Tuesday Jan 11, 2011

BPEL 11.1.1.2 Certified for Prebuilt E-Business Suite 12.1.3 SOA Integrations

A new certification was released simultaneously with the E-Business Suite 12.1.3 Maintenance Pack late last year:  the use of BPEL 11g Version 11.1.1.2 with E-Business Suite 12.1.3. 

There are two major options for SOA-related integrations for the E-Business Suite:
  1. Custom integrations using the Oracle Application Server (SOA) Adapter for Oracle Applications
  2. Prebuilt SOA integrations for E-Business Suite using BPEL Process Manager
For more background about these two options, please see this article:


Architecture diagram showing SOA business event to web service mappingOPTION 2.  Using prebuilt E-Business Suite 12 BPEL business processes

Five E-Business Suite Release 12 product teams have developed their own prebuilt BPEL business processes:
  1. Oracle Price Protection (DPP)
  2. Complex Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (CMRO/AHL)
  3. Oracle Transportation Management (WMS, WSH, PO)
  4. Advanced Supply Chain Planning (MSC)
  5. Product Information Management (PIM/EGO)
For the five products listed above, prebuilt BPEL processes have been certified with Oracle BPEL Process Manager 11g version 11.1.1.2 (in Oracle SOA Suite 11g).  These prebuilt BPEL processes are certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3 and higher.

Note: The Supply Chain Trading Connector (CLN) product team has opted not to support BPEL 11g with their prebuilt business processes previously certified with BPEL 10.1.3.5.  If you have a requirement for that certification, I would recommend contacting your Oracle account manager to ensure that the Supply Chain team is notified appropriately.

For more information about using the prebuilt R12.1.3 SOA integrations, see:
Getting Support

If you need support for the prebuilt EBS 12.1.3 BPEL business processes, you can log Service Requests against the Applications Technology Group product family.

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Wednesday Jan 05, 2011

ATG Live Webcast Event - EBS 12 OAF Rich UI Enhancements

The E-Business Suite Applications Technology Group (ATG) participates in several conferences a year, including Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco and OAUG/Collaborate.   We announce new releases, roadmaps, updates, and other news at these events.  These events are exciting, drawing thousands of attendees, but it's clear that only a fraction of our EBS users are able to participate.

We touch upon many of the same announcements here on this blog, but a blog article is necessarily different than an hour-long conference session.  We're very interested in offering more in-depth technical content and the chance to interact directly with senior ATG Development staff. 

New ATG Live Webcast series -- free of charge

As part of that initiative, I'm very pleased to announce that we're launching a new series of free ATG Live Webcasts jointly with Oracle University.  Our goal is to provide solid, authoritative coverage of some of the latest ATG technologies, broadcasting live from our development labs to you.

Our first event is titled:

  • The Latest E-Business Suite R12.x OA Framework Rich User Interface Enhancements

This live one-hour webcast will offer a comprehensive review of the latest user interface enhancements and updates to OA Framework in EBS 12. Developers will get a detailed look at new features designed to enhance usability, offer more capabilities for personalization and extensions, and support the development and use of dashboards and web services.

Screenshot showing new UI highlights in 12 1 2 OA Framework oaf_highlights.png

Topics will include new rich user interface (UI) capabilities such as: 

  • New Home Page features
  • Navigator & Favorites pull-down menus
  • REST interface
  • Embedded widgets for analytics content
  • Third-party widgets
  • Look-ahead List of Values
  • Inline attachments
  • Popups
  • Business layer extensions
  • ADF integration
  • ... and more!

ATG Live Webcast Logistics

The one-hour event will be webcast live with a dial-in access for Q&A with the Applications Technology Group (ATG) Development experts presenting the event. The basic information for the event is as follows:

The Latest E-Business Suite R12.x OA Framework Rich User Interface Enhancements
Date: Thursday, January 27, 2011
Time: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Pacific Standard Time
Presenters: 

  • Prabodh Ambale, Senior Manager, ATG Developmen
  • Gustavo Jimenez, Development Manager, ATG Development

How to Register for this ATG Live Webcast

Register for this event here:

The event information and dial-in numbers will be provided when you register for the event. In order to register, you will need an Oracle.com account. You can register for a free Oracle.com account here.

If you're a first-time Oracle University Knowledge Center user

Sign-in with your Oracle.com account, or if you don't already have one, use the link provided on the sign-in screen to create an account. After signing in, accept the Terms of Use. Upon completion of these steps, you will be directed to the Webcast.

The webcast will open at 7:30 AM Pacific Standard Time to allow attendees to log in to the webcast. The presentation will start at 8:00 AM Pacific Standard Time.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me, Bill Sawyer, Senior Manager, Applications Technology Curriculum at Bill dot Sawyer at Oracle.com.

Monday Dec 06, 2010

EBS 12 OA Framework Training Now Available from Oracle University

We are pleased to announce the release of our official R12.x Extend Oracle Applications: Building OA Framework Applications course to Oracle University. The course is offered by Oracle University. If you have any questions about this you should contact your Oracle University representative. Detailed information about the course, its current schedule, and other information is available through the link above.

oaf_graphic_2.jpg
This class is a hands-on lab-intensive course that will keep the student busy and active for the duration of the course. While the course covers the fundamentals that support OA Framework-based applications, the course is really an exercise in J2EE programming. Over the duration of the course, the student will create an OA Framework-based application that selects, inserts, updates, and deletes data from a R12.x Oracle Applications instance. In this updated version of the course, new materials have been added to cover the new rich UI features available starting in R12.1.2 of E-Business Suite.

Questions about EBS technology stack training?

If you have additional questions about this or any other Oracle Applications Technology Group course, please contact me, Bill Sawyer, Senior Manager, Applications Technology Curriculum at Bill dot Sawyer at Oracle.com. If you have questions about this specific curriculum, please feel free to contact Lauren Cohn, Senior Curriculum Developer at Lauren dot Cohn at Oracle.com. If you have questions in regards to Oracle University, Bill Lawson, Director, Applications Curriculum Product Management at Bill dot Lawson at Oracle.com.

