This blog focuses on customizations and programming for Project Web App, Project Server, Project Professional and Project Standard. Includes User Interface (UI) customizations, Project Server Interface (PSI) and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Programming. It also covers Business Intelligence.
I felt that it is time to give VBA some love. I was surfing Web and came across this post on Changing the Cell Background Color which gave me an idea for a blog post. This post is a simple example of how to write an event handler that checks if a name of a task has a prefix of “XYZ_”. If it does, it changes the background color of the Task Name cell to yellow.
This could be useful in scenarios where there is validation when saving to the server and you want to warn the user before the save. For example, say there is a third party application that inserts tasks into project plans automatically. When tasks are inserted by this application, it is prefixed with a code, “XYZ_”. This allows project managers to quickly identify tasks that have been inserted by the third party app. To prevent project managers from inserting the task with the same prefix, a Project Server event handler has been written to prevent tasks with the prefix from any user, except for the user context used by the third party app. This event is only fired during a save to Project Server. To give an early warning to the project manager that the project will fail on saving to the server, we can do following:
Public WithEvents App As ApplicationPublic WithEvents Proj As Project
Private Sub App_ProjectBeforeTaskChange(ByVal tsk As MSProject.Task, ByVal Field As PjField, ByVal NewVal As Variant, Cancel As Boolean) MsgBox ("Test") End Sub
Note: This link is to the Project 2003 SDK. It is a list of all the Project Client events you can hook into:
Dim X As New EventHandlers
Sub Initialize_App() Set X.App = MSProject.Application Set X.Proj = Application.ActiveProjectEnd SubThis will setup the event handler to fire before a task is changed.
This will stub out the built in event handler that will fire when the project opens. Here we want to call the initialization method we created in step 6:
At this point we have the event handler hooked up and every time the user changes a task, they will get an annoying test message box. To test it, run: ThisProject.Initialize_App.
Here is what you should get when you change a task:
Now that we have the before task change event handler working, we need get the task that changed to change the cell background color to yellow if the task name begins with "XYZ_". In step 4 we created the event handler, we will need to change the code from displaying the test message box to:
Private Sub App_ProjectBeforeTaskChange(ByVal tsk As MSProject.Task, ByVal Field As PjField, ByVal NewVal As Variant, Cancel As Boolean) If (Field = pjTaskName) Then If (InStr(NewVal, "XYZ_") = 1) Then ActiveCell.CellColor = pjYellow End If End If End Sub
Now every time a user changes a task name to begin with "XYZ_" they will see the background color of the cell change to yellow:
My scenario may be a bit of overkill, but hopefully it illustrates how to use the Before Task Change event and how to change the background color of a cell. Maybe in a future post, I will implement the server event that checks the names of the tasks.
When working with the task start and finish dates via the Project PSI, you might find some strange behaviors. It is not that it is strange, it is that these two fields are used by the scheduling engine to calculate your project's schedule. Hopefully this post will give you some insight to how to work with these two fields and why they may not be set to values that you expect.
When you first create a task, you can set the start date and finish date for the task. The below sample code shows you how to create a new task and how to set these fields:
dsP = new WSProject.ProjectDataSet();
WSProject.ProjectDataSet.TaskRow taskRow = dsP.Task.NewTaskRow();// Set the requied fieldstaskRow.PROJ_UID = projGuid;taskRow.TASK_UID = taskGuid;taskRow.TASK_NAME = "Example Task 3"
// Set the start and finish datestaskRow.TASK_START_DATE = new DateTime(2007, 01, 20);taskRow.TASK_FINISH_DATE = new DateTime(2007, 01, 20);taskRow.AddPosition = (int)PSLibrary.Task.AddPositionType.Last;
projWS.QueueAddToProject(jobGuid, sessGuid, dsP, false);
The above sample code sets the start and finish date for the task to be January 20th, 2007. When I publish the project and view it in Project Center Drill Down, this is what I get:
You might notice that the start date and finish date are not set to January 20th, but instead January 17th. This is because the start date of the project is set to January 17th. When the scheduling engine works out the schedule, it looks at the task I just created and determines that it has no constrains, thus it can be started right when the project begins. Thus the scheduling engine changes the start and finish date to January 17th.
