SmartDB Corp.s latest version of its tool kit, SmartDB Workbench 10.0, promises to help systems integrators get their hands around the new API capabilities in Oracle E-Business Suite.
Oracle Corp. has plugged APIs into its E-Business Suite as a means to enable third-party applications and tools to capture and execute business rules within the database. It comes with hitches, though: According to Ronald Kok, managing director of the systems integrator Scamander Solution B.V. and a user of SmartDB Workbench, a major problem with using the new API functionality in E-Business Suite has been that you cant undo transaction processes if your datas dirty.
"Oracle is shifting more and more to loading to APIs—what they call open interfaces, or one Oracle table you fill with all the Oracle data you have," he said. "Theres one program behind it that processes it all into Oracle. When you process transactions into Oracle by using that, you cannot undo it. If the data is wrong, you have to develop a counter-transaction to get rid of [any bad] data. Thats a real pain."
Its not good for systems integrators because they need to have those errors in APIs reported directly into SmartDB reports, Kok said. "You want one report that contains all the errors of the data before theyre loaded into Oracle," he said. "These APIs, SmartDB was not capturing responses, because they didnt have an API loader. If were going to load data into Oracle using API loaders with SmartDB and they cant pick up errors, then we dont have a complete report of errors. That means customers cant solve the errors before they hit the database."
The benefits of APIs are that they give more options for real-time integration, which is a good thing, Kok said. Indeed, Oracle, SAP AG and Baan are moving to APIs, and the API loader problem is something hes found with those applications as well, he said.
To address the headache, SmartDB Workbench Version 10 has a new feature, Oracle API Loader. Workbench, a tool used by systems integrators to implement data conversions and interfaces for Oracle, provides a graphical interface to let users browse the Oracle repository, select APIs, map fields to appropriate parameters and load data to Oracle through the APIs. Workbench captures errors generated by Oracle and then reports them in log files along with SmartDB-generated log information.
Kok has been using the upgraded tool kit in his work as a subcontractor at one of Europes largest airports. The airport was consolidating on Oracle E-Business Suite, squeezing a slew of departments with separate administrations that handle airport infrastructure such as buildings and roads into one, centralized administration.
The key was to migrate all the data from the separate departments to one, big Oracle instance and to deliver reports while doing so. If the reports contained bad data, the airport had to be on top of fixing the errors.
Kok starting using Workbench 10.0 to generate reports about the data, complete with pointers to bad data, some three months ago. By doing a side-by-side comparison of data migration both with and without the tool kit, he found that SmartDB was resulting in an overall 40 percent savings in hours spent on unit testing, systems testing, integration testing and mappings.
"Now, we can support all the objects Oracle has APIs for, and that is a big set of useful APIs," he said. "In the past, we had to solve API issues by building our own programs."
The new version also includes an enhanced interface for rule definition with a new rules editor that employs a simpler point-and-click interface. Logging enhancements also ensure that data fields that cause errors are more easily identified, error messages are more descriptive, summary statistics are more meaningful and the log file layout overall is simpler.
For more information, go to SmartDBs site.