LiquidOffice FAQ's

Server specification

What are the recommended system requirements for a LiquidOffice server?

LiquidOffice server requirements

  • Dual core Xeon CPU
  • 2GB of RAM (or 4GB if database resides on the same server)
  • 1.5GB free hard drive space
  • CD-ROM Drive

Operating system

  • Windows 2003 Server or above
  • Sun Solaris 9 or 10
  • Linux Red Hat 4

Database server

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005
  • Oracle 9i or 10g

Web server

  • Tomcat 5.5 (Default)
  • BEA Weblogic 9.0/9.2
  • IBM WebSphere 6.0/6.1

Summary

LiquidOffice will run on most standard server level hardware but, as it is impossible to provide specific guidance in a FAQ section, please contact us for more tailored advice. A basic eForms LiquidOffice server will run well on any modern server, however, a server being accessed by many users utilising the workflow engine would need a minimum of a quad core Xeon processor with 8GB RAM and SAS hard drives.

What is the server's function?

The LiquidOffice server stores the forms and processes and is responsible for rendering them for clients and running much of the script and processes behind them such as form routing and exports. For this reason, it is important to pay careful consideration to RAM, processor performance and hard drive speed.

It is also possible to increase performance, simplify management and help locate and resolve performance bottlenecks by splitting the components of LiquidOffice across multiple servers.

The three main components (processing server, presentation (web) server and SQL) can be installed onto separate servers. On larger systems with many users or where performance is important, separating the LiquidOffice process and web components from the SQL database would be the recommended configuration.

What kind of memory is necessary?

A clean install of Windows 2008 server will typically use less than the first 1GB of RAM for normal operation. This means that whatever is left can be used by SQL server and the LiquidOffice server.

On a dedicated server, a total of 4GB (1GB for Windows, 2GB for SQL and 1GB for LiquidOffice) should be adequate for a simple installation. If other applications are running, such as Exchange or an on-line defragmentation tool, it is important to have additional memory. Many LiquidOffice users, or users of the server, will require additional memory.

It is possible to have more than one instance of SQL running and each will require its own memory. Multiple databases on one "instance" share memory but SQL can have several isolated installations on the same server called "instances". Some applications such as Network Associates Protection Pilot virus scanner management tool may install their own instance of SQL to store information and statistics which will require its own memory in addition to the LiquidOffice instance!

SQL server will automatically use available memory, so if you have 4GB of RAM in your server and SQL is using up available memory, it doesn't necessarily mean that expanding your memory will result in a performance increase.

How much hard drive space is needed?

Although the requirements suggest up to 1.5GB of hard drive space is required, a full LiquidOffice installation takes up less than 512MB. The additional space is required for storing the online form templates and the data retrieved from online form submission.

As storage is cheap and it is impossible to buy a hard drive smaller than about 120GB, the space is rarely the issue. However, hard drives should still be given careful consideration. As hard drives are the only part of a server with physically moving parts, they are the slowest and often the bottle neck to performance. It is essential to have some form of fault tolerance on your servers hard drive configuration. For more information please see our Server Storage FAQ.

As the hard drive will be one of the main limiting factors on your server’s performance, we recommend you review the latest SAS drives.

What is the optimal processor speed?

With the right operating system, web server and SQL server version, full 64bit and multi-processor support is possible with the LiquidOffice​ server.

The speed of the processor will also have an effect on performance. For a ‘simple forms only’ LiquidOffice server, any modern server class processor will probably be suitable. More complex installations will require multiple core processors, probably in the form of Intel Xeon processors.

What windows server do you recommend?

We recommend Windows 2008 or 2012 Server for LiquidOffice. Any edition including Standard or Datacentre will work.

We recommend you install the latest updates from the Windows update website.

Can I use the free SQL Server Express Edition for my LiquidOffice system?

Although LiquidOffice can be installed on the free SQL Server Express Edition for small systems or testing, we recommend the full version of SQL Server 2005 or 2008 (Workgroup, Standard or Enterprise) for larger systems.

Latest updates

I hear a new version of LiquidOffce been launched. What are the latest features?

LiquidOffice includes everything you require - both now and as your business objectives evolve - to automate and more effectively manage your business processes.

