A descriptive flexfield appears on a form as a single-character, unnamed field enclosed in brackets. Just like in a key flexfield, a pop-up window appears when you move your cursor into a customized descriptive flexfield. And like a key flexfield, the pop-up window has as many fields as your organization needs.
Each field or segment in a descriptive flexfield has a prompt, just like ordinary fields, and can have a set of valid values. Your organization can define dependencies among the segments or customize a descriptive flexfield to display context-sensitive segments, so that different segments or additional pop-up windows appear depending on the values you enter in other fields or segments.
For example, consider the Additions form you use to define an asset in your Oracle Assets application. This form contains fields to capture the "normal" information about an asset, such as the type of asset and an asset number. However, the form does not contain specific fields for each detail about a given asset, such as amount of memory in a computer or lifting capacity of a forklift. In this case, having all the potentially-needed fields actually built into the form is not only difficult, it is undesirable. Because while one organization may have computers and forklifts as assets, another organization may have only computers and luxury automobiles (and no forklifts) as assets. If the form contained built-in fields for each attribute of a forklift, for example, an organization with no forklifts would find those fields to be both unnecessary and a nuisance because a user must skip them to enter information about another type of asset. In fact, fields for forklift information would be cumbersome whenever a user in any organization tries to enter any asset that is not a forklift.
Instead of trying to contain all possible fields for assets information, the Additions form has a descriptive flexfield that you can customize to capture just the information your organization needs about your assets. The flexfield structure can depend on the value of the Asset Category field and display only those fields (segments) that apply to the particular type of asset. For example, if the asset category were "desk, wood", your descriptive flexfield could prompt for style, size and wood type. If the asset category were "computer, hardware", your flexfield could prompt for CPU chip and memory size. You can even add to the descriptive flexfield later as you acquire new categories of assets.
The Enter Journals window in the Oracle General Ledger applications is another example of a form that includes descriptive flexfields to allow organizations to capture additional information of their own choosing. Each block contains a descriptive flexfield as its last field. You might use these to store additional information about each journal entry, such as a source document number or the name of the person who prepared the entry.
Benefits of Flexfields
Overview of Setting up Flexfields