Now, lets create another task that is dependent on the one we just created. This time, we will make it's start and finish date January 31st, 2007:
// Create a second task
dsP = new WSProject.ProjectDataSet();taskRow = dsP.Task.NewTaskRow();
Guid task2Guid = Guid.NewGuid();jobGuid = Guid.NewGuid();
// Set the requied fieldstaskRow.PROJ_UID = projGuid;taskRow.TASK_UID = task2Guid;taskRow.TASK_NAME = "Example Task 4"
// Set the start and finish datestaskRow.TASK_START_DATE = new DateTime(2007, 01, 31);taskRow.TASK_FINISH_DATE = new DateTime(2007, 01, 31);
taskRow.AddPosition = (int)PSLibrary.Task.AddPositionType.Last;
// Here we make it dependent on the task we created before
WSProject.ProjectDataSet.DependencyRow dependRow = dsP.Dependency.NewDependencyRow();
dependRow.PROJ_UID = projGuid;dependRow.LINK_PRED_UID = taskGuid;dependRow.LINK_SUCC_UID = task2Guid;dependRow.LINK_UID = Guid.NewGuid();
Again you will notices that the schedule engine has moved the task forward to January 18th:
This is because the dependency we added to the new task on the one we had previously created.
Lets say that you have a task that you need to schedule, but you know it cannot start before a certain date, due to some external factors from your project. In this case, you do not want the scheduling engine to move your task forward beyond that date. In this case, we need to set the TASK_CONSTRAINT_DATE and TASK_CONSTRAINT_TYPE fields. The below sample shows how to do this:
// Create a task with a constraintdsP = new WSProject.ProjectDataSet();
WSProject.ProjectDataSet.TaskRow taskRow = dsP.Task.NewTaskRow();// Set the requied fieldstaskRow.PROJ_UID = projGuid;taskRow.TASK_UID = taskGuid;taskRow.TASK_NAME = "Example Task"
// Set the start and finish datestaskRow.TASK_START_DATE = new DateTime(2007, 01, 22);taskRow.TASK_FINISH_DATE = new DateTime(2007, 01, 22);
taskRow.TASK_CONSTRAINT_DATE = new DateTime(2007, 01, 22);taskRow.TASK_CONSTRAINT_TYPE = (short)Library.Task.ConstraintType.StartNoEarlierThan;taskRow.AddPosition = (int)PSLibrary.Task.AddPositionType.Last;
Here is what we get:
So finally we are able to create a task and have it start on a particular date, but there is a catch. You can only put one type of constraint on your task. Here are a list of constraint types that you can use:
Hopefully you have a somewhat of an idea about creating a task and how the start and finish date is affected by the scheduling engine. Now, lets take a look at updating a task's start and finish date. If you need to update a tasks start or finish date, you will quickly learn that you cannot simply read the project data set, find the task you want to update in the task table and update the start and finish date fields like this:dsP.Tables[dsP.Task.TableName].Rows[dsP.Task.TASK_START_DATEColumn] = new DateTime(2007, 12, 03);
You will quickly run into the following runtime exception:
Column 'TASK_START_DATE' is read only.
As the exception states, this is because the start date and finish date are read only fields. These fields are read only because they are calculated fields and cannot be set when updating a project data set.
