Explanation Control – The one that got away

This is an extended version of a response to a question on the Oracle Intelligent Advisor Forum (which I am sure you frequent, and if you do not, why not?). The actual question must have slipped through my net since it was posted in the fall of 2022, but I only came across it in August 2023. I put it down to the new forum software and the changeover. We are dealng with an explanation and the desire to make it look different – but first some context.

Anyway, the question concerns this feature which was available in version 10 (this example comes from the Healthy Eating example project in it’s old version):

The Data Review Screen was a standard feature of the Interview experience in version 10 – it generates as a list of the different screens (more or less) with the input data entered. The hyperlinks take you back to the Screen in question. And it is this hyperlink feature that is not really available in Version 12. Sure we can have an Explanation (and they look much more appealing) but the explanation explains – it does not have any feature to let you quickly go back to wherever the input data was and make a change, because, say, you notice a mistake.

Take this second example, this time in Version 12. Imagine that re-reading this, you see that you made a silly mistake in something that is way down the tree – say you entered the wrong temperature. How do you get back to fix it?

Of course, you can use the Navigation to get there – but do you remember what Screen that was on? Maybe you have 20 Screens, and you end up clicking through them to find the correct one. Not much fun.

So the question is, can something be done to enhance the Explanation? In terms of out of the box extension capability, there is a Styling extension but it can only (as it’s name suggests) make some minor cosmetic changes. So where do we go from here?

If the control is accessed via the current Screen with getControls() we can at least see it, even if it does not have a “kind” property (other controls have something to tell us what they are like “input” or “label”). But if we look carefully at the structure of this control we have access to the entire explanation.

So, in the first instance, this object hierarchy gives us all we need to be able to modify some basics. But the explanation does not contain any information about where the information came from (there is no mention of a screen for example). But we do have one useful thing – the attribute id. So if we have the list of screens and their controls (and their underlying attribute) we can cross match with the attribute ids in the explanation.

From there, we can add a link to the relevant screen in any line in the explanation. (Not all lines of an explanation refer to base attributes so not every line will have a link). We can update the caption of each element and add something like a link:-

It’s a fascinating opportunity to imagine lots of new and exciting “explanation-inspired” extensions.

Have a great day. The Zip Archive is available if you want it, just drop a line in the comments.

Author: Richard Napier

After 8 years in case management and ERP software roles, Richard Napier joined Siebel Systems in 1999 and took up the role of managing the nascent Siebel University in Southern Europe. He subsequently was Director of Business Development and Education for InFact Group (now part of Business & Decisions) for 8 years. He now runs Intelligent Advisor IT Consulting OÜ. Owner of intelligent-advisor.com, he also is Co-Founder of the Siebel Hub.

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