Siebel Scripting Best Practices Resource Document

This resource document contains detailed information regarding scripting best practices.

Siebel Systems, Inc.

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Copyright © 2004 Siebel Systems, Inc., 2207 Bridgepoint Parkway, San Mateo, CA 94404. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to photocopy, photographic, magnetic, or other record, without the prior agreement and written permission of Siebel Systems, Inc. Siebel Systems, Inc. considers information included in this document to be Confidential and Proprietary. Your access to and use of this Confidential and Proprietary Information is subject to the terms and conditions of the Siebel License Agreement or Non-Disclosure Agreement which has been executed and with which you agree to comply.

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Table of Contents
In Acrobat, you can click on any lesson or topic to jump to that area of the resource document. You can also use the Bookmarks feature in Acrobat to quickly navigate.

SCRIPTING FUNDAMENTALS
Scripting: Where to Begin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Basic Process Flow

Basic Process Flow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Explore Declarative Configuration Alternatives Determine Where to Put the Script: Which Object? Determine Where to Put the Script: Which Event? Add Error Handling Template Add Method Body Test

SCRIPTING BEST PRACTICES
When to Use Scripting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Use Scripting as a Last Resort

Follow Standard Naming Conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Comment Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Know When to Use Browser versus Server Script . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Place Code in the Correct Event Handler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Use Fast Script In Event Handlers that Fire Frequently. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Runtime versus Compiled Business Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Use Option Explicit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leverage Appropriate Debugging Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Debugging Siebel Applications Alert and RaiseErrorText Writing to a Text File Using the Debugger in Siebel Tools Using Object Manager Settings

10 11 13 14 15 16 17 18

Remove Unused Code from the Repository . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Include Error Handling in All Scripts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Proper Error Handling Error Handling in eScript Error Handling in Siebel VB

Use RaiseError and RaiseErrorText Properly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Use Exception Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Purpose of Exception Handling Exception Information in eScript Exception Information in Siebel VB

Place Return Statements Correctly: eScript . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Centralize Browser Script Using the “Top” Object . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

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Know When to Use the Current Context versus a New Context in Server Script. . . . . . . 31
Difference Between Current and New Context Guidelines for Choosing Context

Use Smallest Possible Scope for Variables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Instantiate Objects Only As Needed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Destroy Object Variables When No Longer Needed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Use Conditional Blocks To Run Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Verify Objects Returned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Verify Object Returned is Expected One ActiveBusObject ActiveBusComp ParentBusComp

Verify Field is Active before Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Leverage New Methods in Siebel 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
New Methods

Use Proper View Mode For Queries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Query Only Indexed Columns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Use ForwardOnly Cursor Mode. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Verify Existence of Valid Record After Querying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Use Switch or Select Case Statements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Compare the Same Condition In If/Else If . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Use the Associate Method to Create Intersection Table Records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Use Dynamic Values . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Use Logical Constants versus Literal Values . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Avoid Exit Function and Exit Sub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Place GotoView at the End of a Script . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Use DeleteRecord Method Properly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

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Scripting Fundamentals
Scripting: Where to Begin
Basic Process Flow This flowchart outlines the basic process for developers to follow when writing script.

The objective is to minimize script—writing it only when necessary, and writing it once!

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Basic Process Flow
1. Explore Declarative Configuration Alternatives 2. Determine Where to Put the Script: Which Object? Before writing any script, developers should explore all declarative configuration alternatives. This is an important step! It ensures that developers write script only when there is no configuration alternative, thus minimizing the amount of script.

After determining that the solution requires script, developers must determine where to put the script. A utility script that will be called from many locations such as applets, business components, and business services, is best implemented as a business service. This enables developers to write the script once for use by many objects. An alternative to writing a business service is to write the method at the application level. Siebel Systems encourages developers to use business services, as they can be called by workflow processes; workflow processes cannot call custom application level methods. If the method deals with data in a specific business component, that business component is the most likely object for the script. Writing script at the business component level prevents developers from having to re-write it on applets that leverage the same underlying business component. This only makes sense if the method is specific to a particular business component. If the same script is seen in many business components with only slight differences, move the script to a business service and parameterize it. If the method controls the behavior of an applet, for example, if it is enabling a button or hiding/showing list columns or controls, write the script at the applet server level. If the method facilitates interaction with the client’s desktop or communication with the user, make the script an applet browser script.

3. Determine Where to Put the Script: Which Event?

After determining the appropriate object, developers must determine the appropriate event within that object. Business component There are two ways to think of scripting a business component: proactively and reactively. If you need to perform some sort of validation, but do not need to change data in any record other than the current record, use the Pre- event (for example, PreQuery, PreSetFieldValue, PreWriteRecord). This is a proactive approach: you are trying to stop or modify something the user is doing before it gets too far.
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Basic Process Flow, Continued
3. Determine Where to Put the Script: Which Event?
Continued

