Using External REST Services with JDeveloper Part 3

In this blog we look how we can use an external REST service with JDev To make things more interesting we don’t use an ADF based REST service and we look how to get nested data into the UI.

For this sample we like to create an application which allows to search for music tracks and show the results in a table or listview. To get the music data we use a REST service and to display the data we use ADF faces application.

In Part 1 we create the application and the project for the REST Data Control. In Part 2 we started creating the UI using the REST Data Control. In this final part we are enhancing the UI by using nested data from the REST Web Service and add this as column to the search result table. Before we start we look at the use case again.

Use Case

Before we begin implementing something which uses the external REST service we have to think about the use case. We like to implement a music title search using the external MusicBrainz REST service. A user should be able to enter a music title or part of a music title and as a result of the search she/he should get a list of titles, the artist or artists, the album and an id.


Handling nested Data

The use case demands that we add the artist and the album the music track is on to the same table. A look at the table in it’s current layout, make this understandable.

First of all we need to identify the dat a we want to add to the table in the response we get from the service.

Let’s investigate the JSON data, part of it, we get from the service for the search for the track ‘yesterday’


   "created": "2017-08-02T12:42:48.815Z",
   "count": 5985,
   "offset": 0,
   "recordings": [
           "id": "465ad10d-97c9-4cfd-abd3-b765b0924e0b",
           "score": "100",
           "title": "Yesterday",
           "length": 243560,
           "video": null,
           "artist-credit": [
                   "artist": {
                       "id": "351d8bdf-33a1-45e2-8c04-c85fad20da55",
                       "name": "Sarah Vaughan",
                       "sort-name": "Vaughan, Sarah",
                       "aliases": [
                               "sort-name": "Sarah Vahghan",
                               "name": "Sarah Vahghan",
                               "locale": null,
                               "type": null,
                               "primary": null,
                               "begin-date": null,
                               "end-date": null
           "releases": [
                   "id": "f088ce44-62fb-4c68-a1e3-e2975eb87f52",
                   "title": "Songs of the Beatles",
                   "status": "Official",
                   "release-group": {
                       "id": "5e4838fa-07f1-3b93-8c9d-e7107774108b",
                       "primary-type": "Album"
                   "country": "US",

I marked the info ne need in blue in the data above. We see that the artist name is inside a list of name ‘artist_credit’ and that there can be multiple artists inside the ‘artist_credit’. This is a typical master/detail relationship.

The same is true for the album name which is an attribute inside a list of ‘releases’. The big question now is how do we get the nested data into the table as column.

When we expand the MusicBrainz Data Control we see the same structure we saw in the JSON data

So, the data is there, we only need to get to it. The data is structured like a tree and ADF is capable of accessing data in a tree structure (e.g. using an af:tree component). However, we like to use a simple table and don’t want to use a af:tree or af:treeTable. To get to the data, we first have to add the nested structure to the recordings binding we already use to display the current two columns of the table.

Right now we see the first level of the tree, the ‘recodrings’. Click the green ‘+’ sign to add the next level ‘artist_credit’

Add all attributes to the right side

As the artist name is still one level down, click the green ‘+’ sign again and add the ‘artist’ level

And shuffle the id and name attribute to the right side

Finnally we need to add the ‘releases’ level to get to the album name. For this select the ‘recordings’ level (the first) and click the green ‘+’ sign

And shuffle the id, title and track_count to the right side

Now all related data we need can be accessed via the ‘recordings’ binding.

We start with the artist column. Select the af:table in the structure window and open hte properties window

Click the green ‘+’ sign twice in the columns section to add two columns

Select the first added column (score in the image) and change the display label to ‘Artist’ and the component To Use’ to ‘ADF Output Text’. The second added column we change the display label to ‘Album’ and the ‘Component To Use’ again to ‘ADF Output Text’

We change the ‘Value Binding’ in the next step.

To get to the data for the artists we need to traverse two levels of sub rows. First level is the ‘artist_credit’, the second level is the artist itself. Here we have to keep in mind, that there can be more than one artist. In this case we have to join the names into one string for the table. As the ‘artist_credit’ itself can occur more than once, at least that’S what the data structure is telling us, we use an iterator to get the data.

The value property points to the current row and selects the ‘artist_creadit’. Each item we get from this iterator we access via the var property. So the item inside the iterator can be addressed as ‘artists’.

The artists can be one or more so we need another iterator to get to the artist data.

<af:iterator id="i2" value="#{artists.artist}" var="art" varStatus="artStat">

The value property for this iterator points to the artist we got from the outer iterator and is addressed as #{artists.artist}. To access attributes inside the artist data structure we use the var property and set it to ‘art’.

Now we have to somehow joint multiple artist names together if a track has more than one artist. The MusicBrainz Web Service helps us here by providing a ‘joinphrase’ which can be used to build one string for all artists. This ‘joinphrase’ can be .e.g a ‘&’ or a ‘,’. The full column code for the artist looks like

<af:iterator id="i2" value="#{artists.artist}" var="art" varStatus="artStat">

Here is some sample data for a search for the track ‘Something Stupid’ (to make it more readable I removed some attributes

"recordings": [
  "title": "Something Stupid",
  "artist-credit": [
    "joinphrase": " duet with ",
    "artist": {
     "name": "The Mavericks",
    "joinphrase": " & ",
    "artist": {
     "name": "Raul Malo",
    "artist": {
     "name": "Trisha Yearwood",

This data will be translated into the artist: “The Mavericks duet with Raul Malo & Trisha Yearwood”.

