Creating Message Analyzer Aliases
Message Analyzer enables you to create an alphanumeric string value Alias for any data field value in the Analysis Grid viewer that is of a type that supports aliasing, as described in Using and Managing Message Analyzer Aliases. You can create an Alias for only one data field value at a time; however, you can only create an Alias from the Analysis Grid viewer, as there are no other facilities to create one. Note that you can apply any alias while Message Analyzer is capturing data in a Live Trace Session or loading messages through a Data Retrieval Session.
Go To Procedure
To go directly to a procedure that creates an Alias, see Create an Alias for a Data Field Value. However, you are advised to examine the information contained in this section before doing so.
Enforcing Unique Alias Values
Message Analyzer enforces the restriction that the Value of each applied Alias must be unique. However, if you create an Alias and its Value matches that of another Alias, and you Save it, Message Analyzer simply adds that Alias to the Aliases drop-down list on the global Message Analyzer toolbar and to the Aliases submenu that is accessible from the global Message Analyzer Tools menu, and then sets it to the disabled state, while preventing it from being applied to the current message set. If you attempt to enable this Alias, Message Analyzer blocks application of the Alias and displays a Duplicated value message to indicate the inherent restriction. Even though this is a restriction, it does give you the flexibility to create multiple Aliases with different names for the same Value; however, you can only enable and apply them one at a time.
Note that although it is possible to create multiple aliases with the same name but with different Values, this is probably not the best use of this feature, except perhaps for multiple IP addresses that your computer may have.
Configuring an Alias
To configure an Alias for a particular data field value in a set of trace results, right-click a field value in the Analysis Grid viewer that supports aliasing, for example, an IP address in the Source column, and then select the Create 'Source' Alias context menu item. Thereafter, the Alias Editor dialog appears and enables you to specify the values or settings that follow:
The Create ‘<columnName>’ Alias menu item is enabled only for data field values that support aliasing. In addition, after you create a new Alias, the Create ‘<columnName>’ Alias menu item for the new Alias will be grayed-out and disabled (if you right click the new Alias) until such time that you delete the existing Alias from the Aliases drop-down list. Note that the value ‘<columnName>’ is the name of the Analysis Grid viewer column that contains data that is of a type that currently supports aliasing, for example, the Destination column that contains IP addresses.
Value — the value of the data field that you right-clicked in the Analysis Grid viewer to create a new Alias is automatically passed in to the Value text box. For example, this could be an IP address or a TCP port number. This field is editable but cannot be blank, although Message Analyzer performs a validation that determines whether the entered value is correct for the field type.
Alias — enter a friendly name for the new Alias in this text box. Specify a name that makes sense for your environment. This field is editable but cannot be blank; it should be between 1-64 characters long. Note that the alphanumeric string that you specify as the Alias name is automatically interpreted as a string in various Message Analyzer operations such as filtering, sorting, and grouping.
Description — type a description of the new Alias in the Description text box, to define the usage context for future recollection and to notify users with whom you might share such an Alias asset, as the Description is included in the Message Analyzer sharing infrastructure. You also have the option to leave this text box blank.
Category — in this text box, specify the name of the Category in which to store your new Alias. You can choose an existing Category that is populated in this combo box based on previously specified Categories, or you can create your own customized Category name, which is then retained as an editable Category drop-down list item for future use. Thereafter, you can simply select items from the Category drop-down menu as needed. If you create your own Categories, you might consider naming them by data types, for example, “IP Addresses”, MAC Addresses”, “TCP Ports”, and so on. All categories that you specify become subcategories that appear under the default My Items top-level category in the Aliases drop-down list. However, if you leave the Category combo box blank, the Alias will be stored directly in the My Items category.
Auto Refresh Views — select this check box if you want Message Analyzer to refresh all data viewers that will be impacted by the new Alias, immediately after you Save the Alias.
Be aware that the Auto Refresh Views function of the Alias Editor dialog can be activated only when creating a new Alias. It does not activate for other operations that you can perform, such as editing and saving an Alias or creating a copy of, modifying, and saving an Alias. In addition, when the current message set is refreshed to apply a newly created Alias, there could be an impact on performance depending on the number of messages that exist in the displayed message set.
If you do not select the Auto Refresh Views check box, and you Save the new Alias, Message Analyzer prompts you with the following message that displays on the Aliases Changed information bar above the Analysis Grid viewer:
“To avoid excessive CPU utilization when refreshing some data views, please wait until all alias changes are complete before you refresh.”
Thereafter, you have the option to manually click the Refresh Views button on the information bar at a time when it is appropriate to refresh your data viewers.
When you are finished entering the Alias data in the Alias Editor dialog, click Save to store your new Alias in the specified category of the Aliases drop-down list. After adding the new Alias to your Alias collection, you can edit, make a copy, or delete the Alias at any time, as described in Modifying Message Analyzer Aliases.
Your Message Analyzer installation will save any Aliases that you create for use in subsequent sessions, however, Aliases do not persist in any data files that you save and share with others, such as a .matp trace file.