Cascade Skyline - with Microsoft Logo and Project Support header - author Brian Smith

October, 2008

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2007: Check-in still pending?

    • 36 Comments

    ***UPDATE***  Please see my posting on the December 2008 CU - http://blogs.msdn.com/brismith/archive/2008/12/17/project-server-2007-december-2008-cumulative-update-released.aspx.  The Project Professional 2007 CU - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/959643 has a fix for this issue!

    *** 2nd Update *** But also see http://blogs.msdn.com/brismith/archive/2009/02/11/project-server-2007-check-in-still-pending-even-after-december-cu.aspx 

    I replied to a comment on this topic – but think it warrants a new posting so I have polished my reply and added some stuff.  I am aware customers are still having some issues with check-in pending and I think it may be a timing issue around closing and opening Project.  I haven’t been able to repro this so would love to hear some consistent repro steps based on the August Cumulative Update – if anyone out there can make it happen to order.

    However, I have some ideas what might lead to the issue.  When you close Project we now give a message to ensure any saves that are in progress get a chance to complete.  However this only waits for the save from client to the queue to complete - then the "real" save from the queue to the database happens - then any publish and check-in jobs.  So the client may be closed when the check-in completes and so doesn't get the message – and will still think the check-in is pending.  On opening it takes a little while for the communication to the server and the responses for any updates on pending check-ins etc – and you may see a message Offline changes - and if the user does a File, Open immediately then they may see Check-in pending for a project that is really checked in.  This will not get updated while the dialog is open.  Either closing the dialog and re-opening - or opening a "pending" project (read only) and then closing should flush things through and get the project available. This is by far the best approach rather than clearing the cache as it does not risk any data loss.  The above symptoms may never appear on a very fast network, and may appear more often in a WAN situation where there is high latency between the client and server.

    But as I say, I haven’t been able to repro, even from home, where I have to traverse my home wireless network, then another wireless link a few miles across the valley before getting on to a T1 link and the internet.  Another few hops and I get to my server.  The ping time is a pretty respectable 50ms across 9 hops.  Just to add a little load to my server I set all my projects publishing from ProjTool too – but I never see check-in pending.  Perhaps I need to be saving a much larger project and have lots of custom fields at the task level?  So for any repro I’d also like to know project size, custom fields, network parameters such as a ping and tracert to the server.

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2007 and SQL Server 2008 – Error Messages With Data Analysis Cubes(OLAP)

    • 22 Comments

    ****Update**** – The December 2008 release of the Feature pack for SQL Server 2005 at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=536FD7D5-013F-49BC-9FC7-77DEDE4BB075&displaylang=en means that loading the Management Objects Collection from this release will resolve the problems outlined below. 

    *** Update *** There is now an official document that says some of this and more - See my latest blog for details - http://blogs.msdn.com/brismith/archive/2008/11/21/project-server-2007-technet-document-now-live-for-using-sql-server-2008.aspx

     I haven’t seen the official support announcement for Project Server 2007 and SQL Server 2008 (*** Update - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc197379.aspx - thanks Husain. but keep reading as this doesn't fix the OLAP issues***) or the TechNet documentation but they should not be far away – but I have been trying to build cubes on my servers and seeing issues.  I have had no problem at all with SQL Server 2008 as a database engine but couldn’t build a cube.  Also many colleagues had no issues with OLAP on 2008!  It can’t just be me can it?  My farm was a simple two server affair – one App/WFE and a separate SQL Server.  The main error I was getting was:

    Failed to connect to the Analysis Services server brismithSQL08. Error: Cannot connect to Analysis Services version '10.0.1600.22' (or Analysis Services version '10.0.1763.0' if you have loaded the Cumulative Update 1 for SQL Server 2008)

    This error looked like one fixed in CU3 for SQL Server 2005 and relates to the 2005 Analysis Management Objects not being able to connect to SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services.  I decided to load the latest Cumulative Update for SQL Server 2005 which would also contain this fix – so went for CU10.  The strange thing was that on my x64 application server I couldn’t load the x64 hotfix as it said nothing to fix – but the x86 one was happy to load – and resolved my issue!  Digging deeper I established that the thing it upgraded was client tools that I had installed with the Business Data Catalog Editor which comes with the SharePoint SDK (and contains SQL Express) – and is x86 only.  So going backwards I tried other alternatives.  Loading the client tools from a full SQL Server 2005 installation worked.  If you don’t have these to hand another option (without needing to load the DB engine of SQL Express) is to load the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition Toolkit Service Pack 2 and then the CU10 hotfix.  Hopefully the official documents will give a cleaner way to achieve this but for now this may help unblock some tests, so thought I would share.

    Along the way I also discovered some other “gotchas”.  As my repository was in SQL Server 2008 I needed to load the 2008 version of the Native client from the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack, October 2008.  But you also need to have the 2005 version as it is a pre-req for the Management Objects.