So how can you get around this? Again, you can place constraints on the dates like we did when creating tasks. The scheduling engine will honor the constraint when calculating the schedule, but remember, there are other factors that affect the calculation. Such as the number of resource assigned to the tasks and the amount of work required to complete the task. So if you constrain your start date, it will affect your finish date. This is why you can only place one constraint on a task. The below example shows how you can update a task that must start on January 15th, 2007:
dsP = projWS.ReadProject(projGuid, ProjOutlookConnector.WSProject.DataStoreEnum.WorkingStore);
dsP.Tables[dsP.Task.TableName].Rows[dsP.Task.TASK_CONSTRAINT_TYPEColumn] = (short)Library.Task.ConstraintType.MustStartOn; dsP.Tables[dsP.Task.TableName].Rows[dsP.Task.TASK_CONSTRAINT_DATEColumn] = new DateTime(2007, 01, 15);
projWS.QueueUpdateProject(Guid.NewGuid(), sessGuid, dsP, false);
Here is what you will see in PWA after publishing the project:
We have primarily focused on the factors that affect the start date. Just like the start date, the finish date is affected by many factors that the scheduling engine takes under consideration. For example, the finish date is affected by number of resources assigned to the task, calendar exceptions, such as weekends, specific exceptions in individual resource calendars, and the amount of work assigned required to complete the task.
These are only some basic examples. Project's schedule engine is very complex and there are a number of factors that affect the start and finish date of a task. Hopefully I have given you some insight why your start and finish dates change.
The following questions has been asked:
"[...] is there a way to set up the task hierarchy within a single project?"
and the answer is YES! To create a hierarchy within a single project, you have to set the outline level for the sub tasks. The below example creates two task, Summary Task and Sub Task. For the Summary Task, we do not set the outline level, we just create it as normal task. The Sub Task is where you set the outline level. In this example we set the outline level to 2:
Connection conn = new Connection("http://chboyd01/pwa");
WSProject.Project projWS = (WSProject.Project)conn.GetWebService(Connection.Project);
Guid sessGuid = Guid.NewGuid();Guid jobGuid = Guid.NewGuid();Guid taskGuid = Guid.NewGuid();
Guid projGuid = GetProjectUidFromProjectName("Excel");
projWS.CheckOutProject(projGuid, sessGuid, "");
// Create a task with a constraint
taskRow.PROJ_UID = projGuid;taskRow.TASK_UID = taskGuid;taskRow.TASK_NAME =
taskRow.AddPosition = (
projWS.QueueAddToProject(jobGuid, sessGuid, dsP,
taskRow = dsP.Task.NewTaskRow();
taskRow.PROJ_UID = projGuid;taskRow.TASK_UID = task2Guid;taskRow.TASK_NAME =
taskRow.TASK_OUTLINE_LEVEL = 2;
The below screen shot is the result of running the above sample code:
The other day I had a request from an internal customer that wanted to create deliverables for a large number of tasks that already existed in their project plan. They wanted to be able to simply flag each task as a deliverable and have it published. They did not want to do all the steps involved with creating a deliverable.
They also wanted to tightly couple the task name and dates with the deliverable name and dates. Currently, if a deliverable is linked to a task, when the task’s dates change, the dates for the deliverable do not. This is by design to allow the project manager to intentionally make the change to the deliverable dates since these dates are commonly published to a large audience. In this case, the user wanted the deliverable dates to change with the task dates with minimum user intervention.
To get started, I created a flag enterprise custom field. The custom field that I created was "Pub Deliverable" and it is a task custom field. I added the field to the Gantt Chart view in Project Professional:
Next, I wrote the following VBA macro:
Sub Create_Flagged_Tasks_As_Deliverables() Dim t As Task Dim fPub As String
For Each t In ActiveProject.Tasks
' This gets the flag value from the Enterpise Custom Field fPub = t.GetField(FieldNameToFieldConstant("Pub Deliverable")) If fPub = "Yes" Then ' If the task has this deliverable GUID, then there is no deliverable If t.DeliverableGuid = "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000" Then DeliverableCreate t.Name, t.Start, t.Finish, t.Guid Else DeliverableUpdate t.DeliverableGuid, t.Name, t.Start, t.Finish End If Else If t.DeliverableGuid <> "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000" Then DeliverableDelete (t.DeliverableGuid) End If End If Next t End Sub
This macro loops through all the tasks. If the flag field "Pub Deliverable" is set to yes, then it either creates or updated the deliverable. If it is set to no and there is a deliverable associated with the task, the deliverable is deleted.
