Part 2: How to Make the Most of Primavera P6 XML Exports

Written on . By Tracy Mah

I recently wrote an article on the Advantages of Primavera P6 XML Exports and Imports where I pointed out quite a few advantages to using XML exports and imports over XER files. I also mentioned there were a couple problems that may discourage people from switching to XML.

The two biggest shortcomings are XML files are much larger and as a consequence it takes a longer time to export or import an XML project file.

I did some simple tests to show some of the differences between XER and XML exports and imports. The tests were done in Primavera P6 r16.1 PPM that was installed locally or standalone on a computer. In other words, it was not networked or connected to a separate server computer that hosted the Primavera database. I created three different sized projects that were resource loaded for my experiment.

In this article I concentrated on exporting only. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series https://www.p6consulting.ca/blog/the-advantages-of-primavera-p6-xml-exports-and-imports/, Baselines are not included with XER exports so my results won’t be exact direct comparisons to the XML exports.

Project

Number of Baselines

Time to Export

File Size

1000 Activities – XER

None

Under 5 seconds

1.2 MB

3000 Activities – XER

None

Under 5 seconds

3.5 MB

5000 Activities – XER

None

Under 10 seconds

5.9 MB

 

 

 

 

1000 Activities – XML

2

16 seconds

27.5 MB

3000 Activities – XML

2

41 seconds

82.3MB

5000 Activities – XML

2

  • First export failed
  • Out of memory
  • Over 1 minute

Fail

From the results in the table above, you can see that the XER exports are very fast and their file sizes are quite small, under 10MB and 10 seconds for the 5000 Activity project. For the XML exports the times to export are longer, but not too inconvenient. The problem is with the file sizes. The 5000 activity project failed to export because the file was larger than 102.4 MB which is the default Maximum File size set in the P6 Factory Defaults Configurations menu. 

After launching the Primavera P6 Administrator tool, I changed the Maximum File size to be five times larger.

I was able to successfully export the large project with the limit cap increased.

Project

Number of Baselines

Time to Export

File Size

5000 Activities – XML

2

1 min 7 sec

137.2 MB

Note that the large file size of 137 MB may be an issue for some company networks.

What is the solution?

There is a way to overcome the large file size of a Primavera P6 XML export. If you save an Activity Layout for the Project, then the XML export changes to a compressed ZIP file. The image below shows where you can save the activity layout to the opened project.

When I exported the same three projects but with a project level activity layout included, then the resulting ZIP file sizes are much smaller than the uncompressed XML project files.

Project

Number of Baselines

Time to Export

File Size

1000 Activities – Zip

(plus project layout)

2

18 sec

0.76 MB

3000 Activities – Zip

(plus project layout)

2

41 seconds

2.2 MB

5000 Activities – Zip

(plus project layout)

2

1 min 6 sec

3.6 MB

 

What can be concluded from these tests?

The time it takes to export an Primavera XML versus a ZIP (XML with a layout) is about the same. But the file size differences are drastic, 137 MB vs 3.6 MB. Therefore, it’s advantageous to get in the habit to include a project layout to export with the XML file.

1) For smaller projects under 3000 activities, it should be fine to export in the native XML file format.

2) For larger projects, over 3000 activities, it is recommended to save an Activity Layout with the Project.

3) In the export dialog box, ensure that the ‘Export all project level layouts’ is checked. The resulting Zip file contains the Primavera P6 XML project file and any Layout PLF files.

In my next article, Part 3, I’ll share my results of the import tests on the same projects.

If you missed Part 1 of this blog series, check it out here https://www.p6consulting.ca/blog/the-advantages-of-primavera-p6-xml-exports-and-imports/

Posted in Export/Import, P6, Primavera