eSales customization query - Siebel Technology(Archived)

Is it possible to achieve the following features in Siebel eSales application through customizations,
- embed MS Virtual Earth
- drag and drop features
- graphics for displaying field values

- embed MS Virtual Earth
Symbolic URL is not good enough?
- drag and drop features
I never really checked, but I don't think so.
- graphics for displaying field values
Have you investigated Icon Maps? Or you are looking for something else?


What Puzzles Me About Apex

Recently I needed to rearrange nearly 50 columns in a "classic" type report in one of my Apex 4.0.1 applications. It was so laborious and tedious. In the "Report" tab, one by one I had to click the up or down arrows on each successive row, all the while keeping my eyes focused on where I was in the report lest I overshoot my target destination and, horrors, lest I mistakenly move the "wrong" column. It was an exercise in patience. How I longed for a simpler way to do this. Even having the option to move an item entirely to the top or entirely to the bottom of the column stack (as supplied for a "shuttle" item, for example) would have helped. But, alas, not even this amenity exists.
After finally completing this task, I began dwelling on other areas in Apex that I (and if one searches through just this past year's posts in this Forum, others as well) find frustrating. I wanted to know what others and, especially, members of the Apex development team, think about these things. Hence, the reason for this post. I am puzzled why the following things have not been addressed.
1) As mentioned at the outset, there is not an easier way to rearrange column ordering in both "classic" and IR reports. When reports (commonly) have 25 or more columns, and especially if one requires one or more columns to be moved from one end of the stack to the other, this is a productivity killer.
2) The Apex API makes it easy to create all sorts of objects within a region: text fields, display only items, dropdowns, popups, and now even JQuery like dynamic actions. But the one item that Apex does not make it easy to create is a hyperlink. This has always puzzled me. Surely one of the fundamental constituants of the web is the hyperlink. All Apex offers are fields (on forms, within SQL queries, etc.) in which the developer may construct a link. But there is no interface that walks the devleoper through the process of creating a link. One may say that creating a link should be one of those basic things every Apex/web developer ought to know. But one may equally apply that logic to most of the other aforementioned items. And I believe creating a hyperlink is more complex than creating, say, an input text field. Instead, one must muddle through the docs or look at previous examples to figure out how to construct an appropriate link. Why is there no step-by-step interface in the Apex API to help with this? There is for, say, a text field or a dropdown, but not for a link. Strange.
3) You need to create a form with 10 columns and 15 rows. Forget it. Apex complains about "a 100 cell limit on a form". This is another one of those puzzlements. What is the rational for this limit? It is so un-realistic and does not jive with today's business requirements. I first ran into this limitation on a form way back in version 1.x. And here we are three major versions ahead and we are still looking at this limitation. Why?
4) A fellow developer recently needed to import a page (not the application, just one of the pages) from one workspace to another. These two workspaces happened to reside in different Oracle instances (Dev and Prod).
Unlike importing an entire application, there is no intuitive way to do this. Instead, one must go into the actual export .SQL file and modify several of the included parameters. And even this is not straightforward. Surely, there needs to be an easier way (meaning, automatic way as in clicking a few buttons).
5) Years ago I used Microsoft's FrontPage tool to create a website. One of its nice features is the ability to automatically generate a "site map" of your website. A diagram would be created in which one may easily see which page "calls" or "redirects" to another page. Over the years I have either created (or inherited) Apex applications that sport 50 or more pages. Starting with, say, page 10, have you ever tried to figure out what page(s) called or redirected to page 10? If your Apex app only has 5 pages total, this is not a big deal. But with 50+pages, this is a big deal. A sitemap would have proved an invaluable productivity enhancer at this point. You might think, well, this would be a great Apex plugin idea. And you would be correct. But what puzzles me is that shouldn't this be a builtin "feature" of the Apex API, especially in a fourth major release of the product? Yes, I'm aware that Apex provides views from which one could gather this type of "which page called another page" information. It's just that I am using an API for the main purpose of making database/web development faster/easier. From a business perspective, this means saving money. For example, strictly speaking one need not bother with JQuery. Everything JQuery can do can be done using straight Javascript. It's just that JQuery provides an API making it much easier to implement common Javascript tasks. It's the same with the Apex API. I should not have to wait for someone to create a "sitemap" plugin. I realize that creating such a sitemap is not trival. Still, the logic/algorithm has existed for years as seen in FrontPage, DreamWeaver, and other APIs. I am puzzled why the APEX API does not already include this feature.
6) Recently, I needed to position several text fields within a given region of a page. It proved to be another exercise in patience. I needed to muddle with css style tags. Save my work. Refresh another browser window in order to see the results. Then go through the whole exercise over and over. Worse, while positioning a field I unitentionally moved other fields and regions into un-expected places on the screen. Worse yet, IE (version 8 and 9) caused these items to appear one way while Firefox (version 3.x) positioned them a different way. When the dust finally settled, I fould myself pining away for a tool like DreamWeaver in which I could just use my mouse to position items on the screen, all the while in the background the tool writes the necessary css style tags (cross browser compatible to boot). Yes, I realize that the Apex API is a "declaritive" environment, not a "GUI" based one. Still, in my code-tempered brain, I believe there is some way to meld the two and make it easier, more intuitive to position fields and regions on a page. This, too, is a great puzzlement to me.
Reading this, one might conclude that Elie is really "down" on Apex. This would be wrong. On the contrary, I like Apex quite alot and have been using it at my various work places over the past seven years. As mentioned at the outset, I wrote this out of my frustration in completing a task that I would have thought should not be so tedious.
Things like dynamic actions are, indeed, useful and even "cool". But in my experience I have found the more "mundane" tasks like rearranging report columns and positioning fields on a page and deciphering the page flow in a website are the things that developers spend the most time on. These are the things that any database/web development API should be attempting to streamline.
So, I am wondering why the above issues (and likely there are others) have not been addressed despite the fact that we are now in the fourth major release.
Thank you.