Never use Pre- events to change data in a record other than the current record. The Pre- event occurs before the Siebel application runs its own field-level validations and other processes in the underlying C++ class that might fail. If these processes fail, the Siebel application exits the Pre- event and does not roll back any changes to other objects. This could leave the application in an inconsistent state. To perform further processing after a change has been applied, for example, after the application writes a record, implement a reactive script. A reactive script typically applies to the WriteRecord event. This is quite often a workflow process or some sort of integration. When taking a reactive approach, it is acceptable to manipulate data in records other than the current record. Applet Most scripting for applet browser functionality will originate in the Applet_PreInvokeMethod event. This is where developers can trap methods invoked on an applet. Methods that interact with the user’s desktop, the user, or how the applet looks, should originate in this event. Siebel Systems recommends not putting all of the method code in the Applet_PreInvokeMethod event. Rather, create custom methods and call those methods from this event. If the method accesses data in a record other than the current record or active business component, write a server script in the WebApplet_PreInvokeMethod event. If the method deals with data specific to the business component, then the business component is the appropriate place for the method. If, however, the method deals with something specific to the applet, write the script on the applet. Remember that you are trying to reduce the amount of script written. Business Service This is the best place to write script that will be called from anywhere. Ideally, write a method that can accept parameters to operate for a wide range of needs. This eliminates the need to duplicate code across objects and events, significantly simplifying maintenance efforts. Duplicating script is a common problem which frequently leads to thousands of pages of script! Since any script, even browser script, can call a business service, it is an ideal location for many situations. Siebel Systems recommends not putting all of the method script in the Service_PreInvokeMethod. Rather, break it into smaller scripts that the Service_PreInvokeMethod event of a business service can call.
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Basic Process Flow, Continued
3. Determine Where to Put the Script: Which Event?
Continued

The Application This is a good place for methods that need to fulfill the needs of many disparate calling scripts (as is a Business Service, as stated earlier). When to use TheApplication event instead of a Business Service will depend on your requirements. While application-level scripts do centralize methods, they have limited visibility: application-level browser script may only be called by other browser scripts, and application-level server script only works for server scripts. Workflow processes cannot access methods defined at the application level. Therefore, if requirements dictate that methods be visible to both server and browser script, or to workflow processes, implement the functionality as a business service.

4. Add Error Handling Template

Put an error/exception handling strategy in place before writing any script. This includes creating an error handling template that you can apply to all scripted events. Applying the error handling skeleton to a method before writing the method, assures two things: • error handling is present and • future manipulation of the method will not cause a runtime error that goes unnoticed. Now you are ready to write the actual method. “Sandwich” this code within the error handling code, so that you can catch any runtime errors. This is the last and most important step of scripting. Make sure the tests are complete, covering all possible conditions. Failure to test completely results in more wasted time later trying to track down a bug.

5. Add Method Body

6. Test

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Scripting Best Practices
When to Use Scripting
Use Scripting as a Last Resort Do not write script if there is a way to implement the required functionality through configuration. Declarative configuration is easier to maintain and upgrade, leading to a lower total cost of ownership. Before writing any script, Siebel Systems highly recommends that you review the media-based training (MBT) titled Declarative Alternatives to Siebel Scripting. For more information about this MBT, log on to Siebel University at http://siebeluniversity.siebel.com. Preferred alternatives to scripting include • Field validation • User properties • Workflow • Personalization • Run-time events • State model

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Follow Standard Naming Conventions
Have the project team agree upon a standard way of naming variables so that the scope and data type are identified easily. This significantly simplifies maintenance and troubleshooting efforts. Data types Data Type Integer String Boolean Float Scope Scope Global Scope (only applicable for Siebel VB) Module/Instance Scope Function or Local Scope Modifier G_ M_ or i_ No modifier or l_ Prefix I S B f

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Comment Code
Commenting code is a very good practice to explain the business purpose behind the code. At the onset of a project, project teams should agree upon standard commenting practice to ensure consistency, and simplify the maintenance effort. Include a comment header at the top of a method with an explanation of the code and revision history. Strictly maintain these headers so that they accurately reflect the script that they describe. If you do not maintain them along with the code, eventually they become confusing, misleading, or incorrect. As well as adding a comment header, comment lines that perform non-standard or complex behavior. Example of comment header:
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' ' Name: ' Module: ' Arguments: ' ' ' ' ' Return Value: Integer ContinueOperation -> Relationship is ' OK ' CancelOperation -> Relationship is ' not OK ' ' Used Globals: gintCheckIt Set to 1 in ' [Quote].[BusComp_ChangeRecord] ' Evaluated and Reset here ' ' Static Vars: mintChecked Set to 0 in [Account]. ' [BusComp_ChangeRecord] ' Evaluated and Set to 1 here ' ' NOTE: ' History Continued on next page Procedure might be called recursively!!! oBC1BusComp BusComp for ABC (positioned) oBC2BusComp BusComp for XYZ (not yet positioned) MyProcedure() BusComp [Account]

'

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Comment Code, Continued
' Date AuthorPurpose ' 8/14/03SBoetigOriginal Creation ' ' Description: This procedure contacts Webline and retrieves ' a bunch of data that is stored on the ' Action BC in Siebel to maintain a sort of ' audit record. ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

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Know When to Use Browser versus Server Script
Browser script is recommended for: • Communication with the user • Interaction with desktop applications • Data validation and manipulation limited to the current record Server script is recommended for: • Query, insert, update, and delete operations • Access to data beyond the current record

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Place Code in the Correct Event Handler
One of the most common issues identified during script reviews is the inappropriate use of object events. Placing code in the wrong event handler can lead to corrupt data and may negatively impact performance. Do not use Siebel application Pre- events (such as PreQuery, PreSetFieldValue, and PreWriteRecord) to manipulate data in objects other than the one hosting the script. (See “3. Determine Where to Put the Script: Which Event?” on page 6 for more information). The companion events, such as Query, SetFieldValue, and WriteRecord, occur after the internal and field-level validations succeed, and therefore are the appropriate events for such manipulation. For example, the WriteRecord event fires after the record writes successfully. When this event fires, you know that the record exists; therefore it is safe to create or modify data in other objects, without fearing orphaned records or an inconsistent state of the application. eScript examples BusComp_PreSetFieldValue BusComp_PreWriteRecord BusComp_SetFieldValue BusComp_WriteRecord Field level validation Record level validation Field triggered actions Record triggered actions Example: synchronizing two business components or creating activities BusComp_PreQuery Code control over SearchSpecs