For the album column it’s easier. This too needs an iterator, but we don’t have to go down another level and we don’T have to join the data we get from the iterator. The column code for the album looks like

<af:iterator id="i1" value="#{row.artist_credit}" var="artists">
 <af:iterator id="i2" value="#{artists.artist}" var="art"
   <af:outputText value="#{}#{artists.joinphrase}" id="ot5"/>

The whole table for the search results look like

With this the page is ready and we can run the application. After start we see the page

Now entering a search term ‘something stupid’ into the search field will show

or trying the search with ‘dave’ will show

This concludes this mini series about how to use external REST Services and build an ADF UI from it.

The source code for this sample can be loaded from GitHub BlogUsingExternalREST. The sample was done using JDeveloper and don’t use a DB.


Using External REST Services with JDeveloper (Part 2)

In this blog we look how we can use an external REST service with JDev To make things more interesting we don’t use an ADF based REST service and we look how to get nested data into the UI.

For this sample we like to create an application which allows to search for music tracks and show the results in a table or listview. To get the music data we use a REST service and to display the data we use ADF faces application.

In Part 1 we create the application and the project for the REST Data Control. In Part 2 we start create the UI using the REST Data Control. Before we start we look at the use case again.

Use Case

Before we begin implementing something which uses the external REST service we have to think about the use case. We like to implement a music title search using the external MusicBrainz REST service. A user should be able to enter a music title or part of a music title and as a result of the search she/he should get a list of titles, the artist or artists, the album and an id.

Implementing the UI

In Part 1 we implemented the REST Data Control which we now use to build a small UI. Let’s look at the REST Web Service Data Control in the JDeveloper IDE

Above we see the data control ‘MusicBrainzJSONDC’ with it’s only resource recording, the input parameter names ‘query’ and the return data structure which was created using the sample JSON data we used when creating the REST Web Service Data Control.

When we query the resource we get back a complex data structure which give us information about how many results where found for the query and a list of ‘recordings’ which holds the artist names and the album names as ‘releases’.

To build the result table which should show the title id, the artist or artists and the album we have to go through all the nested data.

Setting up the search page

We start by adding a view the unbounded task flow adfc-config.xml which we name ‘MunicBrainz’ and create the page with a quick layout from the list

Make sure that you have selected to use ‘Facelets’! This will create a starter page with the layout selected. When the page is created it opens up in JDev like

We add an outputText component to the header and set the value to ‘MusicBrainz Test’

The resulting code looks like

For the layout we want to archive (search part and table to show the results) we need another grid row in the panelGridLayout. We drag a GridRow component from the ‘Component palette’ onto the panelGridLayout component in the structure window. You can use the source window too if you like. Dropping a new gridRow in the design isn’t recommended as it’s difficult to control the point where to insert the component.

Now we adjust the height of the rows and set the first row to 50 pixel, the second one to 100 pixel and leave the remaining height to the third gridRow:

Next we add the panelFormLayout holding the search field and the button to search for music tracks. For this we simply drag the ‘recording(String)’ operation from the MusicBrainzJSONDC data control onto the second grid row and drop it as ‘ADF Parameter Form’

we get a dialog showing us the methods parameter. Here we can bind the field to any other data field we like. However, in this case we leave it as is and just click OK

The framework wires everything up for us and we get the page as

Here we change the text on the button to ‘Search’

To see how things are wired up we look at the pagedef for the page

Here we see the method ‘recording’ and can expand it by clicking on the pencil icon

Where we see the details like where the parameter ‘query’ gets it’s value from (#{bindings.query.inputValue}). The ‘query’ binding is defined right above the recording method:

When we select the binding for ‘query’ wee see that the binding points to a variable defined in the pagedef (see Creating Variables and Attribute Bindings to Store Values Temporarily in the PageDef) which holds the value the user enters into the field. The recordings binding and the other stuff we talk about later.

Next up is creating the table with the results returned from the method call. For this we drag the recordings from the methodReturn binding onto the page and drop it as ADF Table into the third gridRow

To get the next dialog

Where we remove every attribute but the ‘id’ and the ‘title’ by selecting the rows and clicking the red ‘x’ icon. We set the row selection to single and make the table ‘read only’

The resulting page looks like

If we run the application now the UI comes up, but we’ll get an exception

Why’s that?

If we look into the servers log we see the error:-

<oracle.adf.view> <Utils> <buildFacesMessage> <ADF: Adding the following JSF error message: JBO-57001: Invocation of service URL used in connection failed with status code 400 Unable to parse search:tnum:.> JBO-57001: Invocation of service URL used in connection failed with status code 400 Unable to parse search:tnum:.
    at oracle.adfinternal.model.adapter.ChildOperation.getJerseyResponse(
    at oracle.adfinternal.model.adapter.ChildOperation.makeServerCall(
    at oracle.adfinternal.model.adapter.JSONChildOperation.invokeOperationInternal(
    at oracle.adfinternal.model.adapter.ChildOperation.invokeOperation(
    at oracle.adf.model.bean.DCBeanDataControl.invokeMethod(
    at oracle.adf.model.binding.DCInvokeMethod.callMethod(
    at oracle.jbo.uicli.binding.JUCtrlActionBinding.doIt(
    at oracle.adf.model.binding.DCDataControl.invokeOperation(
    at oracle.adf.model.bean.DCBeanDataControl.invokeOperation(
    at oracle.adf.model.adapter.AdapterDCService.invokeOperation(
    at oracle.jbo.uicli.binding.JUCtrlActionBinding.invoke(
    at oracle.jbo.uicli.binding.JUMethodIteratorDef$JUMethodIteratorBinding.invokeMethodAction(


Which doesn’t tell us more. What we see is that an ‘invokeMethod’ is the root cause. The reason is that when the pages loads, the iterators in the executable section of the pagedef are fired. As we saw we have two executables and those are giving us the errors.

As the field is empty the recordings method is called without a query parameter. If you mimic this in Postman with the query

we get

Exactly the same error, only this time as html.