1. v4.0 has a "tree view" of the page definition which lets you rearrange page components (form items, report columns, processes, etc) by simply dragging and dropping them around.
2. A hyperlink is a type of "display only" item. Arguably, Apex could offer declarative settings that let some component of the item (either the label or the item value itself) be a hyperlink but as you point out this is pretty trivial to do
3. The 100-item limit only applies to discrete form element (a.k.a. page items). You can have an updatable report with 10 columns and 15 rows, no problem. The upper limit of items that can be POSTed is set by mod_plsql, the default IIRC is 2000.
4. The new apex_application_install API introduced in 4.0 offers some flexibility in this area
5. I agree.
6. The drag-and-drop feature mentioned in #1 makes this a little easier. Since 3.0 there is also a Quick Preview (per region) that shows how the items would look in that region as you change various settings like rowspan/colspan, etc. But I agree that a fully WYSIWYG IDE would be nice.
Hope this helps. 
Would also like to add few more
1. Drop down menus or the menu feature is still a hard work in Apex
2. The pdf report feature is not the out-of-the-box feature in Apex. 
I had typed up a response this morning then bumped a key on my keybaord and lost it all :(... lets try again.
1) I've never had any difficulty. For a classic report just go into report attributes, and change the sequence using the up and down link icons on the far right of the row. For an IR, go into Actions -> Selected Columns and re-order as you please.
2) (assuming for a report) I am happy with the way this is implemented - it is consistent throughout the application builder. Links are built in the column attributes and they can be a simple link to another page, or a custom URL that you specify. Typically you would want to pass the ID, so would add an ID column, then edit that columns' attributes to turn it into a link. But for a custom URL, you could just as easily specify the column as NULL with a meaningful alias, and then specify custom URL target as what you like. i.e. ""; But as far as that goes, could you not just use he apex_item.text function and build your custom html tags? I haven't used the API extensively so not sure if that function supports custom html tags? But as someone coming onto a project, if I see a report with a link, I would much prefer to see the link built via the column attributes then coded into the query itself.
3) There is the 100 item limitation - but I have to question the usability of a page with more than 100 page items?
4) So long as the applications are in the same workspace, you can easily copy across applications (I have never done so my self, but always see the option to do so when copying). If they are in different workspaces, just import the application so its in the same workspace?
5) Yeah, this sounds like a good idea
6) Unfortunately positions and cross browser incompatibilities is the nature of web development. As you likely know, the positioning on the page is managed by templates and such. So my suggestion to avoid working in APEX is to save the page to your desktop so you can edit on your local filesystem - if dreamweaver is your preferred editor, load it into dreamweaver. Then you can get the source so it appears how you like - once you are happy, then you can move the appropriate changes of the source into your page templates. 
I want to thank you for your comments.
With respect to:
[1]: I did not realize that the "tree view" offers report column rearrangement. I'm so used to using the Component View that I did not bother to check the Tree View all that thoroughly. I guess, then, "I need to".
[2]: I was referring to an Apex interface that allows developers to create different types of links (absolute; relative; specify targets such as "_self", "_blank"; specify anchor tags; mailto links). Especially, I was looking for an interface making it easy to specify the various parts of an Apex link such as the debug flag, the printer friendly tag, and the "pass item/value" pairs tags. I realize none of these things are terribly difficult. Still, I at least cannot always remember the correct syntax for these different types of links. And this is especially true for the syntax needed for the Apex type links. I often need to refer to online docs and such. It just would be a time saver if the Apex API would offer such an interface much like it currently does for many other web ytype components like input fields and such.
[3]: I had always thought that the 100-item limit refers to"100 cells" in a form. I did not realize that this is referring to 100 page items. That said, I would have sworn that I had received an error about this limit on a form page. And I definitely did not have more than 100 page items on that page. I am not sure if the 100-page item limit also includes "page 0 "type items since these appear on every page in the application. In any case, I seriously doubt that I had anywhere close to 100 page items (page 0 or otherwise) on my form page when encountering this limit. Also, considering the numerous comments on this Forum about this "limit", I doubt that these unfortunate souls also had more than 100 page items on their page when they experienced this same "limit". In any case, it's an easy thing to check out, and so, I will do that.
[4]: What I had hoped for was a GUI type interface that just makes it "drop dead simple" to copy a page from one workspace to another, similar to the intuitive interface Apex provides to importan entire application. I had not heard of the apex_application_install utility. I'll defintely be checking this guy out. Thank you. You said it offers some flexibility. By this, do you mean that it offers a way to import a page from one workspace to another?
[5]: Ah. We do agree here.
[6]: Thanks for mentioning the drag-and-drop feature. I had tried this out and unfortunately it just doesn't really help with respect to positioning regions and items on a page in a cross browser compatible fashion. A WYSIWYG interface would be a great feature in such a robust API as Apex.
Since creating my post, I thought of yet another couple of "puzzlements" I have with the Apex API.
7) I wonder why one may include only a single IR report on a page. This has always baffled me. I am aware that one can create a page containing multiple iframes. And then populate each iframe with an IR report that really resides on its own separate page. I've tried this technique and it works very nicely. Still, I can only wonder if the good folks at Oracle/Apex will one day make multiple IR reports ona single page a builtin feature rather than having to rely on this iframe workaround or a JQuery set of page tabs workaround.
8) Again with respect to IR reports, I am puzzled why an IR report can be based solely on SQL as opposed to PLSQL. I did find a workaround to this limitation by using an Oracle table function as the underpinning of the IR report. This works. Still it is a kludge. And so, as with (7), I can only hope a future release of Apex will remove this limitation.
Thank you.
Hi, debrajqh.
Thanks very much for your comments.
Yes, I agree. Especially, with respect to creating PDF reports. I wonder why one needs to rely on either (the very expensive) BI Publisher or have to learn something like Jasper Reports or PLPDF or need to install an FOP. Why can'y just Apex provide this functionality natively.
Thank you.
Hi, Trent.
Thank you for your comments.
Rather than re-typing, please see my comments above to VANJ. I believe these apply to what you've said in your post.
Thanks very much.
Thank you all for your responses. It's much appreciated. I'll now close this question as "being answered".

