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An Oracle blog about PeopleSoft Technology

Using Drop Zones to Isolate Customizations

Matthew Haavisto
Senior Principal Product Manager

The ability to customize PeopleSoft applications has always been a powerful and popular aspect of PeopleSoft products.  This power and flexibility came at a cost, however. Although customizations are valuable in that they enable customers to meet unique and important requirements that are not part of the standard delivered products, they are difficult and costly to maintain.

PeopleSoft has been working hard to enable customers to continue developing those valuable customizations, but implement them in a way that they are isolated from our delivered products.  This minimizes life cycle impact and allows customers to take new images without having to re-implement customizations each time.  Providing the ability to isolate customizations is a high priority investment for us.  We've developed several features that facilitate the ability to isolate customizations.  The latest is Drop Zones.  Drop Zones became available with PeopleTools 8.57, and customers must be on 8.57 to implement them. 

First let's look at the benefits as well as things you must consider when using Drop Zones:

Benefits

  • Customers can add custom fields and other page elements without life cycle impact
  • You have the full power of PeopleTools within Drop Zones.  You can apply PeopleCode to custom elements
  • Reduces LCM time when taking new image.  No need to re-implement customizations!
  • Works on Fluid pages

Considerations

  • It's still developer work, some of which is done in App Designer
  • Doesn't reduce implementation time for customization (the benefit is during LCM)
  • Some pages won't work with Drop Zones
  • No support for Classic pages (as of 8.57)

What Does PeopleSoft Deliver?

You can only use drop zones on pages delivered by PeopleSoft applications.  (Don't add your own--that would be a customization.)  Drop Zones will be delivered with the following application images:

  • FSCM 31
  • HCM 30
  • ELM 19
  • CRM 17

Our application teams are delivering drop zones in pages where customizations are most common.  This was determined in consultation with customers.  Typical pages have two drop zones: one at the top, the other at the bottom.  However, there may be cases with more or fewer drop zones.

How Do I Implement Drop Zones?

Move to PeopleTools 8.57 or later. Take Application images that have drop zones.

  1. Review and catalog your page customizations and determine whether they can be moved to Drop Zones.  Compare your list to delivered pages with Drop Zones.  (Lists for all applications are available on peoplesoftinfo.com>Key Concepts>Configuration.)

  2. Create subpages with customizations you want to implement (custom fields, labels, other widgets...)  In the example here, we've created a simple subpage with static text and a read-only Employee ID field.
  3. Insert your custom subpage into the Drop Zone.
  4. Configure your subpage to the component containing the page.  There may be more than one drop zone available, so make sure you choose the one you want.  Subpages are identified by labels on their group boxes.


    Your custom subpage will be dynamically inserted at runtime.  Any fields and other changes on your subpages are loaded into the component buffer along with delivered content.  Your subpages are displayed as if part of the main page definition.  End users will see no difference between custom content and delivered content.

Now this customization is isolated, and will not be affected when you take the next application image.  Your customization will be carried forward, and you don't have to re-implement it every time you take a new image.  These changes will not appear in a Compare Report.

What Can I Do to Prepare for Using Drop Zones?

Even if you are not yet on an application image that contains Drop Zones, you can prepare ahead of time, making implementation faster. 

  1. Review and catalog your page customizations and compare them against the pages with delivered drop zones in the images you will eventually uptake.  
  2. Consider which page customizations you want to implement with Drop Zones.  Prioritize them.
  3. Start building subpages containing those customizations.

When you move to the application images that contain drop zones, you can simply insert the subpages you've created as described above.

See this video for a nice example of islolating a customization with Drop Zones.

 

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