Part One – Platform Enhancements for Web Central V23.2

In this, part one of the platform enhancements for Web Central version 23.2, we cover the following four topics:

 1.     Federated Authentication (SAML 2.0)

2.     BIRT Reporting

3.     Self-Service Password Reset

4.     Updated JDBC Drivers

 

1.     Federated Authentication (SAML 2.0) - Single sign-on (SSO, also often referred to as reduced sign-on) is the name for a group of technologies that allows you to access a variety of web applications without entering your username and password each time. Federated authentication allows members of one organisation to use their authentication credentials to access a web application in another institution. The two are often combined to "stack" the benefits of both technologies. Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an open standard for exchanging authentication and authorisation data between parties, in particular, between an identity provider and a service provider.

 

Increasingly, organisations are federating their IT systems and integrating a wide variety of systems hosted in different corporate locations around the world, hosted in different external data centres or hosted in the cloud. For this reason, ARCHIBUS V.23.2 includes support for the SAML 2.0 authentication protocol for the entire ARCHIBUS product line – including applications in Web browsers, the ARCHIBUS Mobile apps, the Smart Client, the Smart Client Extensions for AutoCAD and Revit, and the Reservations Plug-In for Microsoft Outlook. ARCHIBUS can work with any SAML 2.0 provider that is compatible with the Shibboleth reference implementation.

 

The SAML protocol lets you federate different systems together, even if they are hosted in separate clusters, in a remote data centre, or in the cloud. Under SAML, resources are protected by Service Providers and authentication is managed by an Identity Provider. Your system administrator registers each Service Provider with the Identity Provider to establish a trusted relationship.

 

If a user is not authenticated and they access a version of Web Central protected by a Service Provider, the Service Provider redirects the request to the Identity Provider. The Identity Provider is the central authentication server for all users and applications for the organisation. The Identity Provider processes the request by presenting its own sign-in method. This sign-in method can be a dialogue with username and password prompts a two-factor authentication, a physical USB key, or a biometric scan. Once the user is accepted, the Identity Provider redirects the successful request and trust information back to the Service Provider, which allows that request and subsequent requests through to the Web Central server.

 

All ARCHIBUS products participate in SAML redirection, ensuring that all ARCHIBUS products integrate seamlessly with any site via SAML 2.0.

 

 

Using SAML, organisations can:

  • Manage all users and all systems centrally. If you remove a user from the Identity Provider, they are removed from all systems.
  • Use the organisation's own single, consistent preferred means of authenticating users.
  • Avoid having client Web browsers or client applications store any username and password or other authentication information.

 

NB: If your site integrates ARCHIBUS with Esri ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Server, your current configuration will require additional configuration to connect these servers.

 

2.     BIRT Reporting - Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) is an open source software project that provides the BIRT technology platform to create data visualisations and reports that can be embedded into rich client and web applications, especially those based on Java and Java EE. BIRT is a top-level software project within the Eclipse Foundation, an independent not-for-profit consortium of software industry vendors and an open source community.


V.23.2 enables you to create your own personalised "pick and place" reports and add them to your ARCHIBUS Home Pages and Process Navigators. You can load these reports within a console frame or as pop-up windows. The BIRT Report Designer has features for adding fields by dragging and dropping data tables within a WYSIWYG report editor with full page layout, header, footer, tabular reporting and charting capabilities. BIRT's resource library includes: BIRT support aggregations, summaries, data cubes, cross tables, and expressions, which can be used to automatically highlight data that meet specific criteria.

 

Reports can use a direct database connection or use a native ARCHIBUS data source defined in a standard ARCHIBUS view (.axvw) file. Using a data source allows sites to leverage Web Central's connection pooling, use Virtual Private ARCHIBUS data partitioning, and create reports that can run unchanged on multiple database servers (e.g. Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle).

 

BIRT has two main components:

  • a report designer based on Eclipse
  • a runtime component you can add to your application server.

 

 

Process Navigator
Technologies / Business Process Owner Views / BIRT Pick and Place Reports

 

 

3.     Self-Service Password Reset - Users who lost their passwords can request a password reset on the Sign-In Form. Web Central will send an email to the user with the link that allows the user to enter the new password.

 

System administrators can enable or disable the self-service password reset feature by setting the AbSystemAdministration

-    PasswordResetPermitted application parameter.

-    By default, this feature is enabled in V.23.2.

 

 

 

 


 

4.     Updated JDBC Drivers - Web Central V.23.2 includes current JDBC drivers for all supported database server vendors.

These drivers are used in the file ..\webapps\archibus\WEB-INF\config\afm-projects.xml to connect the Web Central application to your database.

 

JDBC driver

JDBC driver version

Oracle JDBC driver 12

com.oracle.jdbc:ojdbc7:12.1.0.2

Microsoft JDBC Driver 4.0 for SQL Server

com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc:sqljdbc4:4.0

JDBC/ODBC 3.0 driver for Sybase SQL Anywhere runtime database engine

com.sybase.jdbc:jodbc:3.0

jConnect for JDBC 3.0 driver for Sybase SQL Anywhere network database engine

com.sybase.jdbc:jconn3:3.0

JDBC 3.0 driver for Sybase SQL Anywhere Web Edition database engine

com.sybase.jdbc:sajdbc:3.0

 

This blog is aimed at breaking down the platform enhancements for Web Central version 23.2 for you, our users, in the clearest and easiest-to-digest format possible. We will be back in a future edition to outline more about how recent platform enhancements can benefit your business. In the meantime, please contact our team at MASS with any questions. We are available, as always, on 0118 977 8560 or email us at news@mass-plc.com to find out more!


Andrew Taylor



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