|Interfaces as Views||KEVIN RESCHENBERG|
Today's topic may be obvious to you, but it wasn't that
obvious to me the first time I heard it. And there are
a few items to evaluate before going in this direction.
But in general, it can be a great time-saving technique.
You probably produce a number of interfaces from your
PeopleSoft system. Many of them are probably flat files
that you create in a scheduled batch mode. These files are
then placed in a shared folder or sent out via FTP
or some other transport mechanism.
In many cases, the most difficult part
of the development effort revolves around these interfaces,
and in particular their format. It can be difficult just
getting a good definition of the technical requirements.
If the receiving system is located within your own company,
a good alternative may be to provide a database view
instead. The users can then connect to your database
and do a SELECT from the view to get their data.
There are a number of advantages to this approach. First,
you do not need to worry about the formatting of the
output. Some people worry about the security of this
approach, but it can be more secure to grant access to
one view rather than having flat files moving around.
Also, the user can query the view whenever needed and
you do not need to maintain a batch schedule.
Before committing to this approach, though, there are
a few things to consider. Are the requirements simple
enough that you can produce the data easily using SQL? Just about
anything can be produced with SQL, but at some point
it becomes so difficult to do this that it makes more
sense to use a general-purpose programming language
such as SQR. Can the data be extracted at any time,
or do you need to schedule it for a particular time
each day? Would the view be complex enough to cause a
performance hit to your database? And of course you
must be sure that the users can connect to your
database before beginning development of a view.
In the right situation, a view can be a flexible solution to an interface
requirement while saving a major amount of
time on your development schedule.