Friday, March 12, 2010

Interview Question #2 - What is a Siebel Operation Step?

This interview question uses a technical term to test a Siebel Developer's understanding of a topic. "Siebel Operation" can be almost anything to someone who does not have a basic familiarity with Siebel Workflow, but it is an everyday term for any Workflow Developer.

Q: Please explain what a Siebel Operation is, and how it is used.

A: At minimum, the candidate should know that a Siebel Operation is a type of Workflow Process Step. If the candidate does not volunteer this information without additional prompting, he or she is not a Workflow Developer.

Candidates should know that a Siebel Operation can be used to Insert or Update records as part of a Workflow Process. A candidate should know the difference between a Workflow Process and a Workflow Policy or Workflow Policy Program. Siebel Operation is a term that is only used in connection with Workflow Processes.

In addition to Insert and Update, recent versions of Siebel have other types of operations. Most Siebel Workflow Developers know that a Query operation is now available. Since Siebel 8.0, there are Upsert and looping operations: PrevRecord, NextRecord, and QueryBiDirectional. In my experience, knowledge of these operations is less common; it can be difficult to find a developer who can explain how to build a loop in a Workflow Process.

Workflow Process Steps operate on the business layer of Siebel, as opposed to the database layer. A Business Component that is associated with the Workflow Process's Business Object is required for any Siebel Operation. Workflow Developers should know these things, although a little prompting may be required.

A good Workflow Developer should also know about the Siebel Operation Object Id process property, which is updated after an Insert, Update, or Upsert operation. If one record is inserted or updated, this process property will contain the row id of the affected record. If more than one record, the property will contain an asterisk: '*'. If no records are affected, the property will not contain a value.