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Isolating Customizations in PeopleSoft: Have It Your Way

At COLLABORATE 19, Matthew Haavisto, part of the PeopleTools team, spoke about approaches and tools that help with isolating customizations in your PeopleSoft system. He covered the five major PeopleSoft initiatives, the benefits of configuration and customization isolation, the features available in PeopleSoft to help minimize the impact of change, and what enhancements are on the roadmap.

5 Major PeopleSoft Initiatives

There are five major PeopleSoft initiatives that inform every aspect of PeopleSoft.

  1. Optimizing the user experience to make users more productive
  2. Automating lifecycle processes to make adoption of new features easier
  3. Isolating customizations to make applying changes easier
  4. Preparing to adopt new technology
  5. Migrating to the Oracle cloud to reduce costs

Two of these areas of focus tend to become lumped together – optimizing the user interface and isolating customizations. In actuality, these are two very different actions with very different consequences.

When optimizing the user interface, the user creates his ideal home pages and utilizes navigation collections that are unique to his enterprise. These personalizations are made through configuration and are not done in development. They are beneficial because they are easy to do without writing code. However, they do not have the same impact as removing and isolating customizations.

Unlike creating a personalized homepage, removing and isolating customizations changes the data and logic of applications. Overall, this practice minimizes the impact of change, makes new Image updates easier, cheaper, and faster, and allows you to continue meeting unique and important requirements. The PeopleSoft team understands that the default offering may not be a realistic solution across the board, but customization isolation could be ideal for several situations.

2 Approaches for Isolating Customizations

There are two approaches for isolating customizations:

  1. Big Bang
  2. Incremental

The Big Bang approach involves a one-time effort to isolate as many customizations possible. Tools like Event Mapping, Drop Zones, and Page and Field Configurator are used to the fullest extent possible in this approach. The Big Bang approach allows you to plan for 80 percent isolation or more.

With the incremental approach, the user migrates customization when it shows as a conflict in a Change Assistant Compare Report. Over time, product areas that are changed more frequently will be returned to generic. It is executed in each PeopleSoft Update Manager (PUM) apply cycle.

Features in PeopleSoft that can help with minimizing the impact of change and isolating customizations include:

  • Event Mapping
  • Drop Zones
  • Page and Field Configurator
  • Page Composer
  • Forms Builder

The last two options are somewhat limited in scope, so Haavisto focused on the first three throughout his presentation.

Isolating Customizations with Event Mapping

Event Mapping changes the logic of your application. You can write custom code and implement it as an AppClass method that runs before or after built-in exit points in PeopleSoft delivered events. You have complete access to the Component Buffer, meaning your code is equal to PS code and executed just as effectively. It is assigned through the Related Content Framework, or at the component level.

In App Designer, there is now an Event Mapping indicator. If you click that button, you have a visual indicator that PeopleCode is mapped to events in a component. If you go to the Event Mapping tab and click on one of the maps, it will show you where those events might be used in other components. You can re-use some of these, and this is a good way to track it.

Benefits and Considerations for Event Mapping

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when you start looking at leveraging Event Mapping:

  • PeopleCode only
  • Component-based PeopleCode
  • It’s not object-oriented – it’s injected and run before or after
  • Can’t change any delivered PeopleCode
  • Lifecycle tools are not currently Event Map aware

However, there are many benefits to using Event Mapping. Some of the benefits include:

  • Custom PeopleCode can be kept separate from delivered code
  • Complete access to Component Buffer (no limits)
  • Page Activate, Row (Delete, Insert, Edit Init), Save (Edit, PostChg, PreChg), FieldChange are events added in PeopleTools 8.56
  • PeopleTools shows where Event Map exists

Customers should migrate existing custom code and build new with Event Mapping. PeopleSoft plans to enhance Event Mapping to cover more customization use cases in the future.

Isolating Customizations with Drop Zones

Where Event Mapping covers the logic of an application, Drop Zones cover the data. You can add fields, labels, etc. to a Drop Zone on a page. It is not touched by the Compare Report. Drop Zones streamline the process of customizations and protect your content from unwanted influences.

Typically, there are two Drop Zones on supported pages – usually placed at the top and bottom of the page. In order to use one, the customer-developer should create a subpage that is inserted into the subpage stub in the Drop Zone. Next, associate the Fluid subpage to a Drop Zone. Then, configure your component to assign that subpage to the component. There may be more than one Drop Zone available. In this case, identify the applicable drop zone by the label on its group box. Finally, add the dynamic subpage to Drop Zone and save the configuration.

Do not add your own Drop Zones to pages. This would be a customization and would defeat the purpose of Drop Zones.

Benefits and Considerations for Drop Zones

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when you start looking at leveraging Drop Zones:

  • Remains work for developers (App Designer)
  • Will not reduce implementation or customization time
  • Some pages don’t work and will not work
  • No support for Classic pages (planned)

However, there are many benefits of using Drop Zones. Some of the benefits include:

  • Customer added fields with no lifecycle impact
  • The full power of PeopleTools within Drop Zones
  • Will reduce lifecycle management time for pages with custom fields
  • Drop Zone work on Fluid pages

Another key advantage of this process is that the saved Drop Zone looks like PeopleSoft delivered content to the end-user. It does not affect the Image uptake, and it will not appear on the Compare Report.

Application teams add Drop Zones to components that can support the feature. New Fluid components will be built with Drop Zones in mind, and the feature may be enhanced in the future to support more pages.

In order to leverage Drop Zones on a page, you must be on PeopleTools 8.57 or later. They are only enabled on Fluid pages for now, and they are not yet available on Fluid grids. Application Images with Drop Zones in Fluid pages will be identified on My Oracle Support.

Isolating Customizations with Page and Field Configurator

Page and Field Configurator is an easy tool that puts a front end on Event Mapping. With Page and Field Configurator, Metadata is captured to define common changes to pages. Now available on both Fluid and Classic, Page and Field Configurator generates the PeopleCode that Event Mapping uses. It is delivered in Enterprise components, not PeopleTools, so it is delivered when you take a new application Image. Additionally, it has a simple user interface.

The core capabilities of Page and Field Configurator include:

  • Hiding pages or fields
  • Changing labels
  • Disabling field entry
  • Defaulting values
  • Requiring field entry

Benefits and Considerations for Page and Field Configurator

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when you start looking at leveraging Drop Zones:

  • Does not work on all components
  • Can’t change some page behaviors
  • Not easy to debug page behaviors

However, there are many benefits of using Drop Zones. Some of the benefits include:

  • Works on existing and new components
  • Exceptional feature list
  • Great potential for new features
  • Component
  • Ability to add different configurations as part of a series

Customers should use Page and Field Configurator to migrate existing customizations away from delivered. It should also be used to modify new Fluid and Classic Plus components. The PeopleSoft Applications team will continue to use PeopleCode in a way that can be overridden.

All of these tools can assist users with isolating customizations within the PeopleSoft system. Leverage Event Mapping, Drop Zones, and Page and Field Configurator to isolate customizations and have PeopleSoft your way!

For more information about Event Mapping, Drop Zones, Page and Field Configurator, and the planned enhancements for each, check out the full COLLABORATE 19 presentation and additional Quest resources attached below.

Additional Resources

To learn from the experiences of your peers within the Quest Oracle Community, check out the PeopleSoft Customer Stories page that houses 30+ PeopleSoft customer stories about Selective Adoption, user experience, PeopleSoft in the Cloud, PeopleSoft Human Capital Management, PeopleSoft Enterprise Resource Planning, and PeopleSoft tools and technology!