One small step for man, one giant leap for Web ADI

by Kenny Miller, Principal Consultant for Rocela

I recently blogged about ”BI Publisher becoming every accountant’s best friend”. However, as we all know, it’s difficult to keep an accountant happy for long. They’ll likely soon be asking an awkward question of their new best buddy:

“OK, I can see that BI Publisher is great for downloading data from Oracle EBS (E-Business Suite) straight into Excel, but can I do it the other way round? Can I upload data from Excel into Oracle EBS?”

BI Publisher is a reporting tool. It can’t upload data into Oracle EBS. So what other options are available?

Many of us will have developed custom CSV interfaces, where users create data in Excel, save it as a CSV file, which they somehow transfer to the Oracle EBS server, before SQL*Loader (or External Tables, if you’ve “moved with the times”) populates the data into a temporary table where finally it’s processed by a custom program using a standard API or interface. A convoluted solution which has its problems:

  • Having so many “moving parts” means there are a number of different ways for the whole thing to fall over in a crumpled heap (technical term, meaning to “perform sub-optimally”).
  • It’s difficult in Excel to validate the data to be accurate and relevant, without resorting to something complicated like ODBC or Visual Basic. For example, does a cost centre value entered in Excel actually exist in Oracle EBS, is an accounting date in an open period etc?

If you’re interested enough to still be reading then I expect you already know all about Client and Web ADI in Oracle EBS (for those of you still on 11i, be aware that it is Web ADI only in R12). Application Desktop Integrator (ADI) is Oracle’s standard tool for connecting Oracle EBS with MS Office tools e.g. HR letter generation using MS Word, and uploading GL journals using MS Excel.

The problem with ADI had always been that only Oracle could decide what you used it for. There was no supported way to create your own ADI document for something that Oracle hadn’t already provided. HR users have always “felt the love” from Oracle who provided them with numerous standard ADI documents. Unfortunately most of our accountant friends missed out on an invite to the ADI party. Oracle doesn’t provide even a single standard ADI document for either Payables or Receivables, so you won’t be using ADI to load your supplier invoices or your cash receipts.

However, this has all now changed! Available from R12.1.2 onwards is the “Desktop Integration Framework” (DIF)! Finally there is a supported way of creating custom ADI documents, allowing data to be properly validated and processed through any interface or API into Oracle EBS. Only time will tell if this is a “giant leap for Web ADI” but it’s certainly a welcome new option to have available, and one I thought you’d like to know about it.

If you want to learn more then I’d recommend the following material:

  • Oracle note 807319.1 which lists all the Transfer of Information (TOI) content for R12.1. Search the note for “Implement and Use Oracle E-Business Suite Desktop Integration Framework” and you’ll find a very informative eSeminar.
  • The “Oracle E-Business Suite Desktop Integration Framework Developer’s Guide” in the documentation library, which for R12.1.3 is available here.

I’m hoping to use DIF soon to develop a custom ADI document for a client. I’ll blog again once I’ve done so – I’m sure you’d like to know if the reality lives up to the hype. In the meantime, if you have any experiences with DIF you’d like to share, then please let me know.

 

 

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