Sunday, February 28, 2010

Basics of Descriptive Flexifield

Question: What does DFF mean?
Answer: DFF is a mechanism that lets us create new fields in screens that are delivered by Oracle.

Question: Oh good, but can these new fields be added without modifying/customization of the screen?.
Answer: Yes, certainly. Only some setup is needed, but no programmatic change is needed to setup DFF.

Question: Are these DFF’s flexible?
Answer: A little flexible, for example, depending upon the value in a field, we can make either Field1 or Field2 to appear in DFF.

Question: So we create new fields in existing screen, but why the need of doing so?
Answer: Oracle delivers a standard set of fields for each screen, but different customers have different needs, hence Oracle lets us create new fields to the screen.

Question: Are these new fields that get created as a result of DFF free text?
I mean, can end user enter any junk into the new fields that are added via DFF?
Answer: If you attach a value set to the field(at time of setup of dff), then field will no longer be free text. The entered value in the field will be validated, also a list of valid values will be provided in LOV.

Question : Will the values that get entered by the user in dff fields be updated to database?
Answer: Indeed, this happens because for each field that you create using DFF will be mapped to a column in Oracle Applications.

Question: Can I create a DFF on any database column?
Answer: Not really. Oracle delivers a predefined list of columns for each table that are meant for DFF usage. Only those columns can be mapped to DFF segments. These columns are named similar to ATTRIBUTE1, ATTRIBUTE2, ATTRIBUTE3 ETC. Usually Oracle provides upto 15 columns, but this number can vary.

Question: Can I add hundreds of fields to a given screen?
Answer: This depends on the number of attribute columns in the table that screen uses. Also, those columns must be flagged as DFF enabled in DFF Registration screen. Don’t need to worry much about this because all the ATTRIBUTE columns are by default flagged for their DFF usage.

Question: Hmmm, I can see that DFFs are related to table and columns...
Answer: Yes correct. Each DFF is mapped to one table. And also each segment(or call it field) is mapped to one of the attribute columns in that table.

Question: I want these fields to appear in screen only when certain conditions are met. Is it possible?
Answer: Yes, we have something known as Context Sensitive Descriptive Flexfields

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