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Use Fast Script In Event Handlers that Fire Frequently
Avoid placing complex code in event handlers that fire frequently, such as BusComp_PreGetFieldValue, as it may degrade application performance. The PreGetFieldValue event fires at least once for every field that is retrieved. This can amount to hundreds of calls to the event in rapid succession. Complex script in this event handler significantly degrades application performance. Developers typically use script in the PreGetFieldValue event to return a value other than the one in the database. As an alternative, developers can use a calculated field. The calculated field holds the display value and the calculation performs the logic. In this case, the Siebel application exposes the calculated field, not the actual field, to the user. For other frequently fired events, look for a configuration alternative, and if none is available, make the script as simple as possible. One alternative for complex calculations is to create a calculated field that uses the InvokeServiceMethod function. More detail on this function and its suggested use can be found in the Siebel Bookshelf.

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Runtime versus Compiled Business Services
Business services may be defined in Siebel Tools and compiled with the .srf file, or created as runtime business services in the client user interface. The decision on whether to make a business service compiled or runtime has no hard and fast rules. It ultimately depends on what you intend the service to do and how frequently you expect the code in the business service to change. Runtime business services are not compiled into the .srf file. The database stores them as records and you can change them at any time. The next time a runtime service executes, it uses the changes to the definition. This makes them useful for logic that changes frequently and logic that you need to change without deploying a new .srf file. The drawback to a runtime business service is that anyone with access to the view can see the code. This can pose a security problem. Runtime business services can be useful in a development environment to test frequent changes to scripts by using the business service simulator. Since no compiling is required, code development may be faster in the runtime environment. Once the code is complete and tested through the simulator, the developer can choose whether the business service should remain as a runtime service or if it should be migrated to Siebel Tools. Compiled business services are defined in Siebel Tools and represent a functionality that needs more security and is not likely to change. You must compile and implement a new .srf file to implement any changes. Because these business services are compiled, they provide more security than runtime services and they are faster to load. Note: If you define a business service called MyService as a runtime business service and as a compiled business service, the compiled version executes and the runtime version is ignored. For clarity, if you migrate a business service from a runtime version to a compiled version, you should inactivate or delete the runtime version so that it is clear to all developers that the runtime version is no longer being used.

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Use Option Explicit
Include the Option Explicit in the <general> <declarations> section of every object containing Siebel VB code.

Option Explicit requires that you explicitly declare every variable. The compiler returns an error if the Siebel application uses a variable before declaration; thus simplifying debugging efforts. Without Option Explicit, the Siebel application defines and dimensions variables on the fly. Example: if you defined a variable called ls_description, and later reference the variable as ls_dscription (missing an ‘e’), Option Explicit catches that a variable is being used that has not been defined. Without Option Explicit, the application defines a new variable as ls_dscription. Since Option Explicit only evaluates during compile time, there is no performance impact.

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Leverage Appropriate Debugging Techniques
Debugging Siebel Applications It is essential that you understand how to debug Siebel applications. There are four basic techniques: • Use alerts or RaiseErrorText methods to pop up message boxes • Write to a file using Trace or custom methods • Use the Siebel Debugger • Use object manager level logging The alert method in browser script and the RaiseErrorText method in server script enable you to display message boxes to the user. The RaiseErrorText method stops the execution of a script; therefore, it is only appropriate for a quick check of something and is not a good way to debug scripts where the source of the error is hard to determine. Alerts do not stop the execution of browser scripts and therefore are a quick and easy way to debug browser scripts. Writing to a Text File The most common way to debug a script is to write information to a text file. Accomplish this using the Trace function or an Siebel VB or eScript function. Using Trace, you can write the actual SQL to a file. This is a useful tool for visually stepping through the code and looking at the values of variables real time. You can set break points anywhere until you isolate a problem. When an application is in production, it is not always possible to add debugging statements to script. In this situation, developers or systems administrators can change settings in the object manager to trace events and SQL. Defined in the Component Parameters View: • OM - EL Tracing User Name: a comma separated list of logins to trace (for example, SADMIN) • OM - Trace EL Allocation: traces object memory allocation (Set to 1) • OM - Trace EL Events: traces which events are triggered (Set to 1) • OM - Trace EL SQL: traces the SQL generated by script (Set to 1)
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Alert and RaiseErrorText

Using the Debugger in Siebel Tools

Using Object Manager Settings

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Leverage Appropriate Debugging Techniques, Continued
Using Object Manager Settings
Continued

Defined in the Component Event Configuration View: • Object Manager Extension Language Log: enables the scripting to be logged (Set to 1) This graphic shows the two locations in the Siebel client application where object manager logging is turned on.

For the log level changes to take effect immediately, modify the Current Value parameter.

