What´s New in Oracle UPK Version 12.1

The latest release of Oracle´s User Productivity Kit (UPK) , UPK Version 12.1, provides existing Developers with time-saving features which accelerate editing, managing and publishing content. In addition to Oracle´s need to continually improve the product in all areas to ensure usability, scalability and stability there have been three key drivers for this release of UPK Version 12.1:

  • Conceptual Content – it has become increasingly important for Developers to be able to seamlessly integrate conceptual content
  • Managing Complex Content – the development and deployment environment continues to grow in complexity
  • Mobile Workforce – organisations need to serve a growing mobile workforce

Conceptual Content

Some beneficial new conceptual features for UPK Developers can be found in UPK Version 12.1, including a new Style Sheet and Web Page Editors as well as improved data masking capabilities:

Web Page Editor

The new Web Page Editor in UPK Version 12.1 enables Developers to easily create engaging conceptual content in both online and document outputs. Key features include tables, multi-level bullets with customisable bullet images, additional text formatting, a find and replace function as well as newly added features for document outputs.

This new feature gives the Developer much greater utility when creating Web Pages for Concept Panes, rather than having to use HTML pages in Packages.

Style Sheet Editor

The new Style Sheet Editor in UPK Version 12.1 allows Developers to manage content styles, for multiple outlines of content, in a single location. The style of an entire document can be changed by making the changes within the associated style sheet. Styles can be defined for text, tables, bullets, images, etc.

When working in a multi-Developer environment this allows the Lead Author to control the look and feel of documents across the Library for all Developers.

Screenshot Overlay

An improved data masking workflow, more efficient bulk screenshot editing and increased flexibility for editing and annotating screenshots within topics is offered by the new screenshot overlay feature in UPK Version 12.1.

Developers can create an overlay for an entire topic, adding shapes, callouts and other elements using Microsoft PowerPoint. Elements can be duplicated across multiple frames and one or more topic frames can be edited quickly by adding images, clip art, shapes, charts, additional text bubbles and callouts to a new layer.

For example, this feature greatly reduces the resource required to re-record whole topics to reflect a change in the target application´s GUI.

Managing Complex Content

Additional search functionality as well as more detailed document information facilitate more efficient management of complex content in UPK Version 12.1:

Developer Content Search

This feature enables Developers to search the Developer Library for content containing a specific application context. By using the Recorder function, Developers can quickly identify which content is affected by a change to a process on a specific screen within a recorded application. They can navigate directly to matching documents and specific topic frames, as well as view and print detailed search results.

For example, if a single screen in a target application has been updated, the entire UPK Library can be searched to find topics containing the Context ID of the updated screen, so easily enabling the screen re-capture.

Derived Documents Pane

When a document is copied and a new document is created using the paste special command (during localisation, for example), recognising the relationship between the original document and the new document can be extremely useful for maintaining a Library of content. The Derived Documents pane exposes these relationships enabling the Developer to see important documents in the Library, allowing them to identify which documents have been derived from a selected document as well as which document a selected document was derived.

For example, content is duplicated for localisation and translation into different languages. The Developer can easily look at the Derived Documents pane to see the original language name of each translated topic.

Content Library

Two additions have been added in UPK Version 12.1 to help find documents in the Library:

  • The properties pane now offers Find in Library from the context menu and the Related Documents list now includes a Path column to identify the location for a particular document. Never lose a Document again!
  • Content can now be previewed from the Library tab, allowing more freedom to preview or review contributed content in a particular output, i.e. See It Mode, System Process, Job Aid, etc. Topics no longer have to be part of an Outline to enable Preview.

Title Search within Knowledge Centre

A user friendly title search has been added to the Knowledge Center in UPK Version 12.1, allowing more efficient title management. The search includes all modules and section names in all titles and display results show title hierarchy with highlighted matches.

Knowledge Centre Purge

A data purge function has been added to the Knowledge Center in UPK Version 12.1. This enables Knowledge Center Administrators to easily identify and remove any unwanted data in order to reduce the size of the database, resulting in faster performance most notably during reporting. The purge process will retain completion data to ensure users retain credit for completing content.

