Have YOU considered using Common Attribute Framework (CAF)?

By Dorothy Chapman posted 08-31-2020 10:33 AM


What is Common Attribute Framework (CAF)?

The Common Attribute Framework is delivered functionality which allows users to add ‘unique fields’ to pages without customizing or creating a bolt-on.  This means that upgrades and PUM Images won’t overwrite your CAF fields and you’ll have fewer issues when testing! As a framework, CAF can be used in all business areas of Campus Solutions. CAF fields can be used to collect and store data unique to your institution, province, state or country!

CAF was released in Campus Solutions 9.0 (Bundle 26, 2012) and Oracle continues to add more CAF enabled components/pages in PUM Image releases. For example, PI 12 – Course Catalog and PI 15 – Student Groups.

About CAF

Common attributes have properties:

  • Name
  • Type
  • Default value
  • Format (e.g. @ in email)

There are attribute types:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Yes/No
  • Number
  • Long text
  • Text (maximum 50 characters)
  • Short text (maximum 20 characters)
  • List of Values (LOV) [can use Filters to limit results based on another field]

There are three display options:

  • Link that opens a new ‘subpage’
    • Fixed in position
    • Not repeatable
    • Single column
  • Appears in a scroll area
    • Appear on main data page
    • Repeatable
  • Custom Common Attribute Application Programming Interface (API) – not covered as it requires programming

Check to see if CAF is enabled where you need it

Does an attribute exist? Do a quick search – the result will depend on your PUM Image.

  • Set Up SACR > Common Definitions > Common Attribute Setup > Common Attribute

Is the CAF enabled on a delivered record? Search for the Record.

  • Set Up SACR > Common Definitions > Common Attribute Setup > Record Context

Is a PIA page enabled to display the attribute?  Look at the page, does is have:

  • a link such as Additional Fields, Formal Description, Attributes
  • or a scroll area like ‘Additional Test Data’, then CAF may enabled. 
  • Still not sure?  Use Application Designer to examine the page.

CAF Implementation Considerations

  • Evaluate the business/use case for new field(s) on page.
  • Have a coding convention; can it be maintained long term?
  • Ongoing work to maintain customizations of menus, pages, records, fields (and potentially setup tables too) vs delivered CAF functionality?
  • Technical vs Functional resources to build & maintain the new fields(s)?
  • Long term, how many new fields could potentially be added to the page?
  • What is the correct level (on the page) to place the CAF?
  • Think about ‘date’ vs ‘effective date’.
  • How should the new field(s) display on the page? Link vs scroll area vs custom?
  • Brand new field(s) vs de-customizing?
  • If de-customizing, think about downstream processing & data conversion.
  • Other processes updating the page – do they insert child CAF row?
  • Include new attributes in end-user training, test plans, query.

Remember: CAF is different from Page and Field Configurator. The Page and Field Configurator functionality permits the configuration of page and field properties including: hiding a field or page/tab, changing a field label, adding a default value to a field, making a field or page read-only, and/or making a field mandatory (required).

Entity Sync Process after CAF Setup

There is integration between the Entity Registry and the new Common Attributes Framework. Attributes will automatically be handled as properties on the entity. On the CAF Record Context page, there is a place to enter the ‘Entity Name:’.  This means that after CAF setup is completed, the Entity Sync process must be run.

  • Set Up SACR > System Administration > Entity > Entity Property Sync

CAF Security

Security setup for business end-users: NONE! CAF takes on the permissions of the parent record/page.

  • The good: no extra security setup
  • Maybe not so good: can’t have different security for the main page and a CAF subpage

Security for systems team(s):

  • Menu: SCC_CAF_COMMON_ATTRIBUTES - Common Attribute Framework
    • Components:
      • SCC_CAF_ ATTRIBS Common Attribute
      • SCC_CAF_ATTR_TYPE Attribute Type
      • SCC_CAF_REC_ATTRIB Record Context
      • SCC_LOV_DEFN CAF Values
    • Menu: SCC_ENTITY - Scc Entity
      • Component: SCC_ENTITY_SYNC Entity Sync (Process)

Querying on CAF

Add CAF records to the appropriate Query tree to get attribute descriptions, types, values, etc. There are the ‘setup’ CAF records and ‘area’ specific CAF records. To check ‘area’ specific, use the ‘Record Context’ setup page to find the ‘Attribute Record’. Here are a few CAF tables of possible interest:

  • SCC_CAF_ATTRIBS – Attribute Table
  • SCC_CAF_ATTRTYP – Item Attribute Definition
  • SCC_CAF_RATRHDR – Record Attributes (Header)
  • SCC_CAF_RECATTR – Record Attributes
  • SCC_CAF_ATRFRMT – Attribute Format
  • SAD_APPL_CAF – Admission Application CAF
  • SAD_APL_CAF_STG – Application Data (Staging table)
  • SAD_PROG_CAF – Applicant Program CAF table
  • SAD_PRG_CAF_STG – Application Program (Staging table)
  • SAD_TESTDT_CAF – Prod Test Score Attrb
  • SCC_CAF_PERSBIO – CAF Personal
  • EXT_ORG_TBL_CA – External Organization Table
  • SSR_PLAN_CAF – Student Plan CAF Table

CAF Resources

Check out some Oracle information and conference presentations for more details on setup, use cases, tips, lessons learned and security!

Alliance 2015: 34102 Getting Started with the Common Attribute Framework (CAF)

Alliance 2016

  • 35651 Using Common Attribute Framework in Admissions and External Organizations
  • 35591 Embracing Common Attribute Framework in a Business Process

EMEA 2016: 37049 Common Attribute Framework for Everyone, not just Bravehearts!

Alliance 2019: 5845 Common Attribute Framework: From the Basics to Advanced

Oracle Documentation: