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Entity Collect Extension

Entity Collect Extension

Some time ago I wrote about Entity Collect Extension and the challenges of writing a demonstration piece of code. The challenges of Entity Collect Extension are pretty well known, but here is a run down of the most important one:

  • You must build the container and the contents,  and manage them

That means, that if you build an Entity Collect Extension, you cannot use other control extensions inside it :- you must code the entire contents yourself, so you would be looking at

  • Handling all different data types of attribute
  • Handling all the basic events of these attributes
  • Managing instance creation and deletion
  • Handling styling options and look and feel

So when you look at this shopping list, it can be quite daunting. Even so, I said to myself, if Oracle provides such a functionality, then somebody somewhere is going to use it. And so the idea came to create a demonstration Entity Collection Extension. When I started working on it I really did not have much time to look at it, so I wrote a couple of articles about my experiences and left it at that.

Recently I have been revisiting the concept again, and have found  time to work on it a little bit more. I added it to the OPA Hub Shop (on the strict understanding, as usual, that it is completely for educational and amusement purposes only).

That statement is particularly important in this case. I only decided to do this because I am fascinated by other people’s JavaScript frameworks. I find it useful to know what goes on underneath the glossy Oracle Policy Modeling HTML output. And my example is basic to the point of being little more than a sandbox (oh, and by the way, it still has a lot of issues – especially when you are running it in the Debugger rather than the Browser).

Entity Collect Extension in JavaScript

This version tries to cover off the 4 shopping list items shown above, and adds a couple of interesting ideas

  • Dynamic Delete Button (remove the button based on an attribute value). This is one request I have seen many times – the ability to forbid deleting in certain circumstances.
  • Handling Date Time and Value Lists for display and data entry.

I still have to find time to investigate :

  • Handling Inferred attributes that need to be refreshed as you are entering instance attributes.

I’ve just about had enough of this now so I am going to leave it for a while.  It has started to make my head spin.  Nonetheless it is an interesting exercise and helped make clear how cool the out of the box JavaScript really is.

The silent movie below shows where I’m at. All that work, for this rather dull looking thing. Sometimes there is not much to show for efforts. Of course, if I was a real programmer, I would be doing all of this in a much more efficient way (avoiding complete page refreshes at every change and so on) but I found this exercise very interesting. Certainly it gives me a better understanding of the scale of such a task.

Have a nice day!

Showing a Loading Image During Entity Creation

Showing a Loading Image During Entity Creation

When a user is entering some information into Entity attributes, it is entirely possible that one of those entity attributes may take its information from a Search extension. For example, you are entering instances of the Person entity and each Person has a location, so you want to select the location using a Search extension.

The Search, given that it is perhaps an Ajax call, could take some time. So you want to signal to the user that there is nothing to worry about, but they need to wait. Typically this is done through some sort of icon or image being displayed, much in the style of the Windows egg-timer or similar. This probably will also need a CSS style rule or two, in order to make it a bit funky.

We want to make sure that this is displayed in the right place, even if the user is creating several instances of the same entity. I mean that the icon should be displayed in the correct area of the screen, especially if you have instances whose screen layout takes up some space.

Anyway as always a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is the instance collection form:

Showing a Loading Image During Entity CreationWhen you have several on the screen, it might look like this:

Showing a Loading Image During Entity Creation

The Destination attribute is a Search extension that helps the user search for a Train Station in the United Kingdom. It take a few seconds for the search to happen.

So our timer needs to be shown in the right place whenever the user is searching. It needs to be instance A or B for example, depending on the instance the user is working on.

Showing a Loading Image During Entity Creation

In the example above the user has typed the Search criteria. The loader is shown in the centre of the instance while the search is happening. So we are Showing a Loading Image During Entity Creation.

Showing a Loading Image During Entity Creation

When the search data is returned, as in the example above, the user should no longer see the loader and the operation can continue as normal.

If the user moves to another instance, then the process should start again but the loader should be instance-aware and show in the correct place so as not to confuse.

Showing a Loading Image During Entity CreationTo do this we can use the Search extension, and add a little bit of extra code to

  • Check to see if we have already displayed the special icon
  •  If we have not, create it, center it on the instance we are working on, show it and make the Search
  • If the icon already exists, move it to the correct instance and show it then make the Search
  • When the search data is returned, hide the icon until the next time.

