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By Your Command... Scheduler

I got an email from someone regarding this post regarding my preference for Crystal Reports. The question is, “What is Command Scheduler and what is wrong with it?”

First, in this blog I try to emphasize the importance of two way communication. If you don’t understand something, or you think I’m crazy, please post a comment and tell me so. Nobody knows everything about M2M, SQL, or anything else for that matter, so put on the white belt and ask.

Cylon

Every time I read about Command Scheduler, I think of Battlestar Galactica

What is Command Scheduler?

Command Scheduler, and it’s robotic twin Command Processor, automate various processes in Made2Manage. You can schedule reports, custom programs, queue refreshing, and even re-indexing using these tools. This is especially important for those still using Visual FoxPro as you can re-index your tables every night when nobody is using the system.

Command Scheduler

Command Scheduler

The interface is not very user friendly so Made2Manage offers a class on its use. To demonstrate the flaws with this module, I’ll set up a report to run once a week with it. Suppose your accountant wants the Invoice Sales Report (RPIVSL) automatically run every week and printed to a network printer.

Invoice Sales Report

Invoice Sales Report

I highlighted the Run Later button because advanced users click that to schedule their reports. This triggers the scheduling screen, and the screen shot below is set to run Sunday evening at 10pm and repeat each week at the same time.

Schedule

Seems pretty easy, right?

What’s the catch?

  1. The Command Processor requires a dedicated license in M2M, unlike the UPS Automation Program, and since licenses cost around $5,000 each, it’s an expensive little task manager. In addition, normally users can open a second copy of M2M on the same machine, though this will tie up two licenses. However, if you try to open up a new M2M instance on the computer which is running Command Processor, it simply opens a second Command Processor. Therefore, a computer dedicated to that role will be required.
  2. The Command Scheduler has limited interval choices and the shortest is once per day. If you are regenerating a que, you may need it to occur more frequently.
  3. Dated reports do not work properly. (see below)

So, you come in Monday and if you set everything correctly, your Invoiced Sales Report for the week ending 11/23/2008 will be waiting for you. Everything seems to be working fine until your accountant checks the printout next week and discovers that it is also the Invoiced Sales Report for week ending 11/23/2008. In fact, if left unchanged the Command Processor could run for the next 10 years, and will ALWAYS output the exact same data out of it. Why anyone would want the same 10 year old sales data exported every week is beyond me, but it made sense to the engineer who wrote this code.

There is a change request for this and it is slated to be fixed in Version 6.1, but nobody knows when that might be released. Notice that the change request is now almost 7 years old and is listed as an “enhancement.”

Now in all fairness, a skilled admin can compensate for this limitation by changing the advanced filter to run for a calculated date range. However, I gave up this route years ago and went with Crystal Reports which makes this whole process so much easier.

7 comments to By Your Command… Scheduler

  • Scott

    My company used to use Command Scheduler when we were on VFP 3.21 to reindex every night. To help get around the licensing issue I would log onto M2M with the Command Scheduler account on my workstation before leaving at night. After the reindex was complete M2M would automatically log itself out. This of course required me to remember and spend the time every night to log in, but it was well worth it. Without rendering we often ran into lots of random errors and one of the first questions M2M support would ask is when I had last reindexed.

    SQL company data can not be reindexed via Command Scheduler and the system databases can not be reindexed in SQL or VFP. Because of this rendering via Command Scheduler is impossible on SQL. After we upgraded from VFP to SQL we no longer use Command Scheduler for anything. I try to manually reindex my VFP system databases every two weeks. It would be nice to automate this to run on a weekly or maybe even a nightly basis but I have not figured out how.

    I have never used Crystal to run scheduled reports because my users have not requested outrunning M2M reports. However if they ever do, I would defiantly look at the Crystal option first and try to avoid using Command Scheduler if at all possible.

  • Jason Griffith

    We did a little testing with it at one point just to see how it worked, but gave up on it in the end because we really didn’t have any particular use in mind for it. We just don’t have a whole lot of reports that would need to be run on a regular basis right now.

    At my previous employer, which uses a different ERP system, we used the equivalent of this for over 30 items every single day.

    Since I haven’t used it I obviously can’t give my opinion on Command Scheduler itself, but I can say that there are definite advantages to using this type of functionality in your system. Crystal is something that I still need to look into and get familiar with also, but that will probably be the first place I look once we have a need for it.

  • Andrew

    Does anyone know if they are going to fix some of these issues in 6?

  • John Studebaker

    We use the command scheduler for some of the data fix utilities such as fixing the onhand, commited, and in process quantities in the inmast table.
    It only uses a M2M license as it logs in once the command processing module starts the license is given back and is available for another workstation.

  • […] automatically switch every day for the month of December? Follow the instructions found in my Command Scheduler article to run this report each […]

  • Curt Lankford

    I have the Command Processor running on the M2M server. Is there a way to automatically log on M2M with the Command Processor when the system is rebooted or turned on, so that I won’t forget?

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