Wednesday Nov 18, 2015

Approvals for EBS 1.3.0 for iOS and Android is now available

Oracle Mobile Approvals for Oracle E-Business Suite lets you respond on-the-go to your pending approval requests. From your phone, anywhere and anytime, take quick action on approval requests for expenses, requisitions, purchase orders, recruitment vacancies and offers, timecards, item changes, Supplier Invoices, and more.

Oracle Mobile Approvals for Oracle E-Business Suite is compatible with Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3 and 12.2.3 and above. To use this app, you must be a user of Oracle E-Business Suite, with mobile services configured on the server side by your administrator. 

What's New in Version 1.3.0

  • Support for enterprise distribution
  • Customization support for corporate branding
  • Mobile application management (MAM) support with Oracle Mobile Security Suite (OMSS), including single sign-on
  • Support for Web SSO authentication to delegate authentication to Oracle Access Manager (OAM)
  • New approval types: Timecards, Item Changes, and Supplier Invoices
  • Enhanced data layout
  • Improved approvals filtering
  • Translations in 10 additional languages including Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish.

For more information on how to use Mobile Approvals, please refer to the following document:


Related Articles

Thursday Nov 05, 2015

Checking for Proper Language Translation in Workflow Directory Services


When logging into the Oracle EBS pages in any language ideally roles should be viewable with display names and descriptions in that language so the logged in user would understand them.

If there are any doubts about whether or not roles would be translated to a newly activated language, there are some steps that could be followed to check for proper language translation.  These steps could also be used to check that a language has been successfully added.

Required Patches

To make sure language translation takes place as expected there are some required 1-off patches that need to be applied.


Preliminary Setup

Also, for language translation to work properly the ROLE_TL_VIEW value for a particular ORIG_SYSTEM in the WF_DIRECTORY_PARTITIONS table needs to be set to “NOBS”.  While this could easily be set manually by anyone it is really up to the product development teams to set the value through formal patching.  Thus, if necessary a patch should be requested from the appropriate product development team that does just that.

  1. Use appropriate AD tools to add languages, e.g. French and Danish.
  2. Log into Oracle EBS as sysadmin using the English interface.
  3. Use the System Administrator or User Management responsibility to create a new role while also entering a brief description, e.g. RM_ROLE_TEST, "RM role test - English".
  4. Log out.
  5. Query the WF_LOCAL_ROLES and WF_LOCAL_ROLES_TL tables for this newly created role and check the description.  It should be the same one entered at creation for all languages, i.e. "RM role test - English", as shown below:
  6. Log into Oracle EBS as sysadmin using one of the other language interfaces, e.g. French.
  7. Use the System Administrator or User Management role to modify the description of the role created earlier to indicate the language, e.g. "RM role test - French".
  8. Log out.
  9. Query the WF_LOCAL_ROLES_TL table for this role and check the description.  It should show the language-specific description, e.g. "RM role test - French" for French, as shown below:

  10. Log into Oracle EBS as sysadmin using another one of the other languages, e.g. Danish.
  11. Use the System Administrator or User Management role to modify the description of the role created earlier to indicate the language, e.g. "RM role test - Danish".
  12. Log out.
  13. Query the WF_LOCAL_ROLES_TL table for this role and check the description.  It should show the language-specific description, e.g. "RM role test - Danish" for Danish, as shown below:

  14. If desired, log into Oracle EBS as sysadmin using the other default languages, Arabic and Korean, and perform the same roles description modifications then log out.
  15. After all the language-specific description modifications the WF_LOCAL_ROLES_TL table for this role should look something like the following:

Friday Sep 11, 2015

What can a Workflow Administrator do?


Workflow Administrator is a user who can take various administrative actions on a Workflow Process. In addition to that a Workflow Administrator can view the progress of a work item in a workflow process by connecting to the Workflow Monitor using a standard Web browser that supports Java. The Workflow Monitor displays an annotated view of the process diagram for a particular instance of a workflow process, so that users can get a graphical depiction of their work item status.

Setting up a Workflow Administrator

To setup a user as a Workflow Administrator, you can navigate to Workflow Administrator Web Applications > Administrator Workflow > Administration > Workflow Configuration. Here, there is a field called “Workflow System Administrator” to which a user can be assigned.

WARNING: If the value of this field is set as ‘*’, then every user on that E-Business Suite instance is considered as a Workflow Administrator. Hence, it is advisable not to set the value as ‘*’.

