Customizing Navigation Flow in Oracle EPBCS: A demonstration

What makes iPhones so alluring to the many business professional around the world? It’s Apple’s ability to maintain it’s simple and user friendly interface regardless of the many updates. It also helps iPhone users organize their cellphone content into convenient folders that clusters similar applications together for fast accessibility.

Similarly, the simplified user interface with PBCS has always been a user friendly experience with an intuitive layout that helps users seamlessly navigate around the application. From the beginning it also included a feature called Task Lists that would give guided instructions to planners completing their reporting.

Recently, EPBCS has brought something new to the table. A feature that exists right on the home screen and to many, may seem a bit familiar to Task Lists. The Navigation Flow feature helps organize components of the application while maintaining that user friendly, colorful design we see on the home screen. Controlled solely by the administrator, Navigation Flow can be used to assign EPBCS components to new cards, give asses to certain members or groups, and create multiple variations of Navigation Flows while activating and deactivating them one at a time. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at creating customized clusters and cards while also understanding the different accessibility options joined with Navigation Flow.

Watch the demonstration!

Read the full blog post!

First off let’s get ourselves familiar with the feature itself.

Above is a screenshot of the home screen of an EPBCS application through an administrators view. You’ll notice the little icons on the right side are all referred to as Cards or Clusters. Cards are the icons that lead you to a single component of the application. While Clusters are treated as a type of folder, holding several other cards. Since I’m an administrator, I can see all of the cards and clusters on my home screen. However, this might not be true for users with alternative roles.

When clicking on a cluster, you can see that there is a pop-up that appears which contains individual Cards. A Cluster, “Application”, was created to contain all specific components of EPBCS that would usually be accessible through the Navigation Bar on the top left hand corner. This is just one of many examples that show the use of a Card and Cluster combination. EPBCS is giving us a feature where administrators can personalize their home screen based on components of the application they or their Interactive Users may use more often.

In order to access Navigation Flow, click on the Tools Cluster on the home screen, this will lead you to a pop-up where you can now click on Navigation Flow.

Clicking on the Navigation Flow Icon will open up a single page. Two things to note here:

  • Notice how the same cards that were seen under the Tools Cluster are now displayed on the top horizontally.
  • On the Navigation Flow page itself, you’ll notice a single “Default” Navigation flow that has no Roles/Groups specified. You can also see that by default, since it’s the only option available, it’s the Navigation Flow that is activated.

On the right side of the screen, there is a settings icon that gives you two options:


In order to create a new Navigation Flow, create a copy of the default Navigation Flow and begin the customization process. Creating a copy of the default Navigation Flow gives you the ability to have all the options available to remove or add certain artifacts based on your preference.

Starting off, let’s go ahead and click “Create Copy” under the settings icon. This will ask us to enter a name for the copy we’ve created, here we’ve named in “Demo Navigation Flow”

Demo Navigation Flow is now viewable under possible Navigation Flows. It’s important to note that in order to make any edits to a Navigation Flow, it has to be “Inactive”. Navigation Flows that are “Active” cannot be edited. Click on “Demo Navigation Flow” to edit it.

Once the editing screen opens up, we’re able to see all the options provided. Right underneath Demo Navigation Flow, is a description textbox. To the right, there are four buttons two of which are highlighted above. The two highlighted buttons on the top right allow you to Add Clusters or Cards.

Now take a look on the right at the horizontal settings that are displayed right above the first cluster “Financials”. Navigation Flow allows you to make certain Cards or Clusters visible, change the order of which you see each Cluster or Card, and give you the ability to remove a cards and clusters as well. After working with Cards and its properties for a bit, I believe the best way to understand how to customize Cards is by drawing a parallel between the existing cards on the Navigation Flow screen with how they interact on the homepage.

So let’s begin by expanding the “Financials” cluster and start looking at the “Balance Sheet” Card.

