Variant Configuration – Debugging Restrictable Characteristics

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Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time working on the front end of my variant configuration models.  In that effort, I’ve been spending a lot of time restricting the restrictable characteristics within my model.  Whenever I focus on the front end, I tend to rely heavily on tables to restrict the characteristics.  While, this method is the best in my opinion, it certainly comes with it’s challenges in the initial setup.  Here’s a few lessons learned in my recent models.

1.  Beware of characteristic values that are restricted through classification.  While your table might be perfect, if you accidentally restricted the wrong the value, your table could give you very unexpected results.

2.  Be careful setting defaults.  Restrictable Characteristics could easily get locked in a loop if you restrict the values using constraints, and then set defaults on the characteristics that “restrict” each other.  Now, what can happen is that defaults get set on cstic A & cstic B.  A & B are used to restrict each other.  When the default gets set for A, and for B, you can only remove one default at a time, so resetting one value still leaves the other locked.  And you end up in a loop.

3.  If you use tables to restrict your values, don’t forget to include ALL the combinations.  Often I forget the values that don’t have an impact, like Without or Not Applicable.  If you don’t include these values in your table, they aren’t available and often end up setting values you didn’t expect.

There’s a couple of pointers when dealing with restrictable characteristics when you are designing the front end.

Thanks for reading,

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