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Wednesday Nov 10, 2010

Oracle BPEL 10.1.3.5 Certified with EBS 12 on IBM Linux on System z

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.2 included prebuilt SOA integrations for the following E-Business Suite products:
  1. Oracle Price Protection (DPP)
  2. Complex Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (CMRO/AHL)
  3. Oracle Transportation Management (WMS, WSH, PO)
  4. Supply Chain Trading Connector (CLN)
  5. Advanced Supply Chain Planning (MSC)
  6. Product Information Management (PIM/EGO)
SOA-architecture2.png
These prebuilt SOA integrations for E-Business Suite Release 12 (12.1.2 or higher) using BPEL Process Manager (10.1.3.5) are now certified on the IBM: Linux on System z platform.

The operating systems certified on this platform are:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 5 (64-bit)
  • Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) version 9 (64-bit)
  • Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) version 10 (64-bit)
References
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Tuesday Aug 31, 2010

New Forms and Reports 10.1.2.3 Bundle Patch Certified with EBS 12

Our Oracle Forms team has consolidated a large number important fixes on top of Forms and Reports version 10.1.2.3.0 into a new bundle patch. This patch is available for download now under the ungainly title of:
This bundle patch is now certified with EBS Release 12 for all supported platforms except Linux on IBM System z.

Screenshot of download screen for Forms 10 1 2 3 1 bundle patch 9593176

This patch contains a total of 113 fixes. We strongly recommend that you apply this bundle patch on the Forms and Reports 10.1.2.3 Oracle Home following the instructions in:
EBS customers should ignore the README

An important note: this bundle patch's README is not applicable to EBS environments. EBS customers should ignore the patch's README and refer to the Note above.  This bundle patch contains some of the E-Business Suite interoperability patches that are already documented in Step 2.1.2 of the Note above, including interoperability patches needed to resolve Forms focus issues. 

Any conflicts reported by the opatch utility while applying this bundle to E-Business Suite environments can be safely ignored.

Doesn't change the Forms & Reports version


Application DBAs need to note that the Forms and Reports version after applying this patch remains at 10.1.2.3.0.  Hence, it is more like a CPU or MLR patch that is applied on this Oracle Home.

You can run the following command to check if this patch has been successfully applied:
> opatch lsinventory
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Thursday Aug 26, 2010

Securing E-Business Suite Web Services with Integrated SOA Gateway

The Oracle E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway service-enables Oracle E-Business Suite public APIs for Service Oriented Architecture.  This feature was released in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.1. 

One of the most common questions that Oracle E-Business Suite developers have is, "How do you secure E-Business Suite web services?"  Generally, web service security consists of authentication, message integrity and confidentiality.  I'll discuss the authentication aspect of web service security in this article.
The WS-Security specification describes enhancements to SOAP that increase the protection and confidentiality of messages. It provides this protection by defining mechanisms for associating tokens with Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) messages.

AuthenticationType.jpg
To secure and authenticate Oracle E-Business Suite web service operations, the E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway supports Username Token-based WS-Security.  In addition, it supports SAML Token (Sender Vouches) based security in Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3 and higher.

An Oracle E-Business Suite Integration Repository administrator can select the appropriate authentication type for each Web service-enabled interface.  The authentication type should be selected before deploying the API as a standard web service.  Integration Repository administrators can grant user access to E-Business Suite web service operations.

Username Token based security
The username token carries basic authentication information.  The username-token element propagates user name and password information to authenticate the message.  The information provided in the token and the trust relationship provides the basis for establishing the identity of the user.

A typical WS-Security header in a SOAP Request looks like this:

wsheader.jpg
When invoking Oracle E-Business Suite Web services through SOA Provider using username token-based security, these security headers should be passed along with the SOAP request. The username/password discussed here in wsse:security is the Oracle E-Business Suite username/password (or the username/password created through the Users window in defining an application user).

SAML Token-based security

SAML security tokens (Sender Vouches) are composed of assertions: one or more statements about a user, such as an authentication or attribute statement.  SAML tokens are attached to SOAP messages by placing assertion elements inside the header. SAML security tokens enable interoperable single-sign-on and federated identity for E-Business Suite Web services.

When invoking Oracle E-Business Suite Web services through SOA Provider using SAML Tokens, the SOAP request should contain a sender-vouches SAML assertion. The Assertion and the Body elements should be digitally signed.  A reference to the certificate used to verify the signature should be provided in the header.  The basis of trust is the Web service Requester's certificate.  The Requester's private key is used to sign both the SAML Assertion and the message Body. The SOA Provider relies on the Web service Requester, who vouches for the contents of the User message and the SAML Assertion.

Your Feedback is Welcome

We're extremely interested in hearing about your use cases and your experiences with our Integrated SOA Gateway.  If you've used this product -- or are evaluating it -- please post a comment here or drop us a line with your thoughts.

References
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Tuesday Jul 13, 2010

WebCenter 11g (11.1.1.3) Certified with E-Business Suite Release 12

Oracle WebCenter Suite is an integrated suite of Fusion Middleware 11gR1 products used to create social applications, enterprise portals, communities, composite applications, and Internet or intranet Web sites on a standards-based, service-oriented architecture (SOA). 

WC11gWelcome.png
WebCenter 11g version 11.1.1.3 (a.k.a. Patchset 2) is now certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (12.0.4 and higher; 12.1.1 and higher).  WebCenter 11g version 11.1.1.2 (a.k.a. Patchset 1) was certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 earlier this year

For installation and configuration documentation, see:
Certified EBS 12 Platforms
  • Linux x86 (Oracle Enterprise Linux 4, 5)
  • Linux x86 (RHEL 4, 5)
  • Linux x86 (SLES 10)
  • Linux x86-64 (Oracle Enterprise Linux 4, 5)
  • Linux x86-64 (RHEL4, 5)
  • Linux x86-64 (SLES 10)
  • Oracle Solaris on SPARC (64-bit) (9, 10)
  • HP-UX Itanium (11.23, 11.31)
  • HP-UX PA-RISC (64-bit) (11.23, 11.31)
  • IBM AIX on Power Systems (64-bit) (5.3, 6.1)
  • Microsoft Windows Server (32-bit) (2003; 2008 for EBS 12.1 only)
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Tuesday Mar 23, 2010

WebCenter 11g (11.1.1.2) Certified with E-Business Suite Release 12

Oracle WebCenter Suite is an integrated suite of products used to create social applications, enterprise portals, communities, composite applications, and Internet or intranet Web sites on a standards-based, service-oriented architecture (SOA).

WC11gWelcome.pngWebCenter 11g includes a multi-channel portal framework and a suite of horizontal Enterprise 2.0 applications which provide content, presence, and social networking capabilities.

