Archive for the 'K2 [blackpearl]' Category

And the winner of must un-useful error message of the day goes to "The requested Performance Counter is not a custom counter, it has to be initialized as ReadOnly"

An interesting one that has just reared its head on our K2 [blackpearl] production server.

It only seems to happen when you start a freshly deployed workflow for the first time… the events in the order they happen seem to be

  1. Create, or modify an existing workflow
  2. Deploy
  3. Start the new workflow
  4. … nothing happens
  5. … still nothing happens
  6. Check error log - "The requested Performance Counter is not a custom counter, it has to be initialized as ReadOnly" in the K2 [blackpearl] management console error log (Shown in Figure 1 below)
  7. Scratch head…. and investigate some more…
  8. … give up investigating
  9. Start the new workflow (again)
  10. … IT WORKS.. no errors in the log…

and repeat for every new instance of a workflow deployed… It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a brand new one or an update of an existing one.

Performance Counter Issue
Figure 1: A picture of the error

Have anyone seen this before? I think I will log it with the K2 support team…

Some preliminary investigation points to the fact that it is not very descriptive about the error, and it really means is that the Performance Object Category does not exist.

I’m referencing R. Engberg’s blog by the way :-)

Interesting one… if you have any advice, do leave a comment as it is an unwanted feature of our production server!


InfoPath, K2 InfoPath or ASP.NET as your workflow forms technology?

Jason Apergis has done an excellent comparison on his blog: here

In my organisation we hit the limits with InfoPath 2003 pretty soon after starting to use it with K2 Workflows, mainly because of complicated user requirements that could not be implemented using InfoPath due to the lack of ability to code behind it and control every aspect of the form… K2 InfoPath brings in the tightly coupled SmartObject integration that creates a rule for each SmartObject method…. this is a real nightmare when you have ten or more of them to manage…. and then there’s the rules that go with them, that you can only edit by clicking through each one. I know which platform I’d choose, for my development team’s sanity! ASP.NET

Still, have a read of Jason’s blog, he’s opted for InfoPath as his organisation are very comfortable with using it.


Helpful tools for the MOSS Development Community

Thanks to bluephaze (SharePoint blog) I now know that upgrading to Visual Studio 2008 will be a really good idea to help keep our SharePoint customizations coming out as efficiently as possible… now… just need to get a version of K2 [blackpearl] that is supported on VS2008!

Here’s what we can look forward to in VS2008

Visual Studio 2008 Project Templates

  • Web Part
  • Team Site Definition
  • Blank Site Definition
  • List Definition
  • Empty SharePoint Project

Visual Studio 2008 Item Templates (items that can be added into an existing project)

  • Web Part
  • Custom Field
  • List Definition (with optional Event Receiver)
  • Content Type (with optional Event Receiver
  • Module
  • List Instance
  • List Event Handler
  • Template

Once again, thanks to bluephaze!


Discovering the status of a process instance after completing an activity instance with a decision making process

A good article on this has been produced by Bob @ K2 Underground and is available: here.

I’m going to investigate using the method he describes to help us better catch error statuses on our activity instances to remove the need for the operations and maintenance team to constantly check on running workflows.

You can now catch the error status, and be proactive in how you deal with it, either through notifications to the user, or to roll back to the activity instance that failed until an issue outside of the workflow is fixed e.g. networked database/AD issue.


Getting through to the K2 Consultants

The place to look is the PitchBlack forums.

Right now is a really interesting post on how to create a custom security provider for K2 [blackpearl] with screenshots and code snippets. Well worth a read.


Need help with K2 [blackpearl]? Where do you turn?

Alas.. the answer is readily available. Visit the K2 Underground Definitive index of official help content.


K2 [blackpearl] 0803 Released into the wild

I suppose it is just good manners to report this, but instead of repeating what others have said, here’s a few good links.

Sergio Del Piccolo’s Blog
Jason Apergis’ Blog
Daniel Gocsman’s Blog

Things to note about this release

  1. 64bit support - run on 64 bit hosts with no sleepless nights
  2. License Management - keep track of how many users you’ve got / track over use of licenses etc.
  3. Lots of performance tweaks
  4. Lots more documentation :-D


K2 [blackpearl] and the people impact

There are a multitude of benefits to having K2 [blackpearl] in your organisation.

To name my favourite four:

  1. Rapid workflow prototyping and development
  2. Non IT work force and be involved in the workflow design
  3. System synergies with SAP, BizTalk, SharePoint and many others
  4. Workflow configuration management

But, before you get too excited… have you considered

  1. Developer training? - after all, who’s going to implement your new workflows and integrations?
  2. Administration training? - who’s going to maintain the workflows and databases when the developers should be concentrating on the next release of your business processes?
  3. User training? - will the new business processes involve different steps and stages? Who will define the best practice, and perform user acceptance?

Most people cover points 1 and 3…. but it’s important to cover point 2! Ensure the operations/maintenance team in your organisation know what to do when workflows go wrong and when the CEO is ringing to tell you that his document is stuck in the lost workflow dimension.

The very helpful people at K2 are putting together an administration and maintenance course for my organisation. I will try to report on its success in the next few weeks.


Business overview for Senior Managers/Directors

My company are aiming at achieving CMMi Level 3 in the coming months. This basically entails lots a process improvement… and the exciting news for us IT professionals is that they are going to be utilising lots of K2 [blackpearl] and MOSS 2007 features to help guide them on their way to success,

Level 3 (from Wikipedia)

The organisation’s set of standard processes, which are the basis for level 3, are established and subject to some degree of improvement over time.

These standard processes are used to establish consistency across the organisation. Projects establish their defined processes by applying the organisation’s set of standard processes, tailored, if necessary, within similarly standardised guidelines.

The organisation’s management establishes process objectives for the organisation’s set of standard processes, and ensures that these objectives are appropriately addressed.

What IT (and the developers, and K2) has helped us to achieve

The organisation has defined as K2 [blackpearl] workflow with MOSS 2007 integration:

  1. Document review process
  2. Document change control process
  3. Document version(ing)

What do Senior Managers and Directors want from me?

Well essentially, as some of the processes are now workflow based, it would be nice for us to prove to the CMMi auditors that we are following the process. A neat way of proving this is to use what K2 [blackpearl] gives us for free… an audit trail.

The only issue with the OOB audit is that it’s not exactly the sort of thing I’d like to hand to my immediate line manager, let alone a Director.

The dev team and I had planned to provide an overview of the processes as a MOSS site…. but it seems that the guys at K2 had already thought of it.

See the K2 Coming Soon! pages.

What they are providing is a series of web parts that hook into the audits that are made as users traverse a workflow

Figure 1: Example overview page with the new beta webparts

Something to keep an eye on as it approaches release phase.


P.S. For those who want to know more about CMMi - there’s a nice compact size FAQ - here

Excellent K2 [blackpearl] ASP.NET form example

See  for the example. I’d highly recommend it.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.