Announcements and Technical Advice for the Oracle
Utilities product community from the Product Management team

  • October 1, 2019

XML Transformations as Managed Content

Anthony Shorten
Senior Principal Product Manager

eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) provide a way of transforming XML into an alternative format (XML, etc). Oracle Utilities Application Framework supports these transformations for both inbound and outbound transmission of data as well as at both the request and response level. This is to allow the product to support a wide range of integration scenarios between other applications, market hubs, etc.

Typically implementation teams create the necessary transformation, in the tool of their choice, and then configure the Oracle Utilities Application Framework to use the transformation with the relevant transaction at the relevant time. In past releases, this meant creating an .xsl file containing the transformation, depositing it on the file system and then, using the relevant utility, incorporating that file into the build of the deployment of the product and finally redeploying the product to enable the transformation to be used.

Whilst this technique can be continued to be used for on-premise implementations of the products, this technique is not appropriate for the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud as the technique, as described above, introduces inefficiencies. In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4. and above, to support XSL transformations more efficiently, they are now supported as Managed Content.

The Managed Content object is part of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework, and was introduced to support a wide range of content types used across the products. The capability stores a number of content types used in ConfigTools objects and now has been extended to store and manage XSL transformations. The Oracle Utilities Application Framework has been extended now to use the Managed Content versions of those transformations rather than the more traditional file based solution. This has the following cost advantages:

  • Deployment Costs are avoided. The use of Managed Content means no deployment activity is necessary which reduces deployment costs significantly and means that changes to objects can be done without the need for an outage.
  • Content can be migrated with all other extensions. To reduce costs and risk, the Managed Content is automatically included in the Configuration Migration Assistant requests that migrate configuration. This means that these objects are change managed with any related object changes. This reduces synchronization costs. 
  • Cache Managed. As with other administration objects, Managed Content is managed in the self managed configuration cache. This means it is loaded into the cache upon use and the loaded objects can be managed using cache commands to manage changes effectively. In the traditional file based method, as the object was managed by the container itself, it typically required a reset of the container to force a refresh, resulting in an outage in most cases.

The Managed Content solution for XSL transformations extends to Inbound Web Services (SOAP) and Outbound Messages. Other areas where XSL transformations are available are not supported using this capability as they are either not appropriate or have been announced as deprecated (for example, XAI has been replaced by IWS so Managed Content XSL is not supported on XAI). Whilst this change will greatly benefit cloud customers, it can be used with appropriate on-premise implementations who want to save deployment costs.

Note: Unlike previous service packs, the default setting for this capability is to use Managed Content. As the setting is global, customer who have on-premise implementations can retain use of file based XSL transformations by setting the XSL Location parameter of the External Messages Feature Configuration to F1FL. Setting this value will retain backward compatibility. Customers moving to an Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service must use the Managed Content capability as part of the migration to the cloud.

Migrating to this new capability

If you wish to migrate to this capability the following process for each XSL transformation used on SOAP based Inbound Web Services and Outbound Messages configured on External Systems:

  • Open the XSL file in an appropriate editor.
  • Create a new Managed Content object for the style sheet. The name of the object should reflect the name of the original file or its purpose. Copy and Paste the XSL code into the Schema for the new Managed Content Object. Save the object. For example:

Example XSL

  • In the object referring to the XSL transformation, change the name to the Managed Object identifier created in the last step. This change applies to the following objects:
    • Inbound Web Services (SOAP)  - Request XSL
    • Inbound Web Services (SOAP) - Response XSL
    • Outbound Message/External System - Message XSL
    • Outbound Message/External System - Response XSL (for Real-Time Adapters only)

Once the XSL code has been migrated, it should be physically removed from the deployment to avoid costs and risk. The Managed Content can be migrated using Configuration Migration Assistant with all the other configuration objects.

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