Configuring a Wireless application is very much like any other app development task in Siebel Tools. The Wireless application is made up of a number of object types. Again, I’m using Service as an example, but this could be substituted for Sales or whatever:
- Application (Siebel Service Wireless)
- Screens (*SWLS Service*)
- Views (*SWLS Service*)
- Applets (*SWLS Service*)
Applets and Views are named according to the relationship that they represent (parent / child) and whether they are list (Display) or form (Detail) type . For example:
SWLS Service Account Activity Display View
This is the Wireless Service (SWLS Service) view that for a parent Account will show a list of Activities
Applets, Views and Screens are all built up in the same way as you’d expect and use a specific Wireless Web Template to allow display on the smaller device screens. Drill down, via Drill Down objects, Picklists are all supported out of the box. More complex functionality, such as buttons, are handled via User Properties on the applet level controls. Note that these are currently undocumented, so a degree of trawling through the vanilla configuration is unavoidable. You’ll soon understand what’s going on but analysis of the existing config against vanilla functionality is highly recommended.
Here are a few useful tips:
- Application Screen objects determine what will appear in the Home screen – add items as Page Tabs and ensure the Responsibility contains appropriate Views
- Views are standard though are made up of single applets
- Applets are standard and made up of two to three fields, as List Columns, or many fields as a form. Controls and List Columns on the applets use a set of specific Wireless User Properties, including:
- Page – a link to return / navigate to a specific Web Page
- View – a link to a specific View
- KeepContext – determines whether to keep the BO context when navigating
- Popup – whether this displays a popup window
- UseParent – allows displaying of a parent field value on a child applet (SR number of a list of Activities, for example)
- Drill down objects work in the same way as normal to provide drill downs to other views
- Child ‘view’ items are defined as controls on the applet, with a ‘View’ user property
- Applets will apply search spec as per Bus Comp definition but will ALSO apply the default PDQ!
My recommendation is to modify existing applets and copy existing applets instead of creating new ones from scratch. When creating my Case configuration, I copied the existing Service Request objects and modified them accordingly.
Give it a go and feel free to post comments with problems or success stories!
Siebel Wireless can be tweaked to support a number of different target devices. BlackBerries, iPhones, Nokias and so on, all have different amounts of screen real estate and their browsers all have different capabilities. Siebel Wireless offers you the ability to tweak the layout and functionality of pages delivered to a device, based on the browser user agent.
To set up various capabilities, follow the steps below. I’m using BlackBerry as an example, but the same rules apply for all device and browser types:
- Navigate to Administration > Web Browsers
- Query for ‘Blackberry*’
- Copy the existing record and rename as: Blackberry Parent
- Drill down to set shared capabilities
- Create new Web Browser entries, for example Blackberry 9550, with ‘Blackberry Parent’ as parent
- Drill down to set specific capabilities. Some common settings:
- User-Agent – user agent specified by browser to web server (for example, BlackBerry9550)
- NumberOfListRows – number of rows to display, fitting on the device screen (for example, 5)
A great way to test what you’ve done is with Firefox. Within Firefox, you can configure the browser to ‘pretend’ to be any number of different user agents. For example, to test a BlackBerry 9550:
- Load up Firefox
- In the address bar, enter: about:config
- In the filter bar, enter: useragent
- Double click general.useragent.extra.ofcom and type in your user agent string – BlackBerry9550
- Restart FireFox and navigate to your Siebel Wireless site
As you can probably see, it’s really easy to set up and use Siebel Wireless out of the box. Delivering the same application to multiple devices is also made easy via Browser Capabilities – and we haven’t even touched Siebel Tools yet!
Coming up next, we’ll look at the Siebel Wireless Tools configuration and I’ll talk through adding your own functionality to the existing application.
Getting started couldn’t be easier! I’m using Siebel Service as an example – Siebel Sales is exactly the same but uses the ‘Siebel Sales Wireless’ Object Manager.
Follow these steps to enable Siebel Wireless:
- You’ll need the Siebel Wireless license key. Go to Administration – Application > License Keys and add it in
- Restart the Siebel Server service
- Navigate to Administration > Server Configuration > Enterprises > Component Groups
- Enable the ‘Siebel Wireless’ Component Group
- Highlight the ‘Siebel Service Wireless (ENU)’ Component
- Click ‘Assign’ to enable on server
- Restart the Siebel Server service
- Verify the wpserv_enu entry in eapps.cfg
- Navigate to Administration – User > Employees
- Create a new record, assign a Position and associate the ‘Field Service Representative – Wireless’ responsibility
That’s it! You can access the vanilla Wireless Service application via the URL: http://<Siebel Web Server Host>/wpserv_enu/. For a slightly more impressive demo, you can use the TestiPhone iPhone Simulator to display your mobile site!
In the next post, I’ll look at how to configure Siebel to support multiple devices and browsers, without any Siebel Tools configuration!
Siebel Wireless has been around for a while now. Along with Siebel Handheld and Siebel Mobile, it has been part of a number of solutions for delivering CRM via mobile computing. There are pros and cons of each as you’d expect. For example, Siebel Mobile runs off a local database while Siebel Wireless is a connected solution. Siebel Remote works great if you don’t need run time data but Siebel Wireless, which will deliver data in real time, is no good if you can’t get connected.
With mobile communications technology advancing as it is, delivering better coverage and faster devices with more screen real estate, the Siebel Wireless option is becoming an attractive one. It provides a cut down pure HTML version of your ‘full fat’ Siebel application and delivers it directly to a mobile device, be it Blackberry, iPhone, Nokia or whatever. It’s a very simple solution but very powerful at the same time. Siebel 8 has delivered a much improved (and much prettier!) Siebel Wireless solution when you put it up against earlier efforts.
I’ve spent some time developing a Case Management Wireless solution that builds on the vanilla Wireless Service configuration. In the next article or two I’d like to share my experience and knowledge around this area. Demo’ing a POC system to board members, via iPhone or a big screen via RIM’s Blackberry simulators, will be sure to raise an eyebrow or two I can assure you!
I’m still struggling to get overly excited by the iPad! Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone: I struggled for 18 months with a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone before I caved and have been won over by it. I’ll never go back!
The iPad, however, I just can’t quite get my head around. It’s not an eReader and it’s not a laptop. It’s somewhere in between and I can’t yet see a niche there that needs to be filled. If it had come with a bit of ‘oomph’ and MacOS X then I’d be sorely tempted. To me, it’s still just a big iPhone and, having grown accustomed to the apps available on that platform, I really struggled to find anything to do when I had a go on the company iPad. Still, I don’t doubt it will be big and two generations more down the line, there might be something worth buying.
Anyway, I digress – Oracle have announced support for the Siebel CRM platform on iPad, which is really interesting! Having no Flash or ActiveX to play with, this is obviously a big change for us and is a good sign that Siebel is still going strong in the minds of the Oracle marketing bods. With a bit of luck, Oracle will be demo’ing this to us sometime and, if they do, I’ll be sure to report back.