Oracle ADF Essentials – Adding Business Logic

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by Sten E. Vesterli | September 2013 | Enterprise Articles Oracle Web Development

In this article, by Sten Vesterli, the author of Developing Web Applications with Oracle ADF Essentials, we'll cover the following topics:

  • Adding logic to business components

  • Adding logic to the user interface

(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)

Adding logic to business components

by default, a business component does not have an explicit Java class. When you want to add Java logic, however, you generate the relevant Java class from the Java tab of the business component.

On the Java tab, you also decide which of your methods are to be made available to other objects by choosing to implement a Client Interface . Methods that implement a client interface show up in the Data Control palette and can be called from outside the object.

Logic in entity objects

Remember that entity objects are closest to your database tables –– most often, you will have one entity object for every table in the database. This makes the entity object a good place to put data logic that must be always executed. If you place, for example, validation logic in an entity object, it will be applied no matter which view object attempts to change data.

In the database or in an entity object?

Much of the business logic you can place in an entity object can also be placed in the database using database triggers. If other systems are accessing your database tables, business logic should go into the database as much as possible.

Overriding accessors

To use Java in entity objects, you open an entity object and select the Java tab. When you click on the pencil icon, the Select Java Options dialog opens as shown in the following screenshot:

In this dialog, you can select to generate Accessors (the setXxx() and getXxx() methods for all the attributes) as well as Data Manipulation Methods (the doDML() method; there is more on this later).

When you click on OK , the entity object class is generated for you. You can open it by clicking on the hyperlink or you can find it in the Application Navigator panel as a new node under the entity object. If you look inside this file, you will find:

  • Your class should start with an import section that contains a statement that imports your EntityImpl class. If you have set up your framework extension classes correctly this could be import com.adfessentials.adf.framework.EntityImpl. You will have to click on the plus sign in the left margin to expand the import section.
  • The Structure panel in the bottom-left shows an overview of the class including all the methods it contains. You will see a lot of setter and getter methods like getFirstName() and setFirstName() as shown in the following screenshot:

  • There is a doDML() method described later.

If you were to decide, for example, that last name should always be stored in upper case, you could change the setLastName() method to:

public void setLastName(String value) { setAttributeInternal(LASTNAME, value.toUpperCase()); }

Working with database triggers

If you decide to keep some of your business logic in database triggers, your triggers might change the values that get passed from the entity object. Because the entity object caches values to save database work, you need to make sure that the entity object stays in sync with the database even if a trigger changes a value. You do this by using the Refresh on Update property.

To find this property, select the Attributes subtab on the left and then select the attribute that might get changed. At the bottom of the screen, you see various settings for the attribute with the Refresh settings in the top-right of the Details tab as shown in the following screenshot:

Check the Refresh on Update property checkbox if a database trigger might change the attribute value. This makes the ADF framework requery the database after an update has been issued.

Refresh on Insert doesn't work if you are using MySQL and your primary key is generated with AUTO_INCREMENT or set by a trigger. ADF doesn't know the primary key and therefore cannot find the newly inserted row after inserting it. It does work if you are running against an Oracle database, because Oracle SQL syntax has a special RETURNING construct that allows the entity object to get the newly created primary key back.

Overriding doDML()

Next, after the setters and getters, the doDML() method is the one that most often gets overridden. This method is called whenever an entity object wants to execute a Data Manipulation Language (DML ) statement like INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE. This offers you a way to add additional processing; for example, checking that the account balance is zero before allowing a customer to be deleted. In this case, you would add logic to check the account balance, and if the deletion is allowed, call super.doDML() to invoke normal processing.

Another example would be to implement logical delete (records only change state and are not actually deleted from the table). In this case, you would override doDML() as follows:

@override protected void doDML(int operation, TransactionEvent e) { if (operation == DML_DELETE) { operation = DML_UPDATE; } super.doDML(operation, e); }

As it is probably obvious from the code, this simply replaces a DELETE operation with an UPDATE before it calls the doDML() method of its superclass (your framework extension EntityImpl, which passes the task on to the Oracle-supplied EntityImpl class). Of course, you also need to change the state of the entity object row, for example, in the remove() method. You can find fully-functional examples of this approach on various blogs, for example at http://myadfnotebook.blogspot.dk/2012/02/updating-flag-when-deleting-entity-in.html.

