Migrating Existing PeopleSoft Attachments into the Managed Attachments Solution

This post comes from Fishbowl’s Mark Heupel. Mark is an Oracle Webcenter consultant, and he has worked on a few different projects over the last year helping customers integrate WebCenter with Oracle E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft. One of WebCenter’s strengths is it provides these integrations out-of-the-box, including a document imaging integration to automate invoice processing with WebCenter’s capture, forms recognition and imaging capabilities, as well as workflows leveraging Oracle Business Process Management. Mark discusses WebCenter’s integration with PeopleSoft and its managed attachments solution below.

Application Integration

Oracle’s Managed Attachments solution enables business users in PeopleSoft to attach, scan, and retrieve document attachments stored in an Oracle WebCenter Content Server repository.

One of the issues that our clients face when moving to Oracle’s Managed Attachments solution is determining what to do with the attachments that already exist in PeopleSoft. We at Fishbowl have come up with a method to migrate these attachments into WebCenter Content in bulk while still maintaining the attachments’ context within PeopleSoft.

A high-level view of the solution is as follows. Queries are written on the PeopleSoft side to export each of the attachments, as well as a file containing each attachment’s metadata and PeopleSoft contextual information, to a network share. This is a task done by a PeopleSoft administrator. We then use our Enterprise Batchloader product to bulk load these files into WebCenter Content. We’ve written a customization that overrides the set of services that qualify for Managed Attachments to include our Enterprise Batchloader service. Since the context of the attachments is included in the metadata file, the Enterprise Batchloader check-ins work in the same way that a normal check-in from Managed Attachments would and the attachments retain their PeopleSoft context. Let’s get into the details of how this works.

Managed Attachments Overview

In order to understand the migration strategy, we first need to understand how Managed Attachments works under the covers. The important piece to know for this migration is that the table that stores the Managed Attachment object information on the WebCenter side is the AFObjects table. This table stores the PeopleSoft context information as well as the dDocName of each of the attachments currently being stored in WebCenter. Here is an example of what the AFObjects table looks like:

AFObjects Table

Each row in this table represents one PeopleSoft attachment being managed in WebCenter Content. The dAFApplication, dAFBusinessObjectType, and dAFBusinessObject fields make up the context for where the attachment is located in PeopleSoft. The dAFApplication field represents the application, the dAFObjectType field represents the page, and the dAFBusinessObject field is a pipe delimited list of the primary key values from the page where the attachment is located in PeopleSoft. The dDocName field is simply the dDocName of the content item in WebCenter.

When a user clicks the Managed Attachments link on the PeopleSoft screen a request is made over to WebCenter that contains the contextual page information from PeopleSoft (dAFApplication, dAFBusinessObjectType, and dAFBusinessObject). Using this contextual information, a query is then made against the AFObjects table to find the content IDs of the attachments that should be returned back to the user. A similar request is made when a user checks in a document through the Managed Attachments screen in PeopleSoft. The PeopleSoft context information is sent to WebCenter, the document is checked in, and then a row is inserted into the AFObjects table that contains the PeopleSoft contextual information as well as the dDocName of the newly checked-in document.

Loading Content into WebCenter

In order to be able to successfully load a large number of content items into WebCenter, while still maintaining the correct PeopleSoft context, we had to write a customization to hook into the existing Managed Attachments check-in functionality. The AppAdapterCore component, one of the two components installed on WebCenter for Managed Attachments, contains the core Managed Attachments code. This component contains a list of services such as CHECKIN_NEW that, when called with the PeopleSoft contextual information in the binder (dAFApplication, dAFObjectType, and dAFObject), executes the query that inserts a row into the AFObjects table. The customization that we wrote overrides the list of services specified in the AppAdapterCore component to include our Enterprise Batchloader check-in services. By doing so, we’re able to hook into the same insert query that Managed Attachments already uses, assuming we have placed the correct PeopleSoft context information in the binder.

Here is an example of what a standard Enterprise Batchloader blf (batch load file) would look like:

Batch Load File
As you can see, the file simply contains the action to take (insert), the location of the primary file, and the required metadata fields for WebCenter. In order to assign the correct PeopleSoft context we simply need to specify the dAFApplication, dAFObjectType, and dAFObject fields in the blf file:

Batch Load File 2

This effectively places each of those fields into the binder in WebCenter. When Enterprise Batchloader is run and performs its check-ins into WebCenter, the Managed Attachments functionality gets called and a row is inserted into the AFObjects table for each attachment that specifies the PeopleSoft context information. As long as the correct PeopleSoft contextual information is placed into the Enterprise Batchloader blf file, we’re able to bulk load as many attachments as needed into WebCenter while still retaining the correct PeopleSoft context information for use with the Managed Attachments solution.

I hope this provides you with an example of how your existing PeopleSoft Managed Attachments content could be migrated to WebCenter. After all, getting this content into WebCenter has many additional benefits, such as version control, renditions, retention management and the ability to surface this content to WebCenter-based mobile apps and portals. If you have questions or would like to engage with Fishbowl on such projects, please email info@fishbowlsolutions.com.