The following section presents us with different areas of Workflow and the actions a Workflow Administrator can perform in those areas:

Notification System

A Workflow Administrator can

  • Search and view any notification in the E-Business Suite application using Notification Search function.
  • Take any action on a Notification such as Respond, More Information Request, Reassign etc. An exception to this is Notifications requiring Digital Signatures (notifications requiring Password Based and Certificate Based Signature) where even a Workflow Administrator cannot respond to as it requires Digital Signatures of the recipient.
  • Respond to a notification that is sent by him/her.
  • Reassign even notifications restricted for reassign action (through #HIDE_REASSIGN attribute).
  • Restrict the list of users to whom a user can reassign a notification or request more information from (using #WF_REASSIGN_LOV).
  • Define vacation rules for any user and can update them appropriately.
  • Add list of item types that can be used in providing Worklist Access to or defining Vacation Rules for those item types
  • Reassign a notification that is not responded to and the workflow process waiting on that.

Business Event System

A Workflow Administrator can

  • Create, modify or test business events
  • Create or modify subscriptions, agents and systems

Workflow Mailer

A Workflow Administrator can
  • Setup Workflow Mailer to
    • Determine which response method should be used for a notification response to Email Notifications (Ex: template response or direct response)
    • Determine how frequently summary notifications are sent

 Status Monitor

A Workflow Administrator can

  • Perform administrative operations on a Workflow Process from Status Monitor screen. An admin can Cancel, Suspend, Retry, Skip a workflow process.
  • Set the display size of Status diagram that shows the current state of a Workflow in a diagrammatic representation.
  • Set default user preference values globally using workflow Configuration page.

More information can be obtained from the following documents:

Thursday Sep 10, 2015

Worklist Access as part of EBS Proxy in 12.2.4

There are a number of business scenarios in which Oracle E-Business Suite users need to grant delegates the ability to act on their behalf (act as proxy users for them) when performing specific Oracle E-Business Suite functions.

In 12.2.4, there was a new feature added EBS Proxy. The proxy user feature in Oracle E-Business Suite allows users to delegate access to specific application functionality to one or more proxy users. The delegator can grant access to specific responsibilities or workflow notification types to the proxy user, rather than having to grant access to all functionality. This provides the flexibility needed to meet typical business scenarios. The documentation for which can be obtained from oracle docs: (3-32).
Pre 12.2.4, the proxy was limited to the access of different Workflow notification types and was granted using WorklistAccess Proxy. This document deals with the changes in the WorklistAccess Proxy with EBS proxy. The major changes between the two have been explained further in the blog.

1.    Granting Worklist Access:  With the advent of 12.2.4, the link for (Worklist Access) has been replaced with the proxy settings in Global header. Refer pictures (a) for pre 12.2.4. and (b) for Post 12.2.4.


a.  Worklist Access Link for Proxy Configuration

b.    Manage Proxies under the settings icon in Global header post 12.2.4

 2.    The change from Grant Worklist Access button to Add Proxy .

c.      Grant Worklist button has been upgraded to AddProxy.

 3.    On clicking the corresponding (Grant Worklist Access/ Add Proxy) button, the following screen has gone through a major change.  While a User can grant access to its one or more responsibility to another user, the item types for the worklist access (Notification Types) has three options:
i.    None : Access for any notification cannot be granted
ii.    Selected: Access for some notifications (depending on the grantor selection) can be granted.
iii.    All: As the name suggests, Access for all notification types can be granted.

 d.    d. Option of granting access for responsibilities as well the option of granting none item Type.

 e.    e.  Pre-12.2.4 Grant Proxy Page

 4.    Switch User: From 12.2.4, the option of switching to another user, (Grantee to Grantor) has also been changed. Earlier, there used to be Switch User button for grantee to switch to the Grantor.

f.  f.   Switch User Button for going to the list of users for which proxy has been granted to the logged in User.

 g.   Switch User button is upgraded to Switch User Icon post 12.2.4.

 From 12.2.4, the user has to click on the global header of switching user, to go to the list of users (grantors). Also, if a user A switches to user B, for it to switch to User C, it has to switch back to itself. Refer fig.(h). the figure shows the info regarding the proxy and current user,

h. Global Header Changes

Wednesday Jun 24, 2015

Make your workflows context dependent the right way


Oracle Workflow is context-agnostic. Oracle Workflow does not guarantee a specific application context to be available during the execution of a workflow process.

