Docstar and IDC - Upgrade to 21.2.x and 9.xx - notes from the field

Thought I’d drop this out for everyone who is considering it. I’ll make this as short and concise as possible. My intent was to try and do an in-place update of both, in an afternoon, with a rehearsal run on my Dev box.

Visuals - the rebranding is in effect. Colors, Fonts, logos, etc. have all changed, so it’s closer to Kinetic that previous version. Otherwise, no structural changes to what you see on screen except for some image viewing changes in IDC. Little or no end-user training will be needed.

Functionality/Database - Doesn’t seem to be much new except for some technical enhancements and a few things in IDC, but depends on what version you are coming from. The upgrade doesn’t seem to touch/alter either database either. Kind of boring actually, but I’m doing this because of a specific bug fix in IDC.

The Process - note that I’m on-prem, split server (ECM and IDC are separate but their databases are on a third SQL-only server) and fully virtualized. So I got some snapshots all around :slight_smile:

The biggest complaint is that there is about zero documentation on working with the ECM/IDC installation files, and nothing to distinguish Installs from Upgrades, save a few pieces that I have and/or made for myself during the initial install.

Spend some time doing screen shots, collecting license keys, directory/share names, etc. before you start - because if you mess it up and change any value from the previous install, it might not work. I also encourage you to clear everything out that is still a batch in IDC, or is stuck in a workflow in ECM. (One of the values you can miss during install is the ‘imagestorage’ directory) Also delete any configuration profiles in your ECM Client service or IDC Email/Input service that doesn’t work or is incomplete. The upgrade will work, but you’ll have a time of getting the services to run correctly.

ECM or IDC first? These do not have to be done at the same time, and can be done in either order.

The IDC Update has a ‘version 7.x to version 9.x’ PDF that talks about directory structure, but it only covers the ‘clients’ and not the server - but I went ahead and did it all, reusing the same database, and it seems to have worked :man_shrugging:

If you are planning these updates and want to know/ask anything specific, let me know. I had a fairly smooth go with my Dev box, but my production box gave me fits - and I learned a lot.

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The only visual miscue we had is that the Single Signon button looks like text only if the user is using dark mode in the browser.

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Yes, I can see this as being a problem. I’m not enthused about the new ECM color scheme… it’s sort of artistic, but in a cold war sort of mid-20th century way or something…

We upgraded our on premises Epicor ECM to v21.1 two months ago and our on premises Epicor IDC from v7.x to v9.11.xxx one month ago. Both are on separate, virtualized servers.

Some quick insights from our IDC upgrade:

  • The IDC Classification (auto-determining a PDF’s Document Type) worked fine post-upgrade. I think this aspect of IDC is Ancora’s strength.

  • The IDC Data Capture changed noticeably after the upgrade. It’s like IDC got stupid after the upgrade. Very noticeable: Many DFD fields which were both Assignable and Auto-Calculate (with formulas) stopped auto-capturing PDF data post-upgrade in their formulas were too complex or lengthy. The ultimate solution in IDC v9.11: Split out such fields into 2: One that’s Assignable with no formula; a 2nd which is Auto-Calculate with formula (but not Assignable) to transform the captured data from the Assignable field.

  • Non-Admin IDC users can now delete pages & documents in Data Verification post-upgrade. It’s about time!

  • Issue from IDC v7 resolved in v9.11. Pre-upgrade Issue: Open an IDC batch with multiple documents in Data Verification. IDC only opened the 1st document, though the thumbnails panel on the left indicated that it was displaying Doc 1 of X (i.e. Doc 1 of 6). Workaround had been to return the batch, press Ctrl-F5, then reopen the batch.

  • The IDC E-mail Client App, which we use to auto-create IDC batches from e-mail attachments, started including corporate logos and other images in the intercepted e-mails body after the upgrade to IDC v9.11. Seems to be related to the image’s size, because IDC stopped including the corporate logo image if the sender reduced the image size. But that’s not a practical solution, because some intercepted e-mails are sent by external Customers or Vendors – I can’t ask them to remove or reduce the size of images in their e-mails!