Expanding “Financials” will show you all the cards under this cluster, similar to what we see when we click “Financials” on the home page:

After clicking on “Balance Sheet” we see the following:

Here we can see that “Balance Sheet” is placed under the “Financial” Cluster

2 “Page Type” and “Orientation” determine how the viewers will see this Card once they click on it. Setting “Page Type” to “Tabular Page” specifies that the options seen in should be seen as tabs. The “vertical” option set in “Orientation” specifies that these options seen in should be displayed vertically. Also notice, how the icons chosen in point 4 are again displayed below in the card. Refer to the screenshot below to understand the format more clearly:

3 Here’s where things get a little more interesting. As pointed out, We’re going to click on each Tab and take a closer look at their setting and preferences.

Clicking on Overview opens up the following Tab. Here we can see that we’re dealing with the same settings as we did before. However we decide to define Overview, is exactly what we’ll see when we look at Overview via the home screen. Now, let’s click on “Balance Sheet” and see where it takes us:

Clicking on “Balance Sheet” takes us in even deeper where we specify the “Page Type” we’ll be dealing with and the type of content we want to select. Here, we’ve decided to select a dashboard “OFS_Balance Sheet”. This is what end-users see from the home screen:

You see here that the “OFS_Balance Sheet” dashboard is displayed above.

Driver and Trend Based – Here’s a good example of adding more tabs to a single card.

Here you can see that this Tab is built on multiple subtabs, each representing a form or a dashboard. For this example, we won’t be clicking on each subtab, but the key features that we will be pointing out here is how the “Tabular Page” looks like if we build the orientation to be “Horizontal”. Below is how the Tab looks like to end-users:

By marking it as horizontal, you have the ability to click between forms and dashboards making it easy to reference different forms without losing your place on another form.

Direct Entry – Similar to Driver and Trend Based, Direct Entry also contains multiple tabs that make is convenient to switch between forms. View the settings below:

Now take a look at how these settings affect the display:

Now that we were able to get a preview of what each setting does in cards, let’s go ahead and create a cluster with our own personalized cards!

First things first, I’m going to go ahead and create our customized cluster and call it “Cluster-Demo”

Next, I’m going to go ahead and create three customized cards.

  1. Dashboard –Demo : This card will display a dashboard
  2. Tabular –Demo: This card will display the different preferences that come with a “Page Type” that’s Tabular Page
  3. Single Page –Demo: This card will display the preferences that come with a “Page Type” that’s Single Page

So far in this blog, we’ve seen the use of “Tabular Page”, which will be familiar once again when we go about creating the “Tabular –Demo” Card.

Once we’ve named our card, we also went ahead and specified the Cluster we’d like to the card to be contained in, here it’ll be the cluster we created earlier, “Dashboard –Demo”. The “Page Type” we’ve kept here is “Single Page” which means that this is the only content that will pop up when we select this card. Selecting Artifact from “Content Type” gives you the ability to choose two options, Forms and Dashboards. Clicking on the magnifying class will open up a library for you to search what you’re looking for. Here, we’ve selected “OFS_Balance Sheet”.

Now that we’ve created and specified this card, we’re going to go ahead and create the next card, “Tabular –Demo”.

Creating “Tabular –Demo” is as straightforward as the “Balance Sheet” card we looked at earlier:

As you can see, above we’ve set the “Page Type” to be “Tabular Page”. This will allows us to add multiple components to a single card. Here, our single Tab “Form-Demo” has three different forms associated with it:

Again, this is a similar setting we saw earlier in the “Balance Sheet” card. Next, let’s look at our last Card, “Single Page –Demo”:

Here we’ve set the “Page Type” to “Single Page” and “Content Type” to Custom. The Custom drop-down menu allows us to use a variety of options including, Dashboards, Task Lists, Forms, Rules, Approvals, and Reports. For this example, I’ve selected Rules. Once I’ve made my selection, I’m going to go ahead and click on Save and Close.

Our Demo Navigation Flow is finally customized with our new “Cluster-Demo”. Now all we need to take care of is, activating the Navigation Flow and then logging off the interface. In order to see the new Navigation Flow you’ve created, you must log off and log back in to see the changed.

And just like that, voilà! Your customized Cluster now appears on the home screen!

Blog post by Sana Saifuddin of Key Performance Ideas.

 

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