A workflow process may need certain application context to be initialized in order for a process activity to execute successfully. For example, if an activity submits a concurrent program request, it needs certain application context to be initialized.

Oracle Workflow provides ability for application code to manage application context for their workflow processes. Before executing a workflow process, it first allows to test the context. If the test determines that a specific application context should be initialized, it then allows to set the required context before continuing to execute the workflow process.

In order to manage application context from within a workflow process, Oracle Workflow supports the notion of Callback Function (popularly known as Selector Function). Hence, for a given item type a single function operates as both selector and a callback function.

  • Selector - Selects the appropriate process name to execute when the item type is initiated without specifying the process name.
  • Callback - To test and set application context required for the workflow process to execute.

Callback Function 

In this blog post we will only discuss the function modes for the Callback feature. A function mode is the condition under which the callback function implementation should do a certain processing.

  • TEST_CTX - Before executing a workflow process activity, determine if the current application context is correct for the given item type. In a typical case, the application context is evaluated by checking the values of but not limited to FND_GLOBAL.USER_ID, FND_GLOBAL.RESP_ID, FND_GLOBAL.RESP_APPL_ID and so on. These are Application Object Library (FND) global variables that determine if an appropriate application context is initialized or not.
    • NOTSET - Context has not been initialized. For example, if FND_GLOBAL.USER_ID is -1 it indicates an application context was not initialized.
    • FALSE - A context is already initialized but it is not correct for the given workflow item type. Workflow engine should switch context is allowed.
    • TRUE - A context is already initialized and it is valid for the given workflow item type.
    • Null - The item type does not depend on any context.
  • SET_CTX - Establish required application context for the item type.

Refer to Oracle Workflow Developer's Guide for Standard API for an Item Type Selector or Callback Function 

In a given session, Oracle Workflow executes the callback function each time it encounters a new item type and item key combination. For example, when a workflow process (identified by a given item type and item key) is initiated, the workflow engine executes the callback function only once before first activity. For the rest of the activities in the process, the selector function is not executed in that session. Now, in the same session if a new workflow process (identified by the same item type but a different item key) is initiated, the callback function is executed again.

Preserve Context

While it is extremely beneficial to allow application code to manage required application context during execution of a workflow process, it is also important to determine when the application context can be switched and when it cannot be. Oracle Workflow internally maintains a flag WF_ENGINE.PRESERVED_CONTEXT that determines whether context switching is allowed or not.

WARNING: This flag is INTERNAL ONLY and cannot be manipulated by the application code

Oracle Workflow initializes this flag with either TRUE or FALSE based on whether it is required to preserve the current application context or not.

  • TRUE - This value indicates that the workflow engine is required to preserve current context. This is typically when workflow engine executes in the foreground.
    • For example, if an approver signed into Worklist and approved a notification, the workflow engine executes in the foreground. Since it is required to preserve the current approver's context, workflow engine cannot switch to a different application context.
    • If the callback function returns FALSE in TEST_CTX mode, the workflow engine since it is required to preserve existing application context, it will not execute the callback function in SET_CTX mode. Instead, it will defer the workflow process to background engine that will then invoke the callback function in TEST_CTX and SET_CTX modes. 
  • FALSE - This value indicates that the workflow engine is not required to preserve current context. This is typically when the workflow engine executes in the background, such as initiated by Workflow Mailer or Workflow Background Engine concurrent request.

Following table summarizes how Oracle Workflow treats results of TEST_CTX mode in a given preserve context situation.

 TRUE  Set Context  Defer to Background Engine  No Change  No Change
 FALSE  Set Context  Set Context   No Change  No Change


It is very important to understand the nuances of context management within workflow process with regards to

  • What result to send back to workflow engine in TEST_CTX mode?
    • Clearly understand the difference between NOTSET and FALSE. They have completely different meanings and impact to workflow execution.
  • How workflow engine treats different TEST_CTX results in the context of preserve context flag?
    • Your workflow process may be deferred to workflow background engine and executed later on. If the background engine is not running, your workflow will not be executed.


Friday May 29, 2015

Increase throughput of your Workflow Mailers

The Workflow Notification Mailer is a component running on the Workflow Mailer GSM Service (also known as container). This service can host multiple instances of the Workflow Notification Mailer so that the load of sending and receiving e-mails can be shared, improving the overall performance. This is specially true as more and more applications moved from PLSQL-based notifications, that pretty much only required access to the database, to HTML/Framework-based notifications that also require access to the application server to retrieve the content of these good-looking notifications. 