To solve this problem we have to avoid calling the service without a parameter. This can easily be archived by adding an expression to the executable RefreshCondition property

This we have to both executables in the pagedef. After that running the application will get us


This ends part 2 of this series, due to the length and the number of images in this post. The remaining part 3 will cover how to use the nested data and to add it to the search result table and provide the link to the sample application.

JDeveloper: Advanced Skin Technique

This post is about an advanced technique to change the look and feel of an ADF application. Changes to the look & feel are normally done via a skin which you use to change descriptors which are used by the ADF components. The general technique to do this is described in many blogs and articles like ADF Faces Skin Editor – How to Work with It and the official documentation at Oracle ADF Skin Editor.

In this blog we look at an advanced technique which helps to change the look and feel of components like af:query and pf:panelCollection which you can’t change using the normal available descriptors. In the below image you see the Skin Editor showing the ADF components skin descriptors.


Use Case

In this use case we work with the af:panelCollection component. This component is used to wrap af:tree, af:treeTable and af:table components to provide additional functions. From the documentation of af:panelCollection

A panel component that aggregates collection components like table, treeTable and tree to display standard/application menus, toolbars and statusbar items.

The default top level menu and toolbar items vary depending on the component used as the child of the panelCollection.

  • For table, tree and treeTable, the default top level menu item is View.
  • For table and treeTable with selectable columns, the default top level menu items are View and Format.
  • For table and treeTable, the default toolbar item is Detach.
  • For table and treeTable with selectable columns, the default top level toolbar items are Freeze, Detach and Wrap.
  • For tree and treeTable, if the pathStamp facet is used, the toolbar buttons Go Up, Go To Top, Show as Top also appear.

The component allows us to switch off some function

Value Turns off
statusBar Status bar
viewMenu ‘View’ menu
formatMenu ‘Format’ menu
columnsMenuItem ‘Columns’ sub-menu item
columnsMenuItem:col1,col20 Columns with column ID: ‘col1’ and ‘col20’ inside ‘Columns’ sub-menu
freezeMenuItem ‘Freeze’ menu item
detachMenuItem ‘Detach’ menu item
sortMenuItem ‘Sort’ menu item
reorderColumnsMenuItem ‘Reorder Columns’ menu item
resizeColumnsMenuItem ‘Resize Columns’ menu item
wrapMenuItem ‘Wrap’ menu item
showAsTopMenuItem Tree/TreeTable ‘Show As Top’ menu item
scrollToFirstMenuItem Tree/TreeTable ‘Scroll To First’ menu item
scrollToLastMenuItem Tree/TreeTable ‘Scroll To Last’ menu item
freezeToolbarItem ‘Freeze’ toolbar item
detachToolbarItem ‘Detach’ toolbar item
wrapToolbarItem ‘Wrap’ toolbar item
showAsTopToolbarItem Tree/TreeTable ‘Show As Top’ toolbar item
wrap ‘Wrap’ menu and toolbar items
freeze ‘Freeze’ menu and toolbar items
detach ‘Detach’ menu and toolbar items

As a sample the image below shows a normal af:panelCollection (upper half) and an af:panelCollection with the view menu and the toolbar switched off (lower half)


Looking at the possible things to switch off we don’t see anything to switch off the ‘Query by Example’ (QBE) icon. There is no feature toggle to turn this function on or off. An easy way to get rid of the icon would be to make the table not filterable. However, if we like the table to be filterable but don’t want to show the icon to switch the feature off, we have to use an advanced skin technique.

What can we do to get rid of the icon in the tool bar?

The idea is to use a skin or special css to hide the icon or the container which holds the icon. To find the container we first inspect the page in the browser using the browsers ‘Developer Tools’ which you can reach by hitting F12 in your browser. Below you see Chrome 55 with activated ‘Developer Tools’


The image shows the toolbars QBE image as selected element on the page (left red rectangle) and the style classes which are in use for this element (right red rectangle). The names ‘.xfo’ and ‘.xfr’ are the names of the style classes. They are minimized to reduce the download size of the page, but they are not ‘readable’. 

The first thing to do is to make the names ‘readable’ for us. We need to know which skin selector generated the style class. For this we set a context parameter in the web.xml file


Setting this parameter to true will show us the clear names. The image below shows the same selection only this time with the real names


One other nice feature of the ‘Developer Tools’ is that you can inspect elements by just hover over them on the page. This allow us to easily find the element we want to hide via css. Click on the icon marked in hte below image


and move the mouse cursor over the page. You see the HTML and the active styles of the element under the cursor. This feature we use to find an element which holds the icon we want to hide and which we can address via css .


CSS allows us to address elements inside a skin selector.  For this you need to know the skin selector, the tag or container and it’s ID inside the selector you want to address. In the image above we see the ID of the icon container we want to hide as “id=’pc1:_qbeTbr'” and the container or tag itself which is a ‘div’. The skin selector is the af|panelCollection. With this information we can can change the style attached to the ‘div’ container with the id ‘*_qbeTbr’  in the af|panelCollection as

af|panelCollection div[id$='_qbeTbr'] {
    display: none;

This we can add to our skin.css file. However, if we just add it this way it’s changing all af:panelCollection in our application.  If we want this only to be active for specific af:panelColletion we can add a style class name like

af|panelCollection.myPCClass div[id$='_qbeTbr'] {
    display: none;

Now we can add the stale class name ‘myPCClass’ to the af:panelCollection when we like the QBE icon not to be shown

 <af:panelCollection id="pc1" styleClass="myPCClass">
   <f:facet name="menus"/>
   <f:facet name="toolbar"/>
   <af:table value="#{bindings.EmployeesView1.collectionModel}" ...
 <af:panelCollection id="pc2" featuresOff="detachToolbarItem viewMenu">
 <f:facet name="menus"/>
 <f:facet name="toolbar"/>

will generate this UI output



As we see, the QBE icon is gone. In the original page we have placed two af:panelCollection components. As you added the new style class only to one of them, the other QBE icon is still visible.


