Author Archive

Raspberry Pi CTA Tracker Kiosk

February 9, 2017 Leave a comment



I purchased a Raspberry Pi 3 about a year ago and finally got around to creating a fully functional CTA bus/train tracker out of it.

Parts Needed

Raspberry Pi 

Micro SDHC Cards


Cable (Cable that came with screen was defective)

Keyboard and Mouse (any will do, but I like this)

CTA Tracker URL:

Create your specific CTA Tracker URL and save it for later

Read more…

Generating XML in PL/SQL

January 17, 2017 Leave a comment

At work we have historically been using concatenation for generating XML Data. I stumbled upon these XML functions the other day, and thought it was worth sharing. They seem to be the proper, and I’m sure more efficient, way to generate XML using Oracle PL/SQL. I’m dumbfounded that our developers didn’t use this method, but who am I to judge!

Oracle Documentation:

Easier to Understand Guide:

Example Query for Delivery Lines

Should produce XML for a Delivery with its lines, where lines contain the Item Number, Description, Shipped Quantity, and Requested Quantity.

 msib.segment1 AS "ITEM_NUMBER",
 FROM wsh_delivery_assignments wda,
 wsh_delivery_details wdd,
 mtl_system_items_b msib,
 mtl_system_items_TL msibTL
 WHERE wda.delivery_id = wnd.delivery_id
 AND wda.delivery_detail_id = wdd.delivery_detail_id
 AND wdd.inventory_item_id = msib.inventory_item_id
 AND msib.organization_id = WND.ORGANIZATION_ID
 AND wdd.inventory_item_id = msibTL.inventory_item_id
 AND msibTL.organization_id = WND.ORGANIZATION_ID
 FROM wsh_new_deliveries wnd
 WHERE delivery_id = :delivery_id))
 AS xmlserialize_doc


Sending ZPL to a Label Printer Using PL/SQL

January 9, 2017 Leave a comment

Oracle’s WMS package has some label printing capabilities, but the functionality is quite poor, and requires knowledge of XML Label printing.

XML Label printing, generally, is the ability to send an XML file to a label printer, where the XML file contains the label format to use, and the data/variables to print on the label.  This allows you to have one label “template” which can be reused for printing similar data.  Printing a shipping label for example.  The label format never changes, but the data does.  The standard solution requires a ZPL Template to be stored on a Zebra printer’s flash memory.  That ZPL template can be coded by hand, or by using Zebra Designer software.  One drawback to this solution is that templates must be downloaded to every printer which will be used. Centralized label template storage would be ideal.

There are several third party solutions that bolt onto the Oracle functionality and allow for a centralized label template, but they also have their own drawbacks, and can cost several hundred thousand dollars to implement, in addition to the ongoing maintenance and server costs.  Even with the third party solutions, the user is still left with quite a few deficiencies with the Oracle WMS feature set.

There is an alternative to the template centralization problem which I think is ideal.  Store the templates on the server which will be generating the print requests.  Instead of having the Zebra printer or third party add on tool merge the XML with the ZPL template, have the same server that is generating the requests do it.

I’ve come up with a simple PL/SQL script which allows a programmer to send a string of text to a label printer through the network using TCP/IP protocol.  It uses the same function that Oracle uses to send the XML to the printer when printing without a third part tool, but instead of sending XML, one can send ZPL.  This script can easily be added to a procedure that splices data with a ZPL template.

The strange thing about this function is that it has multiple outputs and cannot be used in a SELECT statement like most functions.  I’m not sure why Oracle decided to use a function rather than a procedure, but here’s how you can run it:


 l_return_msg           VARCHAR2(3000);
 l_printer_status       VARCHAR2(3000);
 l_return               VARCHAR2(3000);
 l_zpl                  CLOB;
 l_printer_ip           VARCHAR2(20);
 l_printer_port         VARCHAR2(10);
 l_zpl :=’^XA^FO50,300^A0N,125,125^FDTEST^XZ’;  –String to send to printer
 l_printer_ip      :=’′; –IP Address of printer
 l_printer_port    :=’9100′;
        p_ip_address => l_printer_ip
    ,   p_port => to_char(l_printer_port)
    ,   p_xml_content => l_zpl
    ,   x_return_msg => l_return_msg
    ,   x_printer_status => l_printer_status

Oracle WMS Cycle Count Bug

December 5, 2016 Leave a comment

We recently completed a Physical Inventory using Oracle WMS Cycle Count functionality and some custom programming. It was a arguably a success. I’ll post something about that in the future, hopefully, but here is something that is really aggravating me at the moment.

Two of the biggest problems we had appeared to be bugs with seeded forms/functionality. We had two different symptoms, that seemed like seeded (built in/out of the box) functionality was broken, and it took us quite some time to identify the root cause.