Note: to learn more about Generic Service Management click here.

Creating a new component for the mailer allows the following:

  • Increase the number of processes for inbound and outbound processors - although this can also achieved simply by increasing the number of processors in the existing Notification Mailer 
  • Use a different SMTP account to process outbound messages and/or a different IMAP account for inbound processing
  • Specify a different correlation ID to dedicate message processing to a specific item type
  • Specify a user, responsibility and application different from the default one (SYSADMIN). This is typically done when specific profile values need to be applied for the applications user that the mailer will use to retrieve its content.

Creating another Notification Mailer component

 By creating a new Container a whole new set of components will be added to exclusively manage the components (mailers) and this way provide more scalability. The diagram below depicts what a Component Container is composed by.


 To create a new component follow this simple steps:

  • Connect to Oracle Apps with the responsibility Workflow Administrator Web Applications
  • Navigate to Oracle Applications Manager -> Workflow Manager
  • Click on Notification Mailer. Then click on the Create button on the top right part of the page
  • Select the Workflow Mailer service and hit Continue
  • Key in the corresponding parameter values for this new Notification Mailer.
  • Use the Advanced option to specify the Correlation Id and other parameters. The Inbound Agent is always WF_NOTIFICATION_IN while the Outbound Agent is WF_NOTIFICATION_OUT.

Creating a new Workflow Mailer service

A new Workflow Mailer component still has a limitation: the connection to retrieve HTML/Framework content is synchronized and this means that only one Java thread can retrieve the content at a time. Of course, this retrieval happens very fast, but still there is the chance of a bottle neck when the number of this kind of notifications is very high. 

To increase the performance in this scenario a new Workflow Mailer service is the solution, and it can be done as follows:

  • Connect to Oracle Apps with the responsibility Workflow Administrator Web Applications
  • Navigate to Oracle Applications Manager -> Workflow Manager
  • Under column Container, click on Workflow Mailer Service and hit the Create New button
  • Enter the names desired for the new service. The image below provides an example
  • Use the button Add from Available Shits to indicate the availability of this new service. Use the one called Active 24 hours every day.

  • Save the changes

Now new Workflow Notification component can be created with the steps given earlier, but instead of using service Workflow Mailer, use New Workflow Mailer with the desired parameter values.

Wednesday Mar 18, 2015

Now Available: Approvals for EBS 1.2.0 on iOS and Android


Oracle Mobile Approvals for Oracle E-Business Suite lets you respond on-the-go to your pending approval requests. From your phone, anywhere and anytime, take quick action on approval requests for expenses, requisitions, purchase orders, recruitment vacancies and offers, and more.

- Quickly filter approval requests by sender or subject
- Review at a glance header and line item details, action history, and comments
- Approve or reject with or without comments, or request more information

Oracle Mobile Approvals for Oracle E-Business Suite is compatible with Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3 and 12.2.3 and above. To use this app, you must be a user of Oracle E-Business Suite, with mobile services configured on the server side by your administrator. For information on how to configure mobile services on the server and for app-specific information, see My Oracle Support Note 1641772.1 at



Oracle Mobile Approvals for Oracle E-Business Suite 1.2.0 is available on Apple's iTunes Store and Google Play Store for download.

This app works against Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3 and above and 12.2.3 and above.


Oracle Mobile Approvals requires set up on Oracle E-Business Suite instance to support connections from the mobile app. Following patches are required to be applied.

Android Screens

Additional Resources

Thursday Feb 19, 2015

Different ways of sending workflow notifications


There are various ways of sending workflow notifications using Workflow Activities like Notification Activity with 'Expand Roles' flag checked, Notification Activity without 'Expand Roles' flag checked, APIs like WF_NOTIFICATION.Send, WF_NOTIFICATION.SendGroup, and using Business Event System Subscription Action Type 'Send Notification'.

Using Workflow Activities

A notification can be sent by running a workflow process having the notification activity. The recipient of the notification can be set by using the Performer attribute in the notification activity, and the message template can be set using the Message attribute. If the performer value is a role, then the 'Expand Roles' flag will be used to decide whether to send the same copy to all the users of the role or a different copy.

