Sun Identity Manager Deployment Reference

Form Evaluation

How the system processes a form helps determine the behavior of the form in the browser. All form-driven pages are processed similarly, as described below:

  1. A page is requested from the Identity Manager User or Administrator Interface.

  2. The interface requests a view from the server. A view is a collection of named values that can be edited. Each view is associated with a form that defines how the values in the view are displayed to the user.

  3. The server assembles a view by reading data from one or more objects in the repository. In the case of the user view, account attributes are also retrieved from resources through the resource adapter.

  4. Derivation expressions are evaluated. These expressions are used to convert cryptic, encoded values from the resource into values that are more meaningful to the user. Derivations are evaluated when the form is first loaded or data is fetched from one or more resources.

  5. Default expressions are evaluated. These fields are set to the default value if the field is null.

  6. HTML code is generated. The system processes view data and the form to produce an HTML page. During this processing, the allowedValues properties within expressions are evaluated to build Select or MultiSelect HTML components.

  7. The page is presented in the browser, and the user can edit the displayed values. During editing, the user typically modifies fields, which can result in a refresh or recalculation of the page. This causes the page to be regenerated, but the system does not yet store the edited data in the repository.

  8. Modified values are assimilated back into the view. When a refresh event occurs, the interface receives values for all the form fields that were edited in the browser.

  9. Expansion expressions are evaluated. This can result in additional values being placed into the view. Expansion rules are run whenever the page is recalculated or the form is saved.

  10. The view is refreshed. The interface asks the server to refresh the view and provides the current set of edited values. The server may insert more values into the view by reading data from the repository or the resources.

  11. Derivation expressions are evaluated. Typically, derivation expressions are not evaluated when a view is refreshed. In some complex cases, the system can request derivations after the refresh.

  12. The system processes the refreshed view and form and builds another HTML page, which is returned to the browser. The user sees the effects of the refresh and continues editing. The user can cause the view to be refreshed any number of times (repeating steps 7 through 12 each time) until the user either saves or cancels the changes.

    1. If the edit is canceled, all the data accumulated in the view is discarded, and the server is informed. As a result, the server can release any repository locks, and control passes to a different page.

    2. If the edit is saved, the interface receives the values that have been modified and assimilates them into the view (see step 8).

  13. Validation expressions are evaluated. If field values do not meet required specifications, then an error is presented and the field values can be corrected. Once the changes have been made, the process returns to step 13.

  14. Expansion expressions are evaluated one last time (see step 9).

  15. If the server saves the view, this typically results in the modification of one or more objects in the repository. With user views, resource accounts may also be updated.

Several of the preceding steps require iteration over all the fields in the form. These include the evaluation of Derivation expressions, the evaluation of Default and Validation expressions, the generation of HTML, and the evaluation of Expansion expressions. During all field iterations, Disable expressions are evaluated to determine if this field should be processed. If a Disable expression evaluates to true, the field (and any nested fields it contains) is ignored. See Defining Field Names in this chapter for more information on these special types of expressions.