Sneaky new PBCS features

Every so often, a colleague or I will stumble upon a new admin feature in PBCS that we can’t recall being mentioned in the monthly update documents. This either results in a frenzy of “Hey, have you seen this?!” to everyone in the office, or quietly questioning whether it’s really been there all along!

In this blog, I mention some of these new features which we believe have snuck in unannounced and that I suspect could be the result of numerous enhancement requests.

The two-click Refresh

I realise that this will have been noticed by almost everyone already but it needs to be included because it’s a little nugget of gold that everyone will use. Refreshing the database is now a simple two click process from the dimension editor!

No more having to go through the laborious seven click process – yes seven! – via the Application -> Overview screens and forever being tricked by the “Refresh” button that isn’t really Refresh and the “Create” button that isn’t really Create… (just me?).

In fact, quite soon, we had all developed the habit of having Smart View connected solely to use the Planning admin extension to Refresh, avoiding the long process altogether.

Clear empty & dynamic blocks

(Thanks goes to Martin Skelly for spotting this one).

In Database Properties, right clicking on an application name gives you the Clear Data options; All Data, Upper level blocks and Non-input blocks have been there from the beginning but the two other options Dynamic blocks and Empty blocks have appeared more recently.

Dynamic blocks: Clears data blocks that are created from Dynamic Calc and Store members.

Side note: I have personally never used Dynamic Calc & Store due to the impact on performance, however if anyone has a use case where it has worked well without performance issues, please comment as I’d been keen to hear about it!

Empty blocks: Removes empty blocks of data i.e. blocks where all values are #Missing.

Multiple member delete

This is something which I only discovered recently and am not sure how long it’s gone unnoticed!

You can now use the Ctrl key to select multiple members and delete them all in one go.

Yes, you still have to select them all one by one and no, you can’t cut and paste or edit them, but still, it’s still a handy little short cut.

In an ideal world, we would be able use the usual method of holding the Shift key to highlight multiple members to delete, move or edit them and, on the topic of the dimension editor, also be able to cut and paste shared members! Just putting it out there…

Custom defined functions

Again, I have to credit Martin for noticing this one!

When creating business rules, the Custom Defined Functions are now available in PBCS. The functions that we’re already putting to use allow you to manipulate dates. CDFs make working with dates much simpler, for example adding a year to a date is as straightforward as:

“Next Date” = @CalcMgrAddYears(“Start Date”,1);

I recommend everyone checks out these functions – they’ll enable you to do calculations you never even knew you wanted to do! (and also, some you’ll never want to do).

I hope there will be something here that every administrator will find useful and time saving!

Ciao for now.