Notification Activity without "Expand Roles"

 The 'Expand Roles' flag will be unchecked by default, sends the same copy of notification to all its users and that notification is visible in the notification queue of all the users in that role. If one user in that role responds to or closes that notification, the notification is removed from the notification queue of all other users in that role.

Notification Activity with "Expand Roles"

The 'Expand Roles' flag when checked, sends a different copy of the notification to all its users. The notification remains in a user's notification queue until the user responds to or closes the notification. By both checking Expand Roles and specifying a post-notification function, you can create a voting activity. A voting activity is a notification activity that first sends a notification message to a group of users in a role and then executes a PL/SQL post-notification function to tally the users' responses and determines the transition to the next activity.

Refer to WF dev guide for more details about voting activity.

Using APIs

A notification with the specified message can be sent to the role by calling the WF_NOTIFICATION.send() and WF_NOTIFICATION.sendGroup() APIs without actually launching the workflow process. The message template that needs to be sent has to be defined within a workflow item type .


This function sends the specified message to a user/role and returns a notification ID if successful. The specification of the function is shown below.

function SEND
 (role in varchar2, 
  msg_type in varchar2, 
  msg_name in varchar2,
  due_date in date default null,
  callback in varchar2 default null,
  context in varchar2 default null,
  send_comment in varchar2 default null
  priority in number default null)
 return number;


  nid number;
  msg_type varchar2(100) := 'WFTESTS';
  msg_name varchar2(100) := 'PLSQL_MSG';
  role varchar2(320) := 'TESTUSER';
   nid := wf_notification.send(role, msg_type, msg_name);  


This function sends a separate copy of notification to all the users assigned to the specified role and returns the notification group ID if successful. All the notifications have the same group id, which is the first notification id sent.

function SendGroup
  (role in varchar2,
   msg_type in varchar2,
   msg_name in varchar2,
   due_date in date default null,
   callback in varchar2 default null,
   context in varchar2 default null,
   send_comment in varchar2 default null
   priority in number default null)
  return number;
  nid number;
  msg_type varchar2(100) := 'WFTESTS';
  msg_name varchar2(100) := 'PLSQL_MSG';
  role varchar2(320) := 'TESTUSER';
   nid := wf_notification.SendGroup(role, msg_type, msg_name);  

Using Business Event System Subscription Action Type

The notification can also be sent by raising the business event for which the subscription action type is specified as 'Send Notification - Send a notification using a standard or custom message template'. As part of the subscription definition, the workflow item type and message name for the message you want to send and role that should receive the notification must be specified. In this approach, you do not need to define or run a workflow process to send a notification from a subscription. However, you do need to define the message you want to send within a workflow item type. The list of values for the Message Name field includes only the messages within the item type you specify.

Following are the subscription mandatory parameters

  • Message Type - An item type that contains the message definition
  • Message Name- An message template for the notification you want to send
  • Recipient  - A role that should receive the notification
  • Priority - Normal, High, or Low as the priority for the message.

Following are the subscription optional parameters

  • Callback - Custom callback function you want the Notification System to use for communication of SEND and RESPOND source message attributes.
  • Context - The context information for a workflow process instance that needs to passed to the callback function. The context information consists of the item type, item key, and activity ID in the following format:
  • Comment - A comment to send with the message

Monday Jan 19, 2015

New Features to Global Worklist Header in 12.2.4

Enhancements to Global Worklist Header

  • In 12.2.4 Skyros UI, a new branding profile "FND_BRANDING_SIZE" is introduced to control the layout of the global header. Worklist header is part of the universal global header and hence is controlled by this profile.
  • The default value for "FND_BRANDING_SIZE" is "Icons Only". This renders the worklist header as bell icon along with badge of open notifications count. On click of the bell icon, the worklist menu is displayed.
  •  If value for "FND_BRANDING_SIZE" is "Links only", the worklist header renders as "Worklist(<open notifications count>)" text link. On click of the "Worklist" link, the worklist menu is displayed. 

  • If value for "FND_BRANDING_SIZE" is "Both Links and Icons", the worklist header renders as a bell icon along with a badge of open notifications count of the user and the "Worklist" link below the icon. On click of the bell icon or "Worklist" link, the worklist menu is displayed. 

  • The layout of the worklist menu is enhanced and the recent 8 open notifications of the user are displayed. Each notification section has From user and Sent Date in the first row, Subject and Due Date in the second row. The worklist menu has a better look and feel with enhanced styles compared to its older 12.2.3 version.
  • On page reload or refresh, the worklist header is rendered to display the current open notification count of the user.