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Nice write-up/follow-up sir - thanks for the information about the email batches and logos. We’ve not had that issue yet (most of ours do not have logos, but I’ll ask my AP person how she’s been dealing with them since our upgrade.

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hey Mike! Can you elaborate on this bit please?

(One of the values you can miss during install is the ‘imagestorage’ directory)

If memory serves me right…

During the ECM setup/install process, as you go from screen to screen, the imagestore value is the directory for all the stored images - I added this b/c the upgrade presented the default location rather than MY location (customized in the initial install) - when it clearly should have read this value from the DB and been correct.

I can dig into again if you need me to. Let me know.

ah ok, will check.

since upgrading to latest version some documents are getting stuck with a message above them saying “image processing currently underway” but it stays there indefinitely.

First thoughts… IDC or ECM?
Did it restart the IDC services properly?
Did it restart the ECM client locally on the server for processing of the images?

So I took my first swing at installing IDC 9.x today and ran into the imagepath issue @MikeGross mentioned and I was able to find that in a config file. The upgrade instructions from EpicWeb cover the web and automated clients, but not the server. It tells you to save certain config files before you start the uninstall/reinstall. SAVE THEM ALL Without the old server config file I would have been clueless as to where the image path was.

Second issue was that I had cloned my working server, so RabbitMQ which IDC depends on was not found since the machine name had changed. There are two routes to fix this.

  1. Follow this guide on how to reinstall the service to use the new machine name. RabbitMQ: Change the Hostname – .Net Diaries
  2. Rip out RabbitMQ and Erlang and reinstall them from scratch. I had done this already before I found 1. :frowning:

But now several drinks later I have the latest version of them running along with IDC 9.

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@gpayne Excellent work and a great addition to this post for future upgrades to follow.

Is there any documentation on IDC and DFDs etc? We initially had Epicor setup and they sourced to a 3rd party. It had been working nicely for the most part until upgrade.

Like @JerseyEric mentioned it is like IDC got dumb after the upgrade. It stopped working and started getting erratic all of the sudden.

I would like to educate myself because support does not seem to think it ever worked before and that it is just setup wrong.

Login – ancora Software Inc - you may need to request a login as it’s NOT your Epicor login.
There is documentation there for IDC (it’s an Ancora Software product OEM’d by Epicor, so Epicor has no Docs really)

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The cynical response is: For Epicor IDC users, there’s very little documentation and no substantive training. I would say (with lots of sarcasm) that it’s a conspiracy to keep the knowledge with the professional services partners . . . but my own professional services partner consultants have confided that they are shocked by the lack of IDC documentation – real documentation on how to use IDC, thoroughly configure DFDs, what the E-mail Client app can and cannot do, etc.

Now, Epicor, and certainly Ancora, would counter that there is IDC documentation and training videos on the Ancora website. And I have obtained access as an Epicor IDC user, to that Ancora website. But the IDC documentation is VERY POOR and does not address enough real-world scenarios.

And there are no interactive IDC training classes, videos of any substance (IMO), documents, white papers, etc. I see a link for an IDC Admin guide, but the link just brings me to a login page when I’m already logged in!

If someone could prove me wrong, I’ll gladly edit or remove this post.

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As @MikeGross points out the ancora site has some documentation that is mostly on V7. I literally watched everything I could find a few weeks ago and bumped into some interesting things. I think most of the links work without a login, but I requested one and was granted access.

I have 7 in production and installed 9 for SOA that is coming up next month, so I guess I will know if this issue is coming to us soon.

Epicor Learning IDC and DFD
https://erpcustomer.epicor.com/lms/catalog/viewCourse?courseUid=4775

KB
https://ancorasoftware.com/ancoradocs-enterprise-documentation-2/

Admin guide
https://ancorasoftware.com/ancoradocs-enterprise-documentation-2/admin-guide/

link that leads to videos.
https://ancorasoftware.com/ancoradocs-enterprise-documentation-2/admin-guide/creating-a-document-form-definition/

Watch the 1 minute ancora Academy 201 Importing a DFD video. At the end more videos are shown. First is 9.1 new features. The second, third and forth are IDC.

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