WebCenter 11g (11.1.1.2) is now certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.  For installation and configuration documentation, see:
Certified EBS 12 Platforms
  • Linux x86 (Oracle Enterprise Linux 4, 5)
  • Linux x86 (RHEL 4, 5)
  • Linux x86 (SLES 10)
  • Linux x86-64 (Oracle Enterprise Linux 4, 5)
  • Linux x86-64 (RHEL4, 5)
  • Linux x86-64 (SLES 10) 
  • Oracle Solaris on SPARC (64-bit) (9, 10)
  • HP-UX Itanium (11.23, 11.31)
  • HP-UX PA-RISC (64-bit) (11.23, 11.31)
  • IBM AIX on Power Systems (64-bit) (5.3, 6.1)
  • Microsoft Windows Server (32-bit) (2003; 2008 for EBS 12.1 only)
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Friday Feb 12, 2010

Build Custom WebADI Integrators with EBS 12.1.2 Desktop Integration Framework

[Nov. 22, 2010 Update:  Office 2010 (32-Bit) is now certified with the E-Business Suite; see this article for details]

Oracle Web Application Desktop Integrator (Web ADI) is Oracle E-Business Suite's solution for integrating E-Business Suite applications with desktop applications such as Microsoft Excel, Word and Projects.  "Integrators" encapsulate the metadata and other information needed to integrate a particular Oracle E-Business Suite task with a desktop application.

I'm pleased to announce the availability of Oracle E-Business Suite Desktop Integration Framework (DIF), a design time framework that you can use to create custom integrators for Oracle Web ADI in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.2.

Several Oracle E-Business Suite applications provide seeded integrators out-of-the-box. You can now use the Desktop Integration Framework to define custom integrators for tasks of your own.

dif1.jpg

Oracle E-Business Suite Desktop Integration Framework provides a graphical user interface which you can use to define integrators and associated supporting objects.  You can reduce development time by using the GUI instead of working directly with the underlying Oracle Web ADI tables and APIs.  This user interface makes it easier to maintain your integrators, too.  The Desktop Integration Framework supports native Oracle Application Framework (OAF) UI widgets like Flex-fields, List Of Values, Pop-lists and Date pickers.

dif2.jpg
The Desktop Integration Framework allows you to:
  • Create Integrators using a wizard-based user interface
  • Define Integrators to upload data through PL/SQL APIs or directly to tables
  • Define Integrators to download data from text files or using SQL Queries
  • Define data validation rules
  • Embed UI widgets (List of values, Pop lists, Date pickers, Flexfields) in spreadsheets
  • Use the Oracle E-Business Suite Security Model
  • Define layouts and mappings for custom integrators
Your feedback is welcome

We are very interested in hearing about your experiences with this new tool.  Please post your comments here or drop me an email at email.jpg

Tuesday Jan 19, 2010

BPEL 10.1.3.5 Certified for Prebuilt E-Business Suite 12 SOA Integrations

A new certification was released simultaneously with the E-Business Suite 12.1.2 Maintenance Pack last month:  the use of BPEL 10.1.3.5 with E-Business Suite 12.  But before we jump into the details of that certification, it's useful to characterize the two major options for SOA-related integrations for Oracle E-Business Suite:
  1. Custom integrations using the Oracle Application Server (SOA) Adapter for Oracle Applications
  2. Prebuilt SOA integrations for E-Business Suite using BPEL Process Manager

Architecture diagram showing SOA business event to web service mapping

OPTION 1.  Custom integrations using the Oracle Application Server (SOA) Adapter for Oracle Applications

If you'd like to use SOA Suite to develop your own custom integrations with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12, you can run the latest SOA Suite version: e.g. 10.1.3.5, 11.1.1.1, or higher. 

This includes the use of the SOA Suite's SOA Adapter for E-Business Suite.  The Fusion Middleware division's documentation is a little inconsistent on this point, but this product is also referred to as the Oracle Fusion Middleware Adapter for Oracle Applications.  The Version 11.1.1.1.0 prerequisites for this adapter are:
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i with OWF.G.Rollup 7; or,
    Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.0
  • To enable the "Native E-Business Suite Connectivity using J2EE Data Sources" feature:
    • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i with FND Rollup 6; or,
    • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 version 12.0.4.
If you're using the Oracle Fusion Middleware Adapter for Oracle Applications to build your own custom integrations with the E-Business Suite, there are no additional E-Business Suite dependencies.  These are custom integrations that you will develop yourself.  Your custom integrations will run against the E-Business Suite standard web services published in the Integration Repository. 

For more information about using the generic SOA Adapter for Oracle Applications, see:

OPTION 2.  Using prebuilt E-Business Suite 12 BPEL business processes


Six E-Business Suite Release 12 product teams have developed their own prebuilt BPEL business processes:
  1. Oracle Price Protection (DPP)
  2. Complex Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (CMRO/AHL)
  3. Oracle Transportation Management (WMS, WSH, PO)
  4. Supply Chain Trading Connector (CLN)
  5. Advanced Supply Chain Planning (MSC)
  6. Product Information Management (PIM/EGO)
These prebuilt BPEL processes have been certified with Oracle BPEL Process Manager 10g version 10.1.3.5 (in Oracle SOA Suite 10.1.3.5).  These prebuilt BPEL processes are certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.1 and higher.

For more information about using the prebuilt SOA integrations, see:
Getting Support

If you need support for the Fusion Middleware SOA Adapter for Oracle Applications, you can log Service Requests against the Fusion Middleware product family.

If you need support for the prebuilt EBS 12 BPEL business processes, you can log Service Requests against the Applications Technology Group product family.

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Wednesday Jan 13, 2010

AppsDataSource and Java Authentication and Authorization Service for Oracle E-Business Suite

simplified architecture diagram showing client - app tier - database tier

[March 1, 2010: Patch 8571001 also includes extended error logging routines for use with external Java EE programs.  Patch  8571001 hasn't changed, but Note 974949.1 has just been updated to include documentation for error logging, as well as some improvements based on feedback I've been getting.  Keep that feedback coming!]

Oracle Application Object Library recently added new standard Java datasource and Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS) features to Oracle E-Business Suite in Patch 8571001. These features are meant for use with Java EE programs deployed in application servers on external nodes; that is, nodes other than those where Oracle E-Business Suite middle tier is installed. These are lightweight implementations that can be used on an external application server without needing to install an entire Oracle E-Business Suite instance on the application server machine.

