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MBOs in Automation Scripts: Reading Multiple Attributes of an MboSet

In our previous posts in this series, we talked about how an MboSet is a collection of Mbo objects. This is analogous to a spreadsheet of data representing an MboSet, and a single row within that spreadsheet representing an Mbo. This article will discuss how to read multiple attributes from an Mbo, or in our spreadsheet analogy, look at data within multiple cells within a single row.

Because most of the objects in Maximo possess many attributes, a long series of getString() method calls might be required to retrieve all the necessary information in a given situation. To make such retrieval more convenient, a method called getMboValueData() has been provided. It allows the programmer to fetch many data items in a single operation by specifying a list of attributes and, if desired, a set of rows in the collection. The result of such a call is a one- or two-dimensional array of MboValueData objects. Another advantage of this approach is that it speeds up processing over a network. When a number of data items are retrieved in a single call over a network rather than many, the efficiency advantages are self-evident.

The getMboValueData() method is available in several versions; as with many other methods it is a member of both the MboSet and the Mbo classes. The general syntax of the most-used version is as follows:

valueDataList = mbo.getThisMboSet().getMboValueData(attributes[])


valueDataList = mbo.getMboValueData(attributes[])

The attributes variable above is an array of strings containing a list of attribute names (e.g. “wonum”, “description”, “assetnum”, or “asset.description”). The “asset.description” attribute is an example of “dot notation” using Maximo relationships (more on relationships in a subsequent article). Dot notation is a shortcut that allows you to retrieve data from a related object without accessing the related object itself. For example, if a Work Order object has a value entered in its “assetnum” attribute, passing “asset.description” to either getString() or getMboValueData() will fetch the specified Asset’s description. Thus, by combining dot notation with getMboValueData(), data can be simultaneously retrieved in one method call even from objects that are in different Maximo Business Objects. This is an important part of the convenience that using getMboValueData() confers.

The return from the getMboValueData() method is an array of MboValueData objects. Each one contains the value of the attribute specified in the corresponding position in the attributes parameter. There are several methods which allow retrieval of this data value; the most often used, getData(), returns the data as a string. Not only can the data value be recovered; there are also methods which return information about the attribute itself, such as its maximum length, whether it is read-only, etc. This additional information is very useful in many situations.

A code sample follows:

attributeList = [ "wonum", "description", "assetnum", "asset.description" ]
// Assume the mbo is a Work Order and that the Work Order object has an Asset associated with it.
valueData = mbo.getMboValueData(attributeList);
print "The description of Work Order " + valueData[0].getData() + " is " + valueData[1].getData()
print "The Asset associated with Work Order " + valueData[0].getData() + " has identifier " + valueData[2].getData() + " and description " + valueData[3].getData()

If any of the attributes specified in the array of attribute names (attributeList in the above example) does not exist, a null value is placed in the corresponding position of the returned array. Similarly, if any of the dot notation entries in the list refer to nonexistent related objects, nulls are returned in those positions as well. In the above example, if the mbo variable has no value specified in its “assetnum” attribute, then null would be returned in the position where “asset.description” is entered in attributeList.

There are two other versions of the getMboValueData() method. One is a special case of the version described above. The syntax is:

valueData = mbo.getThisMboSet().getMboValueData(attribute)


valueData = mbo.getMboValueData(attribute)

The argument is a string which is a single attribute name and the return is a single MboValueData object. As above, this method is a member of both the MboSet and Mbo classes. Even though it returns less data than the more general versions, it may still be preferable in certain situations. For example, if the desired result is information about a single attribute (e.g. read-only, length, etc.) of some object, then it is sufficient to apply this method to that single attribute rather than many.

The remaining version is more general in nature. This is a member of only the MboSet class and allows the retrieval of data not only for multiple attributes but for multiple objects as well. It is used when many objects are to be processed at once, such as during the generation of a report or the filling of a table. The syntax is:

valueDataList = mbo.getThisMboSet().getMboValueData(firstRow, rowCount, attributes[])

The firstRow and rowCount variables are integer arguments; they specify the first row and the number of rows in the row set to be retrieved, respectively. The most commonly used values are 0 and mbo.getThisMboSet().count(), which fetch data for the entire collection.

The attributes variable is an array of strings containing a list of attribute names, as above. The return is a two-dimensional array of MboValueData objects. A code sample follows.

attributeList[] = [ "wonum", "description", "statusdate" ]
// Assume the woSet collection is non-empty
woCount = mbo.getThisMboSet().count()
valueData = mbo.getThisMboSet().getMboValueData(0, woCount, attributeList)
for i in range(len(valueData)):
    print "The description of Work Order " + valueData[i][0].getData() + " is " + valueData[i][1].getData()
    print "The Status Date of Work Order " + valueData[i][0].getData() + " is " + valueData[i][2].getData()

That’s it for now. Our next article will focus on how to modify attribute values of an Mbo in an MboSet.

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