You can use hte same technique for other complex ADF components like af:query. Here you can style the save button which normally not  supported.


You can download the sample which is build using JDev  and uses the HR DB schema from GitHub BlogAdvancedSkin

Summary of Day 5 at Oracle Open World 2016

I started the day with a session on Alta UI ‘Implementing Oracle’s New Alta UI Features’ by Richard Wright. Richard started by giving some reasoning about why Oracle developed Alta UI. It was manly because the users demanded a more mobile friendly UI. The biggest change which came with Alta UI was that the UI has to be build by thinking ‘mobile first’ and by more designing the flow of operations by personas. Only then you gain the full advantage of the Alta UI.

Transforming a older (legacy) application to a modern application using the Alta UI is not just migrating the skin. You have to redo the UI and design it for mobile first.This means that you have to think about different device sizes which in the end means that you have to design the application in a responsive manner.

Here the page stretches on the device. This is mostly not working on small devices as it makes the user to zoom into the right section to see the information. Because of hte size mobile friendly means that you try to visualize the information instead of e.g. showing the user a table. An image is giving information a human can intake more easily than  data in a table.

For a developer this means that using a list view should be preferred over using a table. A list view allows better responsive design.

Summary is that you should

  • Leverage major UI updates as an opportunity
  • Verify actual users versus previously targeted users
  • Target UI for preferred user devices
  • Understand their most important artifacts and tasks

Next session of the day was ‘Cloud-Native Application Development with Oracle Application Container Cloud‘ by Shaun Smith, Anand Kothari and Eric Jacobsen. This session is about the Oracle Application Container Cloud Service which lets you run native Java SE applications or Node.js based application run in the cloud.

I already mentioned the ‘Cloud Native Architecture’ on day 2.



and the demands on the application development

and tools to use to make this architecture work from Oracles point of view

The Application Container Cloud should allow you to make such development simpley by

  • Develop
  • Zip
  • Deploy

your application. This can be done on a polyglot platform using java, php, Node.js and later even Ruby and Java EE. It’s an open platform allowing you to run many applications. Oracle provides a Linux system and you can bring what ever you like.

All this runs on Docker containers. The only constraint is that the applications must be stateless, as the containers are build up and shut down on the fly to load balance your application. This is done automatically without you needing to interfere.

Once your application runs monitoring the JVM or the performance of the application is done via the cloud services. Patching, if needed, is done for you too. Not that you don’t know about it, but it’s just a click on a button. If you don’t like the patch because it breaks your application you can easily rollback the patch

Final session of the day and OOW 2016 for me was ‘Using Docker with Continuous Delivery in Oracle Cloud‘ by Greg Stachnick and Mike Raab. This session talked about how Docker is used in the Oracle Container Cloud Service to allow agile, containerized development in the cloud.

The first part was about the developers cloud which was covered in almost every session about the cloud.


Second part was about the Container Cloud Service and it’s base implementation StackEngine (a company bought by Oracle end of last year).


Key features of the Container Cloud are shown in the image below:


When setting up a service in a docker container the UI looks like


Changes made in the UI are reflected directly in a docker run script (which you can get on the same page). Spinning up a new container is a matter of two clicks:

Stacks are the equivalent to Dockers composer but have some add on like you are able to add parameters to the containers.

In the end the Container Cloud service is a flexible ‘bring your own’ container and run it in hte cloud. Don’t forget to bring the needed licences too 🙂

Product will be available within the next 12 month!

That was the OOW2016 for me. See you next year!



dvt:treemap showing node detail in popup

This post describes how to implement an dvt:treemap which shows a af:popup when the user clicks on a detail node in the map.
The documentation of the dvt:treemap component tell us that the dvt:treemapnode supports the af:showPopupBehaviortag and reacts on the ‘click’ and ‘mouseHover’ events.
This is part of the solution and allows us to begin implementing the use case. We add an af:showPopupBehavior to the nodes we want to show detail information for.

After creating a default Fusion Web Application which uses the HR DB schema, we begin with creating the data model for the model project. For this small sample the departments and employees tables will be sufficient.

The views are named according to their usage to make it easier to understand the model. This is all we need for the model.

Let’s start with the UI which only consist of a single page. The page has a header part and a center part. In the center area we build the treemap by dragging the Departments from the data controls onto the page and dropping it as treemap. After that, in the dialog we specify the first level of the map to be the departmentId (which shows the department name as the label) and the for the second level we choose the employeeId (which shows the last name of the employee as label) from the employees. The whole process is shown in the gallery below.

The resulting treemap is very basic in it’s features, e.g. there is no legend as you see later.
In the next step we create an af:popup to show the nodes detail information. This process is outlined in the next gallery. We drag the popup component onto the page below the af:treemap component

One thing to take note of are the properties of the popup. First we set the content delivery to ‘lazyUncached’, which makes sure that the data is loaded every time the popup is opened. Otherwise we’ll see only the data from the first time the popup has been opened. Second change is to set the launcherVar to ‘source’. This is the variable name we later use to access the node data. Third change is to set the event context to ‘launcher’. This means that events delivered by the popup and its descendents are delivered in the context of the launch source.

The treemap for example, when an event is delivered ‘in context’ then the data for the node clicked is made ‘current’ before the event listener is called, so if getRowData() is called on the collectionModel in the event listener it will return the data of the node that triggered the event. This is exactly what we need.

Finally we add a popupFetchListener to the popup which we use to get the data from the current node to a variable in the bindings. In the sample this variable ‘nodeInfo’ is defined in the variable iterator of the page and an attribute binding ‘nodeInfo1’ is added. More info on this can be found here.

