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Siebel 15: CRM Composer Overview

15 May 2015

Alexander Hansal explores the CRM Composer Developer preview...

When IP 2015 was announced earlier this year, one feature in particular caused a stir among the Siebel community: Tools on the web. Those who were lucky enough to get a seat in the OpenWorld session in fall 2014 saw an early preview of accessing – and modifying – Siebel repository data from a web client. Soon the Siebel community had a common moniker: “tools_enu”, from the virtual directory name that showed up in the demo.

Here at the Siebel Hub, we are excited about the developer preview of Siebel Web Tools (another name and actually the official one) that comes with IP 2015. In this and future articles we will kick the tires of the new vehicle that will drive Siebel to the cloud.

 Siebel 2015 CRM Composer Overview

Siebel Web Tools. 

Let’s start with some facts:

This is a Developer Preview, and the new bookshelf guide (which you should read in its entirety) makes it clear that it is in no way ready for production environments. Here is what Oracle officially says on the first pages of this guide:

Do not implement Siebel CRM Composer in a production environment because this preliminary release of the software is not ready for implementation. Experiment with Siebel CRM Composer in an isolated development environment that will never go to actual production. Do not implement Siebel CRM Composer in the Siebel Enterprise (logical grouping of server components, with one enterprise database and one Siebel Gateway Name Server) for a production environment.

Well, that is actually quite clear, nothing to add here.

Another fact is that Siebel Web Tools is just one of what are now more than 80 application definitions in the Siebel repository. It has screens, views and applets and can be run as a web client (with its own object manager and virtual directory) or as a developer web client (which is a nice experiment per se but probably not what Oracle had in mind).

So once you have installed (or migrated/upgraded to) IP 2015, you can simply log in to Siebel Web Tools and take a look around. In this first developer preview, many prominent repository objects are exposed, but not all. The following is a list of all repository object types that are supported in CRM Composer Developer Preview in IP 2015:

  • Applet
  • Application
  • Business Component
  • Business Object
  • Business Service
  • Class
  • Command
  • DLL
  • Integration Object
  • Link
  • Menu Table
  • Message Category
  • Pick List
  • Project
  • Screen
  • Symbolic String
  • Type
  • View
  • Web Page
  • Web Template

Access to the object definitions is accomplished via list applets. There are no graphical aides like drag-and-drop editors, property window, expression designer or detail views. We will have to wait for future releases for these (see below).

Locking and Unlocking

When you want to edit an object definition, you select Lock Object from the applet menu, make the modifications by updating or inserting records and then unlock the object again by selecting Unlock Object from the applet menu.

Fellow hubster Richard has recorded a video where you can see CRM Composer in action: Click here to access the video.

In the next article, we’ll walk through a simple modification scenario.

Publishing Modified Objects

Modified objects are no longer compiled to the SRF but monitored and ‘published’ via click of a button in the new Administration – Runtime Configuration screen. After publishing you can simply log off and on again to the respective application and verify that the changes have been picked up.

Besides bringing repository data to a web application, CRM Composer introduces some very interesting features that will change the way we work with Siebel CRM:

Web Template Migration

During migration to IP 2015, the content of Siebel Web Template files (SWT) is migrated to new tables in the repository. This means we can now edit the structure of web templates directly in Siebel Web Tools. The following screenshot illustrates this:

Siebel 2015 CRM Composer Overview 2 

Web Template Items list in Siebel Web Tools.

The screenshot shows the Web Template Items list applet for the CCFrameBanner web template, which you might be familiar with since it defines the placeholder for the application logo.

Expressions

Using Siebel Query Language, we can now (finally) enter expressions to define when a particular element (applet control, list column or an entire applet in a view) is rendered. For example, you can limit the rendering of an applet in a view to a certain group of users by evaluating profile attributes.

More Responsive Web Design

Not only have the web templates been migrated to the database, the hierarchy is also flatter than in previous releases. For example, table elements are no longer used to position controls in form applets. The flatter web template hierarchy allows for more efficient HTML rendering, resulting in a “more responsive” web design.

As of IP 2015, many applets and views are already in “Responsive” mode, a new property that can be verified in the applet list. To benefit from the more responsive templates, we have to set the EnableResponsive parameter of the Siebel application object manager component to TRUE. As a result, the HTML rendering will be done completely on the server in one go.

The Future of CRM Composer

Let me quote the new bookshelf guide once again with a list of enhancements that are planned for CRM Composer (and no, Oracle didn’t put a date on these…)

  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) display and drag-and-drop functionality in the user interface.
  • Drop-down lists of values for some fields to replace free form text fields in which you enter data.
  • Access to Siebel CRM Composer from within the Siebel application.
  • Management of a multi-user development environment for Siebel CRM Composer.
  • Publication of repository changes in a development, test, and production environment, where the changes are implemented without having to restart the server.

Summary

Siebel CRM Composer (Developer Preview) allows us to get a glimpse of the way we will work with Siebel CRM in the near future. By gradually moving all relevant development tools to the browser, Oracle opens Siebel for the cloud.

Source: Siebel Hub

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