  • The worklist header enhancements are available across all OAF and JTT pages by default from Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.4
  • It is i18n enabled and also supports more accessibility features. User can open the worklist menu by pressing keys like Enter, Space Bar, Up and Down Arrow on the worklist icon/link in the global header.
  • The Global worklist header enhancements are available in all supported browsers of Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.4


Tuesday Dec 30, 2014

New Version of Approvals Smartphone App is Available

What's New?

A new version (1.1.0) of Approvals for EBS smartphone app is available on Apple App Store. This new version provides following updates.

- Improvements to login and configuration flow
- Ability to change server URL without reinstalling the app.
- *Diagnostics improvements.
- After updating to version 1.1.0, you are required to reconfigure the app to implement the configuration and login improvements included in this version.

Note: The latest app version will work with earlier server-side patches. However, the latest server-side patches must be applied to enable new features and fixes that require those patches, marked by an asterisk (*).

For more information on these updates, see My Oracle Support Note 1641772.1.

Support for Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

If your mobile users need to access the Oracle E-Business Suite mobile apps over the Internet, your Oracle E-Business Suite environment must be set up in a DMZ configuration.

  • For DMZ configuration instructions on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1, see My Oracle Support Note 380490.1.

  • For DMZ configuration instructions on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2, see My Oracle Support Note 1375670.1.

Additionally, when setting up the configuration file for your mobile app as described in Section 2.2.1, ensure that the service endpoint (or server host URL in Oracle E-Business Suite Mobile Foundation releases earlier than Release 2.1) is set to your external web entry point.

Thursday Dec 11, 2014

e-Signing a Workflow Notification fails on Internet Explorer on Windows 7

With the launch of Windows 7 Operating system, Microsoft has ceased to support CAPICOM DLL. CAPICOM is an ActiveX control used to digitally sign data, display certificates from browser and to encrypt and decrypt data. In Oracle Workflow Notification System, CAPICOM has been used to digitally sign Notification data in Workflow Notifications. This is only used when signing a workflow notification from Internet Explorer. Now that this DLL is not included in Windows 7 and further versions of Windows OS, the signing process of a Workflow Notification, requiring certificate based signature, errors out with the following message:

"Verification of signature has failed"

Oracle Workflow provides a solution to this issue. The patch numbers for obtaining this solution on the following code-lines are as follows:

  • Release - 18921580
  • Release 12.1.3 - 18921687:R12.OWF.B
  • Release 12.2.3 - 19410235:R12.OWF.C

Due to the removal of dependency on an ActiveX control, there are certain subliminal changes in the user interface for signing a workflow notification. The following are two changes:

1. Change in the look of Certificate Selection window. The list of certificates to be selected are now loaded in an Applet. This is as shown below:

2. A small time lag after clicking on Sign button. A informative message conveying the same is displayed. The screenshot of the same is as shown below.Please wait for the applet to be loaded after clicking on "Sign". There would be an applet loaded as shown in earlier image a user can select certificate for signing the notification data.

Apart from these negligible changes, the whole signing experience is in parity with that which existed before Windows 7 plus Internet Explorer as browser.

Tuesday Nov 11, 2014

Scheduling Workflow Mailer Stop and Start events as good practice

The Workflow Notification Mailer runs on the generic service called Workflow Mailer Service, which in turn uses the Standard workshift, active 24 hours every day. This means the notification mailer runs non-stop.

 Not allowing the mailer to restart periodically may present some issues:

  • The corresponding log file corresponding to the Workflow Mailer Service will grow several gigabytes large and eventually the OS will error due to I/O file handling.
  • Some SMTP servers and IMAP servers used for outbound and inbound processing respectively, have time limits to the sessions connected to them. If the mailer reaches those time limits it will encounter a connection error and will be abnormally brought down.
  • Similarly the same might happen to the session the mailer establishes to retrieve HTML and framework content from the application server. This is less likely though but it has been seen.
  • The size of the INBOX folder in the IMAP server won't get expunged as long as the mailer does not refreshes the session. For a purged INBOX folder it takes the mailer to restart - and for parameter Expunge Inbox on Close to be set to Yes.

