Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

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by Alexander Hansal | April 2011 | CRM Enterprise Articles Oracle

The Siebel CRM user interface supports the end user's desire to quickly navigate forward and backward while carrying out tasks. This article by Alexander Hansal, author of Oracle Siebel CRM 8 Developer's Handbook introduces the concept of drilldowns, the thread bar, and toggle applets and shows us how these navigation elements can be configured in Siebel Tools. The article is structured as follows:

  • Understanding drilldown objects
  • Creating static drilldowns
  • Creating dynamic drilldowns
  • Configuring the thread bar
  • Configuring toggle applets

 

Oracle Siebel CRM 8 Developer's Handbook

Oracle Siebel CRM 8 Developer's Handbook

A practical guide to configuring, automating, and extending Siebel CRM applications

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(For more resources on this subject, see here.)

Understanding drilldown objects

In Siebel CRM, a drilldown is the activity of clicking on a hyperlink, which typically leads to a more detailed view of the record where the hyperlink originated. The standard Siebel CRM applications provide many examples for drilldown objects, which can mainly be found on list applets such as in the following screenshot that shows the Opportunity List Applet:

The Opportunity List Applet allows the end user to click on the opportunity name or the account name. Clicking on the Opportunity Name navigates to the Opportunity Detail - Contacts View in the same screen while clicking on the Account name navigates to the Account Detail - Contacts View on the Accounts screen.

Siebel CRM supports both static and dynamic drilldown destinations. The Opportunity List Applet (in Siebel Industry Applications) defines dynamic drilldown destinations for the opportunity name column depending on the name of the product line associated with the opportunity.

We can investigate this behavior by creating a test opportunity record and setting its Product Line field (in the More Info view) to Equity.

When we now drill down on the Opportunity Name, we observe that the FINCORP Deal Equity View is the new navigation target, allowing the end user to provide detailed equity information for the opportunity.

To test this behavior, we must use the Siebel Sample Database for Siebel Industry Applications (SIA) and log in as SADMIN.

We can now inspect the Opportunity List Applet in Siebel Tools. Every applet that provides drilldown functionality has at least one definition for the Drilldown Object child type. To view the Drilldown Object definitions for the Opportunity List Applet we can follow the following procedure:

  1. Navigate to the Opportunity List Applet.
  2. In the Object Explorer, expand the Applet type and select the Drilldown Objects type.
  3. Inspect the list of Drilldown Object Definitions.

The following screenshot shows the drilldown object definitions for the Opportunity List Applet:

We can observe that a drilldown object defines a Hyperlink Field and a (target) View. These and other properties of drilldown objects are described in more detail later in this section. There are various instances of drilldown objects visible in the previous screenshot that reference the Name field. One instance—named Line of Business defines dynamic drilldown destinations that can be verified by expanding the Drilldown Object type in the Object Explorer and selecting the Dynamic Drilldown Destination type (with the Line of Business drilldown object selected).

The following screenshot shows the dynamic drilldown destination child object definitions for the Line of Business drilldown object:

The child list has been filtered to show only active records and the list is sorted by the Sequence property.

Dynamic Drilldown Destinations define a Field of the applet's underlying business component and a Value. The Siebel application verifies the Field and Value for the current record and—if a matching dynamic drilldown destination record is found—uses the Destination Drilldown Object to determine the target view for the navigation. When no match is found, the view in the parent drilldown object is used for navigation.

When we investigate the drilldown object named Primary Account, we learn that it defines a Source Field and a target business component, which is a necessity when the drilldown's target View uses a different business object than the View in which the applet is situated. In order to enable the Siebel application to retrieve the record in the target View, a source field that carries the ROW_ID of the target record and the business component to query must be specified.

The following table describes the most important properties of the Drilldown Object type:

Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

The following table describes the most important properties for the Dynamic Drilldown Destination type:

Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

Creating static drilldowns

In the following section, we will learn how to create static drilldowns from list and form applets.

Case study example: static drilldown from list applet

The AHA Customer Documents List Applet (Download code - Ch:9), which provides a unified view for all quotes, orders, opportunities, and so on, associated with an account. The applet should provide drilldown capability to the documents and the employee details of the responsible person.

In the following procedure, we describe how to create a static drilldown from the AHA Customer Documents List Applet to the Relationship Hierarchy View (Employee), which displays the reporting hierarchy and employee details:

  1. Navigate to the AHA Customer Documents List Applet.
  2. Check out or lock the applet if necessary.
  3. In the Object Explorer, expand the Applet type, and select the Drilldown Object type.
  4. In the Drilldown Objects list, create a new record and provide the following property values:
    • Name: Responsible Employee
    • Hyperlink Field: Responsible User Login Name
    • View: Relationship Hierarchy View (Employee)
    • Source Field: Responsible User Id
    • Business Component: Employee
    • Destination Field: Id
    • Visibility Type: All
  5. Compile the AHA Customer Documents List Applet.