  • The Approve Cycle Counts form would not show us a portion of the cycle count entries
    • The counts were in the database
    • The counts were in our report
    • The counts would not show up on the form
  • Recounts would not be given to users
    • Initial counts would be made
    • Recounts would be manually queued to users using the Warehouse Control Board
    • As soon as the user would go to the telnet Directed Cycled Count Tasks screen, the task would go directly back to pending
    • The user would never see the task to work on

I logged two separate SRs with Oracle.  Both made little progress for several weeks.

Luckily, one of our developers identified the commonality between the records. There was an EXPORT_FLAG on the MTL_CYCLE_COUNT_ENTRIES table which was set to 1 for the offending records.  I updated the two SRs with these details.

Read more…

Oracle Value Set: Allow Only Alphanumeric Values

November 10, 2016 Leave a comment

We have a problem at work which required us to only allow alphanumeric values in a DFF.  No spaces, punctuation, or special characters.  Here is what I came up with:


Function (WordPress will change quotes to smart quotes, you will need to change back)

FND PLSQL “declare

l_value varchar2( 150 ) := :!value ;
l_valid NUMBER := NULL ;
SELECT (LENGTH(TRIM(TRANSLATE(REPLACE(l_value,’ ‘,’.’), ‘abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0123456789’, ‘ ‘))))
INTO l_valid
FROM dual;
fnd_message.set_name( ‘FND’, ‘FND_GENERIC_MESSAGE’ ) ;
fnd_message.set_token( ‘MESSAGE’, ‘Value must be alpha-numeric’ );
fnd_message.raise_error ;

Regular Expression Version:

FND PLSQL “declare
l_value varchar2( 150 ) := :!value ;
IF REGEXP_SUBSTR(l_value, ‘^[a-zA-Z0-9]+$’) IS NULL THEN
fnd_message.set_name( ‘FND’, ‘FND_GENERIC_MESSAGE’ ) ;
fnd_message.set_token( ‘MESSAGE’, ‘(‘||l_value||’) must be alphanumeric.’);
fnd_message.raise_error ;

Continuing Poor Oracle Support

November 8, 2016 Leave a comment

I communicate with Oracle support regularly. Here are some of the recent response I have gotten from them.

Example 1

This is an example from a severity 1 SR.  We are unable to drop a picked LPN/pallet in the warehouse.  The SR was originally severity 2, but because we had received no constructive responses for a shipment that wouldn’t ship for 3 days, we escalated it to severity 1.

From Development
The LPN #####  is showing in context 5 so looks like the cartonization_id
stamping of this using custom program might have caused this. The LPN that
got used for transfer is in status defined but not used. At this point the
best step right now would be to unload and remove the allocations from the
Transact Move Orders form and backorder the line. A datafix would essentially
do the same and then require the customer to re-release/pick load and drop
the lines.
Pl. try the action plan to backout and cancel the allocations from UI and let
us know the results. If issue persists pl. get the details of the error
customer is facing when trying to backout and we can review accordingly.

  1. This message was sent from Oracle Development to Oracle Support.  Oracle Support then copied/pasted the message to pass it on to us.
  2. LPN Context 5 is used on all LPNs that were used in cartonization.  We have been live for 1.5 years and have been doing this without a problem.  It seems we (the customer) know about the software the Oracle does
  3. Why are they abbreviating “please” to “Pl.”?  That seems lazy and unprofessional to me.
  4. They are asking us to backorder and re-release the whole delivery, essentially giving up on the problem.
  5. By giving up, we must put material back into the warehouse, and repick it.  Causing us to use our resources 3x normal usage to pick an order. Luckily this delivery is only one LPN/Pallet.
  6. If you can’t tell, their internal system puts arbitrary new lines into the text. And to force a new line, they must put a “.” in so that the new line isn’t truncated.  How antiquated is there support system? They market themselves as being a technology company.

Read more…

My Three Favorite Windows Add-ins

October 21, 2016 Leave a comment

I love having multiple monitors!  However, one problem with multiple monitors is that Windows doesn’t extend the task bar very well onto the second or third monitor.  It by default doesn’t extent it at all, so to select applications/windows to make active, you have to go to the other monitor.  There is an option put the same task bar on both monitors, but with that, I don’t know which program/window is on which monitor.

ZBar to the rescue. ZBar adds a task bar to the other monitor(s), and displays only the applications/windows on that monitor. It also removes the applications/windows on the primary monitor’s task bar. I love it.

WizMouse imitates a really nice MacOS feature; it makes the window under the mouse scroll when the user scrolls.  Windows by default only scrolls the active window/frame.  With WizMouse, I can scroll the list of emails in Outlook, and then move my mouse over to the preview, and scroll that, without clicking in the frame!  I can also move my mouse over an Excel document which is open in the background, and scroll it, even though the Excel window is under a bunch of other windows.  What a fantastic program!

ArsClip keeps track of my copy-paste activity and allows me to past something that I copied before the most recent copy. I’ve set mine to give me the history menu when pressing ALT+V.  The program also allows me to “paste values” with a keyboard shortcut; I’ve set mine to CTRL+SHIFT+V.  It saves me so much time!