These features can be used with either Release 11i or Release 12.  For details, see:

AppsDataSource

The AppsDataSource standard data source enables access to the Oracle E-Business Suite APPS database schema from external Java EE environments without sharing the APPS schema password. Since the APPS database password is typically changed frequently, using these data sources insulates such programs from having to change their authentication information. Using these data sources also helps prevent wide exposure of the APPS password.

Using these standard data sources lets you control access to Oracle E-Business Suite data at the APPS schema level. For example, you can use AppsDataSource with BPEL processes and Oracle Service Bus services in Oracle Fusion Middleware. Within Oracle E-Business Suite, the AppsDataSource is used to control APPS database access as part of the integration of Oracle E-Business Suite with Oracle Access Manager using Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate.

When using the AppsDataSource feature, access to the APPS database is controlled using a dedicated Oracle E-Business Suite user name and password ("applications user", also known as an "FND user") instead of the APPS password. This allows centralized maintenance of the APPS password and provides additional controls on who can access the APPS account.

Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS)

Oracle E-Business Suite contains a repository of application users (FND users) and their associated roles (authorization for access to certain functional areas of the product). If you are developing a custom or third-party Java EE application to integrate with Oracle E-Business Suite, and you want to use that existing repository of users and roles for authentication and authorization for your Java EE application, you can use the Oracle E-Business Suite implementation of Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS). This feature is intended to secure an HTTP resource or piece of application functionality at the Oracle E-Business Suite user level.

Authenticating a Java application via JAAS

For example, suppose you want to build a Java EE application using Oracle Fusion Middleware to integrate with Oracle E-Business Suite data. You would use both AppsDataSource and JAAS so you can secure who has access to your application functionality based on usernames and roles already in Oracle E-Business Suite.

The following diagram shows the relationship between the AppsDataSource and JAAS features and how users and roles are used in the JAAS and AppsDataSource setups:

Relationship between AppsDataSource and JAAS features and how users and roles are used in their setups

  • There are two different users, A (with Specialist role) and B (with Manager role), accessing a protected custom application (through a URL) on an external application server.
  • The custom application has a web.xml file that allows access for the Manager role as part of the JAAS setup.
  • User A does not have the Manager role, so is not allowed access to the custom application.
  • The external application server has an AppsDataSource set up to allow access to the Oracle E-Business Suite database using the dedicated AppsDataSource user that has the special UMX|APPS_SCHEMA_CONNECT role assigned to the dedicated user.
  • A repository of users and roles resides inside the Oracle E-Business Suite database.

Knowledge Document Topics

The Knowledge" Document 974949.1: "AppsDataSource, Java Authentication and Authorization Service, and Utilities for Oracle E-Business Suite" includes the following topics:

  • Applying Patch 8571001
  • Using Oracle E-Business Suite Data Sources
    • Configuring AppsDataSource on an OC4J Instance and on an Oracle WebLogic Server (WLS) Instance
    • Using AppsDataSource Directly from Java Programs
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Implementation of Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS)
    • JAAS configuration for OC4J and Oracle WebLogic Server
    • Global Access for All Authenticated Oracle E-Business Suite Users
  • Utilities

Lightweight Tools for Java EE Applications

The lightweight implementations of AppsDataSource and JAAS are useful tools for easier integration of custom Java EE applications with Oracle E-Business Suite.

We'll be adding more information to the document about additional Oracle Application Object Library Java features in the coming several months, so check Knowledge" Document 974949.1 every so often. Happy coding!

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Sunday Jan 10, 2010

Mini-Review: Oracle E-Business Suite Development & Extensibility Handbook

Cover of Oracle E-Business Suite Development and Extensibility Handbook
I tend to read technical books, so I was pleased to be given the opportunity to review a book co-authored by an old colleague: 

Despite the personal relationship, I will try to not let this cloud my opinion of this book.

This Oracle Press book sets out to provide a single resource to cover all aspects of developing in an EBiz environment.   It is aimed at developers or professionals who are either starting out with eBiz, or have some Apps knowledge but may not have experience of all the technologies discussed.

The first four chapters are a brief introduction to eBusiness Suite itself and some key concepts that developers would need to understand, such as Multi-Org, Flexfields, Auditing and Logging.

The following chapters takes a topic at a time and gives a brief introduction into what the technology provides and a brief overview of how it works and what it does.   The meat of each chapter is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to create a simple "Hello World" type of customization in a Release 12.0 VISION environment, interspersed with handy hints of any "gotchas" you may come across.  Finally there are some best practises and general comments for the topic, such as coding standards or implementation tips.  

The chapters cover:

  •  Concurrent Programs
  •  Forms
  •  Reports
  •  BI Publisher
  •  OAF
  •  CLAF
  •  Workflow
  •  XML Gateway
  •   Moving AOL Objects between instances
  •  SOA
  •  SQL performance

Although I did not try out the step-by-step examples myself, I did read them through and they made sense to me.  In the main, I found the writing style to be straightforward and easy to read.  The authors do not assume prior knowledge and soon get you into the interesting part of the chapter, so there is not too much preamble.   Concepts are explained concisely with examples where needed, so a newbie will be able to grasp the knowledge that is being imparted

I was a little disappointed in the Workflow chapter, in that the chapter introduction seemed a bit confusing, but the examples were quite interesting.  I also thought the SOA chapter was very short.  It would also have been nice if the code used in the book was available online.

My personal highlights of the book were the OAF chapter, which was the longest chapter and covered a multitude of useful areas, and the CLAF chapter, which was very illuminating even for me, as this topic is a poorly documented area.

The main drawback is also the main advantage of this book, in that they do try and cover everything in one place.   The authors themselves acknowledge that some of the topics covered deserve a book in their own right (and many of them do have such books available).  