We will continue to work on the AHA Customer Documents List Applet later in this article.

Creating drilldown hyperlinks on form applets

Sometimes it is necessary to provide a drilldown hyperlink on a form applet. The following procedure describes how to accomplish this using the SIS Account Entry Applet as an example. The applet will provide a hyperlink that allows quick navigation to the Account Detail - Activities View:

  1. Navigate to the Account business component.
  2. Check out or lock the business component if necessary.
  3. Add a new field with the following properties:
    • Name: AHA Drilldown Field 1
    • Calculated: TRUE
    • Calculated Value: "Drilldown 1" (include the parentheses)
  4. Compile the Account business component.

    Did you know?
    We should create a dummy field like in the previous example to avoid interference with standard fields when creating drilldowns on form applets. This field will be referenced in the drilldown object and control.

  5. Navigate to the SIS Account Entry Applet.
  6. Check out or lock the applet if necessary.
  7. In the Object Explorer, expand the Applet type and select the Drilldown Object type.
  8. Create a new entry in the Drilldown Objects list with the following properties:
    • Name: AHA Activity Drilldown
    • Hyperlink Field: AHA Drilldown Field 1
    • View: Account Detail - Activities View
  9. In the Object Explorer, select the Control type.
  10. In the Controls list, create a new record with the following properties:
    • Name: AHA Activity Drilldown
    • Caption: Go to Activities
    • Field: AHA Drilldown Field 1
    • HTML Type: Link
    • Method Invoked: Drilldown
  11. Right-click the SIS Account Entry Applet in the top list and select Edit Web Layout to open the layout editor.
  12. Drag the AHA Activities Drilldown control from the Controls | Columns window to the grid layout and drop it below the Zip Code text box.
  13. Save the changes and close the web layout editor.
  14. Compile the SIS Account Entry Applet.
  15. Log in to the Siebel client and navigate to the Account List view.
  16. Click on the Go to Activities link in the form applet and verify that the activities list is displayed for the selected account.

The following screenshot shows the result of the previous configuration procedure in the Siebel Web Client:

Clicking the Go to Activities hyperlink on the form applet will navigate the user to the activities list view for the current account.

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        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on this subject, see here.)

Creating dynamic drilldowns

In the following section, we will learn how to configure dynamic drilldown objects for a list applet.

Case study example: dynamic drilldown destinations for a list applet

The AHA technical architect team has defined the drilldown behavior for the AHA Customer Documents List Applet so that clicking on the document Id should navigate to a detail view depending on the document type. Clicking on a quote Id should for example navigate to the quote pricing view while clicking on an opportunity Id should navigate to the opportunity product view.

The following procedure describes how to configure the AHA Customer Documents List Applet for dynamic drilldowns:

  1. Navigate to the AHA Customer Documents List Applet.
  2. Check out or lock the applet if necessary.
  3. In the Object Explorer, expand the Applet type and select the Drilldown Object Type.
  4. In the Drilldown Objects list, create four records—one for each drilldown destination—for the Document Id field (set as Hyperlink Field and Source Field) according to the following table:

    Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

  5. In the Drilldown Objects list, select the Opportunity - Products entry.
  6. In the Object Explorer, expand the Drilldown Object type and select the Dynamic Drilldown Destination type.
  7. In the Dynamic Drilldown Destinations list create four records—one for each drilldown destination—with the Field property set to Document Type. The following table provides the details for the records to be created:

    Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

  8. Compile the AHA Customer Documents List Applet.

The AHA Customer Documents List Applet will be added to the AHA Customer Process Start View in a later chapter. Because the mechanism to populate the AHA Customer Documents business component is not yet implemented, we cannot yet test the drilldown configuration.

The Siebel Tools archive file (AHA Customer Documents List Applet.sif - Download code Ch:14) represents the applet after the changes in this article.

Configuring the thread bar

The thread bar is a navigation utility that allows the end user to identify the current drill path and to navigate back to views and records she or he has previously visited.

Did you know?
The name thread bar is an analogy to the legendary ball of red wool thread that the Greek goddess Ariadne gave to Theseus, who was supposed to kill the tyrannical Minotaur in his maze hideout. Theseus attached the thread at the entrance of the maze and safely found his way out again.
In a similar manner—albeit with less bloodshed—the end user can find her or his way out of the maze of views.

The following screenshot shows the thread bar in the Siebel Web Client:

Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

The end user has used drilldowns to navigate from the Account named 3Com to the contact Todd Sarkissian. He then drilled down on a service request (SR) and on one of the SR's activities. By clicking the hyperlinks in the thread bar, the end user can navigate backwards in the drilldown history.

The hyperlinked text in a thread bar entry is composed of two parts, which are separated by a colon (:). The first part is a static text and the second part is the value of a field in the business component referenced by one of the view's applets.

The following properties of the View object type define the thread bar text:

Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

Case study example: configuring the thread bar

The following procedure describes how to configure the thread properties of AHA Customer Process Start View (Download code).

