tooltip, label).

The next section of interest would be the various <property> tags. Here’s a snapshot of the name property for Texts:




The set of <property> tags define the properties/attributes that are part of that asset. Each <property> may define whether it is visible as a column in the Search Results Grid (note the visible attribute highlighted in RED), whether it is available as a searchable property in the Advanced Search panel (note the searchable attribute highlighted in GREEN), and other attributes such as the displayName, columnOrder, etc.

So, to add a column in the Manage Assets UI (in the Search Results Grid), you would need to add an additional <property> node for that property (if it does not exist already). Properties could either be one of the existing ones for the asset or a custom property added for that asset.

Overall, to configure the properties to be shown in the Search Results Grid and the Advanced Search panel, you may tweak existing properties and/or add/remove properties to the concerned FML.


This was a very generic description of such configurations. You may check out my post which adds a Tags column to the Manage Assets UI for all assets, as an example. You should also check out the public documentation which adds custom properties to assets and displays them on the Manage Assets interface.

Adobe Correspondence Management Solution 3.0 – Top 10 items to look out for!

If you have not already got a chance to explore the various uber cool features of the all new Correspondence Management Solution 3.0, here are my top 10 ones that you should look out for…

1. With the all new Create Correspondence (aka Document Composer) UI, composing Letters was never so easy! . The new interface provides an easy, intuitive way of composing Letters. With a lot more controls available, such as indentation adjustments, new line, free text, one can design/create a Letter exactly as required.

2. Highlighting of the currently selected asset in the PDF Preview when composing a Letter. Wouldn’t it be a great composing experience if selecting an asset on the flex app. automatically takes you to the respective page, exactly where your content lies within the PDF!? …and then highlight the selected content as well as the target in which the content lies, so you don’t have to search/scroll-over for your content within the PDF. The solution now brings along this amazingly convenient experience for the users.

3. Working on multiple assets at a time. With the all new Manage Assets interface, one can now work on multiple assets (possibly, related to each other) at a time, by virtue of each asset/editor being opened in a new tab in the Editors view. Of course, you can also switch between tabs when working with multiple assets. Here’s a snapshot:

4. Content Preview is yet another amazing addition to the asset authoring experience, wherein you can hover over your asset (in all views that present a list of assets) and see a Preview of the asset content and metadata, be it Texts, Images, Lists, Conditions, etc. So, you no longer need to go back and open the asset editor to see what’s in it. Use the Preview experience to identify the desired asset!

5. Creating numbered and bulleted list content. You can now easily design numbered and bulleted content, by authoring List assets using the List Editor. You can control indentation on paragraph(s) (or even images), specify custom prefix/suffix characters, and much more…

6. The all new Rich Text Editor, that has great text formatting capabilities that includes styling such as Bold/Italic/Underline, Font controls, letter Spacing, line height, Margin controls, Alignment controls. The editor also allows creating advanced bulleted and numbered content, using the appropriate toolbar controls.

Spell Check (English) is another great feature that enhances the text authoring experience.

7. Ability to Publish assets and enhanced version management, with the ability to create different versions of an asset, view previous versions, revert back to last published version, etc. See this post for more on publishing assets.

8. Import/ Export of selective assets is now possible using CM 3.0 via the Manage Assets interface itself. One can select the assets to be exported and simply press the “Export Assets” button. The exported ZIP can then be imported on any other system, using the “Import Assets” action on the Manage Assets interface.
Import/Export of all assets is also now possible right from the Manage Assets (Admin) interface itself, with a single click of a button (rather than the cumbersome steps in Contentspace, as in ES 2.5).

9. CM 3.0 introduces the ability to author Tables (dynamic or static) within your correspondence.

Here’s the Fund Allocation table in the Welcome Kit letter (that is part of the CM sample assets).

10. The Asset Dependencies Browser is an excellent tool/interface to view the dependencies of an asset, and be able to generate a report out of the same.

Note : Users can further drill down into the related assets by double-clicking on the asset, which will then show the dependencies for that asset. One can switch back-n-forth using the breadcrumbs on the top bar.

These are just 10 key features that you just cannot afford to miss. There is a lot more to the solution, the details of which can be seen on this post.

Publishing assets in the Correspondence Management Solution 3.0

The Correspondence Management Solution 3.0 introduces the concept of publishing assets, and deprecates the concept of activation (which was used in the 2.5.x version of the solution).

The solution is typically configured on two separate (ADEP Experience Server) instances – an Author instance and a Publish instance (see the installation and configuration documentation on how to configure the solution over the two instances).

The Author instance is one on which assets/templates are created and managed (using the Manage Assets interface). One can also Preview the Letter templates created on the Author instance, which launches the Create Correspondence interface in a document preview mode.

The Publish instance is one on which the final correspondence is created by agents (using the Create Correspondence interface), using the designed letter templates and published assets. The Manage Assets interface is also available on this instance, but with restricted actions.

Once done with the asset authoring, they must be marked Ready to Publish, indicating the same to the persona (which would typically be different from the one creating/editing the asset) responsible for publishing the asset, who can then go ahead and publish the asset. Note that when publishing an asset, all assets related to this asset should be in Published or Ready To Publish state. Assets that are in Ready To Publish state are published automatically, while the ones that are already Published, are ignored. If any related asset is in a Modified state, the publish operation is aborted, and hence cannot proceed until all related assets are marked Ready to Publish. The understanding behind this behavior is that there could be different persona involved in creation of various related assets, and it is essential that each one of them marks the respective asset ready to publish (indicating completion) before they can really be published.

Here’s a state diagram for various asset states, and how they transition on various actions:

On publishing an asset, a new version of the asset gets created on the Author instance, and the asset is immediately ‘replicated’ over to the Publish instance, which always has a single (head) version of an asset.

Also note that any related Data dictionaries are not published automatically when assets that use it are published. You are required to explicitly publish data dictionaries.

Read more on asset publishing and versioning here.