Overall, if you are looking for a simple overview of the main development techniques with eBusiness Suite, then this book would certainly be worth investing in.  Although the topics are covered fairly briefly, I believe there is enough discussed in each chapter to allow the basics to be picked up and give a good grounding for further detailed reading into the topic

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Monday Nov 23, 2009

Integration Architectures for Oracle EBS (OpenWorld 2009 Recap)

There are many ways of integrating the E-Business Suite with third-party applications.  Neeraj Chauhan and Vijay Shanmugam, from our E-Business Suite Applications Technology Group, covered the latest options and integration architectures in their OpenWorld 2009 session:

Architecture diagram showing registration of custom APIs with E-Business Suite EBS Integration Repository

Neeraj and Vijay discuss the following topics in detail:
  • Key integration challenges
  • Business Integration architecture
    • Oracle SOA Platform
    • Oracle Application Integration Architecture (AIA)
    • SOA Enablement of Oracle E-Business Suite
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway
    • Integration Repository
    • Publishing custom interfaces to the Integration Repository
    • Walkthrough including custom PL/SQL API annotations
    • SOA Provider for web services
    • Business events in Integration Repository
    • Composite services in Integration Repository
    • SOA Monitor
    • Integration interfaces and services
    • Service invocation framework
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Adapter
    • SOA principles for the EBS Adapter
    • Integration lifecycle
    • Secured connections
    • Function security and authorization
    • Application context
    • Global transactions
    • Customization support through PL/SQL APIs, custom business events
  • Business use cases
  • Roadmap
Listening to the Session

If you registered for OpenWorld, here's a link to the OpenWorld On Demand page where you can download the presentation or listen to the live recording of this session.

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Wednesday Nov 18, 2009

Application Change Management Pack for EBS (OpenWorld 2009 Recap)

acmp_amp_plugin.png
I recently wrote about the eternal dilemma of the Apps system implementer: whether it's worth customizing the E-Business Suite or not.  Customizations and extensions introduce the challenge of deploying your customizations between multiple development, QA, and production environments.  Our new Application Change Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite has the potential to help to with that, and a few other notable systems management tasks, too.

The Application Change Management Pack is one of the most-interesting new lifecycle management products released recently from our Applications Technology Group.  The Application Change Management Pack is an optional add-on to the Application Management Pack.  The Application Management Pack is an Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control plug-in for the E-Business Suite. 

The Application Change Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite (sometimes oddly referenced as "ACP" instead of "ACMP") has three noteworthy new capabilities:
  1. Customization Manager:  Takes all files associated with a custom application, report or extension and bundles them into an Oracle patch.  Standard AD utilities can then be used to apply the patch to different Apps instances.
  2. Patch Manager: Auomates many of the manual tasks associated with applying EBS patches, as well automates installing patches in multiple EBS instances.
  3. Setup Manager:  Automates the migration of configuration/setup data across instances. Provides over 300 functional APIs (AOL, Financials, Manufacturing, Distribution) for setup data management.
Ken Baxter and Biju Mohan covered the new Application Change Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite in detail in their OpenWorld 2009 session:

They discuss the following topics in this session:
  • Use cases for managing E-Business Suite customizations
    • New workflow when using the Customization Manager
  • Use cases when patching multiple E-Business Suite environments 
    • New patching process when using the Patch Manager
    • Defining a "Patch Run" to apply patches to multiple Apps environments in parallel
  • Use cases for configuring E-Business Suite environments
    • New process for transferring setups from one environment to another with the Setup Manager
    • Example use case: rolling out "Sets of Books" to multiple instances
Listening to the Session

If you registered for OpenWorld, here's a link to the OpenWorld On Demand page where you can download the presentation or listen to the live recording of this session.

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Tuesday Nov 10, 2009

To Customize or Not to Customize?

Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.
~ Henry Ford

Ford's now-famous words seem a little quaint today.  We live in the Golden Age of the Consumer, where virtually everything can be customized or personalized in some way.  If you can customize mass-produced consumer goods, it seems reasonable to expect that you should be able to customize something as strategic and mission-critical as an enterprise resource planning system, too.  But just because you can, does this mean that you should?

Personalizations are Persistent

The E-Business Suite has acquired increasingly-powerful personalization features over the years.  These features allow you to personalize existing EBS screens with your own branding, corporate logos, colour schemes, field names, explanatory messages, and more.  My fellow blog authors have previously written about personalization options here (for Forms personalization) and here (for OA Framework personalization). 

These types of personalizations are metadata-driven, which means that they are preserved and work even when the underlying screens are updated by EBS product teams via new patches.  This is the primary benefit of using the standard Apps personalization features: your changes are persistent and will continue to work even if the underlying screens are patched at a later date. 

Going Beyond Personalizations

You might have a unique service offering, product, or business process.  You might need to capture or manage information about your business, products, or customers in a way that differs markedly from the way the E-Business Suite's designers originally intended. 

From a system administrator's perspective, you might need to deploy the E-Business Suite in an architecture, topology, or system configuration that aren't supported via AutoConfig yet. 

The E-Business Suite's personalization features, while useful, may not be sufficient to meet these types of specialized requirements.  At this point of your analysis, it will be useful to consider the advantages, disadvantages, and implications of customizing your the E-Business Suite in an invasive way.

There are many ways of customizing or extending your EBS environment.  These include:
  • New business rules or data transformations
  • New or custom screens
  • Integrations with external systems
  • Use of third-party utilities or extensions
  • Creation of new reports
  • Creation of new workflows
  • Integrations with standalone APEX applications
All of these customizations need to be considered in terms of their invasiveness.  The more invasive the change, the greater the long-term implications.

Advantages of Customizations
  1. Functionality meets your requirements more closely
Disadvantages of Customizations
  1. More costly than deploying a "plain vanilla" solution
  2. Requires specialized development skills
  3. May require updates, testing, and maintenance whenever:
    • New EBS patches are released
    • New architectures are deployed
    • New technology certifications are released
  4. Increases support complexity and overhead
  5. Can potentially complicate upgrades to new EBS releases
Understanding the Implications of Customizations

As regular readers of this blog know, we frequently release new technology stack patches, certifications, architectures, and systems management features.  Apps product families (e.g. Financials, Supply Chain, Human Resources, etc.) aren't standing still, either.  They're constantly updating their products with new features and enhancements, too.

Let's assume that you have the resources to address the first two potential issues of increased cost and skills.  What remains are the implications of keeping up with your friendly developers at Oracle:

Testing Implications

I've spoken with a number of customers who tell me that their customizations have prevented them from applying the latest ATG Rollup or upgrading to the latest database release.  They might have had staff to perform the original customizations years ago, but they no longer have the capacity to regression test their environments with new patches or technology stack components.  In some cases, formal development records detailing the customizations have been lost, making it extremely difficult to perform any impact analyses or tests.  These customers can't go forward, and they can't undo their customizations, either.  These customers are stuck.

