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The right-click on a PI Sheet.

For any shop floor operator working with Process Instruction Sheets or Work Instruction Sheets, the context menu (right-click) is an indispensable tool. It gives the user the power and ease to work on the PI sheets seamlessly. It is a one-stop toolkit for the user to perform the necessary actions on any PI Sheet control. The “context-menu” as the name suggests adapts the actions depending on the region/context of click on the PI sheet.

The menu as such is a very simple and powerful tool which is not only easy to use but also difficult to replace with an alternative control.

Something strange happened.

The context menu initially was developed in close collaboration with 3rd party (Microsoft)technology. It was implemented using the ActiveX Internet Explorer Pop Up Menu Control provided by Microsoft. It makes use of the control IEMENU.OCX (clsid={7823A620-9DD9-11CF-A662-00AA00C066D2}).

The process to realize the menu is documented in the note 566692 – Context menu in process instruction sheet for getting the context menu.

However, for reasons unknown the vendor withdrew the support for iemenu.ocx control.

See Link: https://support.microsoft.com/de-de/help/840275

Excerpts from the article(sic).

Secondly, with the release of Internet Explorer Version 11 (IE11), the IEMENU.OCX control stopped working for some Unicode Characters. The display looks as below if PI Sheet is edited in Japanese or Chinese language or for that matter any other Unicode language.

Since there is no support for the OCX control, a new mechanism to replace the menu was imminent.

Features of a replacement.

The planned replacement solution should have the following features:

  • An innovative approach should fit the existing browser framework (BFW) used in PI sheets. Using a menu control from another library and fitting it in PI Sheets was not an option and would have caused disruption in the usability.
  • Sustained support for the control. We should be certain about the road-map of the control. Hence, a complete natively owned control was the best option. This was also necessary to keep the menu control secure.
  • Minimal changes to the existing browser framework. Developing the control in View and Control layer seems to be the better option. The need to touch the Model(ABAP) layer may not be required. Existing authorization rules at the model layer are not disturbed.
  • The look and feel of the new menu should be similar, if not the same.
  • The process of configuring the new menu should be simplified. Downloading and installing the menu should be unnecessary.

Taking these features into perspective a new completely and indigenous context was incorporated in the Control and View layers of the BFW. It is totally modular with its own CSS and JavaScript files. The new context menu is made available as part of the note – 2343187 – New Context Menu solution to replace the obsolete ActiveX control – iemenu.ocx.

The look and feel of the new context menu.

The note contains a detailed description of the implementation and its advantages. Since it is part of the BFW, it is available to all the users by default. So, there is no need to install it per system, thus reducing the implementation effort.

Closing remarks:

Shop floor operators who use either PI Sheets/ Work instructions sheets are aware of the importance of context menu. The mere thought of losing it for a moment would sound hampering.

Via the note 2343187, we now have a seamlessly running context menu solution integrated directly in the browser framework. This gives us the much-needed reprieve from the uncertainty of using 3rd party controls.

Note:

I have seen several implementations which disable the context menu for certain users, as an authorization mechanism. In the next blog, we will see how the context menu can be disabled per user.

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