The code below shows the popupFetchListener:


import javax.el.ELContext;
import javax.el.ExpressionFactory;

import javax.faces.application.Application;
import javax.faces.context.FacesContext;

import oracle.adf.model.BindingContext;
import oracle.adf.share.logging.ADFLogger;

import oracle.binding.AttributeBinding;
import oracle.binding.BindingContainer;

 * Treemap handler bean
 * @author Timo Hahn
public class TreemapBean {
    private static ADFLogger logger = ADFLogger.createADFLogger(TreemapBean.class);

    public TreemapBean() {

     * listen to popup fetch.
     * @param popupFetchEvent event triggerd the fetch
    public void fetchListener(PopupFetchEvent popupFetchEvent) {
        // retrieve node information 
        String lastName = (String) getValueFromExpression("#{source.currentRowData.lastName}");
        Integer id = (Integer) getValueFromExpression("#{source.currentRowData.EmployeeId}");
        //build info string
        String res = lastName + " id: " + id;"Information: " + res);
        // get the binding container
        BindingContainer bindings = BindingContext.getCurrent().getCurrentBindingsEntry();

        // get an ADF attributevalue from the ADF page definitions
        AttributeBinding attr = (AttributeBinding) bindings.getControlBinding("nodeInfo1");
        //set the value to it

    // get a value as object from an expression
    private Object getValueFromExpression(String name) {
        FacesContext facesCtx = FacesContext.getCurrentInstance();
        Application app = facesCtx.getApplication();
        ExpressionFactory elFactory = app.getExpressionFactory();
        ELContext elContext = facesCtx.getELContext();
        Object obj = elFactory.createValueExpression(elContext, name, Object.class).getValue(elContext);
        return obj;

Finally we have to design the popup to show the node info from the attribute binding ‘nodeInfo1’. The popup uses a dialog with an af:outputText like

Show the node info in the popup

Show the node info in the popup

and set an af:showPopupBehavior to the node showing the employees

Running the finished application brings up the treemap, not pretty but enough to see this use case working. If we click on an employee node we see the popup with the last name of the employee and the employee id, the primary key of the selected row in the employees iterator.

You can download the sample application which was build using JDeveloper 12.1.3 and the HR DB schema from GitHub.

How-to filter ADF bound tables by date range (JDeveloper 12.1.x)

Based on an older article from Frank Nimphius How-to filter ADF bound tables by date range JDeveloper I got a interesting question on the OTN JDeveloper & ADF forum why the solution provided in the article does not work in JDev 12c.

The solution from Frank’s article is designed for JDev Today’s version of JDev is 12.1.3 where the solution does not seem to work. Migrating the source of the article and running it under JDev 12.1.3 indeed shows, that filtering the employees records for a date range does not work at all. Setting dates into the filter and hitting enter to activate the filter does not filter the data in the table.
The reason for this was easily found by debugging the code. Set a breakpoint into the query listener which is setup in the table

<af:table value="#{bindings.allEmployees.collectionModel}" var="row" 
  emptyText="#{bindings.allEmployees.viewable ? 'No data to display.' : 'Access Denied.'}"
  fetchSize="#{bindings.allEmployees.rangeSize}" rowBandingInterval="0"
  filterModel="#{bindings.allEmployeesQuery.queryDescriptor}" filterVisible="true" 
  varStatus="vs" selectedRowKeys="#{bindings.allEmployees.collectionModel.selectedRow}"
  rowSelection="single" id="t1" styleClass="AFStretchWidth"  partialTriggers="::cb1"

As you can see it’s pointing to a bean method ‘onEmplyoeeQuery’. A look into this method reveals that the method FilterableQueryDescriptor.getFilterCriteria() has been deprecated.

        FilterableQueryDescriptor fqd = (FilterableQueryDescriptor) queryEvent.getDescriptor();
        Map map = fqd.getFilterCriteria();

Instead of the deprecated method you should use the method FilterableQueryDescriptor.getFilterConjunctionCriterion() which now holds the map of parameters.

        FilterableQueryDescriptor fqd = (FilterableQueryDescriptor) queryEvent.getDescriptor();
        ConjunctionCriterion cc = fqd.getFilterConjunctionCriterion();
        Map<String, Criterion> criterionMap = cc.getCriterionMap();

When you set a breakpoint in this method and step through the code you see that the values entered into the filter fields in the UI are not visible in the map as Frank describes in his article.

Criterion Map and old FilterCriteria Map

Criterion Map and old FilterCriteria Map

As you can see there are no map entries for the made up variables ‘HireStartRange’ and ‘HireEndRange’. This is the reason the filter by date range does not work. There are simply not dates to filter the rows.

I’m not sure if this is a bug or a change in behavior which was made for a reason. Anyway, you can’t just simply add values to the map anymore.

The solution to fix the problem is simple. As you can’t store additional values in the criterion map, you have to store the values entered by the user somewhere else. A valid storage area is the variables iterator each pagedef holds.
In one of my other blogs Creating Variables and Attribute Bindings to Store Values Temporarily in the PageDef I showed how to add temporary variables in this iterator.