If you've customized your E-Business Suite environment in some way, you need to ensure that every new certification, patch, or newly-supported architectures work in your customized environment.  Depending upon what you're considering introducing into your environment, you may need to perform functional tests, performance benchmarks, scalability testing, and even security reviews.  If you're thinking of customizations, it is extremely important not to underestimate the costs of maintaining and testing them.

Support Implications

If I were an IT manager considering customizing the E-Business Suite, the primary factor affecting my decision would be the support implications.  Oracle certifies and supports generic E-Business Suite environments.  If you invasively customize your system in some way, you should understand and plan for the fact that Oracle can only provide patches for issues that can be reproduced in uncustomized, "plain vanilla" E-Business Suite environments.

Customers who can succinctly describe their customizations when logging Service Requests with Oracle Support will have a distinct advantage over those customers who wait for Oracle Support to stumble over a customization. 

Upgrade Implications

Premier Support for E-Business Suite Release 11i ends in November, 2010.  At OpenWorld this year, it was abundantly clear that many of you are planning your upgrades to E-Business Suite Release 12 now. 

If you've customized your Apps 11i environment in some way, your Apps 12 upgrade plan needs to consider whether those customizations are still needed.  Given the many new features in EBS 12, it's entirely possible that your customizations may now be redundant or obsolete.  One major Apps 11i customer with several thousand customizations observed that at least half of those were already built directly into R12, obviating the need for forward-porting.
Tipping the Scales

I've had the pleasure of working with countless EBS customers over the years.  My impressions are that systems administrators with uncustomized Apps environments are generally more-receptive to keeping up with the latest patches, are more willing to consider upgrades and trying new technologies.  This makes a lot of intuitive sense.

As a battle-scarred Oracle developer, I would venture that very few customers can justify the extremely-high costs and long-term systems management implications that come along with invasive customizations. 

That said, every customer has their own business case for customizations.  Your mileage will vary.  Everyone going through this analysis will have their own factor weightings, costs, and benefits of customizing their EBS environments.

I'd be interested in hearing your war stories about customizations, both good and bad.  Feel free to share them in a comment or by dropping me a line. 

Related Articles

Wednesday Sep 02, 2009

Critical Rollup Update for E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway Release 12.1.1

A critical Rollup Update for Oracle E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway Release 12.1.1 was released on August 21, 2009. It is a consolidated one-off fix to address some open issues in Oracle E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway Release 12.1.1. Patch 8459663 for Integrated SOA Gateway R12.1.1 is now available for download.

patch_8459663.png

Overview

Oracle E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway (ISG) was released with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.1. It allows Oracle E-Business Suite public integration interfaces to be exposed as standard web services. It allows integration between heterogeneous applications and allows you to deploy web services for consumption via standard web service clients.

Why is this Rollup Update Important?

This Rollup Update fixes outstanding bugs in ISG R12.1.1 and introduces key changes in SOAHeader elements. SOAHeader elements are SOAP Header elements defined by Integrated SOA Gateway for Web services through SOA Provider. It is used for setting appropriate application context for executing PL/SQL APIs in Oracle E-Business Suite.

Oracle highly recommends that all customers who have installed the Oracle E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway Release 12.1.1 upgrade to this one-off patch as soon as possible

Key Enhancements and Fixes in Rollup Update
isg_oneoff.jpg
One of the key changes with this release is change in SOAHeader elements in SOAP Requests for PL/SQL and Concurrent Program services. There are changes in element names and expected values in SOAHeader. Now instead of language dependent names, language independent key values should be sent in SOAP Request.  Other key enhancements & fixes include:
  • Support for SSL-based Web Service Invocation Over HTTPS
Service Invocation Framework now supports SSL-based Web service invocation using Server Authentication method.
  • Web Service NLS Compliance
In ISG R12.1.1, although we had the NLSLanguage element in SOAHeader, it was not used. Now, ISG supports Web service NLS compliance and it can consume SOAP requests in the language specified in the SOAHeader.
  • Security Grant on Overloaded Functions
Each of the overloaded function in a package can now be uniquely granted to a specific user, user group, or all users.
  • Standalone script to generate services for IREP interfaces
Some interfaces take long time to generate WSDL, and the Integration Repository UI may time out. Now, there's a standalone script to generate Web service artifacts.
  • Check to restrict simultaneous 'Generate Service' requests
Multiple requests to generate Web service for an integration interface are now restricted. 

References

For more information on mandatory consolidated one-off release, see:

Wednesday Apr 08, 2009

WebCenter 10g 10.1.3.4 Certified with E-Business Suite Release 12

Oracle Web Center is a suite of development tools that can be used to build web-based applications using technologies such as SOA, JSR-168, and WSRP.  The Oracle WebCenter Framework allows you integrate E-Business Suite Release 12 portlets into a custom web-based application.

We certified Web Center 10.1.3.3 with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 last May.  Following up on that certification train, Web Center 10.1.3.4 is now certified with Apps 12 (12.0.4 and higher).

CreateApps: Screenshot of Oracle JDeveloper showing the initial dialog box for creating a new WebCenter application

For full details, see:

Certified Platforms

  • Linux x86-32
  • Linux x86-64
  • Sun Solaris SPARC
  • HP-UX PA-RISC
  • HP-UX Itanium
  • IBM AIX
  • Microsoft Windows 2003

Related Articles

Monday Nov 24, 2008

OracleAS 10g Forms and Reports 10.1.2.3 Certified With EBS R12

I am pleased to announce that OracleAS 10g Forms and Reports version 10.1.2.3 is now certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12. EBS 12 ships with Forms 10.1.2.0.2. If you're still running that version, you now have the choice of updating to either Forms 10.1.2.2 or Forms 10.1.2.3. We strongly recommend Forms 10.1.2.3. For the steps to upgrade to this latest version of Forms, refer to the Metalink Notes in the Documentation section below. Along with Form and Reports Services, Developer Suite 10.1.2.3 is also certified. AS10123.PNG [Read More]

Monday Nov 17, 2008

Sneak Preview: Portlet Generator and Business Service Object Generator for EBS (OpenWorld 2008 Recap)

I'm going to get through my OpenWorld backlog eventually.  If I'm lucky, I'll be done just in time to start working on my OAUG/Collaborate backlog for next year's conference in Florida.