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Remove Unused Code from the Repository
Remove code that is: • Commented out • Set to Inactive • Never called If you want to keep a record of obsolete code before removing it, you can do an export from Siebel Tools to save a copy of the script. To export a script to a text file, open the script editing window for the object in question, then choose File > Export. The script for all methods on that object will be exported to a file of type .js if the script is written in eScript, or .sbl if it is written in Siebel VB. Alternatively, you can create an archive file, of file type .sif, with the object containing the script. Archive files contain all property definitions for the object, whereas a .js or .sbl file only contains the script. Remove Empty Methods Example of empty method in Siebel VB
Sub Application_Start (CommandLine As String) End Sub

The event handler for an empty method shows up as Active in Siebel Tools. This can be confusing to developers who think the event is scripted due to its Active status. Also, empty methods can cause a small performance hit as the interpreter may run through the event handler unnecessarily.

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Include Error Handling in All Scripts
Proper Error Handling Proactive handling of errors or exceptions significantly streamlines debugging. Without proper error handling, users may receive run-time errors from the interpreter, which are difficult to understand. Proper error handling: • Returns custom error messages that are easier for the user or developer to interpret • Is “bulletproof”, covering all methods that access Siebel Objects, external COM objects or the OS Error Handling in eScript Implement eScript error handling through the try/catch/finally mechanism. • Try block: contains the logic that you want performed. • Catch block: captures the error. • Finally block: performs any cleanup work such as destroying object references. Example:
function illustrateErrorHandling() { try { /*The try block encompasses all statements that could cause an exception. */ ...executable code goes here... }//end try

The try keyword precedes a block of normal processing code that may throw an exception.
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Include Error Handling in All Scripts, Continued
Error Handling in eScript
Continued catch(e) { if(defined(e.errText)) { TheApplication().RaiseErrorText(“An exception occurred ” + “in the “ + arguments.callee + “ of the “ + this.Name() + “ object. “ + “ERROR: ” + e.errText + “STACK: ” + e.toString()); } else { TheApplication().RaiseErrorText(“An exception occurred ” + “in the “ + “ of the “ + } }//end catch arguments.callee + this.Name() + “ object. “ +

“ERROR: ” + e.toString());

The catch keyword precedes a block of exception handling code. After a try block throws an exception, control over the program flow switches to the first catch block following it. Use two methods to avoid hard coding the object and method names. • arguments.callee substitutes the method name in which the code is running. • this.Name() substitutes the object name in which the script is running. Using these methods allows developers to copy this catch block into any eScript server script routine without changing it at all.
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Include Error Handling in All Scripts, Continued
Error Handling in eScript
Continued finally { // // // This block will always be called whether an exception is thrown or not. put the cleanup code here, for example: bcContact = null; boAccount = null; }

The finally block always executes, so it is an ideal location for the final release of resources. Error Handling in Siebel VB There are two strategies for handling unexpected runtime errors in Visual Basic: 1. On Error Goto <label>: traps runtime errors in the Err object and transfers control immediately to the label specified. It can perform code cleanup and write the error parameters to a log file, after which the procedure may gracefully exit and inform the user of the error condition. 2. On Error Resume Next: traps the runtime error in the Err object and continues right along as though nothing happened. This is a dangerous form of error handling because it essentially ignores all errors. If no error handling is done immediately after Err object detects an error, it will continue processing as if nothing happened. Siebel Systems recommends using On Error Goto <label> unless there is a compelling reason to use Resume Next.
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Include Error Handling in All Scripts, Continued
Error Handling in Siebel VB
Continued

Example of On Error Goto <Label>
Sub illustrateExceptionHandling() ‘In the event of an error, processing will immediately ‘transfer to the label “errorhandler” On Error GoTo errorhandler ‘Place code here that may experience an error Dim lBO_test Dim lBC_test As BusObject As BusComp

Set lBO_test = TheApplication.GetBusObject(“Account”) Set lBC_test = lBO_test.GetBusComp(“Account”) errorhandler: Set lBC_test = Nothing Set lBO_test = Nothing If Err <> 0 Then TheApplication.RaiseErrorText “An error has occurred ”& _ “illustrateExceptionHandling method ” & Chr$(13) & _ "object. " & Chr$(13) & _ "Error number: " & Err & Chr$(13) & _ "Error text: "Error line: End If " & Error$ & Chr$(13) & _ " & Erl

Notice the use of Err object and Error function in the Application.RaiseErrorText function to retrieve error code and error text. Use the if condition to make sure that the Siebel application enters this error handling block only if an error occurred. Whether created by developers in the script above, raised by a function called in the script above, or created by the Siebel application because of some runtime condition, the Err variable will not contain zero.

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Use RaiseError and RaiseErrorText Properly
In Siebel 7, developers sometimes use RaiseError and RaiseErrorText to display message boxes via script; however, these methods do not serve the same purpose as the MsgBox method, which was available in version 6.x and earlier. RaiseError and RaiseErrorText methods generate a server script exception causing the script to stop executing at that point. Therefore, it is important to place any code that must execute before calls to these methods.