This example will work with non-tabular forms. I’ll be back with a second post investigating them in a couple of days.

You can find this simple example (with all the usual caveats and reminders that this is just for fun) in the OPA Hub Shop.  The official documentation is here, as always. Thanks to Shankar for the great example of Showing a Loading Image During Entity Creation!

Siebel CRM as a custom Search source

Siebel CRM as a custom Search source

This post is inspired by a conversation I’ve been having over the last few days with another OPA consultant (thanks Prashil!) . Although as it turned out, the requirement had nothing to do with Siebel (that will teach me to not assume anything!), the concept of making REST calls to a CRM or CRM-like data source has been on my mind. But how can I use Siebel CRM as a custom Search source?

In this example, we will use Siebel 2018 as the source of a custom Search box. Along the way we will see how the Siebel CRM REST API sends us data and what we can do with it. At the same time, we will indulge in some trickery to not show everything we have in our Search results to the user. It will mean we create two JavaScript extensions, a Search and a Full Input.

Firstly, the Siebel 2018 instance in question is using the standard REST API, and it is the standard Component called Account which we will be querying. In many public services, Account is used to store partner organizations, external suppliers and so on. It is a very common component. The base URL for the REST calls in my case will be something like the following

https://XXXX:9001/siebel/v1.0/data/Account/Account/?fields=Name,Location&?ChildLinks=None&searchspec=([Name] LIKE '"

There are three things to note here.

Firstly I am only interested in two fields (the third field I need, Id, is actually going to be included automatically anyway).

Secondly I am using a Search Specification with Siebel standard syntax to search using the Name of the Account. So if I type “ABC”, it will look for Accounts starting with ABC.

And finally, the URL string needs to be capped with the following to finish it “*’)” so that there is a wildcard search for ABC Inc, ABC Corp. and so on. The URL also includes an argument regarding child links in the output to reduce volume.

Siebel CRM as a custom Search source

The information returned in a standard output will consist of a series of data.items. So we can iterate over the data.items and for each item, we can get the Item.Name, Item.Location and Item.Id. Since Siebel paginates its output, we are actually only going to get a maximum of ten records unless we add another URL argument and make further calls to Siebel (to get page 2, page 3 and so on). But for a query result, a ceiling of 10 is pretty good for Siebel CRM as a custom Search source.

As a side note, this example – you have noticed – is using the Siebel REST API in its unvarnished, naked form. Obviously you would do well to control / restrict access and authenticate consumers in real life. We’ve seen in previous examples that we can pass headers in our Ajax call when Oracle Policy Automation asks for data from a Search source.

In the Commit callback we will update three attributes with the values of the Siebel Fields I just mentioned. Now, at the moment, if you want to update an Oracle Policy Automation Attribute in a JavaScript extension, that attribute needs to be on the active Screen for it to work. So what happens if you don’t want to show that value to the end user, but you still want to capture it for future use in your rules?

One approach (which I am using for demonstration purposes only you understand, as usual) will be to create an invisible Input, so that we can add our data to the Screen without the user seeing it. To do this you might use a fullCustomInput extension. This is different from the customInput, because it manages the Question Text and the Input control. So we can place it on our page and format the whole thing – even perhaps make it disappear.

Siebel CRM as a custom Search sourceThe two examples working together are shown in the video below, and I have added a more appropriate fullCustomInput example, as well as the Siebel customSearch example, to the OPA Hub Shop. I am also in the process of adding them to the Template Generator, so you will be able to generate a fullCustomInput and a sample Siebel customSearch yourself as well.

Have fun with Siebel CRM as a custom Search source, and as always the official documentation is your guide.

Travel Compensation : JavaScript Extensions

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Temporal Reasoning #5 : Temporal Attributes in Interviews

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Detail Pop-up in Oracle Policy Automation

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What’s New in Oracle Policy Automation 18B #2 Relationship Control Extensions

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Custom Entity Collect Extension in Oracle Policy Automation #1

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Oracle Policy Automation Embed Website in Interview End

Oracle Policy Automation Embed Website in Interview

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JavaScript Extensions with a Live Entity-based Chart in Oracle Policy Modelling

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