 

Developing WebCenter Content Cross Platform iDoc Enabled Components for Mobile, ADF, Sharepoint, Liferay

frankensteinSo over the last couple of months I’ve been thinking and tinkering with code, wondering, “What’s the best approach for creating WebCenter Content (WCC) components that I can consume and reuse across multiple platforms and environments?”
Is it pagelet producer or maybe an iFrame? These solutions just weren’t good enough or didn’t allow the flexibility I really wanted.

I needed a WCC Solution that could easily be consumed into mobile, either Cordova (Hybrid APP) or ADF Mobile (AMX views), and that worked on different devices/platforms as well as on any enterprise app, i.e. Sharepoint (.Net), Lifreray,  WebCenter Portal (ADF) or even consumed into the new WebCenter Content ADF WebUI. It also needed to provide the added advantage that there would not need to be multiple branches of code or redevelopment of the component for each platform and environment.

And in the famous words of Victor Frankenstein.. “It’s Alive!!”

After tinkering around and trying different approaches, this is the solution I created to support the above model.
I’m not saying this is the right approach or supported by the enterprise vendors, but an approach that is reusable and can work on all enterprise apps.

 

[VIDEO CONVERTING]…

Here’s a quick video of a drag/drop MultiUploader component I created for WebCenter Content Classic that I can reuse on .Net and ADF WebCenter Portal/Content as well as mobile.

Read on to find out more on how this was achieved.

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Collaborate 14 Preview: Oracle WebCenter 11g Upgrades – What You Need to Know

Title: #996 – A Successful Oracle WebCenter Upgrade: What You Need to Know

Date: Monday, April 7th
Time: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Location: Level 3, San Polo 3405

Upgrading to the next major release of software can sometimes be a complex and arduous task for organizations. In determining the how and when to perform the upgrade, organizations typically go through an evaluation process that includes new feature/function analysis, new technology and architecture analysis, and the overall time they expect the upgrade to take. This is especially the case for software upgrades that add a new layer of complexity and technology architecture that organizations have to plan and adapt for. Such is the case with Oracle WebCenter, as it added WebLogic Server as the application server from 10g to 11g. This addition, although beneficial in many areas, came with a set of new technologies and complexities that organizations with little to no exposure to had to first understand, perhaps get trained on, procure the necessary hardware to run, and in many cases deploy a separate team to manage. In considering all of these steps to perform the upgrade, organizations have undoubtedly gone through the process of “trade-off” analysis, where they weigh the pros and cons of performing the upgrade immediately versus putting it off until, for example, support for their current version runs out. This “trade-off” analysis describes many WebCenter customers as a great number have still not upgraded to 11g.

If this sounds like your organization, then make plans now to attend this session to receive overviews, examples, and actionable tasks that can be used when planning and performing your WebCenter upgrade.

Fishbowl Solutions is happy to be joined by WebCenter customers Ryan Companies, Cascade, Aleris International and AAM as they share their stories on upgrading to Oracle WebCenter 11g. Join us and hear directly from these customers to learn the tips, tricks and best practices for a successful WebCenter upgrade. Here is the tentative schedule for the presentation:

More information on this presentation, as well as all of Fishbowl’s activities at Collaborate, can be found here.

We hope to see you at Collaborate 14!

ADF Mobile – Packaged WebCenter Accelerator (Cordova Application)

[Fishbowl Solutions WebCenter Accelerator] [ADF Mobile]
[Portal, Content And BPM/SOA] 

At Fishbowl Solutions we’ve been focusing heavily on Mobile solutions over the last 4 years – working on both award winning native and hybrid apps as well as adaptive and responsive web sites and portals for tablet and mobile devices. Last year we decided to expand our reach with ADF Mobile and Cordova based hybrid applications targeting the WebCenter Suite for Android and IOS  (as well as Blackberry, Microsoft for those using plain Cordova or IBM Worklight).

Both Oracle and Fishbowl offer a suite of powerful Native apps available on the Android Google Play and IOS iStore; however these solutions to date are not extendible or brand-able from Oracles side or require customisations and consultancy services from Fishbowl Solutions to extend and enhance the native apps to meet unique client requirements.

With the Oracle ADF Mobile Framework java developers and clients can now easily pull together hybrid applications within JDevelopers visual app designer; however and unfortunately there are currently no Oracle supported open ADF Mobile application for the WebCenter suite that allow clients to easily extend and enhance existing functionality for their corporate users running on mobile devices – and currently the WebCenter apps are not targeted to provide the clean User eXperience for mobile devices and lack features like offline or native device support.

All existing WebCenter Apps that clients want mobile access too, now have to be rebuilt for mobile devices as either native or hybrid applications like the ADF Mobile Framework – so at Fishbowl we’ve decided to build out Fishbowl supported mobile app accelerators for WebCenter Spaces, Content and BPM/SOA (More to come on our Mobile Roadmap). That will allow both your Marketing (Web designers with no ADF knowledge) and ADF Mobile Development teams to extend and quickly and easily customise, enhance and build mobile applications that provide all of the key out of the box features that come with the WebCenter Suite more importantly if you don’t have a requirement for any of the modules these can easily be switched off until you need to enable them in the future – these can also be packaged as a single unified app or multiple individual applications based on your requirements.