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Use Exception Information
Purpose of Exception Handling Do not ignore exceptions. Ignoring them can cause other runtime errors to occur. It • • • • • is the duty of the exception handling to Catch exceptions Stabilize the application Log exception information or notify the users of what happened Possibly, re-throw the exception Possibly, set a return code

Exception Information in eScript

In eScript, the exception object stores error information in the: • errText attribute: exception.errText • Populates when the Siebel application encounters an error during runtime or when the developer raises an exception using RaiseErrorText. • toString() method: exception.toString() • Provides exception information from a COM object or from an exception thrown by the developer using the throw statement. There are two types of information: • Error description: the description of what went wrong. • Stack trace: the list of methods in the order in which they executed up to the line where the exception occurred. In eScript, you can obtain the method name dynamically from a native property of the method called “arguments”. This is an array of parameters specific to the method being invoked. Example:
if(defined(e.errText)) { TheApplication().RaiseErrorText(“An exception occurred ” + “in the “ + arguments.callee + “ of the “ + this.Name() + “ object. “ + “ERROR: ” + e.errText + + e.toString()); } else { TheApplication().RaiseErrorText(“An exception occurred ” + in the “ } Continued on next page + arguments.callee + “ of the “ + this.Name() + “ object. “ + “ERROR: ” + e.toString()); “STACK: ”

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Use Exception Information, Continued
Exception Information in Siebel VB In Siebel VB, the Err object stores the error information. Because Siebel VB does not include properties that store the method name, you must hard code the method name in the string passed to the RaiseErrorText method. Example:
If Err <> 0 Then TheApplication.RaiseErrorText "An error has occurred " & _ “illustrateExceptionHandling method ” & Chr$(13) & _ "in the " & Me.Name & _ " object. " & Chr$(13) & _ "Error number: " & Err & Chr$(13) & _ "Error text: "Error line: End If " & Error$ & Chr$(13) & _ " & Erl

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Place Return Statements Correctly: eScript
A return statement in the finally clause of a try/catch/finally block suppresses any exceptions generated in the method or thrown to the method. These exceptions will not make it out of the method. When code in the finally clause causes an exception, the exception information makes it out of the method, but the original exception information is lost. Ensure that the method itself contains the return statement. A method takes input, does something, and then returns a value, null, or an exception. Example:
function illustrateReturnStatement() { var myVar; try { //executable code goes here myVar = 1; } catch(e) { if(defined(e.errText)) { TheApplication().RaiseErrorText("An exception occurred " + "in the " + arguments.callee + " of the " + this.Name() + " object. " + "ERROR: " + e.errText + "STACK: " + e.toString()); } else { TheApplication().RaiseErrorText("An exception occurred " + "in the " + " of the " + } }//end catch finally { //cleanup code goes here } return myVar; } arguments.callee + this.Name() + " object. " +

"ERROR: " + e.toString());

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Centralize Browser Script Using the “Top” Object
In browser script, top is a shortcut to the top level document. Using the top object, developers can write a browser script function once and call it from anywhere within the browser aspect of objects. Note: Scripted objects have a server side aspect which can only call server script and a browser side aspect which can only call browser script. Thus the top object, being a browser script object, can only be referenced from browser script. This is useful for any function which needs to interact programmatically with a client application or desktop, that would also need to be called from multiple places in the application. The following example provides a logging function in the top object: 1. Assign a pointer for the method to the top object: • Include Top in (general) (declarations) of Application object
top.log = trace_log;

This step assigns a function pointer to the top window object of the application, which any browser script can use. 2. Implement the method at the application level
function trace_log(as_text) { ...include trace logic here. {

After adding the function to the (general) (declarations) section, you will see it appear as a separate function in the script window, as shown below:

Continued on next page

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Centralize Browser Script Using the “Top” Object, Continued
3. Call the method from any browser script.

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Know When to Use the Current Context versus a New Context in Server Script
Difference Between Current and New Context • • Current (or UI) context deals with objects that the Siebel application created to support data that are currently available to the user. New (or Non-UI) context is a set of objects instantiated in script that have no tie to any objects or data that the user is currently viewing.

Keeping these two straight is important because the user may see programmatic manipulations of data if you use the wrong context. For example, consider a script running in any event of the Contact business component that needs to get a reference to the Contact business component to do a comparison or lookup. This code returns a reference to the current instance of the Contact business component:
bc = this.BusObject().GetBusComp(“Contact”);

If this code is executed while a user is watching the user interface, the user sees any programmatic manipulations of the data. Equivalent ways of getting a reference to the current Contact business component instance are
bc = TheApplication().ActiveBusObject().GetBusComp(“Contact”); bc = this;

To prevent users from seeing data manipulation that the script does, create a new, or non-UI, instance of the Contact business component.
bo = TheApplication.GetBusComp(“Contact”); bc = bo.GetBusComp(“Contact”);

The difference here is the business object. Since all business components live within an enclosing business object’s context, it is the business object that makes the difference. In this previous code example, the application created a new instance of the Contact business object, enabling data manipulation to occur outside of the current context. Note that when the current record is instantiated and modified in a non-UI context instance, the warning message “The selected record has been modified by another user since it was retrieved” will be displayed to the user. This message appears because the script has modified the current record, and a refresh is necessary for the user to see the current field values. Therefore, if the script is going to update the current record, it may be preferable to use the UI context to avoid this message.
Continued on next page

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Know When to Use the Current Context versus a New Context in Server Script, Continued
Guidelines for Choosing Context • Use the current context to • Access data with which the user is currently working • Perform processing that should be visible to the user Use a new context to • Invisibly query a visible business component • Use a business component in a different business object context

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Use Smallest Possible Scope for Variables
Developers frequently create instance level variables that can be accessed by many methods within an object. This is done at the application level so that any script can access the objects. While this is good for the purposes of instantiating an object only once, it is a bad practice for four reasons. 1. Rules of encapsulation are usually violated. 2. Scripts often step on each other. 3. There is no event that guarantees that the objects are always destroyed. 4. It is difficult to “understand” the scope or state of variables, because they are instantiated in one method and accessed in others. It is far better to declare and use objects where they are needed and pass them as parameters to other methods.

