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How Drop Zones Help Isolate Customizations in PeopleSoft

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Matthew Haavisto, part of the PeopleTools team, spoke about tools and methods that PeopleSoft users can leverage to help isolate customizations (one of PeopleSoft’s five major initiatives) within their system to help reduce the impact on the application lifecycle. Drop Zones were made available in PeopleTools 8.57 and the latest feature to help users modify application pages to include new fields without impacting delivered pages—ultimately isolating customizations within PeopleSoft.

Five Major Initiatives for a Better PeopleSoft Product

As PeopleSoft continues to evolve to meet customer needs, key leaders have prioritized five major initiatives:

  1. Optimize the user experience to make users more productive
  2. Isolate customizations to make applying changes easier
  3. Migrate to the Oracle Cloud to lower cost
  4. Automate lifecycle processes to make adoption of new features easier
  5. Prepare to adopt new technology

When you began using PeopleSoft, you likely heard the same advice over and over again from your implementation team—customize as little as humanly possible. Customizations often increase prices, slow down implementation time, and set users up for difficulty with future upgrades. Many people in the PeopleSoft community think of “customization” as a dirty word.

While zero customization is certainly a priority for every user, it’s not always a reality. That’s why PeopleSoft’s initiative of isolating customizations to make applying changes easier is so exciting.

The primary benefits of isolating customizations include:

  • Continuing to meet unique, important requirements—vanilla may not work for everyone!
  • Minimizing the impact of change.
  • Making each new image uptake easier, cheaper, and faster.

Two Approaches to Isolating Customizations

There are two possible approaches for isolating customizations.

The first approach is the Big Bang. This involves a one-time effort to isolate as many customizations as possible. Tools to help users accomplish this include Event Mapping, Drop Zones, and Page & Field Configurator.

The second approach is an incremental one. In this approach, you migrate customization when it shows as a conflict in a Change Assistant compare report. Over time, product areas that are most often changed will be returned to generic. This requires setting aside time in each PUM application cycle.

Big Bang Tools for Isolating Customizations

To effectively minimize the impact of change, the Big Bang tools work best. Here’s a high-level overview of what Event Mapping, Drop Zones, and Page & Field Configurator are and how they work:

Event Mapping:

  • AppClass methods run before or after built-in exit points
  • Complete access to Component Buffer
  • Assigned through existing Related Content Framework

Drop Zones:

  • Areas on Fluid Pages that will be bypassed by standard LCM compare process
  • Framework to add custom fields
  • Only used for customization

Page & Field Configurator:

  • Metadata is captured to define common changes to pages
  • Generates AppClass PeopleCode assigned to Components through Event Mapping
  • Works with existing components

A Deeper Dive into Drop Zones

In his presentation, Matthew also shared some of the major benefits of Drop Zones and some considerations for users to keep in mind when deciding to leverage Drop Zones.

Some of the benefits of Drop Zones include:

  • Customer added fields with no Life Cycle Impact
  • Full power of PeopleTools within Drop Zones
  • Reduction of LCM time for pages with custom fields
  • Works on Fluid pages
  • Seamless flow with delivered Fluid content

Some considerations for users to keep in mind when leveraging Drop Zones include:

  • Remains work for developers (App Designer)
  • Will not reduce implementation or customization time
  • Some pages don’t work and will not work
  • Currently no support for Classic pages—but it’s planned

Steps for Drop Zones Implementation

Once you have determined that you’d like to make use of Drop Zones, you can follow the key steps below for implementation.

  • Enable customers to add fields that are displayed and processed on delivered Fluid pages without customization.
  • Application teams deliver pages with Drop Zones where customers can extend the page content.
  • Customer/Developer creates subpage definitions and inserts in place of the subpage stub in the Drop Zone.
    • Example: Simple fluid subpage consisting of static text and a display-only Employee ID field
  • Associate your Fluid subpage to a Drop Zone.
  • Configure your dynamic subpage to the component.
  • There may be more than one Drop Zone available. Each will be identified by a label on its group box.
  • Add dynamic subpage to Drop Zone and save the configuration.
    • PeopleTools > Portal > Configure Drop Zones
  • The subpage is dynamically inserted at runtime.
  • Records and fields defined on the subpage are loaded into the component buffer along with those of the main page.
  • The new subpage is displayed as if it were part of the main page definition.
  • Drop Zones are not affected by new image upgrades, and they will not appear on the Compare Report.
  • Do not add your own Drop Zones! That would be a customization.
  • Drop Zones requires PeopleTools version 8.57 or higher.

The Future of Drop Zones

As customers begin using Drop Zones more frequently, PeopleSoft hopes to increase capabilities. They are considering the impact that Drop Zones could have on Classic Pages, and they are currently conducting focus groups for more ideas regarding how to isolate customizations. To add your own ideas for how PeopleSoft can improve, you can (and are encouraged to) submit them to the Idea Space.

For more information about Drop Zones, check out Matthew’s full presentation and the additional Quest resources attached below.

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for more PeopleSoft content, join us at RECONNECT 19, the premier deep-dive PeopleSoft focused event of the year! The event will take place July 16-18 in Rosemont, Illinois. Register by June 19 to take advantage of Early Bird prices!