Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Managing Oracle PLM's User Defined Attributes

In the Oracle Product life-cycle management (PLM), the Operational attributes really are really the attributes that are in the inventory modules which falls under the Inventory>Items>Master Items form and they can neither be created nor destroyed because they are internally created by Oracle.

But any Oracle PLM has the power to go some steps further. A user can define his items by making a user-defined attribute group. The ego_mtl_system_items_b table contains a single record which holds the user defined attributes which are defined within groups in the said table. The user can have a choice from a distinct amount of character, numerical or data columns so he can define the attributes in one user defined attribute group. The attribute groups are tied to the items using the item_id, organization_id, and the attribute_group_id within that table. The user can then have a choice whether to have only one row or record of the attribute group per item or enable multiple row option during the definition of the attribute group. After having defined the attribute group, the user can then create a database view of the attribute group so that it would be a lot easier to find the data.

As to the difference between a single row user defined attribute or multi-row user defined attribute, it is often difficult to state the reason for choosing one over the other but in many cases there are many business reasons that can be cited for creating a single row attribute group. For example, in a single row user define attribute group, a user might create three groups “Certification group”, “Label Group”, and “Legacy Data Group”. The “Certification group” is defined so that it shows what certifications a certain item has. The “Label Group” contains the values of the attribute to be printed on a particular item and “Legacy Data Group” is for bringing oven the item information from the system that Oracles is replacing because they don’t map to the operational attributes.

Using the multi-row user defined attribute allows the user to possess more than one row, record or instance of the attribute group per item record. The user can have the choice of storing additional types of definitions which would depend on the item, organization, attribute group as well as a unique value within the attribute group. Although there is no need for defining an attribute within the multi-row attribute group, it can help doing such in cases when the user tries to mass update the attribute group through Oracle “Web ADI”. One of the circumstances when there is a need for using a multi-row user-defined attribute group is when there is a conditional need for label and the user wants to select from multiple rows of the same attribute group based on the label type. The unique key attribute of the group would be the Labels type so that no items will have multiple rows of the group for the same label type.

But whether single or multi row user defined group is used, both can be controlled at the view or edit by assigning or creating a role that gives access privileges.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Be in perfect form with SAP Forms

Adobe technology has been integrated into the Web Application Server of SAP NetWeaver and because of this integration, all SAP solutions are already capable of using the new applications solution for a variety of useful things such as form design, online and offline form processing and output distribution. With the new solution shipped with the mySAP ERP 2004 are the first scenarios implemented from the areas of human resources, financials and operation.

Dealing with SAP forms can be a great skill to have as all applications whether offline or online are really dependent on forms. Besides, all users need to interact with graphical interfaces and there can be no any other way to use a graphical interface than using forms.

To get you started with SAP forms development means knowing the ins and outs of Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP). ABAP, as a short backgrounder, is a high level programming language created by SAP with syntax similar to COBOL and is currently positioned with Java for use in programming the Web Application Server which is part of SAP's NetWeaver platoforms for business applications. SAP is a complex language that even programmers from other disciplines like visual basic may be a relative degree of difficulty. But with constant practice and mastery of the business enterprise process, knowing ABAP will certainly come.

When just starting out with SAP forms, you need to management your expectations. You will be expecting many new domains. As one expert puts it: "Working with the first few SAP forms is like swimming in uncharted waters so do not act like you are a lifeguard." You need to be honest with yourself and the people you are working with and there is no problem with saying "please bear with me, I am new to this." Do not be afraid to ask help. On your free time, instead of opening your social networking site and reading about what your friends are doing, try opening tutorials about SAP forms. And if you have the guts, tell your manager to invest in you with further education. It is not difficulty to know that education has long term benefits for both you and the company.

The more you gain experience with SAP forms, the clear you work on certain contexts and project requirements. Different folks working with SAP create different functional areas so you need to catch up with these. One module for "message" another for "output" yet another for "correspondence" – there will be so many approaches to populating forms and generating data for testing. Study relevant print structures, tables, driver programs, preconfigured forms. The newest available forms are Adobe forms, followed by Smart Forms and then SAPscript so make sure you leverage on their power.

If you can get hold of a decent forms rules, good. Then map out coordinates ahead of time. You should also know in-depth troubleshooting by mastering many debugging tools available. Good luck on your SAP career and may you be the best at SAP Forms!