Create two new variables inside the variable iterator of type oracle.jbo.domain.Date, name them ‘startDate’ and ‘endDate’. Then create attribute bindings for them.
The final touch is to wire the new variables up in the HireDate filter for start range and end range:

                                    <af:column sortProperty="HireDate" filterable="true" sortable="true"
                                               headerText="#{bindings.allEmployees.hints.HireDate.label}" id="c1" width="277">
                                        <f:facet name="filter">
                                            <af:panelGroupLayout id="pgl2" layout="horizontal">
                                                <af:panelLabelAndMessage label="From: " id="plam1">
                                                    <af:inputDate id="id2" value="#{bindings.startDate1.inputValue}" clientComponent="false">
                                                        <af:convertDateTime pattern="#{bindings.allEmployees.hints.HireDate.format}"/>
                                                        <f:validator binding="#{bindings.HireDate.validator}"/>
                                                <af:spacer width="5" height="5" id="s1"/>
                                                <af:panelLabelAndMessage label="To:" id="plam2">
                                                    <af:inputDate id="id3" value="#{bindings.endDate1.inputValue}" required="false" clientComponent="false">
                                                        <f:validator binding="#{bindings.HireDate.validator}"/>
                                                        <af:convertDateTime pattern="#{bindings.allEmployees.hints.HireDate.format}"/>
                                        <af:inputDate value="#{row.bindings.HireDate.inputValue}" label="#{bindings.allEmployees.hints.HireDate.label}"
                                                      shortDesc="#{bindings.allEmployees.hints.HireDate.tooltip}" id="id1" styleClass="AFStretchWidth">
                                            <f:validator binding="#{row.bindings.HireDate.validator}"/>
                                            <af:convertDateTime pattern="#{bindings.allEmployees.hints.HireDate.format}"/>

The code above shows the new column for the HireDate and the new storage location for the startDateRange as ‘value=”#{bindings.startDate1.inputValue}”‘ and EndDateRange as ‘value=”#{bindings.endDate1.inputValue}”‘. Next we change the bean method which reads the filter values and calls the query:

    public void onEmployeeQuery(QueryEvent queryEvent) {
        //default EL string created when dragging the table
        //to the JSF page

        BindingContext bctx = BindingContext.getCurrent();
        DCBindingContainer bindings = (DCBindingContainer) bctx.getCurrentBindingsEntry();

        //access the method bindings to set the bind variables on the ViewCriteria
        OperationBinding rangeStartOperationBinding = bindings.getOperationBinding("setHireDateRangeStart");
        OperationBinding rangeEndOperationBinding = bindings.getOperationBinding("setHireDateRangeEnd");

        // get the start date and end date from the temporary valiables
        AttributeBinding attr = (AttributeBinding) bindings.getControlBinding("startDate1");
        oracle.jbo.domain.Date sd = (oracle.jbo.domain.Date) attr.getInputValue();
        attr = (AttributeBinding) bindings.getControlBinding("endDate1");
        oracle.jbo.domain.Date ed = (oracle.jbo.domain.Date) attr.getInputValue();

        //set the start and end date of the range to search
        rangeStartOperationBinding.getParamsMap().put("value", sd);
        rangeEndOperationBinding.getParamsMap().put("value", ed);

        //set bind variable on the business service

        invokeMethodExpression("#{bindings.allEmployeesQuery.processQuery}", Object.class, QueryEvent.class, queryEvent);

In line 14-17 you see that we read the values from the newly created attribute bindings for the temporary variables. After removing the unnecessary parts of the code, which tried to read the values from the map, the rest of the code remains as is.

Here is an image of the now working filter by date range

Filter Table by Date Range

Filter Table by Date Range

Please note that if you run the sample in your environment, that you have to change the DB connection to the HR DB schema according to your environment. You can download the changed code for the sample from GitHub

JDev 12.1.3: Use Default Activity Instead of the Deprecated Invoke Action

Since JDeveloper 12.1.3 the invoke action used in earlier version has been deprecated. Users still using the old invoke action to load data on page load should migrate their code to using the default activity in a bounded task flow instead. This article describes how to use the executeWithParams method as a default activity in a bounded task flow (btf) to load data to be shown in a region. For this we implement a common

Use Case:
in a text field the user enters a string which should be used to look-up data in the DB and show the data as a table in a region.
For this we use the HR schema and build a look-up for locations after the name of the city of the location. In a page the user can insert the name or part of a cities name into a text field. This input is send as parameter to a bounded task flow. The default activity of the btf calls a method in the view object which uses a view criteria to search for cities starting with the given input data. In a second implementation the same technique is used but a where clause is used in the VO and the VO is called with executeWithParams. The result of the search is displayed as a table in a region.


Model Project:
We start by creating a new ‘Fusion Web Application’ and creating a model project of the HR DB schema. Here we only use the location table for which we create entity object and view object.
Now we create the view criteria which we use to find locations by part of the city name.

Next step is to create the java class for the view object including the method to safely access the created bind variable. In the class we add a method to apply the created view criteria which we expose in the client interface well as the methods to access bind variables.

Finally we have to make sure that the locations view object is part of the data model of the application module.
Resulting Application Module Data Model

Resulting Application Module Data Model

Next we add another view object to the data model which we use to implement the use case a second time. This time we use the view criteria we defined in the view object LocationsView and select it as the default where clause.

ViewController Project:
We start implementing the view controller project by first adding a start page, ‘Start’, to the unbounded task flow in adfc-config.xml. For this page we use a quick layout (One Column, Header stretched).

After opening the page (which creates it) we add a third grid row to the panelGridLayout we got from the quick layout which later holds the result table. In the first grid row we add a captain for the page, ‘Execute with param sample’, the second grid row we add an af:inputText which holds the users input for the city name to search for.
The page looks like

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
<!DOCTYPE html>
<f:view xmlns:f="" xmlns:af="">
    <af:document title="Start.jsf" id="d1">
        <af:form id="f1">
            <af:panelGridLayout id="pgl1">
                <af:gridRow height="50px" id="gr1">
                    <af:gridCell width="100%" halign="stretch" valign="stretch" id="gc1">
                        <!-- Header -->
                        <af:outputText value="ExecuteWithParams Test" id="ot1" inlineStyle="font-size:x-large;"/>
                <af:gridRow height="50px" id="gr2">
                    <af:gridCell width="100%" halign="stretch" valign="stretch" id="gc2">
                        <!-- Content -->
                        <af:inputText label="City" id="it1" value="" autoSubmit="true"/>
                <af:gridRow id="gr3">
                    <af:gridCell id="gc3">
                        <!-- REGION HERE -->

Now we create a pageDefinition for the page, where we define a variable and an attribute binding which holds the users input into the inputText we added to a grid row below the header.

