Best Practices for OnDemand Application Design and Configuration

Published 24 August 2006

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Authors: Wei-Dong Zhu


This document describes some of the best practices for OnDemand application design and configuration.


We collected some of the best practices from the OnDemand development team and practitioners in the field about how to best design and configure OnDemand applications. We intend to help you to implement archive solutions in the most efficient way.

We include the following best practice topics:

    • Including a Date field in an application group
    • Including a Load Date field in an application group
    • Including an Application ID field in an application group
    • Application group name handling
    • PDF document access
    • PDF document indexing
Including a Date field in an application group

Most of the time, a document includes at least one date. It is required from a user’s point of view for organizing the document filing, although it might not have anything to do with electronic archiving.

For example, Invoice Number and Customer Number fields provide important information. Without them, we cannot associate the right invoice to the right customer. A date field, such as an Invoice Date, is also needed so we know when this invoice is generated. This information, as well as other date fields, such as Order Date and Delivery Date, are necessary for efficiently keeping documents organized.

Similarly, with OnDemand, to optimize its internal organization and ensure efficient document search and retrieval tasks, we recommend that you include a date field in an application group as a segment.

You should identify this date field that OnDemand can use to segment the application group index data. The segment field enables you to search specific tables of an application group's data rather than all of the tables.

Important: After an application group is created, it is not possible to choose a date field as a segment.

In case no date is available in the document, use at least the Load Date as the segment. See the next section for more information.

Including a Load Date field in an application group

For the IT team, the application dates, such as Invoice Date or Delivery Date, might not be important. The IT team's job is to archive documents and ensure that all the archived documents are available through OnDemand. Indexing documents with the Load Date field is an efficient way for the IT team to keep track of the archiving activity.

The Load Date of the document might be different from any of the application dates. For example, the invoices can be loaded the day that they are printed or some days later. In this case, the Load Date is different from the Invoice Date. Accurate and easily accessible Load Date information helps to avoid any misunderstandings.

In addition to helping keep track of archiving activity, the availability of a Load Date index might be of great help in case of an audit or compliance request.

As we mentioned earlier, if a document does not have any date, use the Load Date field as a segment date.

Including an Application ID field in an application group

A document layout might change. Even if the indexes stay the same, you might have to add a new application to take into account the new positions of the fields in the document. The updated document might also be produced in another data stream. Including an Application ID field in an application group makes future changes easier to control and manage.

Application group name handling

A folder provides a user a way to query and retrieve data stored in OnDemand. It provides users with a convenient way to find related information stored in OnDemand, regardless of the source of the information and how the data was prepared.

A folder allows an administrator to set up a common query screen for several application groups that might use different indexing schemes, so that a user can retrieve the data with a single query. For example, you can set up a folder called “Customer Information” that contains orders and invoices from information stored in different application groups, defined in different applications, and created by different programs.

Users can have access to different document types through one folder. They can limit their search to a specific document type, or they can see the document type that each hit-list entry represents.

Note: An application group name can be updated after the application group is added, as long as the Application ID field value has not been used as the identifier in an application; otherwise, you can no longer update the application group name.

PDF document access

When you add an application for archiving PDF documents, there are two tabs in the application definition window that you must set up:

    • The Indexer information tab, where you specify how OnDemand indexes the documents:
      • PDF: Set the OnDemand PDF Indexer to analyze the data stream, segment data, and extract the indexes.
      • Generic: You must provide the generic indexer file with all the information needed by OnDemand to archive the file.
    • The View information tab, where you specify the way OnDemand displays the PDF documents. There are two ways to support the PDF documents:
      • PDF: This option provides a PDF seamless integration option in OnDemand. This selection supports annotation in OnDemand client and provides full text search support.
      • User Defined with File Extension PDF: An Acrobat Reader window outside of OnDemand client displays the PDF documents. There is no annotation support in OnDemand client, and the selection does not provide full text search support. The free Acrobat Reader product must be installed on all workstations with OnDemand client to use this option.
Before you decide which way you want to set up the OnDemand application for PDF, ask yourself these questions:
    • Will the OnDemand clients be used to access PDF documents? Is seamless integration mandatory for your business requirements?
    • Is full text search support mandatory?

Important: After you add the application, you cannot change the setup in the View information tab. You must make the right choice in the beginning.

PDF document indexing

When you index the PDF files, sometimes the right information in a PDF document is not captured. One of the following reasons might cause the problem:

    • The different pieces of information in the PDF document are too close to each other and are written using a small font. Therefore, it is not possible to define an efficient area with the graphical indexer or by using the arspdump command to capture the right information.
    • The information is printed on all the pages except the first one in the document. For example, you want to index invoices by the total amount due that is printed on the last page of each invoice, and the invoice might have more than one page. A trigger float does not exist for the PDF files as it does for the line-data or AFP files.
If you can change the manner in which the PDF documents are generated, you can help to solve these problems.

The best context for an efficient index capture is to have:

    • All the necessary information printed on the first page of each document.
    • All information printed with the same font at a predefined area.

Special Notices

This material has not been submitted to any formal IBM test and is published AS IS. It has not been the subject of rigorous review. IBM assumes no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness. The use of this information or the implementation of any of these techniques is a client responsibility and depends upon the client's ability to evaluate and integrate them into the client's operational environment.

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