CAF (Common Attribute Framework) – An Introduction
Author: Stephen Brawn, Northwestern University
Blog Series Overview:
The Campus Solutions 9.2 Blog Series is sponsored and hosted by the HEUG Campus Community Advisory Group, with the intention to assist and educate the user community on features and functionality specific to Campus Solutions 9.2. To view other articles in the series, please go to the Article Index for the Campus Solutions 9.2 Blog Series.
The intent of this article is to introduce the Common Attribute Framework (CAF) and how it can be used, as delivered, and without customizations, to extend data fields on many delivered components and pages.
The Common Attribute Framework (CAF) allows administrative staff – developers and analysts – to extend delivered components and pages in the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions product, and expose additional, and related, data points to be collected by the user. To be able to use CAF on a delivered component/page, the component/page must first be CAF enabled. The CAF framework was first released in Campus Solutions 9.0 and Oracle, as delivered, has CAF enabled many components/pages. Additionally, Oracle is constantly adding more CAF enabled components/pages in PUM images.
Utilizing the CAF framework to collect and store additional data points on already CAF enabled components/pages is a relatively straight forward process that only involves setup and not development. However, if you wanted to CAF enable a component/page that is not already delivered enabled, then a little development work is required. While this article only focuses on utilizing the CAF framework on already CAF enabled components/pages, a future article in the CC AG’s 9.2 Educational Blog Series will cover CAF enabling a component/page and more advanced uses of the CAF framework.
Steps to Add a New CAF Attribute to an Enabled Component/Page
The following steps walk you through the process, at a very basic level, for creating a custom attribute and associating it to a CAF enabled component/page. For more details and options, please see the Oracle documentation noted in the Reference section at the bottom of this article.
- Create a new CAF attribute:
- Navigate to Main Menu -> Set Up SACR -> Common Definitions -> Common Attributes Setup -> Common Attribute and choose “Add a New Value.”
- Once you have added your new value, you need to associate some characteristics to it, such as: a description, attribute type, and attribute format.
- There are many attribute types available including: Date, Time, Yes/No, Number, Long Text, Text, Short Text, and List of Values. For more details on the types of attributes available how to use them, please refer to the Oracle documentation referenced at the bottom of this article.
- Associate the new CAF attribute to a CAF enabled Record Context:
- Navigate to Main Menu -> Set Up SACR -> Common Definitions -> Common Attributes Setup -> Record Context, and select the Record Context that you want to add an attribute to.
- As delivered, a record context is a pointer to the record where the extended data is stored, and this record is used by one – or many – delivered component(s)/page(s) to display and collect the extended data.
- Once you have located the Record Context that you want to associate your new CAF attribute with, open the respective setup pages. As delivered, all of the required setup, including descriptions and display settings, have already been populated, and unless you want to change anything, all you need to do to enable your CAF Attribute on this Record Context, is to add a row in the “Attributes” grid and choose your new attribute. Ensure that you make your attribute “Active” and note that you have some options for your attribute, including making it required on any components/pages that this record context is associated with.
- Verify that you have associated your CAF value properly:
- Navigate to the delivered component/page that you have just associated an attribute to and verify that you can see your new CAF attribute and add data to it. For information on how to determine which component(s)/page(s) your Context Definition is associated with, please see the section on this topic at the bottom of this article.
How to Query CAF Data
Often you will want to have a way to query attribute data rather than looking at the data on the component/page in the PIA. Querying the data is very easy, as it is stored in a database record. To find the record that is associated with the Record Context you are using, open the Record Context, and you will be able to find the Associated Record referenced in the respective setup pages for the Context.
How to Identify Components/Pages that are Delivered as CAF Enabled
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to use the setup pages to identify which delivered components/pages a Context Definition is associated with. You will need to look at the descriptions of the context definitions to see if one of them relates to the type of data you want to extend, and from there, you will need to note the associated record on the context definition and use Application Designer to find the components/pages that is it associated with.
Oracle Docs – Understanding Common Attribute Framework: https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E56917_01/cs9pbr4/eng/cs/lscc/concept_UnderstandingCommonAttributeFramework -298000.html#topofpage