In order for the issues above to be minimized, a good practice is to schedule the Mailer to automatically go down and start up periodically, daily preferably. This can be done by using the event schedule feature provided in the Workflow Mailer configuration. This can be done as follows:

First, connect to EBS using the responsibility Workflow Administrator Web Applications and go to Workflow Manager

Then edit the Notification Mailer configuration. Continue going through the train stages until you reach the Schedule Events stage:

Use the corresponding link/button to create two events, one for stopping the mailer and one for starting it up:

In the screen shot above the stopping event is set to happen at 11:50 PM and the starting event at 11:55 PM, and these are set to repeat every using 1440 minutes as the interval. If no interval value is specified the stop/start events are raised just once.

Wednesday Oct 15, 2014

Improving worklist notification response performance by deferring the processing


When the user responds to a notification from self-service worklist, the control will be returned back to the responder only after processing the subsequent function activities and other synchronous activities until the next blocking activity. If there is any costly activity defined after the notification activity user can experience performance problems. There is a feature available from E-Business Suite Release 12.2 onwards to defer the response processing to a later time and the control will be returned back immediately so that the response time will be faster.

When a notification is responded in a deferred mode, a message with event name '' and other required properties will be enqueued in to WF_NOTIFICATION_IN queue for later processing, and the notification will be closed immediately. The 'Workflow Inbound Notification Agent Listener' dequeues the message from WF_NOTIFICATION_IN queue and executes its subscription to complete the notification activity and the subsequent activities.

Notification Response mode

The Workflow Administrator actually determines the response processing mode for their application whether to process all the workflows synchronously or to defer all the workflows or only some specific workflow types. There is a section available in the Workflow Administration page to select the required processing mode.

There are 3 options available

  • NONE - None of the workflows response processing will be deferred. This is the default behavior.
  • ALL - All the workflows will be deferred for processing
  • SPECIFIC - Only the specified workflows will be deferred. There are buttons available to Add or Delete or Search for the required item types

Tracing the responded notification

The responded notification processing can be traced in the below sequence.

  • Check the STATUS column in WF_NOTIFICATIONS table                                                                                                The notification status will be changed to CLOSED once the control returns back to the worklist and a message will be enqueued to WF_NOTIFICATION_IN queue with READY state                      
    select notification_id, status from wf_notifications where notification_id = <nid>;
  • Check the message state in WF_NOTIFICATION_IN queue                                                                                               The 'Workflow Inbound Notification Agent Listener' component processes the messages in WF_NOTIFICATION_IN queue and the message state will be changed to PROCESSED                                       select win.user_data.GET_STRING_PROPERTY('NOTIFICATION_ID') NID, msg_state, enq_time, deq_time from$wf_notification_in win where win.user_data.GET_STRING_PROPERTY('NOTIFICATION_ID') = <nid>;
  • Check the notification activity status in WF_ITEM_ACTIVITY_STATUSES table                                                             The notification activity status will be COMPLETE once the message is processed by the 'Workflow Inbound Notification Agent Listener' component                                                                                                                         SELECT notification_id, activity_status FROM wf_item_activity_statuses where notification_id = <nid>;

Handling Errors

When there is any error occurs during the deferred response processing, WFERROR/NTF_DEFER_RESP_PROCESS_ERROR workflow process will be launched and an error notification will be sent to the Workflow Administrator role. The ERROR notification contains the information about the Errored notification details, Error message and Error stack.

The Error notification contains two response attributes 'Retry' and 'Resolved'.


When the problem that is causing the error is fixed and no longer exists, submit the 'Retry' response so that the actual notification will be enqueued to WF_NOTIFICATION_IN queue and will be processed again.


When the problem that is causing the error is resolved now and the notification is COMPLETE, then submit the 'Resolved' response so that the error notification will also be closed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The 'Workflow Inbound Notification Agent Listener' component should be up and running for the above feature to work

Thursday Oct 09, 2014

Global Worklist Header - New Feature on 12.2.3


Global worklist header is a new feature available from Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.3 in Skyros look and feel.

  • Worklist header icon is the bell icon which is displayed by default in all HTML based pages in the global header, the worklist header icon is an alternative to including a worklist region in the Oracle E-Business Suite home page. Users can select the icon to view a summarized list of recent notifications, and then click to view and respond to each notification in the notification details page.
  • With this feature, users can view the recent notifications from any HTML page by default instead of navigating back to homepage and checking the homepage worklist for any recent notifications.
  • The open notification count is displayed next to worklist header icon in the global header and the count gets updated on page reload or refresh.
  • On click of the worklist header icon, the worklist menu opens up, which displays the recent 10 notifications. Each notification section shows from user, notification subject link,  sent date and due date of the notification.
  • Users can navigate to notification details page on click of the notification subject link and can review and respond to the notification. The subject text is displayed up to 45 characters and on hover of the subject link, the full subject text is shown.
  • The worklist menu also displays the ‘Go to Full Worklist’ link at the bottom and on click of link, user is taken to the advanced worklist page.
  • The worklist menu can be closed by clicking anywhere outside the menu.
  • If the open notification count for the user is zero, then on click of the worklist header icon, the worklist menu still opens up and displays the message ‘No open notifications found for the user’ along with the ‘Go to Full Worklist’ link at the bottom.


Though worklist header icon is rendered by default, the icon rendering in the global header can be controlled at user, responsibility, application, site levels using profile ‘WF_ENABLE_WORKLIST_HEADER’. By setting the profile value, the worklist header icon can be rendered on/off at various levels.


  • The worklist header feature is available across all OAF and JTT pages by default from Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.3
  • It is i18n enabled and also supports accessibility features. The opening and closing of the worklist menu and the navigation to each notification component, full worklist link, navigation to notification details page, advanced worklist page from the worklist menu links can be fully controlled by keyboard. The navigation with the keyboard is the same as in any HTML page. In addition, user can navigate through the notifications using key up and key down as well.
  • The global worklist header feature is available in all supported browsers of Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.3


Additional Resources

Release 12.2.3 is currently available on My Oracle Support as Patch 17020683. This patch needs to be applied on top of Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.2. Instructions for downloading and applying the patch are in the Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.3 Readme, Note 1586214.1

'The signing operation has failed' - common error with Password Based Signatures in Workflow Notifications


Oracle Workflow Notifications can be digitally signed in two ways.

  1. Password Based Signature
  2. X.509 Certificate Based Signature.

Following are the authentication mechanisms categorized based on whether or not a user subscribes to Single Sign-On (SSO).


  1. Pure E-Business Suite User (Otherwise called FND User)
  2. Pure SSO user
  3. Hybrid Mechanism (Both E-Business Suite and SSO)

Issues and Reasons

Time and again we have encountered a problem with Password Based signatures failing with the error: 'The signing operation has failed'. This happens when the notification is signed using SSO credentials i.e., the logged in user is an SSO user. The profile option APPS_SSO_LOCAL_LOGIN, controls the type of authentication mechanism to be used for a user at the time of user-creation. More information about SSO can be found here

The possible values of this profile option are:

  • LOCAL - Login is only allowed via Oracle E-Business Suite local login.
  • SSO - Login is only allowed through Single Sign-On. The password is set to ‘EXTERNAL’ after a single sign-on account and an application account are linked.
  • BOTH - Login can be through both Single Sign-On and Oracle E-Business Suite. (Please note this is only a separate authentication mechanism but not a different class of users created for it)

Now based on the type of login/authentication mechanism, the signing differs.


  • For a FND User, the validation utility validates the credentials by fetching password from FND_USER table from ENCRYPTED_USER_PASSWORD column.
  • For a pure SSO user, the ENCRYPTED_USER_PASSWORD column is set to 'EXTERNAL' in FND_USER table and the Validation utility fetches the password from OID to validate it.
  • For a user using both types of authentication mechanisms, the Validation utility validates it as it does in the case of a FND User i.e., comparing the ENCRYPTED_USER_PASSWORD from FND_USER table. This implies that when the user uses authentication mechanism for both FND User and SSO user then the password for FND User is used for validation.

Also, it is to be noted that the password for SSO user is case sensitive and the password for FND user depends upon a profile option SIGNON_PASSWORD_CASE. In short:


  • An SSO user password is case-sensitive.
  • An FND User password is by default case insensitive. It depends upon the value of profile option 'SIGNON_PASSWORD_CASE' to have it case sensitive or case insensitive.
  • For a user which uses both authentication mechanisms, the password for FND user is used for signing. It would be good if these passwords are maintained in sync.
Hence, when one encounters the error mentioned here, the starting point to investigate is to see what type of user it is. Mostly it would be user using authentication mechanism for both FND User and SSO User. In that case the FND User password should be used and not the SSO password. Also the case of the password should be heeded to as that can well be the cause of the issue. 




This blog is dedicated to bring latest information on Oracle Workflow new features, best practices, troubleshooting techniques and important fixes directly from it's Development Team.


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