Slides - API Wizard

Working Effectively with
Oracle’s Public APIs
Finding, Understanding, Using, Tuning, and Extending
Presented by Rob Lepanto, API Wizard
About the Presenter, Rob Lepanto
17 years working with Oracle Apps/EBS
Project manager and techno-functional consultant
President of the NYC-OAUG (geo group)
API Guru at API Wizard
Presentation Overview
What’s an API and how are they used
How to identify available APIs
Working with APIs
When APIs fail
Improving API performance
Extensions and private APIs
Presentation Goal
• By the end of this presentation, you should have a better
understanding of how you can find and use public APIs to
improve business processing at your organization
What’s an API?
• API stands for 'Application Programming Interface'
• A software program which serves as an intermediary or
interface between two other software programs or between a
software program and data
• APIs are used in a very wide array of contexts with today’s
technology and often mean slightly different things in each.
Oracle EBS: Public API vs Private API
• Public APIs have been created by Oracle for customer use.
• Supported / safe
• Documented
• Relatively simple to use
• Private/internal APIs are created by Oracle for its internal
• Not supported
• Use at your own risk
How are public APIs used?
Interface two systems
Synch customers with third-party application
such as
Custom applications
A custom set of forms to more easily manage
service contracts.
Load or update bulk data
Update inventory items across dozens of orgs
API Wizard
To streamline data entry
Why is it important to use Public APIs?
Along with open interfaces, public APIs represent the only safe,
supported way to enter data in Oracle EBS aside from Oracle
"(Public) APIs are guaranteed to maintain the integrity of the
database… Invalid data cannot be entered into the system and
existing data is protected from incorrect alterations."
Oracle Implementation Guide
Great mysteries
The Voynich Manuscript
The Beale Ciphers
Who built Stonehenge and why?
Where do I find a list of Public APIs?
• No single, complete source of API information
• You have to employ a variety of approaches to find the public APIs
that you are looking for
• Hard to find but there are a lot of them:
Over 1,500 in R11, over 2,500 in R12
Some processes have both public APIs and Open Interfaces
Some processes have one or the other
A few processes have neither
How to find Public APIs?
Place to look
Oracle Integration
Either online at or using
Integration Repository Responsibility (R12
Oracle Documentation
Web Search
Search terms:
Oracle API and what you’re looking for. For
example, 'Oracle API Receipts'
My Oracle Support
Knowledge Base, Forum, raise an SR
Your services provider
Should have knowledge or way to get
API Wizard
Has a knowledge base which it shares
Query DBA Objects
A powerful do-it-yourself option, described
in detail on next slide.
Querying DBA Objects
Use standard naming conventions and some ingenuity to find public APIs
distinct object_name pkg, procedure$ proc
dba_objects obj, sys.argument$ args
obj.object_id = args.obj#
obj.object_type = 'PACKAGE'
obj.owner = 'APPS'
obj.object_name LIKE '%API%'
OR obj.object_name LIKE '%PUB%'
args.procedure$ LIKE '%ITEM%'
args.argument LIKE '%LEAD_TIME_LOT_SIZE%'
ORDER BY object_name, procedure$
The public APIs generally have
the term 'API' or 'PUB' in them,
so this is a good way to narrow
down your search
This is part of the procedure
name, generally somewhat
descriptive to the task at hand. In
this case, I want to update item
info, so I’ll use 'ITEM' in my
search to reduce the resultset
This is the name of a parameter
in the API. You’re probably
guessing here but oftentimes API
parameters are similar to the
name of the field in the table
where the data is stored. You can
also look in the forms using
Help > Examine
De-Facto Public API Standards
Most public APIs are package.procedures (rather than stand-alone
procedures). There are some package.functions.
Standard input
These input parameters are included in the majority of public APIs:
Standard output
These output parameters are included in the majority of public APIs:
p_return_status / x_return_status
p_msg_count / x_msg_count
p_msg_data / x_msg_data
User, Responsibility, Application, Organization,
Flexfield Support
Ability to process flexfields
Internal identifiers
Internal Oracle IDs rather than common values (i.e. party_id rather than
Owned by 'apps'
Unlike other objects like tables, which are owned by individual module
schemas, all of the APIs are owned by the 'apps' schema
No quite standards but fairly common
Required by several public APIs. For example, required when updating
parties/customers and employees.
No status
Some public APIs don’t provide a status parameter, so how do you know if
they were processed successfully?
No messages
They write out to fnd_msg or another utility rather than have an output
messages parameter
Special messages
User, Responsibility, Application, Organization,
Error message handling
• Messages
• Number of messages controls how you retrieve them for most
APIs. As a general rule, most APIs have a p_msg_count or
x_msg_count parameter that gives you the message count
• Single message
• Generally go to output parameter p_msg_data (or x_msg_data)
• Multiple messages
• Generally written to fnd message buffer,
• Must retrieve with fnd_msg_pub.get
Public API Failures
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
- Thomas Edison
Types of API Failures
Failure Type
How to address
Failure to make
valid API Call
API not executed because
call is invalid, typical error
Check data-types of values passed and datatypes of parameters.
If that’s not it, then look at documentation or
look at the API code (TOAD and SQL*Developer
make this easy) to find required parameters
(those that do not have default values).
Check the error messages, some are fairly
If error message is not meaningful, try to
eliminate non-required parameters and then
add back one at a time until error occurs.
Check the documentation
Raise an SR
ORA-0650 Wrong number
of types of arguments
Validation failure
Data does not pass
validation and does not
create or update data
Public API Performance
"Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!'
Then get busy and find out how to do it."
- Theodore Roosevelt
• You can’t improve API performance… can you?
• Performance techniques
• Traces and indexes
• Use internal IDs
• Parallel execution
• Pre-validate
• Coordinating activity
• Pinning
• Data preparation
• Patches
• Commit frequency
Extending functionality with Wrappers
• Wrappers
• Program which provides a programming shell within
which one or more APIs, validations, and output
translations can occur.
• Why use wrappers?
• Often takes multiple APIs to complete a business
• Allows addition of logic, validations, and workflows
• Requires programming effort but process efficiency
usually makes it a good investment
Private APIs
"Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing."
-Warren Buffett
When do private APIs come into play?
• When there are business process you need to perform outside of the forms
and there’s no public API… but you’ve found a private API. Should you use
it? What are the risks?
• Risks
• Use of private APIs is not supported by Oracle
• May not work as you expect
• Benefits
• Significantly better than direct table writes
• Not really that difficult to fully vet and test
• Do Oracle customers use private APIs?
• Yes. In my experience working with many (50+) organizations that make use of
public APIs, approximately half also use private APIs.
• Oracle has invested heavily in exposing APIs to its customers,
which is evident by the big increase in public APIs between
R11 (1,500) and R12 (2,500)
• Public APIs provide a safe and effective way to perform Oracle
EBS transactions much faster and more efficiently than
standard forms or custom programs
• While it isn’t always easy to find them, there are public APIs
for nearly every business process. With some ingenuity and
elbow grease you can find them and learn how to use them
• You can put them in wrappers for a more complete business
process and you can improve their performance when needed
• This is the 'right' (i.e. safe and supported) way to work with
your Oracle EBS data
For more information
• To see white paper that was the source of data for this
presentation, please go to:
• To email Rob Lepanto

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