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The Kuali Nervous System supports two different document types: transactional documents, which have a great deal of power and flexibility and are written to cause some system action to occur, and maintenance documents, which use XML configuration to "pre-build" the document, used to maintain data elements - our business objects. Here we'll take a look at how to create our own maintenance documents.

Maintenance documents create, retrieve, update, copy, and inactivate either a single business object or homogeneous collections of business objects. The ability to quickly specify forms to perform these actions make maintenance documents wildly useful; they make the care and feeding of business objects so easy. The chart module, for instance, has no transactional documents at all, because all of the work the module needs to do can be expressed in the form of creating and updating business objects - charts, accounts, object codes, and so on. And indeed, maintenance documents are easy to create. Here's a basic recipe:

  1. Create a business object, the data dictionary for that business object, and the O/RM mapping
  2. Create a data dictionary configuration for the maintenance document on that business object
  3. Write some rules to validate data that the maintenance document gets from the user
  4. Write a workflow document type file and create a DocumentType business object for the maintenance document
  5. Create a link in the portal

We'll examine each of these steps in detail (save for the first, which you have probably already seen). We also find out how to make maintenance documents more flexible, and finally, we look at the global maintenance document framework which allows batch updates and inactivations of many business objects at once.

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