Unified Service Desk (USD) is a highly capable system. However, as with many great inventions, there is a complex mechanism sitting under the bonnet that could be difficult to understand for the first timers. This blog is about understanding the basic terminology used in USD.
We will explain fundamental components of USD – Hosted Controls, Events, UII Actions, Action Calls, and Replacement Parameters – using associations. Do you remember the “WALL-E” animated film? There is a robot called WALL-E that goes out to clean the planet every morning. So, the creator of WALL-E set the following rule:
When the morning comes, WALL-E collects the waste
WALL-E, however, is not an ordinary robot – while it diligently performs its duty to collect waste, it also gathers and stores items of curiosity and watches films. And WALL-E is not the only robot – there is EVE and others, and those robots perform other tasks. So, we can identify several facts:
- There are several robots
- One robot is called WALL-E
- WALL-E has capabilities to collect, store and watch
- WALL-E deals with things such as waste, items of curiosity and films
- WALL-E has a trigger that makes it collect waste, it is morning time
- When the morning comes, WALL-E collects the waste
How is it related to USD? Well, here are the associations:
- Robots are USD control types, something abstract and generic that perform various tasks. There are several of them.
- WALL-E is Host Control, it is something specific that has abilities to perform certain tasks
- “Collect,” “store,” and “watch” are UII (User Interface Integration) Actions, it is a generic action that can be linked to many tasks – WALL-E can collect not only waste, but also items of curiosity. Please note that it is described by a verb.
- “Waste,” “items of curiosity,” and “films” are Data Parameters. These are the specific objects you deal with. Please note that they are usually described by nouns.
- The word “things” in the sentence: “WALL-E deals with things such as waste, items of curiosity and films” is the Replacement Parameter. It is a generic collective terminology that describes Data Parameter. Please note that “things” can be replaced by “waste,” “items of curiosity,” or “films” to describe a specific action of WALL-E. Replacement Parameter is a placeholder for Data Parameter.
- “When the morning comes” is an Event, it is an occurrence that triggers an action
- “WALL-E collects the waste” is the Action Call (triggered by Event). Please note that it is a specific action, i.e. WALL-E collects waste, not something else. Also, please note that you need a Hosted Control (WALL-E), a UII Action (collect) and a Data Parameter (waste) to create an Action Call.
To provide better clarity, here is a simplified drawing to show how it all works within USD using the association above. When an Event happens (the morning comes), it triggers a Hosted Control (WALL-E) to do something. The Hosted Control checks what Action Call (WALL-E collects the waste) needs to be activated and uses appropriate UII Actions (collect) and Data Parameter (waste) to perform it.
Please bear in mind that the Hosted Control can perform other Action Calls (WALL-E stores items of curiosity), but then it needs another Event (coming across an item of curiosity), UII Action (stores) and Data Parameter (item of curiosity). While UII Actions are associated with Hosted Control, new Data Parameters are used to replace Replacement Parameter (things).
To further reinforce your understanding, here are additional explanations on how to identify and differentiate between these definitions.
The screen of USD is populated with .NET components and hosted webpages. Each of these .NET components and hosted webpages is a Hosted Control. To put it in simple words, you HOST various CONTROLs on a USD screen that allows to you perform various tasks.
An Action Call is some very specific activity (WALL-E collects waste). This could be, for example, opening a new tab when you click on the + button to create a new Case. You need three essential ingredients for this: a Hosted Control who will perform this Action Call, a UII Action to know what to do, and a Data Parameter to know what needs to be processed.
UII Action (collect) is a generic capability, it is the verb in the sentence that describes an Action Call. UII Action is purposefully made generic so that it could be used not only for this Action Call, but for many others too. You can create your own UII Actions, but if you have an existing Hosted Control, it will have associated UII Actions. UII stands for User Interface Integration, the framework USD uses to integrate with other legacy systems (to avoid compatibility issues), manage sessions (think of each session as another window/tab to deal with a new customer), and integration with Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
And now about data. Replacement Parameter (things) is a place-holder that is replaced by relevant Data Parameter (waste, items of curiosity). Why? Because data may change and you may not have the right data when you create an Action Call, so you use a Replacement Parameter as a placeholder for that data.
These are USD fundamental elements and hopefully the examples help you better understand how USD works and what the purpose is for each of these elements. For more helpful posts about USD be sure to search the PowerObjects blog.
Happy Dynamics 365’ing!