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Instantiate Objects Only As Needed
Create object instances on an as-needed basis. Create object instances that are needed based upon the outcome of an evaluation after that evaluation. Otherwise, your code may create unused object instances that can negatively impact performance. Correct order 1. Evaluate condition 2. Create objects 3. Use objects Incorrect order 1. Create objects 2. Evaluate condition 3. Use objects

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Destroy Object Variables When No Longer Needed
Memory leaks are a common problem, so when a script creates an object reference, that same script must destroy the object reference before leaving the method. Object references are: • COM objects • Property Sets • Business Services • Business Components • Business Objects • Applets In eScript, destroy an object by setting it to null (oBC = null). In Siebel VB, destroy an object by setting it to nothing (Set oBC = Nothing). Release objects in the reverse order in which the Siebel application created them; child objects first, parent objects second. • Pick/Associate/MVG business components before the parent business component • Business components before business objects • No specific order for property sets and business services since they are independently created from the application Tightly couple object destruction with error handling to ensure that the Siebel application destroys objects in success and in failure. Therefore, destroy objects in the finally clause as this clause always executes, regardless of whether the method exits successfully or with errors.
finally { ChildObject } = null; ParentObject = null;

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Use Conditional Blocks To Run Code
Just as objects should be instantiated only as needed, code should be run only as needed. A typical example is in the BusComp_PreSetFieldValue event. Code in this event is usually associated with a specific field, not all fields. Check which field the code is modifying before going any further. Example:
function BusComp_PreSetFieldValue(FieldName, FieldValue) { switch(FieldName) { case “Status”: …do something… break; … } … }

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Verify Objects Returned
Verify Object Returned is Expected One ActiveBusObject Always verify that the object returned is the one expected, especially when calling methods such as ActiveBusObject, ActiveBusComp, and ParentBusComp.

ActiveBusObject returns the business object for the business component of the active applet. When a business component can be the child of more than one business object, check which object is actually returned from a call to this method. ActiveBusObject only makes sense if used in a script running in the application object or in a business service. Script running in an applet or in a business component should use: • • Me.BusObject (in an applet and in a business component) this.BusObject(); (in an applet and in a business component)

eScript Example:
if(TheApplication().ActiveBusObject().Name() == “some name”) { …code here… }

Siebel VB Example:
If TheApplication.ActiveBusObject.Name = “some name” Then …code here……… End If

ActiveBusComp

ActiveBusComp returns the business component associated with the active applet. When running script outside of a business component, verify the active business component with a call to this method. ParentBusComp returns the parent business component when given the child business component of a link. Always make sure that a business component reference obtained with the ParentBusComp method is valid and is the one expected. Two situations could cause no reference to return: • • The business component is the parent and has no parent, such as the Account business component in the Account business object. The link that established a parent/child relationship in the business object has been removed or changed.
Continued on next page

ParentBusComp

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Verify Objects Returned, Continued
ParentBusComp
Continued

If no reference is returned from ParentBusComp, no error is thrown. However, calling methods or referencing attributes on a null object will result in a runtime error. Therefore, always verify the reference returned when calling ParentBusComp. eScript Example
var lBC_parent = this.ParentBusComp(); if(lBC_parent != null && lBC_parent.Name() == “some name”) { ……code…… }

Siebel VB Example
Set lBC_parent = Me.ParentBusComp If Not lBC_parent Is Nothing And lBC_Parent.Name = “some name” Then ………code…… End If

In this example, the script is verifying that there is a reference before getting the Name attribute.

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Verify Field is Active before Use
Calling GetFieldValue or SetFieldValue on an inactive field may lead to lost data or logic going astray. Server script field is Active if • System field (Id, Created, Created By, Updated, Updated By) • LinkSpec property on BC set to TRUE • Force Active property on BC set to TRUE • Included in applet definition on active view • Used in calculation of calculated field on active applet • Explicitly activated using BusComp.ActivateField (strFldName) Browser script field is Active if • Id field • Fields visible in the UI Only use ActivateField if an ExecuteQuery statement succeeds it. As a standalone statement, ActivateField will not implicitly activate a nonactivated field. ActivateField tells the Siebel application to include this database column in the next SQL statement it executes on the business component which just had a field activated. Example: Incorrect Use
ActivateField(<Name>);⇓Incorrect use! after this. GetFieldValue(<Name>); The BC is not queried

Correct Use
ActivateField(<Name>); ExecuteQuery(ForwardOnly); GetFieldValue(<Name>);

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Leverage New Methods in Siebel 7
New Methods ActivateMultipleFields, GetMultipleFieldValues, and SetMultipleFieldValues are new methods in Siebel 7. These methods are best used when accessing Siebel applications through COM, Java, C++, CORBA, and the Mobile/ Dedicated Web Client Automation Server. Using these methods can help reduce redundant lines and make the program more readable. Example
var lbc_account = this; var lPS_FieldNames = TheApplication().NewPropertySet(); var lPS_FieldValues = TheApplication().NewPropertySet(); var ls_account_products; var ls_agreement_name; var ls_project_name; var ls_description; var ls_name; //set up the property set which will be used in all three //methods to hold the field names. lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty("Account Products", ""); lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty("Agreement Name", ""); lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty("Project Name", ""); lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty("Description", ""); lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty(“Name", ""); //activate the fields using the property set which has the //field names lbc_account.ActivateMultipleFields(lPS_FieldNames);