You also have the option of completely replacing normal doDML() method processing by simply not calling super.doDML(). This could be the case if you want all your data modifications to go via a database procedure –– for example, to insert an actor, you would have to call insertActor with first name and last name. In this case, you would write something like:

@override protected void doDML(int operation, TransactionEvent e) { CallableStatement cstmt = null; if (operation == DML_INSERT) { String insStmt = "{call insertActor (?,?)}"; cstmt = getDBTransaction().createCallableStatement(insStmt, 0); try { cstmt.setString(1, getFirstName()); cstmt.setString(2, getLastName()); cstmt.execute(); } catch (Exception ex) { … } finally { … } } }

If the operation is insert, the above code uses the current transaction (via the getDBTransaction() method) to create a CallableStatement with the string insertActor(?,?). Next, it binds the two parameters (indicated by the question marks in the statement string) to the values for first name and last name (by calling the getter methods for these two attributes). Finally, the code block finishes with a normal catch clause to handle SQL errors and a finally clause to close open objects. Again, fully working examples are available in the documentation and on the Internet in various blog posts.

Normally, you would implement this kind of override in the framework extension EntityImpl class, with additional logic to allow the framework extension class to recognize which specific entity object the operation applies to and which database procedure to call.

Data validation

With the techniques you have just seen, you can implement every kind of business logic your requirements call for. One requirement, however, is so common that it has been built right into the ADF framework: data validation .

Declarative validation

The simplest kind of validation is where you compare one individual attribute to a limit, a range, or a number of fixed values. For this kind of validation, no code is necessary at all. You simply select the Business Rules subtab in the entity object, select an attribute, and click on the green plus sign to add a validation rule. The Add Validation Rule dialog appears as shown in the following screenshot:

You have a number of options for Rule Type –– depending on your choice here, the Rule Definition tab changes to allow you to define the parameters for the rule.

On the Failure Handling tab, you can define whether the validation is an error (that must be corrected) or a warning (that the user can override), and you define a message text as shown in the following screenshot:

You can even define variable message tokens by using curly brackets { } in your message text. If you do so, a token will automatically be added to the Token Message Expressions section of the dialog, where you can assign it any value using Expression Language. Click on the Help button in the dialog for more information on this.

If your application might ever conceivably be needed in a different language, use the looking glass icon to define a resource string stored in a separate resource bundle. This allows your application to have multiple resource bundles, one for each different user interface language.

There is also a Validation Execution tab that allows you to specify under which condition your rule should be applied. This can be useful if your logic is complex and resource intensive. If you do not enter anything here, your rule is always executed.

Regular expression validation

One of the especially powerful declarative validations is the Regular Expression validation. A regular expression is a very compact notation that can define the format of a string –– this is very useful for checking e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and so on. To use this, set Rule Type to Regular Expression as shown in the following screenshot:

JDeveloper offers you a few predefined regular expressions, for example, the validation for e-mails as shown in the preceding screenshot.

Even though you can find lots of predefined regular expressions on the Internet, someone from your team should understand the basics of regular expression syntax so you can create the exact expression you need.

Groovy scripts

You can also set Rule Type to Script to get a free-format box where you can write a Groovy expression. Groovy is a scripting language for the Java platform that works well together with Java –– see http://groovy.codehaus.org/ for more information on Groovy.

Oracle has published a white paper on Groovy in ADF (http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/developer-tools/jdev/introduction-to-groovy-128837.pdf), and there is also information on Groovy in the JDeveloper help.

Method validation

If none of these methods for data validation fit your need, you can of course always revert to writing code. To do this, set Rule Type to Method and provide an error message. If you leave the Create a Select Method checkbox checked when you click on OK , JDeveloper will automatically create a method with the right signature and add it to the Java class for the entity object. The autogenerated validation method for Length (in the Film entity object) would look as follows:

/** * Validation method for Length. */ public boolean validateLength (Integer length) { return true; }

It is your task to fill in the logic and return either true (if validation is OK) or false (if the data value does not meet the requirements). If validation fails, ADF will automatically display the message you defined for this validation rule.

Logic in view objects

View objects represent the dataset you need for a specific part of the application — typically a specific screen or part of a screen. You can create Java objects for either an entire view object (an XxxImpl.java class, where Xxx is the name of your view object) or for a specific row (an XxxRowImpl.java class).

A view object class contains methods to work with the entire data-set that the view object represents –– for example, methods to apply view criteria or re-execute the underlying database query. The view row class contains methods to work with an individual record of data –– mainly methods to set and get attribute values for one specific record.