The final inputText look like

<af:inputText label="City" id="it1" value="#{bindings.searchCityName1.inputValue}" autoSubmit="true"/>

As you see we set the autoSubmit property to true as we don’t have (and need) a button to submit the data to the binding layer.

The next task is to create a new bounded task flow which has one input parameter, which is used to search for locations with cities starting with the given parameter from the inputText component.

Once the bounded task flow is created we can drag this btf onto the start page and drop it in the girdCell in the third gridRow and wire the parameter for the task flow to the value we have stored in the in the variable iterator via the inputText.

Finally we make the region refresh whenever the inputParamter of the task flow changes by setting the regions refresh property to ‘ifNeeded’.
The final ‘Start’ page layout looks like

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
<!DOCTYPE html>
<f:view xmlns:f="" xmlns:af="">
    <af:document title="Start.jsf" id="d1">
        <af:form id="f1">
            <af:panelGridLayout id="pgl1">
                <af:gridRow height="50px" id="gr1">
                    <af:gridCell width="100%" halign="stretch" valign="stretch" id="gc1">
                        <!-- Header -->
                        <af:outputText value="ExecuteWithParams Test" id="ot1" inlineStyle="font-size:x-large;"/>
                <af:gridRow height="50px" id="gr2">
                    <af:gridCell width="100%" halign="stretch" valign="stretch" id="gc2">
                        <!-- Content -->
                        <af:inputText label="City" id="it1" value="#{bindings.searchCityName1.inputValue}" autoSubmit="true"/>
                <af:gridRow id="gr3">
                    <af:gridCell id="gc3">
                        <af:region value="#{bindings.showlocatiobycitybtf1.regionModel}" id="r1"/>

This concludes the first implementation and we can run the application

The sample application can be downloaded form ADFEMG Sample Project. It contains a second page (Start2) which uses the other view object (LocationsWithParamsView) inside the region. It’s build like the first version. The difference is that the default activity nor is the executeWithParams from the VOs operations instead the self implemented method from the VO. You spare writing the method and exposing the method in the client interface this way.
Be aware that the sample uses the HR DB schema and you have to change the connection information to point to your DB.

JDeveloper 11g R1: Advanced Multi Column Table Sort

A question on the JDeveloper and ADF Community Space found my attention. A user asked how to sort an af:table after more then one column.
Well, there is the official way, which Frank Nimphius’s bloged about in ‘Declarative multi-column sort for ADF bound tables’.
However this declarative approach needs the user to select the columns and their sort order. In most cases the sort after a second column is driven by the use case specification. A sample would be that the departments tables should normally be sorted after the column selected by the user, but then the data should always be sorted by the department name inside the first sort.
The image below shows the Departments table sorted first after the LocationId and inside the LocationId sorted by the DepartmentName.

Departments sorted after LocationID and DepartmentName

Departments sorted after LocationID and DepartmentName

Now lets see how to implement this. There are some possible solutions:

  1. add a sort criterion in a managed bean
  2. add a sort Criterion in the ViewObject
  3. a combination of 1) and 2)

All solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s start with the managed bean approach. This is pretty simple as we only need to add sortListener to the af:table which is pointing a bean method. In the sample below we are using the departments table where we wire up the secondary sort to the DepartmentName column.

<af:table value="#{bindings.DepartmentsView.collectionModel}" var="row" rows="#{bindings.DepartmentsView.rangeSize}"

And the sortTableListener in the bean

    public void sortTableListener(SortEvent sortEvent) {
        //log the selected column (just for information)
        List<SortCriterion> criteria = sortEvent.getSortCriteria();
        for (SortCriterion sc : criteria) {
  "Sort after: " + sc.getProperty());
        // Create new SortCriterion for DepartmentName in ascending order
        SortCriterion scNew = new SortCriterion("DepartmentName", true);
        // Add it to the list
        // and apply it back to the table
        Object object = sortEvent.getSource();
        RichTable table = (RichTable) object;

That’s all we need to do to get the output from the first image. You’ll notice, that both columns are showing the sort icon. Only the one for the DepartmentName can’t change to descending order as we wired things up to always sort in ascending order. From the users point of view this can be disturbing as it’s not obvious why this happens.

For the second solution we use the model layer instead of the view layer. Here we implement the ViewObjectImpl class of the EmployeesView and overwrite the setOrderByOrSortBy(…) method. This is the method the framework calls when you click on a header on the table to sort it.
Now we can hard wire the secondary sort column, as we did in the managed bean. However, let’s think about how to make this more flexible. A nice add on is that we can use the custom properties of each table attribute to define the secondary sort column. This way we can decide which columns to sort after for each of the attributes available. We can even decide to add more then one column for secondary and third sort.

The overwritten setOrderByOrSortBy method looks for the custom property named ‘SECONDARY_SORT’ and if found, creates a new SortCriterion with the column name give in the custom property. This new sort criterion is then added to the list of SortCriteria.

    public String setOrderByOrSortBy(SortCriteria[] sortCriteria) {
        SortCriteriaImpl scNew = null;
        // iterate current sort criteria
        for (int i = 0; i < sortCriteria.length; i++) {
  "Sort: " + sortCriteria[i].getAttributeName());
            // check for SECONDARY_SORT propertie on each attribute
            int attributeIndexOf = this.getAttributeIndexOf(sortCriteria[i].getAttributeName());
            AttributeDef attributeDef = this.getAttributeDef(attributeIndexOf);
            Object object = attributeDef.getProperty("SECONDARY_SORT");
            if (object != null) {
      "Secondary sort:" + object.toString());
                scNew = new SortCriteriaImpl(object.toString(), false);

        if (scNew != null) {
            // Create a new array for the added criteria
            SortCriteria scNewArray[] = new SortCriteria[sortCriteria.length + 1];
            for (int j = 0; j < sortCriteria.length; j++) {
                scNewArray[j] = sortCriteria[j];

            // add the new criteria
            scNewArray[sortCriteria.length] = scNew;
            //and exceute the search
            return super.setOrderByOrSortBy(scNewArray);
        return super.setOrderByOrSortBy(sortCriteria);

The image blow shows the result for the employees table which is first sorted after the ManagerId and then after the FirstName of the employee.

