As the name suggests, flexfield is a "flexible field". Flexfield is a field made up of multiple segments which are actually table columns. Each segment has a name that can be assigned and a set of valid values.
There are 2 types of flexfields in Oracle Applications namely "Key flexfield" (KFF) and descriptive flexfield (DFF)
Using KFF and DFF, Oracle gives enormous amount of flexibility to customers to customize (or rather I may call it configuring) to match the different business needs without the need for programming. Flexfields provide the flexibility to implement code structure and capture additional information.
KEY FLEXFIELDS (KFF)
KFF represents an 'intelligent key' that uniquely identifies an application entity. Each KFF segment has a name you assign and a set of valid values you can specify. Each value has a meaning which can be again specified. KFF provides with a flexible 'code' data structure that users can setup in whichever way they like to use the KFF segments. As mentioned, for each segment one can also define valid values for each segment as well as cross-validation rules to describe valid segment combinations.
Oracle General Ledger Accounting flexfield is an example of a KFF used to uniquely identify a General Ledger account. Another example of KFF would be Item flexfield in Oracle Inventory - its used to uniquely identify inventory items. It could contain segments such as product class, product code, size, color and packaging code. You could valid values for the color segment - for example a user can enter only from a range of "01" to "10" (where "01" meand red and "02" means blue and so on).
Cross validation rules can also be applied to validate combination of segment values entered by the user. For example, take an example of shirt - if a user select "01" in color code (which means red color), size can be only "40" and "42" and not "44". This is because business has red color shirts available in size "40" and "42" only.
Flexfield segments are usually validated against a set of valid values - called as value set. Oracle Applications provide a couple of seeded Key flexfields.
Watch out for the next post on Descriptive Flexfields (DFF). If you wish to receive an email whenever that is posted, drop a email on firstname.lastname@example.org.