Drag and drop or something similar

I would like to know if it is possible to do drag and drop in HTML DB .I would like be able to select items in one window and drop then in another.
or somthing like HTML DB has in its wizard.
For instance when selecting item or columns for a report
we click on them on the left window and we send them on the right window 
This is not currently supported with the HTML DB components (Admin, Data Workshop, SQL Workshop, Application Builder).
However, you can build your own applications with HTML DB which take advantage of such behavior by using DHTML, JavaScript and/or SVGs.
- Scott - 
This has nothing really to do with HTMLDB. HTMLDB resides in the back-end. In the server. It consists of PL/SQL code. Oracle Tables.
Where do you drop & drag? In the browser. Who handles the drop & drag events( the mouse messages and mouse clicks and so on)? The browser.
Does the browser communicate that with the server in oder for the server (HTMLDB) to process the drop & drag? Of course not.
So how do you then handle drop & drag. Inside the browser. You need to supply the code (e.g. DHMTL & JavaScript as Scott mentioned) to the browser. What HTMLDB can do is supply the code to the browser as part of the HTML page's data. But it cannot handle drop & drag events.
Alternatively, browsers themselves can provide basic drop and drag support - e.g. allow you to highlight text in the browser and drop & drag it into a edit field. But of course, they do not do this (AFAIK). Yet anyway.
is there any documentation to how i can incorporate this into my application? 
Sorry, I don't. However, there is a wealth of information on building web pages with the aforementioned technologies on the Internet. Try searching Google.
- Scott - 
Drag and Drop in the browser is dhtml functionality, and is not built into HTML DB, there is no reason you can't build it or plug in a prebuilt solution yourself, there is nothing in HTML DB that would stop it from working.
As an example Project Columbus has some drag and drop functionality in sections though it's not something that an end developer will be able to use.
There are a great many different libraries and examples out there.
Find the one that does what you want and run with it.
From you what you describe in the HTML DB wizards, you are looking for a shuttle control. If this is the case, here's an example of how you could do it.
Good DHTML and drag and Drop
is a great example! Just like the new Google Suggest feature!
is a great example! Just like the new Google Suggest
feature!Excellent ! been looking for something like this.
Whose Workspace is that , anyone knows ?
Kris and Carl created that workspace as an example.
The website,, is an excellent example. However, it does not work with Internet Explorer; just Firefox. Do you know how to get it to work with IE? It may be the cloneNode method that is causing the problem.