Before you can run this code, you will need to publish and create a workspace for your project. To run it, follow these steps:
1. Open your Project Plan
2. Press Alt+F11 – This will open the VBA Editor
3. Double click on ThisProject Object:
4. Copy the VBA code into the Object
5. Run it by clicking on the Play button:
With this solution, the user can simply flag each task that they want published as a deliverable and run the macro. If you want to have this code executed regularly without user intervention, you might want to consider placing this code in an event handler (VBA Event Handler Example).
This is a little off topic, but I thought that it might be interesting to some...
You can easily add a RSS feed to this blog on your live.com homepage:
I have had many questions with regards to the Deliverables feature and reporting. If your not familiar with Deliverables, I suggest you take a look at my blog post on the Project blog:http://blogs.msdn.com/project/archive/2007/02/24/deliverables.aspx
Just like all other project data, when a project plan is published, the data makes it way to the reporting database. This allows you to create some very useful reports on deliverables and dependencies. To get started with reporting, you may want to read through this post:http://blogs.msdn.com/project_programmability/Default.aspx?p=2In this post, I am only going to provide some background information on Deliverables and a couple of queries to get you started with creating your own reports. To begin with, these are the views and tables that are most commonly used for Deliverable reports:
This is a dependency on a deliverable that is linked to a task.
This is a deliverable for a project. It is not linked to any task within the project.
This is a dependency on a deliverable for a project. It is not linked to any task within the project.
There are a set of common queries that user tend to want when creating a report for deliverables. This first query is a simple list of all the deliverables and what project they are associated with:
ProjectName As 'Project Name',
Title As 'Deliverable',
StartDate As 'Start Date',
FinishDate As ' Finish Date'
Inner Join MSP_EpmProject_UserView
On MSP_WssDeliverableToProjectLinks_UserView.ProjectUID = MSP_EpmProject_UserView.ProjectUID
The following query lists all the projects that have taken dependencies on a deliverable for given project. For the query to work, you need to set ProjectSelect.
DeliverableProj.ProjectName AS SelectedProject, DependancyProj.ProjectName AS DependentProject, DeliverableLinks.Title,
MSP_EpmProject_UserView AS DeliverableProj
INNER JOIN MSP_WssListItemAssociation
ON DeliverableProj.ProjectUID = MSP_WssListItemAssociation.ProjectUID
INNER JOIN MSP_EpmProject_UserView AS DependancyProj
ON MSP_WssListItemAssociation.RelatedProjectUID = DependancyProj.ProjectUID
INNER JOIN MSP_WssDeliverable AS DeliverableLinks
ON MSP_WssListItemAssociation.ListItemUID =
(MSP_WssListItemAssociation.ProjectUID <> MSP_WssListItemAssociation.RelatedProjectUID)
AND (DeliverableProj.ProjectName = @ProjectSelect)
This last query lists all the projects that a given project is dependent on. Again, you need to set ProjectSelect for the query to work.
DependancyProj.ProjectName AS SelectedProject, DeliverableProj.ProjectName,
INNER JOIN MSP_EpmProject_UserView AS DependancyProj
ON MSP_WssListItemAssociation.RelatedProjectUID =
INNER JOIN MSP_EpmProject_UserView AS DeliverableProj
ON MSP_WssListItemAssociation.ProjectUID =
INNER JOIN MSP_WssDeliverable AS DeliverableLinks
ON MSP_WssListItemAssociation.ListItemUID =
AND (DependancyProj.ProjectName = @ProjectSelect)
To take a look at the last two queries in real reports, check out the Project Give and Get Reports in the Report Pack:http://blogs.msdn.com/project/archive/2007/01/30/sql-server-reporting-services-report-pack-for-project-server-2007.aspx
This should be a good start with creating Deliverable reports. If you come up with some interesting queries for creating Deliverable reports, please share them by posting them as comments!
Tags: Project Server Reporting Deliverables