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Leverage New Methods in Siebel 7, Continued
New Methods
Continued
lbc_account.ExecuteQuery(ForwardOnly); if (lbc_account.FirstRecord()) { //retrieve the values. This method acts sort of like a business //service in that there is an input property set and an output //property set. The field values will be in the second property set //passed in. lbc_account.GetMultipleFieldValues(lPS_FieldNames,lPS_FieldValues); //loop through property set to get values. ls_account_products = lPS_FieldValues.GetProperty("Account Products"); ls_agreement_name ls_project_name ls_description ls_name } //now set new values in the property set lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty("Account Products", "All My Products"); lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty("Agreement Name", "Siebel Agreement"); lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty("Project Name", "Siebel Project #2"); lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty("Description", "This is the description"); lPS_FieldNames.SetProperty(“Name", "Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabbidoo"); //set the field values lbc_account.SetMultipleFieldValues(lPS_FieldNames); //commit the data lbc_account.WriteRecord(); } = lPS_FieldValues.GetProperty("Agreement Name"); = lPS_FieldValues.GetProperty("Project Name"); = lPS_FieldValues.GetProperty("Description"); = lPS_FieldValues.GetProperty("Name");

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Leverage New Methods in Siebel 7, Continued
New Methods
Continued

In this example, the code creates lPS_FieldNames to hold the field names and lPS_FieldValues to hold the field values. After setting the value using the SetProperty method, invoke ActivateMultipleFields and the Siebel application passes the property set in as parameter. After calling the ExecuteQuery method, invoke GetMultipleFieldValues to get the field values. If you did not use GetMultipleFields and ActivateMultipleFields, you would have to individually activate or get each of the field values. Notice the use of SetMultipleFieldValues here. If you did not use SetMultipleFieldValues, you would have to individually set the field values.

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Use Proper View Mode For Queries
View mode settings control the formulation of the SQL WHERE clause that the Siebel application sends to the database by using team or position visibility to limit the records available in the business component queried in the script. Setting a query to AllView visibility mode gives the user access to all records, which may be different than the view mode of the current view in the UI. For example, a user may have SalesRep visibility on the UI whereas the script will be giving the user All visibility. This would give the user access to records the user might not need to access, or should not be able to access. Setting view mode is especially important in an environment with mobile Web client users. Mobile users have a subset of data in their local databases. If you do not set the view mode correctly for limited visibility objects, unexpected behavior can occur, such as resetting foreign keys. For example, the application may set the Primary ID to No Match Row ID if a child record does not exist on the local database. This update has the potential to synchronize back up to the server, causing a data integrity problem. To avoid this issue, use the GetViewMode method to determine the user’s visibility so that you can apply the same view mode in the query executed by the script. eScript Example:
with (bcAcct) { SetViewMode(this.GetViewMode());

Siebel VB Example:
With bcAcct .SetViewMode Me.GetViewMode

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Query Only Indexed Columns
To assist the database engine in efficiently retrieving and sorting data, be sure that search and sort specs reference indexed columns whenever possible. Sorting or searching on non-indexed fields can have detrimental effects on database performance, especially on large tables, as it produces table scans and temporary tables in the SQL execution plan. This is true of search and sort specifications that developers create in script, just as if they created them using configuration. For best performance, ensure that such specifications cover the key columns of the desirable index, as well as cover them in the exact index sequence order. This encourages the database engine to use the index and may prevent unnecessary physical sorts in temporary tables.

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Use ForwardOnly Cursor Mode
If you do not specify a cursor mode when querying with Siebel eScript or Siebel VB, the Siebel application uses the default cursor mode of ForwardBackward. To support this cursor mode, the system creates a cache to maintain the entire record set. If you will traverse through the record set from FirstRecord using NextRecord and will not return to a previous record, use ForwardOnly cursor mode. The system will not need to create the cache, improving performance. This is particularly true if you perform a look up or if you access a pick list. Example:
bcAccount.ExecuteQuery(ForwardOnly);

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Verify Existence of Valid Record After Querying
When performing a query, always check that a record is returned through the use of FirstRecord, NextRecord, or LastRecord methods, before attempting to retrieve or set a field value for the record. Do this even if it seems impossible that a record will not return. Example:
bcContact.ClearToQuery(); bcContact.SetSearchSpec(“Id”, sContactId); bcContact.ExecuteQuery(ForwardOnly); //Check to see that a record was actually returned //by examining the return of FirstRecord(). if (bcContact.FirstRecord()) { //okay to perform data processing… }

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Use Switch or Select Case Statements
When you need to evaluate and compare a single expression with many different possibilities, the fastest and most readable way of doing this is to use switch (eScript) or select case (Siebel VB). • • It is more efficient because the expression is evaluated once, then compared to different values. It is easier to read than a series of nested if…else if statements. Using switch or select case statements can frequently compact multiple pages of script into a single page.

When using switch or select case, be sure to test all conditions, not just the most obvious ones. Logic errors can occur in code that does not consider all possible conditions. Consider using default or case else to hold a default set of behaviors that should occur if none of the stated conditions is met. eScript Example: Instead of Use

switch(iNum) If(iNum == 1) { sGrade = ‘A’; case 1: else sGrade = ‘A’; if(iNum ==2) break; sGrade = ‘B’; case 2: else sGrade = ‘B’; if(iNum == 3) sGrade = ‘C’; break; case 3: sGrade = ‘C’; } Tip: In eScript, the keyword break is necessary to end a particular case. Otherwise, code falls through to the next case without stopping. Siebel VB does not require a break statement. Reaching the next keyword case will end the previous case.