The core Fishbowl WebCenter accelerators (Portal, Content, BPM/SOA) are packaged and cannot be customised directly this is so that we can send out software updates as we follow our roadmap for more integrations and accelerators to all our clients without the need to worry that our core accelerators have been tweaked – what we do provide is a key set of APIs and templates that enable you to easily extend, enhance, brand the application as well as create or extend the UI or User Flow of the app to support and integrate with customised bespoke client WebCenter services or custom portal taskflow services or even third party core business applications – empowering you to manage and maintain the app whilst we at Fishbowl provide the key core support, services and UI Shell for future WebCenter OOTB releases.

For more information or a demo – Please contact Fishbowl Solutions here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collaborate 2014 – 79 days until 79 degrees and Poolside WebCenter Discussions!

79 days.
Vegas.
Collaborate 2014.
79° F (average temp. in Vegas during April)

Fishbowl Solutions has another full list of activities planned for Collaborate 14. We look forward to discussing your Oracle WebCenter Content and Portal initiatives with you – hopefully poolside while we enjoy the warm weather together. It is a balmy 3° F in Minneapolis right now…

Here is a sneak peek of Fishbowl’s activities for Collaborate 2014:

Booth: 1453
Demos of our WebCenter Portal Solution Accelerator, SharePoint Connector 3.0, Google Search Connector for WebCenter and many more.

Presentations: 5

Here are the titles and abstracts of the sessions that Fishbowl is presenting or co-presenting on.

  • A Successful WebCenter Upgrade: What You Need to Know
    If your organization has not upgraded its WebCenter Content, Portal, or Imaging environment from pre-11g to 11g, then this 5-hour session is for you. Join WebCenter Content and Portal Specialized partner, Fishbowl Solutions, as they share facts and use cases that you will be able to apply to your WebCenter 11g upgrade. Fishbowl Solutions will be joined by customers who have successfully upgraded to 11g and therefore will be able to share their learnings, tips, and best practices that you will be able to utilize as well. This session will include a fact sharing discussion on upgrades, use case stories from WebCenter customers, and a roundtable forum where attendees will be able to ask questions specific to their Content, Portal, or Imaging upgrade. If your are planning your WebCenter upgrade and it seems daunting, or you aren’t sure where to begin; come to this session to collect first-hand and actionable information to get your upgrade project started and successfully completed.
  • Delivering on the Oracle WebCenter Portal Composite Application Vision – Top 5 Lessons Learned
    Most organizations see the benefit of creating composite web applications that aggregate services from disparate corporate and 3rd-party systems into a cohesive capability that efficiently supports business processes, driving self-service interactions for employees, customers and suppliers. The challenge is how to deliver on this vision, where to start, and how to plan and execute against your roadmap. Join us in this session as we discuss the Top 5 Lessons Learned at Rolls Royce in deploying WebCenter Portal, and how we were able to bridge content from multiple sources and surface that content to the right person, at the right time, and in the right context, to support our global customer portal.
  • Taking the WebCenter Portal User Experience to the Next Level
    Most organizations see the benefit of creating composite web applications that aggregate services from disparate corporate and 3rd-party systems into a cohesive capability that efficiently supports business processes, driving self-service interactions for employees, customers and suppliers. The challenge is how to deliver on this vision, where to start, and how to plan and execute against your roadmap. Join us in this session as we discuss the Top 5 Lessons Learned at Rolls Royce in deploying WebCenter Portal, and how we were able to bridge content from multiple sources and surface that content to the right person, at the right time, and in the right context, to support our global customer portal.
  • Leveraging BPM workflows for Accounts Payable Processing
    Accounts Payable departments are looking to create a more streamlined and paper-less business process. By achieving this an AP department, along with HR and many other departments are seeing huge ROI when converting from paper to digital management, but one key piece of this is the approval workflow of these documents. Oracle Business Process Management along side of Oracle WebCenter Imaging helps trigger an approval workflow to many different approvers to be acted upon. This session will describe how BPM workflows can be used for Accounts Payable processing and how they can be implemented with popular ERP applications like PeopleSoft and E-Business Suite.
  • Understanding Your Options for Searching Oracle WebCenter
    Search is a critical part of any effective content management solution. Without it, documents, web pages, policies, and other enterprise resources cannot be easily surfaced to end users. This session will explore the search technologies available to Oracle WebCenter customers including metadata-only search, Oracle Text Search, and Secure Enterprise Search, as well as the search functionality available with the Google Search Appliance. Attendees will get a side-by-side comparison of these search options covering the pros and cons of each technology and the use cases most suited to their capabilities. Whether you’re using WebCenter to power your website, intranet, or document management system, join this session to learn the differences between your search options and determine which one is best for you.

More information regarding the sessions above, as well as all of the scheduled sessions for Oracle WebCenter, can be found here: http://collaborate14.ioug.org/schedule

Did I mention it is 3° in Minneapolis right now with a high of 10° expected?! April, and Collaborate, can’t come soon enough.

The pool deck at the Venetian