I'm (still) highlighting OpenWorld 2008 presentations that cover some of the most popular E-Business Suite technology stack topics. A catalog of all of the Applications Technology track sessions with links to the presentations is available here:

Ramkumar Sekar, a manager in our Applications Technology Group, gave sneak previews of two new developer-oriented tools for extending OA Framework applications in this session:

Architecture diagram showing new Portlet Generator and Business Service Object Generator for extending OA Framework applications

[Read More]

Friday Oct 31, 2008

Integration Simplified: Native Service-Oriented Architecture in Oracle E-Business Suite (OpenWorld 2008 Recap)

I'm highlighting OpenWorld 2008 presentations that cover some of the most popular E-Business Suite technology stack topics. A catalog of all of the Applications Technology track sessions with links to the presentations is available here:

It's possible to integrate the E-Business Suite with external applications via a number of different interfaces and methods, including interface tables, concurrent programs, XML messages, EDI messages, PL/SQL APIs, Business Service Objects, and Business Events.  There are over 2,500 service enabled integration points for the E-Business Suite today, with more being added regularly.

Veshaal Singh and Neeraj Chauhan from our Applications Technology Group discuss the latest techniques for integrating EBS with external applications using web services in this session:

Diagram showing Service Invocation for EBS plug-and-play services via Business Event subsystem and web services

[Read More]

Wednesday Oct 29, 2008

Java Authentication + Authorization Services (JAAS) for E-Business Suite (OpenWorld 2008 Recap)

I'm highlighting OpenWorld 2008 presentations that cover some of the most popular E-Business Suite technology stack topics. A catalog of all of the Applications Technology track sessions with links to the presentations is available here:

Our Applications Technology Group announced an important set of new authentication capabilities for Java-based E-Business Suite extensions and custom programs at OpenWorld this year.  Veshaal Singh, Director in our Applications Technology Group, discusses the new capabilities and how they relate to the E-Business Suite's existing security model in this presentation:

Architecture diagram showing authentication and authorization flow for new JAAS LoginModule for E-Business Suite

[Read More]

Thursday Sep 11, 2008

The Case of The Missing Database Links

[Sep 12, 2008 Update: Thanks to questions posted by readers in the comments and via private emails, I've confirmed that there are some EBS products -- including Advanced Planning (APS), Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), and Workflow -- that do use database links today. These products' usage of database links have been reviewed and approved by our architects because they do not invoke ATG (or AOL) code in any way, and because their functionality fundamentally requires a distributed architecture. More updates will follow on questions raised about G/L's use of database links via the Financial Statement Generator functionality.

Here's a scenario that might sound familiar to some of you: a customer built an extension for the E-Business Suite Release 11i using database links. When they upgraded their 9iR2 database to 10gR2, they were dismayed to find that those database links stopped working. They logged a Service Request and were surprised to be informed that, "Database links aren't supported with the E-Business Suite."

I ended up being involved in the resulting discussion. The support statement above isn't entirely correct, and the actual truth is more nuanced than you might think.  This case illustrates something much more fundamental about "certification" and "support" of generic database features and options that all EBS developers should understand.

[Read More]

Monday Sep 08, 2008

Filling Up Your OpenWorld 2008 Calendar

Picture%202.png

Apparently, there's this big Oracle conference coming up in a few weeks... A recent wave of emails have been requests to profile certain OpenWorld 2008 events. In addition to the sessions that I'll be personally involved in, in some capacity or another, here are some EBS techstack-related things going at OpenWorld this year that you'll want to add to your calendar:

[Read More]

Friday Jul 11, 2008

New Whitepaper: Mod_plsql and E-Business Suite 12

Mod_plsql is an Apache web server extension that can be used to develop web application pages using Server PL/SQL. Architecture diagram showing flow from client to mod_plsql Apache mod to Oracle database The Past is Prologue Unlike Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i, Release 12 does not include mod_plsql as part of its technology stack. I've briefly discussed this architectural change in the following two articles: It should be stressed that Oracle is fully committed to supporting mod_plsql as part of Oracle Application Server and as part of the Oracle Database distribution into the indefinite future. The Oracle E-Business Suite is distinct from Oracle Application Server. Oracle E-Business Suite Development chooses to use specific Oracle Application Server components in the E-Business Suite technology stack. These decisions by E-Business Suite Development should not be interpreted to represent the release policies or plans for Oracle Application Server. Going Into More Detail Many of you have raised questions about why mod_plsql was removed from Release 12. Others have asked what to do about their mod_plsql-based Apps 11i customizations and extensions when upgrading to R12. George Buzsaki,our preeminent E-Business Suite architect, has put together an excellent new whitepaper that addresses these topics, and more: [Read More]

Tuesday Apr 22, 2008

New Whitepaper: E-Business Suite Development Using OAF & ADF

Customers, partners and system integrators often develop extensions to Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) applications. Such extensions have traditionally used the same technology stack (Forms or OA Framework) that the original EBS application was built with.  This ensured that the extensions are fully compatible with the rest of the installed EBS applications.

R12 OAF Techstack: Block diagram showing the OA Framework Technology Stack for E-Business Suite Release 12

With the emergence of the next generation Fusion Middleware technology stack, especially the Application Develoment Framework (ADF), an increasingly-common question is whether to use OAF or ADF to develop E-Business Suite Release 12 extensions.

Our E-Business Suite Applications Technology group has released a long-awaited whitepaper addressing this question. This whitepaper discusses the similarities, differences and overlaps between the OAF and ADF stacks. 

If you're considering these technology stacks for your Apps R12 extensions, I'd strongly recommend reviewing this whitepaper:
Related Articles

Tuesday Nov 06, 2007

JDeveloper 10g with OA Extension Updated for Apps 12.0.3

[Nov 6, 2007 update:  If you are ever uncertain as to which JDeveloper patch to use with which Apps 11i or R12 release, see Note 416708.1, How to find the correct version of JDeveloper to use with eBusiness Suite 11i or Release 12]

My hardworking colleagues have just released a new update to Oracle JDeveloper 10g with OA Extension for E-Business Suite Release 12 environments.  The latest update refreshes the Oracle Applications Extension to support Apps 12.0.3 and ATG RUP 3.

Expenses R12 Screenshot:

The latest update is released as:
This update requires:
See the patch's README for more details about prerequisites, installation, and configuration.