Here is a breakdown of the new features:

  • Portal. A modern web application intended to eventually replace the Web Desktop. It provides many usability improvements including tree-based navigation, unified assignments area replacing inbox and work queues and the ability to hide and reorganise columns
  • Web BAM. The Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) dashboard and key performance indicators are provided via a web interface and are integrated into the Analytics tab in Portal
  • Dynamic forms. Forms can be designed with third-party web development tools, providing unlimited flexibility to create native web forms without the paper-like constraints of traditional forms created with Form Designer. Dynamic forms are integrated using a new Eclipse plug-in
  • Cross-platform installer. A single Java-based cross-platform installer; now requires that Java be pre-installed for both the server and Form Designer
  • Form Designer installer downloaded from URL. Form Designer can be installed by an end user from the Web Desktop or Portal. The Form Designer installer is included in a server installation
  • Derby database. The Java-based, Apache Derby DBMS is included in the server installation and configured by default. This makes it easy to get up and running quickly, although Oracle or SQL Server is still recommended for a production server
  • Silent installation. Silent installation can now be configured with all the settings that are entered manually through a GUI installation
  • OEM rebranding. OEM customers can rebrand the installer with their own product name, version, license agreement, service name and installation path
  • Form packet validation. Forms in form packets are now validated before being submitted. A new Submit action is in the form packet nodes and the current Save command displays as Save For Later. Selecting Submit triggers client-side validation, while Save For Later does not. Submitted nodes display with a check mark in the table of contents. Attempting to submit the entire packet when any non-hidden form nodes are un-submitted results in an “incomplete packet error” message
  • Form packet node initialisation. Previously, initialisation semantics differed between forms inside of form packets and forms outside of form packets. The "First Use" initialisation option for form packets initialised on the first use per task, instead of the first use per process. The "Always" initialisation option for form packets is always initialised, instead of only until the form is saved. The form packet task initialisation options now match the behaviour for form tasks. Refer to the Process Studio documentation for details on form and form packet tasks
  • Work queue lock timeout. The work queue lock timeout interval can be configured in minutes rather than hours
  • E-mail resend interval. The interval between eMail resend attempts is configurable
  • Secure eMail. Secure eMail over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) is supported
  • Log access for designers. Users with form or process publishing roles can view the server log in the Management Console
  • API to retrieve assigned tasks. Added API to retrieve a list of tasks from an assignment list (AssignmentList.getItems)
  • Multiple form submissions. After an end user selects a form submit button, it is now unavailable for 5 seconds to prevent the user from selecting it again and causing multiple submissions. Forms must be republished to take advantage of this feature
  • Accessibility. Added an accessibility option to the HTML publish settings to allow not setting the focus to the first field. This allows for some screen readers to begin reading from the top of the form rather than the first focused field
  • Page breaking in flattened PDF. Introduced a flag (CSForm.kHTMLStylePageBreakFlag) to make page breaks in flattened PDFs similar to their HTML counterparts
  • Dynamic tables. Improved the handling of dynamic tables in HTML and flattened PDF
  • Code signing certificate. The certificate used to sign the Management Console and Process Studio clients has been updated. To ensure client machines running these applications can verify their digital signatures, the machines need to be updated to Java 6u19 or later, which includes the latest root certificates
  • Platform support. The following platforms are now supported (Tomcat 6.0.29 is included):
    • Java 1.6 or above is required to run all Java-based components
    • JavaScript 1.5 is used for server-side execution
    • AIX is supported by the server.

SSL

What are the security considerations with LiquidOffice?

By default, any usernames, passwords and form data transmitted between a client and server in LiquidOffice will be in clear text, via normal HTTP traffic. As a result, it is possible for a 3rd party to intercept and read the data. Although not usually a problem inside an organisation's own network, steps should be taken to secure remote or Internet access. During the installation of LiquidOffice, there is an option to enable SSL which can encrypt traffic with the same level of security as online banking if configured correctly.

By default, LiquidOffice uses a self-signed certificate. Self-signed certificates work exactly like a certificate purchased through an SSL Certificate Authority, except that they are not signed by a Certificate Authority. Instead they are signed by your server. Apart from that, the encrypted connection using a self-signed certificate is as secure as any other SSL connection.