Oracle Forms mapping to APEX

I'm an old Oracle Forms guy. I'm learning APEX on the side. To conquer the learning curve I was wondering if there was a document that maps Oracle Forms features, items, etc with like APEX features, items, etc.
For example:
Oracle Forms' block items are like APEX's Page Rendering items.
Oracle Forms' canvas properties are like APEX's Shared Components themes.
I know that these mappings aren't going to be one to one but a general likeness will do. Thoughts.
If there isn't a document maybe we can start a list. Thoughts? 
Looks like Oracle has started a list. Check it out here:

graphical interface improvements on JDeveloper 11g

Congratulations you really improved the design interface
I finally could drag an jsf adf item to anothre place,
But I can't move the prompt of that item so easily.
I don't know if you checked yahoo geocities free web designer, this is very interesting because you can put items in any place, I always thought jdeveloper interface would be so easy as oracle developer.
Please don't forget to continue improving we'll have to start programming in 11g and we have very high standards on web output.
Thank you, we appreciate your efforts. 
We are always interested in your feedback. What af component were you trying to manipulate the prompt of? 
One note about:
"you can put items in any place"
This absolute positioning thing has some disadvantages especially when your application needs to run on various screen resolutions and sizes. In such cases the relative positioning that JDeveloper uses makes more sense. 
Thank you Stom and Shay
1. The example I gave to putting the items anywhere (when I talk about the editor yahoo geocities has) was thinking in swing, and obviously there will be the limitation on the frame of the database and common sense limitations, the point is you could drag the item and position easily, not the posibility to put anywhere without any constraint :).
2: About your interest in feedback, let me tellyou we were really impressed with the business logic jdeveloper has, but we were extremely sad after looking at the limitations in design we did several posts, and we were not talking about magical new features, else a similar facility like macromedia dreamweaver has (I think you did a big improvement and maybe you are better in some features than macromedia is now on JDeevloper 11g).
Briefly is the posibility to give a really good design to a page using jsf adf components, we have high standard on your application display.
To start the development on JDeveloper adf jsf (we are not planning to use swing) our wish is the posibility to:
1: Easily position items (without going to code), using a table for example, as it's usually done, I think this is solved with the drag and drop of items.
2. To easily position the prompt of all items (list items, text items, etc.), in relation to their items (like oracle developer has)
3. Your css style sheets are very limited, because jdeveloper don't accept all the css properties, if jdeveloper could interpret all them please.
4. The posibility to apply by item a css class, this idea comes from Oracle Developer, where you create several classes, and when you click the right button on a item, you see all the classes for that type of object, for example a button or a text item, and then you select the class and it apply to the item.
5. The posibility to easily give a different format to every row, if possible visualy, why? because we get our reports from function tables, there is a column saying the format of the row, for example title, detail, total, etc. We did it on php.
6. The ability to use properties of colspan and rowspan in an adf database tables, for data display.
7. The posibility to give relative and absolute positioning in all your components using dips or layers.
8. We understand is not possible to did it all visually, and there will be the need to modify the code from time to time, but don't loose the correct visual position representation of that.
Thank you :)

Hyperion Interactive Reporting

How to implement the calendar pop up on dashboard section,we have two columns like date from and to,if i click on a date from calendar that particular result set must be displayed.Example: Online (Train) Reservation. Please help me out this is urgent..............
Got this from IR Studio "help on content" " You can incorporate external Web-based content into your dashboards, embedding the content in your reports sections and thus enhancing your reports. You can embed stock tickers, calendars, and document objects and launch the content of a URL-based hyperlink in a separate window.   "  So you could use embedded browser and update the URL . Hope this helps.
Unfortunately the solution proposed by KrishnaKumarKP will not work.  Web-based conted on a Dashboard does not support 2 way communication.   You can direct the information in the Embedded content via URL Parameters (ie: MapQuest) however you cannot have interaction on that map communicate back to the Dashboard for setting filters in query/results etc.  The easiest way to work with user selecting to and from dates is to use a collection of Drop Down controls Mon  - Day - Year Then have the Day Drop Down repopulate depending on Month/Year OnChange event.   -w
I agree with the dropdown idea being simplest. If you want a GUI and you're willing to put a little work into a JavaScript-based solution, IRFramework (you can find it on SourceForge) has a good example of a calendar control for an IR Dashboard.
How can we convert java script to work on IRFramework. could you please explain.............
IRFramework is JavaScript.  Read the docs.I just combined the code and docs into one archive.  I'm assuming this was causing you some confusion.  Now the download button will give you everything.