Author: Phil Wilkins Page 1 of 6
TOGAF 9 Certified Enterprise Integration Architect & Oracle Ace Associate
UKOUG Middleware Special Interest Committee Member
Setting up calendar schedules that aren’t simply reoccurring, such as a specific date in a month like 28th or third Friday, become more of a challenge with the OIC Scheduler. The calendar works with the ical standard set by the IETF standard 2445. If you review the standard’s section 4.3.0, this describes the reoccurrence options, whilst able, not able to address these needs.
Reoccurring on specific dates can, in theory, be set. If you review section 4.3.4, you will see a date has the potential to be defined as a comma-separated list. So multiple dates for month-end can be provided as a list. Note, this is predicated on the calendar attribute supporting date-mday (DATE). The DTSTART and DTEND attributes accept DATE with no indication that the date-mday is not supported.
Specifying the dates explicitly overcomes the problems of national holidays. The downside is that you need to know when the list needs to be extended and, in the case of OIC, the means to edit the scheduler format safely.
NOTE: we have not tested whether the OIC scheduler is compliant with the use of date-mday at the time of writing.
Complex formulas for scheduling and more manageable scheduling..
There are several options for managing reoccurring events, such as month-end, year-end accounting, payroll and expenses payments etc.
In most options, we assume that we have a simple reoccurring schedule that triggers an integration that determines whether the trigger is legitimate. This could be as simple as daily. If valid, then invoking the main integration with the business process.
This approach makes it very easy to adjust and test. Whether there are any more future schedule dates can also be overcome by having an integration that queries the table for the next date being set. If not date set, then the generate relevant alerts using OCI native tools.
The schedule is triggered regularly, e.g. daily, and the scheduler trigger invokes an integration then looks up the DB to see if the date appears in the list. When the date appears, then the integration is executed. It would be straightforward to extend this to trigger different schedules.
If an algorithm can be described for when the month-end processes should be performed, we eliminate the need to manage a list of dates. There are some ways to implement a formula, and you have the option of trying to do it OIC, but using OCI Functions – the formula is coded in the language of your choice and then packaged and deployed. The Function is then invoked using a REST web service to confirm whether the process should run (more on how here).
Handling public and national holidays. Not all national holidays are locked into an algorithm, or the holiday is fairly complex. That said, there are several API sources available that can tell you these dates, for example, https://holidayapi.com; this makes things easier.
The beauty of this process is that the same Function could keep a company website up to date with the next run date. Be integrated into corporate notifications and so on. As a result, one point of truth.
Enhanced Automation (feature wish …)
Unfortunately, OIC doesn’t provide an API to add new schedules. We can’t simplify the integration logic until it does, which adds the next calculated date for the process to run as a one-off schedule.
It appears to have been an unusually quiet month, but that could be a reflection of the OIC release cycle as we’ll probably hear about the next feature set updates late in July.
If you’ve attended an Oracle conference or just aware of the wider Oracle ecosystem, then you’ll know of the Oracle APEX community and probably one of the communities’ highly respected and much-loved contributors, Joel Kallman. Sadly, Joel has passed on, another victim of Covid19. Our thoughts go out to Joel’s family and the community who have lost someone they value so much.
Blink and it’s another month gone. But Oracle has been very very busy as we come around for the latest quarterly updates and the details published. Plus a lot about Oracle Hospitality Integration Hub (OHIP) which builds upon OIC.
Time flies, with a 1/4 of a year behind us already including the first quarterly release. Last month we’ve seen a lot of attention around Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform (OHIP) which brings together different Hospitality cloud services as well as using technologies such as Integration Cloud to make it easy to interface 3rd party solutions.
OIC has for some time now provided an FTP adaptor and more recently included a full FTP server capability. But both have limits on the file size and capacity. The file constraints (1GB for a file and 500GB for the FTP server) shouldn’t be an issue for day to day activities. But OIC is often used to support SaaS Financials and other cloud solutions which do have monthly process cycles which can generate significant data volumes, for example, payroll data. The question is how to handle such data with such constraints?
There is a school of thought that points to the possibility when handling such large data volumes we should consider using Data Integration rather than a more event-centric integration tool. Personally, I think there is a lot of validity in the argument, and anyone dealing with such bulky data activities should review and question if it is a better answer.
That said, there are cases where it does stand-up. For example:
- If an organization is transitioning to a more event-driven or at least micro-batch model, you have to start the transition somewhere, but trying to line up changes everywhere can be problematic, so we have to start somewhere. Building an integration process so you have an event model developed, but in the interim, you need to take that bulk mechanism and convert it to a small stream of events.
- You may be working with a bulk data extract and only need a small subset of the data provided, it won’t help if the data is also represented using a verbose notation such as XML.
How to overcome the constraint? Oracle databases aren’t so constrained, and SQLLoader can provide an easy means to ingest the data into a staging table. The benefit of this is:
- if you’re only needing a subset of the data you can pull just those columns from the table.
- the bulk of the use of XML to be self-describing can be shed through using the DB schema as being more prescriptive.
- SQL scripts can handle the checksum records removing that data and overhead from the integration process, leaving you to concentrate more on the business process.
If the data is still substantial once in the database there are a number of strategies to consume the data in more manageable chunks, such as
- Running SQL script on the database that takes each row and calls the OIC as a restful API point. This approach is potentially very interesting as it may then mean if you’re moving towards an event process in the future the API endpoint represents the future state and the database stored procedure is mimicking the future client behaviour.
- Use polling strategies and result set limits to control how much data is processed in a single execution of the integration. This approach does mean the integration needs to tag which records have been processed to avoid re-reading them.