    If you haven’t installed the Decision Support Objects from the Backwards Compatibility Components expect a very clear error:

    Failed to build the OLAP cubes. Error: Analysis Services session failed with the following error: The Application Server needs to have Analysis Services DSO Component installed.

    If you don’t have the native client (or the right native client) expect this error:

    Failed to build the OLAP cubes. Error: Analysis Services session failed with the following error: Failed to connect to the Analysis Services server BriSmithSQL08. Error: Cannot connect to the repository. Analysis server: BriSmithSQL08 Error: Provider cannot be found. It may not be properly installed.

    And finally if you don’t have the Management Objects Collection (for Analysis Management Objects – AMO) then expect this one:

    Failed to build the OLAP cubes. Error: Analysis Services session failed with the following error: Failed to connect to the Analysis Services server BriSmithSQL08. Error: ActiveX component can't create object

    These errors assume that all permissions are set correctly and the setting of these does not differ from the 2005 instructions.  You may also see these errors in other circumstances too – I’ve just noted some obvious occurrences based on missing components.

    I’m guessing my colleagues that have had no problems may have been on a single server – or at least had extra components loaded on the application server which meant the AMO was already at the required level.  I was just unlucky…

    Useful links 

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Roundup from Project Bloggers: Visual Studio Team Systems 2010, PWA Team Member Quick Reference and Project Portfolio Server 2007 new documentation

    • 0 Comments

    Hopefully most readers will have seen these from the other Project bloggers – but in case you missed it:

    From Christophe’s blog (and also Chris Boyd’s)

    Ameya Bhatawdekar has posted the following video on Visual Studio Team System 2010 and Business Alignment his blog today:

     

    And again from Christophe

    The following guides have been published for Project Portfolio Server 2007:

     

    And finally from Heather

    Roaming around Project Web Access just got a little easier for team members: the Quick Reference Guide is here! This guide is designed to assist team members (not just project managers) with using Project Web Access to report on the progress of project tasks, view task details, record vacation time, and view other project information. You can download and print  the guide for easy assistance while you work.

    Note: We used Word 2007 to create this document, so you'll need to use that program to view and print the file.

    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/TC102880551033.aspx?pid=CT101441451033

     

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Gantt chart bar Borders Won't Print

    • 0 Comments

    When you create custom formats for bars, either by using Format Bar or Format Bar Styles, the border of the bar may not render in the preview, nor does it show up in the final print out. 

    This problem will occur if you select a bar shape that is not equal to the full height available for the bar.  Basically, if you select any shape other than the first one in the Shape dropdown, you'll see this behavior, but it's more obvious if you select a pattern other than the solid fill.

    Here's a screen shot of the options I selected in the Format Bar dialog box.  These settings will cause the problem to manifest:

    SP32-20081009-125852

    Note that the Shape setting is smaller than the full bar height. Although the border fails to print regardless of the pattern chosen, I selected a non-solid pattern as a better demonstration of the behavior.  Here's the Print Preview where the bar styles for tasks 1 and 2 are set to a size smaller than full bar height.  The bar for task 1 has a solid pattern while the bar for task 2 uses the Pattern setting in the image above.

    SP32-20081009-125654

    You can see how, with the non-solid pattern and no borders, the second bar practically disappears across the non-working time.  This issue appears to be a problem with the rendering of the 3-D bar styles.  You will see this behavior regardless of the printer or printer driver you use. 

    The MS Project product team knows about this one, and at this point, the best way to work around it is to disable to 3-D bar styles.  To do this, go to Tools and then Options.  On the View tab, uncheck the option Bars and shapes in Gantt views in 3-D as shown below.

    SP32-20081009-131420

    Now if you look at the print preview again, the borders are rendered, but the bars will have the flat appearance from legacy versions of Microsoft Project. 

    SP32-20081009-131635

    If another solution to this issue becomes available, I'll update this post.  In the meantime, the workaround should help in most situations.

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Stsadm export and import – correction for moving Project workspaces.

    • 6 Comments

    I have updated the previous posting but for you RSS readers worth putting this in a new blog.  After import I wasn’t seeing the active issues alert on my home page showing the issues in the imported sites.  Inclusion of the –includeusersecurity flag on both the export and import ensures the user settings are maintained and then the active issues are correctly identified for users.  Therefore the full command line looks like:

    stsadm -o export -url "http://brismithv0832:8080/CAL/Project1 with Workspace in PWA" -filename "C\backup\savesite.bak" –includeusersecurity –nofilecompression

    With the import just having a different port – and possibly PWA instance name.

    I am still investigating the fact that I am unable to add new task links to issues after the import – and that I do not see existing links.  For sites migrated to a different port from PWA therefore avoiding export/import I do not see this issue.  It could be my server is sick – but at least one reader has experienced the same issues.  I will keep you all posted.

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