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A client has added a bunch of custom fields to MARC, many of which have dictionary-based validations via value ranges on domains, checktables, etc.

To extend materials to plants in MARC, the client uses a custom function that calls the usual BAPI (material save data or whatever it’s called – I can’t remember.)

In the index to the extension for the BAPI, only one of the many custom fields is “X’d” to tell SAP to consider it.

So, the end result is that materials can be extended to plants without the new MARC records satisfying the rules for data in all but one of the custom fields.

Should this be allowed?

If not, whose responsibility is to stop it?

The client’s?

Or SAP’s?

I mean SAP could easily check the non-X’d extension fields against the dictionary validations for the corresponding custom table columns, and blow off if a validation wasn’t met by an empty (non-X’d) field.

Or, customers could do this themselvesvia implicit enhancments.

Or, customers could enforce clean data via a posteriori or a priori auditing procedures.

What do you think?

Is this a problem anyone should worry about (empirically, as opposed to theoretically)?

Or should everyone just go on their merry way?

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3 Comments

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  1. Gregory Misiorek
    Hi David,

    isn’t this already written up in some kind legal warranty language? i mean ‘you broke it you fix it’. but what do lawyers really know about metadata?

    rgds, greg

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    1. David Halitsky
      Greg – thanks for taking the time to respond.

      To my way of thinking, the question really isn’t a legal one, but rather one of professional ethics and standards, both on the SAP side and the client side.

      On the SAP side, the ethical and quality-control question is not whether SAP can possibly prevent customers from ever “breaking” data quality – the question is whether SAP should do so in this case, since: i) it’s easy to do; ii) there are guys like Thomas (Jung) who love doing dictionary-related stuff like this.

      On the client side, the ethical and quality-control question is whether a client should let its developers acquire sloppy habits that may not cause problems all the time, but will definitely cause problems some of the time.

      Best
      djh 

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  2. Fred Verheul
    Hi David,

    Looks like an interesting point you’re raising, but I don’t get it entirely yet. As far as I know, fields that aren’t X’d, will not be handed over to marc (at least, not by the standard SAP BAPI-code). So what exactly is the problem here? Are these fields getting into marc by custom code that doesn’t consider the X’s (or lack thereof)?
    Or am I being wrong?

    Cheers, Fred (who’s really trying to understand the issue here)

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