Overriding accessors

Like for entity objects, you can override the accessors (setters and getters) for view objects. To do this, you use the Java subtab in the view object and click on the pencil icon next to Java Classes to generate Java. You can select to generate a view row class including accessors to ask JDeveloper to create a view row implementation class as shown in the following screenshot:

This will create an XxxRowImpl class (for example, RentalVORowImpl) with setter and getter methods for all attributes. The code will look something like the following code snippet:

… public class RentalVORowImpl extends ViewRowImpl { … /** * This is the default constructor (do not remove). */ public RentalVORowImpl() { } … /** * Gets the attribute value for title using the alias name * Title. * @return the title */ public String getTitle() { return (String) getAttributeInternal(TITLE); } /** * Sets <code>value</code> as attribute value for title using * the alias name Title. * @param value value to set the title */ public void setTitle(String value) { setAttributeInternal(TITLE, value); } … }

You can change all of these to manipulate data before it is delivered to the entity object or to return a processed version of an attribute value. To use such attributes, you can write code in the implementation class to determine which value to return.

You can also use Groovy expressions to determine values for transient attributes. This is done on the Value subtab for the attribute by setting Value Type to Expression and filling in the Value field with a Groovy expression. See the Oracle white paper on Groovy in ADF (http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/developer-tools/jdev/introduction-to-groovy-128837.pdf) or the JDeveloper help.

Change view criteria

Another example of coding in a view object is to dynamically change which view criteria are applied to the view object.It is possible to define many view criteria on a view object –– when you add a view object instance to an application module, you decide which of the available view criteria to apply to that specific view object instance.

However, you can also programmatically change which view criteria are applied to a view object. This can be useful if you want to have buttons to control which subset of data to display –– in the example application, you could imagine a button to "show only overdue rentals" that would apply an extra view criterion to a rental view object.

Because the view criteria apply to the whole dataset, view criteria methods go into the view object, not the view row object. You generate a Java class for the view object from the Java Options dialog in the same way as you generate Java for the view row object. In the Java Options dialog, select the option to generate the view object class as shown in the following screenshot:

A simple example of programmatically applying a view criteria would be a method to apply an already defined view criterion called called OverdueCriterion to a view object. This would look like this in the view object class:

public void showOnlyOverdue() { ViewCriteria vc = getViewCriteria("OverdueCriterion"); applyViewCriteria(vc); executeQuery(); }

View criteria often have bind variables –– for example, you could have a view criteria called OverdueByDaysCriterion that uses a bind variable OverdueDayLimit. When you generate Java for the view object, the default option of Include bind variable accessors (shown in the preceding screenshot) will create a setOverdueDayLimit() method if you have an OverdueDayLimit bind variable.

A method in the view object to which we apply this criterion might look like the following code snippet:

public void showOnlyOverdueByDays(int days) { ViewCriteria vc = getViewCriteria("OverdueByDaysCriterion"); setOverdueDayLimit(days); applyViewCriteria(vc); executeQuery(); }

If you want to call these methods from the user interface, you must select create a client interface for them (on the Java subtab in the view object). This will make your method available in the Data Control palette, ready to be dragged onto a page and dropped as a button.

When you change the view criteria and execute the query, only the content of the view object changes –– the screen does not automatically repaint itself. In order to ensure that the screen refreshes, you need to set the PartialTriggers property of the data table to point to the ID of the button that changes the view criteria. For more on partial page rendering, see the Oracle Fusion Middleware Web User Interface Developer's Guide for Oracle Application Development Framework (http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E37975_01/web.111240/e16181/af_ppr.htm).

Logic in application modules

You've now seen how to add logic to both entity objects and view objects. However, you can also add custom logic to application modules. An application module is the place where logic that does not belong to a specific view object goes –– for example, calls to stored procedures that involve data from multiple view objects.

To generate a Java class for an application module, you navigate to the Java subtab in the application module and select the pencil icon next to the Java Classes heading. Typically, you create Java only for the application module class and not for the application module definition.

You can also add your own logic here that gets called from the user interface or you can override the existing methods in the application module. A typical method to override is prepareSession(), which gets called before the application module establishes a connection to the database –– if you need to, for example, call stored procedures or do other kinds of initialization before accessing the database, an application module method is a good place to do so. Remember that you need to define your own methods as client methods on the Java tab of the application module for the method to be available to be called from elsewhere in the application.

Because the application module handles the transaction, it also contains methods, such as beforeCommit(), beforeRollback(), afterCommit(), afterRollback(), and so on.

The doDML() method on any entity object that is part of the transaction is executed before any of the application modules' methods.

Adding logic to the user interface

Logic in the user interface is implemented in the form of managed beans. These are Java classes that are registered with the task flow and automatically instantiated by the ADF framework.ADF operates with various memory scopes –– you have to decide on a scope when you define a managed bean.