  1. Navigate to the AHA Customer Process Start View.
  2. Check out or lock the view if necessary.
  3. In the Object List Editor, set the following properties:
    • Thread Title - String Override: AHA Customer
    • Thread Applet: AHA Customer Profile Form Applet
    • Thread Field: Name and Location
  4. Compile the AHA Customer Process Start View.
  5. Test the changes by logging in to the Siebel client and clicking any drilldown in the AHA Customer Process Start View.
  6. Observe that the thread bar displays the text AHA Customer followed by a colon and the name and location of the current account record.

Configuring toggle applets

Toggle applets are applets that are associated with an original applet and appear instead of the original applet, either when the end user selects the toggle applet (manual toggle) or dynamically depending on the value of a field in the applet's business component.

Manual applet toggle

The first situation—the static or manual toggle—is that an end user can use a drop-down list or tabs to select a different applet. The following screenshot shows an example in the Siebel standard application:

Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

The Organizational Analysis view (ESP Business Service Unit Contacts View) in the Enterprise Selling Process category of the Accounts screen uses a specialized applet (ESP BSU Organization Analysis Applet) that allows the end user to switch between the organization chart graphic and the standard list applet (ESP BSU Contact List Applet) by means of a drop-down list.

When we inspect the ESP BSU Organization Analysis Applet in Siebel Tools, we find that the ESP BSU Contact List Applet is listed in the Applet Toggles list as shown in the next screenshot:

Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

We can observe that the only property with a value is the Applet property. The drop-down list in the UI is populated automatically by the system using the applet's Title property value.

The process of configuring a manual applet toggle is therefore very simple and only consists of adding new records for the toggle applets to the original applet. The only consideration is that all applets must reference the same business component.

Dynamic applet toggle

As we can see in the previous screenshot, an Applet Toggle object definition optionally specifies an Auto Toggle Field along with an Auto Toggle Value (not visible in the screenshot), which allow the system to determine the toggle applet dynamically.

A good example in the Siebel standard application is the Account Profile Applet. The following screenshot shows the list of Applet Toggles for this applet:

Oracle Siebel CRM 8: Configuring Navigation

As we can observe in the previous screenshot, the Account Profile Applet will be replaced automatically with the Retail Outlet Profile Applet when the Calculated Type field's value is Retailer. There are a total of six toggle applets defined for the Account Profile Applet.

We can observe the dynamic toggle behavior of the Account Profile Applet by following the procedure:

  1. Log in to the Siebel Mobile Web Client as SADMIN, using the Siebel Sample Database as the data source.
  2. Navigate to the Accounts screen, My Accounts view.
  3. Drill down on the first record in the list.
  4. Click the More Info view tab. The lower applet in this view is the Account Profile Applet.
  5. In the upper form applet, set the Account Type field to Retailer and press the Tab key to leave the field.
  6. Observe that the Account Profile Applet is replaced with the Retail Outlet Profile Applet automatically.

    Use the About View dialog from the Help menu to verify the applet name.

  7. Observe the behavior for other values of the Account Type field such as Hospital.

When we wish to configure dynamic toggling for an applet, we have to follow the procedure described:

  1. Navigate to the applet.
  2. Check out or lock the applet if necessary.
  3. In the Object Explorer, expand the Applet type and select the Applet Toggle type.
  4. In the Applet Toggles list create a new record for each toggle applet and provide values for the following properties:
    • Applet: Name of the toggle applet
    • Auto Toggle Field: Name of a field in the parent applet's business component (can be a calculated field)
    • Auto Toggle Value: The value of the auto toggle field to indicate the matching record
    • Sequence: The numeric sequence to check the dynamic toggle conditions
  5. Compile the applet.
  6. Test your changes in the Siebel Mobile or Developer Web Client.

Summary

Assisting end users while they are navigating the Siebel CRM user interface is an important task for developers.

The classic navigation utility is the drilldown, which can be defined as static, targeting the same view all the time, or dynamic, allowing for decision logic to be applied before selecting the target view for the drilldown.

Drilldowns are always displayed as hyperlinks to the end user and are tightly coupled with the thread bar. The thread bar content can be configured at the view level by defining the static and dynamic portions to display.

Toggle applets allow either manual or automatic selection of a replacement applet.


Further resources on this subject:


Oracle Siebel CRM 8 Developer's Handbook Configure, Automate, and Extend Siebel CRM applications with this Oracle book and eBook
Published: April 2011
eBook Price: £26.99
Book Price: £43.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:

About the Author :


Alexander Hansal

Alexander Hansal has worked as an IT professional in small, medium, and global corporations. Since 2001, Alexander works as a technical instructor and consultant for Siebel CRM and Oracle Business Intelligence in Europe. He enjoys teaching, and shares his knowledge and expertise in his classes at Oracle University and in his weblog, http://siebel-essentials.blogspot.com/

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