Sort after ManagerId and LastName

Sort after ManagerId and LastName

As you see, only the ManagerId column shows the sort icon. The secondary sort column, FirstName, doesn’t show the sort icon.

You can download the sample application, which uses the HR DB schema from the ADF-EMG ADF Samples Repository:

Empty Test for String Values using Expression Language

On the OTN ADF & JDeveloper space (aka forum) I often read use cases where an action depends on the state of an af:inputText, or better the value entered in the component.
This is problematic as a String value can either be null or it can be empty. The problem is that is you want to test a String value using Expression Language (EL) in the UI, you can’t use e.g.

#{bindings.myText1.inputValue eq ''}

The solution is an existing, but mostly unknown operator of Expression Language (EL) called ’empty’. This operator checks a String value if it’s empty. Usage of the operator is a bit different from the other operators which are used after the value. The ’empty’ operator is used in front of the valeu like

#{empty bindings.myText1.inputValue}

consider the following use case: a button should be enabled only if a inputText component is not empty. For this we can use this code

            <af:panelGroupLayout layout="scroll" xmlns:af="" id="pgl1">
              <af:inputText label="Label 1" id="it1" value="#{bindings.myText1.inputValue}" autoSubmit="true"/>
              <af:commandButton text="commandButton 1" id="cb1" disabled="#{empty bindings.myText1.inputValue}" partialTriggers="it1"/>
              <af:outputText value="Working (empty bindings.myText1.inputValue): #{empty bindings.myText1.inputValue} --- not working(bindings.myText1.inputValue eq '': #{bindings.myText1.inputValue eq ''}" id="ot1"

As you see, the af:inputText component stored it’s value in a pageDef variable (or a VO row) and submits the entered value using the autoSubmit property set to ‘true’. The af:commandButton gets enabled only if the EL
#{empty bindings.myText1.inputValue}
returns false. This is the case when you enter anything into the af:inputText. The final piece to make it work is the partial trigger on the af:button component listening to the change of the input value.
The outputText below the button is just to show that the EL
#{bindings.myText1.inputValue eq ''}
does not work correctly.

Using one ViewObject for Global Lookup Data

A user on the OTN JDeveloper & ADF forum asked how to use one ViewObject, which holds lookup data of different areads, as LOV source. This post shows how to do this.

In part 2 I added a use case which shows how to use a global lookup view object to initialize a LOV component before a page loads and show the selected lookup data.

Before we begin we have to setup the data for the the sample we build to work with. For this we add two tables to the HR schema (or any other schema you have access to). One, GENERALLOOKUP, hols lookup data, which is grouped ba a type attribute.

General Lookup Data

General Lookup Data

As we see the type column is used to group the data into different areas. The task is to use one view object which queries this table as base for model driven LOVs. To show this we need another table which we use to enter values selected by a LOV for the area from the type column.
Test Table and Data

Test Table and Data

BlogGeneralLokup 018

Scripts to create the tables and insert some data into them are provided together with the sample workspace in the file ‘setup_db.sql’. After we setup the table and the data we create entity objects and view objects like we normally do. Once the eo and vo are created, we add a view criteria which we use to select a specific type of lookup data from the GENERALLOOKUP table.

ViewCriteria to Select Lookup Data

ViewCriteria to Select Lookup Data

The view criteria has one bind variable which we later use to distinguish the different groups of lookup data. Now we can setup the lov for the attributes of the LookupTestView view object. We show this for the TitleId attribute:

Setup LOV for  TitleId Attribute

Setup LOV for TitleId Attribute

Create LOV VO

Create LOV VO

BlogGeneralLokup 003 View Accessors
rename the view object to TiltelookupView andshuttle it to the selected area
Select the GeneralLookupView

Select the GeneralLookupView

Click the edit button on the top right
Edit the LOV View

Edit the LOV View

The vital part is that we switch to the ‘View Object’ node and select the view criteria ‘TypeLookupViewCriteria’ and set the bind variable to the desired type. In this case it is ‘TITLE’
BlogGeneralLokup 006 Edit View Accessor_ TitlelookupView

Select ViewCriteria and Bind Variable

Select ViewCriteria and Bind Variable

Once the list source is setup we select the id of the list source (TitlelookupView) as ‘List Attribute’ and set the TitleId as ‘View Attribute’ for the id. Finally select the ‘UI Hint’ tab and shuttle the ‘Data’ attribute to the ‘Selected’ side. The ‘Data’ attribute of the TitlelookupView will then shown in the listbox on the UI.
BlogGeneralLokup 008 Create List of Values

BlogGeneralLokup 009 Create List of Values

Setup LOV for TitleId

Setup LOV for TitleId

This concludes the implementation for the TitleId attribute. The other attributes (GenderId, PositionId and WeekdayId) are done hte same way. Only change the bind variable ‘bindType’ to the type area you are generating the LOV for.

The gallery above shows the running application. You can download the sample workspace which was build JDeveloper and using the HR schema from the ADF EMG Samples side You can open the workspace using JDev without a problem. If you are asked if you like to migrate the workspace to answer with Yes.

In part 2 I added a use case which shows how to use a global lookup view object to initialize a LOV component before a page loads and show the selected lookup data.