Administrators can purge tracking data, expert conversations and feedback conversations prior to a specified date. There is also the option to purge data associated with inactive users whilst retaining data for active users. A Purge History page enables Administrators to view a list of previously performed purge operations.

Mobile Workforce Enhancements to the user interface in See It Mode as well as extended support for the Apple iPad offer improvements for organisations supporting a mobile workforce:

Apple iPad Improvements

UPK Version 12.1 offers a touch-friendly Player outline as well as Knowledge Center interfaces for all topic play modes. In addition, UPK content launched through Learning Management Systems is now supported on the iPad.

Improved See-It Mode

See-It Mode has been enhanced in UPK Version 12.1 with an improved user interface allowing the user to intuitively control the content playback topic. Navigation controls include back, play/pause, forward and restart. Elapsed and estimated play time counters also feature together with volume and mute controls (for desktop only).  This now draws a clearer distinction between See It Mode and Try It Mode for end users.

Improvements in Usability, Scalability and Stability

The introduction of Skin documents for Player customisation and additional functionality to speed up editing and publishing content offer further improvements to the general usability of UPK:

Player Skins

Player customisation has been streamlined to be more efficient and easier with the newly introduced Skin documents. With the introduction of Player Skins, any customisations that follow the customisation instructions in the product documentation will be maintained in the upgrade process, eliminating the need to reapply those customisations.

Delete Multiple Frames

Developers are now able to delete or cut multiple frames within the Topic Editor, making content editing easier and faster. This will be particularly beneficial to Developers when reordering a topic, removing out-dated steps or when refining content captured with a Recorder automatically configured to record screenshots. This dramatically reduces the time required to edit a template topic for different scenarios.

Default Mode Settings

Developers can set default topic modes for Player and LMS. They can also determine which topic modes will include sound and these values can be saved and reused as part of the content default (.ops) file.

Share Improvements

The Player´s Share link now enables users to share links to a specific location in a Player outline. This can be particularly useful when a user wants to share a link to a specific frame within a topic or if they wish to share an entire module or section of content rather than just the concept.

Print Area

UPK Version 12.1 allows Developers greater control over the visual elements of document outputs. They can define the area of the screenshot that appears in the printed output with a bookmark which determines size, and scales down when the limit is exceeded.

Explanation Frame Jump-In Points

Developers can now create jump-in points on explanation frames. Explanation frames are often used to describe the upcoming steps so this is a perfect place to create a logic entry point. This greatly enhances the usefulness of Jump-In points as the Developer can now allow users to jump to natural breaks in the topic.

Sound Format Changes

Sound quality has been improved and the sound options have been simplified. Developers no longer need to select a quality setting for audio as the audio quality has been finely tuned to deliver the best combination of quality and file size. Sound is now primarily delivered in AAC format.

Applicable Outline Display

During publishing Developers can choose the default view of a Player outline when launched through In-Application Support. In UPK Version 12.1 Developers can now choose to display the initial view of an applicable player as an Applicable List or an Applicable Outline. Alternatively, they may choose to show the full outline (All).

Publishing Wizard Summary Links

The Publishing Wizard Summary Page provides links to important post-publishing activities including Activity Log (if warnings or errors occur), link to location where content was published, link to launch published Player and link to In-Application Support. This allows Developers to view errors, review content and adjust configurations directly from the Summary Page. This is a great enhancement for reviewing published content.

Performance Improvements

Every release of UPK receives performance improvements or optimisations to ensure the product continues to meet Developer and user requirements. The following are examples of some of the optimisations and improvements Oracle has included in UPK Version 12.1:

  • Developer Profile creation 5 times faster;
  • – server peak memory usage decreased by 80 per cent;
  • – network traffic reduced by 94 per cent
  • Library views optimised to be more responsive in large and complex content hierarchies
  • Purge performance significantly increased due to code optimisation
  • Publishing performance increased due to improved memory footprint
  • Player outline more responsive;
  • – embedded UI elements reduces network requests;
  • – optimised database structure
  • Knowledge Center more responsive;
  • – embedded UI elements reduces network requests;
  • – optimised JavaScript