For testing, internal use or if you have a guaranteed way of distributing the public key to your end users, this configuration is acceptable. However, if users outside of your control will be accessing the LiquidOffice system over the Internet, a Certificate Authority (CA) signed certificate is required. The CA verifies your identification and generates a certificate for your server for a cost of around £20 per year. GoDaddy, VeriSign, Thawte and Comodo can be used to provide the service.

I need to replace my self-signed certificate / install a CA certificate. How do I do it?

Whether you need to replace your self-signed certificate or install a CA provided certificate, these instruction will take you through the process.

Step 1: Create the Certificate Signing Request (CSR)

We have assumed the default installation paths; if yours are different you may need to modify them. Replace the following variables as follows:

{FQDN} – Fully Qualified Domain Name of server, e.g. lo.epc.co.uk or *.epc.co.uk if you need access from more than one name

{OU} – Department responsible for the LiquidOffice server, e.g. ICT

{O} – Company name, e.g. ePartner Consulting Ltd

{L} – Location, e.g. Lightwater

{S} – County, e.g. Surrey

{PASS} – A strong password, e.g. a2sXk4lJvb

From a Command Prompt, type the following, pressing Return at the end of each line:

Path %path%;"C:\Program Files\Cardiff\Autonomy Process Automation\xmlserver\jdk\jre\bin" [RETURN]

CD \ [RETURN]

CD "C:\Program files\Cardiff\Autonomy Process Automation\xmlserver\xmlbase\conf" [RETURN]

Ren losKeystore losKeystore.bak [RETURN]

keytool -genkey -dname "cn={FQDN}, ou={OU}, o={O}, l={L}, s={S}, c=GB" -alias LO [line continues..]

keystore losKeystore -storepass {PASS} -keypass {PASS} [RETURN]

keytool -certreq -keystore losKeystore -storepass {PASS} -alias LO -file request.pem [RETURN]

This will create a REQUEST.PEM CSR file, which needs to be used to create the certificate. Below is an example of how the free OpenSSL utility can be used to create a self-signed certificate or, for general Internet and public access, how to request a CA signed certificate.

Step 2 (Option A for Testing Use): Create a Self-Signed Certificate with OpenSSL

Download and compile OpenSSL or for simplicity, the Shining Light Productions implementation includes a simple Windows installer. Either way, it is best to install OpenSSL on to a different PC than your live LiquidOffice server.

Open a Command Prompt on the OpenSSL PC and navigate to the OpenSSL\Bin directory. Then type the following, pressing Return after each line:

openssl req -new -x509 -extensions v3_ca -keyout ca.pem -out ca.crt -days 365 -config openssl.cfg [RETURN]

openssl x509 -in request.pem -out reply.pem -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.pem -days 365 -req -set_serial 1 [RETURN]

Step 2 (Option B for Production Use): Request a CA Signed Certificate

Go to the Certificate Authority web site of your choice, purchasing either a single server or wildcard SSL certificate. During the process it will ask you to upload the CSR, this means the REQUEST.PEM file (sometimes done by copying and pasting the contents of the file from Notepad in to a field on the CA web site). Once the process is complete it will issue you with a certificate file, in this case we are assuming it will be called REPLY.PEM but it may have another name or extension, so adjust the following lines as needed.

You will also need a copy of the CAs own public certificate, which should be downloadable from their site. In this case we will assume it is called CA.CRT but it may have another name or extension, so adjust the following lines as needed.

Step 3: Installing the Signed Certificate

Whichever method you use, you then need to copy the CA.CRT and REPLY.PEM files in to the CONF folder on your LiquidOffice server and enter the following lines, pressing Return after each:

keytool -import -keystore losKeystore -storepass {PASS} -alias ca -file ca.crt -trustcacerts [RETURN]

keytool -import -keystore losKeystore -storepass {PASS} -alias LO -file reply.pem [RETURN]

Restart your LiquidOffice service and the login page should now be available through a web browser on both HTTP://{FQDN} and HTTPS://{FQDN}

If users continue to use the HTTP link, their data will not be secure, so we would recommend disabling port 80, HTTP traffic to your LiquidOffice server from your firewall and only allowing port 443, HTTPS traffic.

Note to editors: Please feel free to reproduce FAQ information in whole or part but we do request that you credit ePC and place a link back to our website whenever information is reproduced.

The FAQ's are compiled on the basis of questions received by ePC. If you have a question about BPM software, please contact us.

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