A plethora of information on personalizing and extending OA Framework-based applications for E-Business Suite Release 12 can be found in this documentation roadmap:
Related

Thursday Oct 25, 2007

Integrating Apps 12 Portlets with Third-Party Portals

Here's the latest update on the ever-popular subject of integrating the E-Business Suite Release 12 with third-party portals. 

11i Apps Navigator:

What's Possible in Release 11i Today

You already know that the E-Business Suite Release 11i portlets are written to work exclusively with Oracle Portal.  These portlets can't be plugged into third-party portal solutions.  We don't have any plans to rewrite these portlets for Release 11i, so what you see is what you will get for the foreseeable future for 11i.

Before we look ahead to the future and Release 12, here's a two-word summary of what's possible today in terms of third-party portal integration with Release 11i:  bookmarkable links.

If someone who hasn't logged in attempts to access protected E-Business Suite content, they're automatically redirected to either the E-Business Suite login page or Oracle Single Sign-On, the latter if the environment has been integrated with Oracle Application Server 10g.  Once the user logs in, she's redirected back to the protected E-Business Suite content that she was originally trying to reach.

Links to E-Business Suite content, therefore, can be bookmarked -- either in a browser, or added as links on a third-party portal page.  Admittedly, this might be pretty thin gruel for those of you expecting more, but that's what's available in Release 11i today.

What's Possible in Release 12

The E-Business Suite Release 12.0 ships with WSRP 1.0-compliant versions of the following portlets:
  • Applications Navigator
  • Applications Favorites
  • Applications Worklist
WSRP-compliant versions of other product team portlets (e.g. Balanced Scorecard) have not been released yet.  If you're interested in finding out the status of those product-specific portlets, your best bet would be to log a formal Service Request via Oracle Metalink against the specific Applications product in question.  This has the additional benefit of letting the product team know that you're interested in these upgrades, too.  You'd be amazed the effect that even a few of these Service Requests can have.

Not Supported:  Embedding Page Regions in Third-Party Portals

Many Applications 12 screens are based on the Oracle Applications Framework (OAF).  These screens are displayed in HTML and appear in certified browsers like IE and Firefox. 

It's tempting to assume that it would be possible to take regions of these screens -- or even the entire pages themselves -- and embed them in third-party portals.  More advanced readers will be musing about things like IFRAMES right about now. 

Unfortunately, this is not supported -- either for Release 11i or Release 12.  OA Framework based pages assume that they own the top of the Document Object Model (DOM).  This is not true if the pages are embedded in a third-party portal.  Attempting to do this will cause a range of unpredictable behavior.

This is a known restriction with the versions of OA Framework provided with Apps 11i and 12.  Our OAF team is looking into ways of changing this in future releases.  I don't have details about their plans that can be shared here yet, unfortunately.  As usual, you're welcome to monitor or subscribe to this column for updates on this.

Related

The above is intended to outline our general product direction.  It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.   It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decision.  The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle's products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle. 

Tuesday Sep 11, 2007

Latest JDeveloper 10g with OA Extension Now Available for Apps 12

[Nov 6, 2007 Update:  A newer version for Apps 12.0.3 has just been released.  See this article for details]

A new update has just been released for Oracle JDeveloper 10g with OA Extension for E-Business Suite Release 12 environments.  The latest release of JDeveloper and the Oracle Applications Extension allows developers to build OA Framework-based applications for Apps 12.0.2 and ATG RUP 2.

Expenses R12 Screenshot:

The latest update is released as:
This update requires:
See the patch's README for more details about prerequisites, installation, and configuration.

A plethora of information on personalizing and extending OA Framework-based applications for E-Business Suite Release 12 can be found in this documentation roadmap:
Related

Tuesday Sep 04, 2007

Using Forms + Reports 10g Builders with Release 12

[Oct 19, 2007 Update:  A bug prevented the execution of any Oracle Reports on 10.1.2.2 on the IBM AIX platform.  Patch 6341158 has been released to resolve this issue]

Good things always seem to happen while I'm out of the office.  This may be a good incentive for me to spend more time on vacation (even though my groaning inbox begs to differ).

Expenses R12 Screenshot:

While I was out, a new Note was published externally:
The newly-published Note 444248.1 provides the rest of the picture outlined in this companion document:
How Do These Notes Relate?

We now have a complementary set of documents.  Once you've upgraded your E-Business Suite Release 12 environment with the latest version of Forms & Reports 10g using Note 437878.1, you can configure your development environment using the guidelines and procedures in the newly-published Note 444248.1.

The latter Note is full of tips on:
  • Running the Forms 10g Builder
  • Running the Reports 10g Builder
  • Setting up an R12 environment with a separated Developer Suite 10.1.2 instance
  • Compiling forms and reports

Related

Wednesday Aug 22, 2007

New Descriptive Flexfield Context Synchronization in Release 11i

Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to fail in so many different ways.

~ Samuel McChord Crothers

Whoops.  A small mixup in communication resulted in our shipping a patch with new descriptive flexfield behavior around context synchronization without the accompanying documentation.  This isn't consistent with our standard practices, of course:  we usually strive to release the documentation for these types of things at the same time.  This serves as a reminder that software development is fundamentally a human discipline and not a science.

Descriptive Flexfields: Diagram showing key flexfield and descriptive flexfield concepts

What Changed?

ATG Family Pack H Rollup 4 (11i.ATG_FP.RUP4, patch 4376589) introduced a new flag that controls context synchronization for descriptive flexfields.  Prior to RUP 4, this feature was implicitly controlled through the context "Displayed" flag in the DFF Segments form. 

Starting with ATG Rollup 4, a "Synchronized with reference field" flag was added to the DFF Segments form. This flag controls the synchronized behavior of DFF context with the reference field value.

This feature is explicitly available in Release 12, but this is new for Release 11i.

What is Descriptive Flexfield Context Synchronization?



Descriptive Flexfield (DFF) Context Synchronization allows the runtime descriptive flexfield context to be determined from a current reference field value for the entity instance (current record) instead of a previous value of the reference field (e.g., the value during the record's creation. The older reference field value might be different from the current value of the reference field). The reference field could be a :BLOCK.FIELD (Oracle Forms only) or a profile option ($PROFILES$ reference).



During runtime, the flexfields engine reads the value of the reference field and tries to use the same value for the DFF context value. This context value has to be available in the DFF metadata if synchronization has been enabled.

For More Information
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