Adding a bean method to a button

The simplest way to add logic to the user interface is to drop a button (af:commandButton) onto a page or page fragment and then double-click on it. This brings up the Bind Action Property dialog as shown in the following screenshot:

If you leave Method Binding selected and click on New , the Create Managed Bean dialog appears as shown in the following screenshot:

In this dialog, you can give your bean a name, provide a class name (typically the same as the bean name), and select a scope. The backingBean scope is a good scope for logic that is only used for one action when the user clicks on the button and which does not need to store any state for later. Leaving the Generate Class If It Does Not Exist checkbox checked asks JDeveloper to create the class for you. When you click on OK , JDeveloper will automatically suggest a method for you in the Method dropdown (based on the ID of the button you double-clicked on). In the Method field, provide a more useful name and click on OK to add the new class and open it in the editor. You will see a method with your chosen name, as shown in the following code snippet:

Public String rentDvd() { // Add event code here... return null; }

Obviously, you place your code inside this method.

If you accidentally left the default method name and ended up with something like cb5_action(), you can right-click on the method name and navigate to Refactor | Rename to give it a more descriptive name.

Note that JDeveloper automatically sets the Action property for your button matching the scope, bean name, and method name. This might be something like #{backingBeanScope.RentalBean.rentDvd}.

Adding a bean to a task flow

Your beans should always be part of a task flow. If you're not adding logic to a button, or you just want more control over the process, you can also create a backing bean class first and then add it to the task flow.

A bean class is a regular Java class created by navigating to File | New | Java Class .

When you have created the class, you open the task flow where you want to use it and select the Overview tab. On the Managed Beans subtab, you can use the green plus to add your bean. Simply give it a name, point to the class you created, and select a memory scope.

Accessing UI components from beans

In a managed bean, you often want to refer to various user interface elements. This is done by mapping each element to a property in the bean.

For example, if you have an af:inputText component that you want to refer to in a bean, you create a private variable of type RichInputText in the bean (with setter and getter methods) and set the Binding property (under the Advanced heading) to point to that bean variable using Expression Language.

When creating a page or page fragment, you have the option (on the Managed Bean tab) to automatically have JDeveloper create corresponding attributes for you. The Managed Bean tab is shown in the following screenshot:

Leave it on the default setting of Do Not Automatically Expose UI Components in a Managed Bean . If you select one of the options to automatically expose UI elements, your bean will acquire a lot of attributes that you don't need, which will make your code unnecessarily complex and slow. However, while learning ADF, you might want to try this out to see how the bean attributes and the Binding property work together.

If you do activate this setting, it applies to every page and fragment you create until you explicitly deselect this option.

Summary

In this article, you have seen some examples of how to add Java code to your application to implement the specific business logic your application needs. There are many, many more places and ways to add logic –– as you work with ADF, you will continually come across new business requirements that force you to figure out how to add code to your application in new ways. Fortunately, there are other books, websites, online tutorials and training that you can use to add to your ADF skill set –– refer to http://www.adfessentials.com for a starting point.

Resources for Article :


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About the Author :


Sten E. Vesterli

Sten E. Vesterli picked up Oracle development as his first job after graduating from the Technical University of Denmark and hasn't looked back since. He has worked with almost every development tool and server Oracle has produced in the last two decades, including Oracle ADF, JDeveloper, WebLogic, SQL Developer, Oracle Portal, BPEL, Collaboration Suite, Designer, Forms, Reports, and even Oracle Power Objects.

He started sharing his knowledge with a conference presentation in 1997 and has given more than 100 conference presentations at Oracle OpenWorld and at ODTUG, IOUG, UKOUG, DOAG, DOUG, and other user group conferences around the world since. His presentations are highly rated by the participants, and in 2010 he received the ODTUG Best Speaker award.

He has also written numerous articles, participated in podcasts, and written Oracle Web Applications 101,  Oracle ADF Enterprise Application Development – Made Simple, and  Developing Web Applications with Oracle ADF Essentials. You can find his blog at www.vesterli.com and follow him on Twitter as  @stenvesterli.

Oracle has recognized Sten's skills as an expert communicator on Oracle technology by awarding him the prestigious title, Oracle ACE Director, carried by less than 100 people in the world. He is also an Oracle Fusion User Experience Advocate and sits on the Oracle Usability Advisory Board and participates in the Oracle WebLogic Partner Council.

Based in Denmark, Sten is a partner in the Oracle consulting company Scott/Tiger, where he works as a senior principal consultant. When not writing books or presenting, he is helping customers choose the appropriate technology for their needs, teaching, mentoring, and leading development projects. In his spare time, Sten enjoys triathlon and completed his first Ironman in 2012.

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