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Compare the Same Condition In If/Else If
Verify that if/else if conditions compare a single expression. Otherwise, more than one case could be true at the same time, but only one condition will execute. If/else if blocks evaluate every condition until the first one evaluates to true. Then that condition executes and the code ignores the others. Example:
var ls_first var ls_second = “first”; = “second”;

if (ls_first == “first”) { ……do something…… } else if (ls_second == “second”) { …………do something else……… }

In the example above, the code evaluates two conditions: ls_first and ls_second. Both evaluate to true, but the logic of only the first condition will execute. As with switch and select case, be sure to test all conditions, not just the most obvious ones. Logic errors may occur in code if you do not consider all possibilities.

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Use the Associate Method to Create Intersection Table Records
Use the Associate method to create records in an intersection table. This method automatically and correctly creates new records. Developers, unaware of this method, frequently try to implement the functionality with many lines of script when a single call to the Associate method will work. Example:
var lBC_mvg = this.GetMVGBusComp(“Sales Rep”); var lBC_associate = lBC_mvg.GetAssocBusComp(); with(lBC_associate) { ClearToQuery(); SetSearchSpec(“Id”, SomeRowId); ExecuteQuery(ForwardOnly); if(FirstRecord()) Associate(NewAfter); }

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Use Dynamic Values
Use dynamic values, as opposed to hard coded values, wherever possible. This is particularly important for values that may change often, because you must recompile and redeploy any changes to hard-coded values. Many commonly used values in scripting are available as process properties which can be obtained with the TheApplication.GetProfileAttr() function. For example, if you are writing an error handling script and want to pass the application name, you can use:
TheApplication.GetProfileAttr("ApplicationName")

Alternatively, you can store values in the List Of Values table or other database tables and query for them at runtime. This is most appropriate when there is only one dynamic value or a short list of values which you need to query for in the script. If you have one value, or a short list that will fit within one LOV entry, use the LookupValue function to retrieve the value. Using LookupValue is especially important if you have implemented Multilingual List of Values (MLOV). If you need to store multiple LOV values with a common LOV Type, the script can query directly on the List Of Values business component. In the following example, the LOV values are queried from the List Of Values buscomp, then concatenated together to form a query filter string. Example:
var var var var statusList; moreRecords; boLOV; bcLOV;

boLOV = TheApplication().GetBusObject("List Of Values"); bcLOV = boLOV.GetBusComp("List Of Values"); bcLOV.ClearToQuery(); bcLOV.SetSearchSpec("Type","SR_STATUS"); bcLOV.SetSearchSpec("Active","Y"); bcLOV.ExecuteQuery(ForwardOnly); if (bcLOV.FirstRecord()) { statusList = bcLOV.GetFieldValue("Name"); moreRecords = bcLOV.NextRecord(); while (moreRecords != 0) { statusList = statusList + " OR "; statusList = statusList + bcLOV.GetFieldValue("Name"); moreRecords = bcLOV.NextRecord(); } } else { statusList = ""; }

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Use Logical Constants versus Literal Values
Always use logical constants where they are available. It makes your code easier to read and easier to upgrade. Literal values are prone to upgrade problems as Siebel applications could change the behavior behind a literal value. Example:
bc.NewRecord(1);

Most likely, future developers reading this script will have to look up what 1 means. Also, if Siebel Systems were to change what this literal value does in the NewRecord method in the C++ class, this code may not behave as expected. Using the logical constant alleviates both of these issues. The above line of code is better implemented as:
bc.NewRecord(NewAfter);

These are the most commonly used logical constants and their literal values. Type CursorMode: ViewMode: Logical Constant ForwardBackward ForwardOnly SalesRep View ManagerView PersonalView AllView OrganizationView ContactView GroupView CatalogView SubOrganizationView NewRecordLocation: NewBefore NewAfter NewBeforeCopy NewAfterCopy Value 0 (default) 1 0 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 0 (default) 1 2 3

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Avoid Exit Function and Exit Sub
There are two general objections to using Exit Sub or Exit Function in Siebel VB. First, it is difficult to follow the flow of a script with multiple exit points. It is easier to follow and maintain a script with one exit point. Second, multiple exit points increase the chance of memory leaks from not properly destroying objects. When a script exits abruptly, object references are not released unless explicitly written that way. In methods where there are many exit points, developers have to duplicate this code in many locations.

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MARCH 23, 2004

SIEBEL SCRIPTING BEST PRACTICES

Place GotoView at the End of a Script
The GotoView statement does not immediately exit a script and navigate to the specified view. Rather, the script holds the statement aside until the entire script executes. Finally, as the last statement, the script executes the method regardless of where it appeared in the script. For example, if the first statement in a script is a GotoView statement, it will not execute until all other code executes. Therefore, it is good practice to place GotoView statements at the end of a script, to represent what actually happens.

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SIEBEL SCRIPTING BEST PRACTICES

MARCH 23, 2004

Use DeleteRecord Method Properly
DeleteRecord implicitly moves the record pointer to the next record in the record set. A call to NextRecord after DeleteRecord causes the record pointer to move twice. This means that the Siebel application skips a record in the result set. If it is deleting records within a loop, the Siebel application skips every other record. The following example illustrates the recommended approach for deleting records within a loop. Siebel VB
While(BC.FirstRecord <> 0) BC.DeleteRecord Wend

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