Forms isn’t dead!

This is it…my first blog entry!

And by this I want to say that Forms isn’t dead :-)

I’m still convinced that Forms is one of the most suitable environments for data entry applications(Prove me wrong).

Some of you think it’s old fashioned or maybe antique.
But there are still companies choosing for an Oracle Forms environment, even to create new applications.
Using Pluggable Java Components, Java Beans, webservices,… it’ll be a pretty modern application.

And now there’s even the new version: Forms 11g(I told you Forms isn’t dead).
From now on Forms can “react” to external events(Asynchronous Web Services, BPEL, JMS) with the “When-event-raised” trigger.
I’m looking forward to work with it.
For those who want to install Forms 11g, check out Jan Carlin’s blog

I know it’s a bit daring to talk about Forms on a blog that is usualy visited for SOA, APEX and other “newer” technologies.

But I hope that my future posts will indicate that there is still a Forms future.

OFM 11g Launch – Live Webcast – Part 1

Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g will hold a lot of new features and technologies to get acquainted with, but most of all the stack is even more integrated and the first major release after the BEA acquisition. I think a lot of people have been waiting on this announcement, especially when we talk about Fusion Apps which has been a tremendous effort and if you have the opportunity to see a demo, please do … !

Bringing this single stack of technology, using the best of breed of both middleware stacks, will minimize the product dependencies because we will be using 1 single stack for as well Applications, Middleware projects, database as the infrastructure-side.
Using this pre-fabricated environment based on open standards which will give us the ability to have a pre-patched, pre-tested, pre-configured, … environment that can be managed, monitored, secured, … in a unified way.

The middleware is the key part in the entire stack to be able to offer and re-use standardized services to each component, technology or product within the product stack.
In other words, if you understand how the middleware works and operates you will understand how security, deployment, management, monitoring, … works throughout the stack.

Building rich client applications using the Application Development Framework that will give you the ability to render your application as you see fit.
Building an orchestration engine for as well human-, process- as document-centric process flows.
Having a single and unified way of defining security, managing components and monitoring these different services by using a single layer of metadata.

All these functionalities and features will give us more time to innovate instead of maintaining the existing applications landscape.

Business Process Integration – What, where and how

If we talk about business process integration, we would probably have a different vision and other expectations depending on our role.

For example: if we talk to the manager about business process integration, this could mean automate existing manual processes. If we talk to the sales-departement they would expect to have more insight into trends, benchmarks and action-triggered marketing campaigns.

Another example: If you talk to analysts they would think about business process modelling and defining the landscape of existing processes to be able have a clear understanding of the company’s process lifecycle and how processes, data and tasks are managed. If we talk to architects we would start discussing the usage of UML Sequence Diagrams, Class Diagrams, Canonical Data Models, …

In other words the expectations differ depending the context you would be interested in the integration aspect.

The steps that can be equal across the different stakeholders:

  1. Analyse existing business processes, data, services, organisational aspect, …
  2. Define workflow aspects such as the difference between automatic and manual steps
  3. Automate business processes
  4. Integrate business processes

The products that can be used to tackle these aspects, as well on business side as IT side, and offered within the Fusion Middleware 11g stack are: BPA Suite, BPM Suite and SOA Suite.

BPA Suite, Business Process Analysis Suite, can offer you an environment to analyse needed data, services, organisational aspects and business processes (using different types of diagrams). Besides architecting these artifacts you can also simulate the processes to be able to have a clear view on the throughput and process lifecycle without needing to automate the processes you’ve put in place in for example a non-automatic manner. Afterwards you’re able to discuss the business processes with your IT department and start implementing/automating these processes using Business Process Modeling Notation and Business Process Execution Language (BPMN and BPEL). BPMN 2.0 is now supported in 11g.

BPM Suite can then offer a unified view to as well analyst as stakeholders as developers using the same environment, the same processes and analysis. By introducing one single environment for these different stakeholders, communication and collaboration will be augmented without frustration of difference in object definitions or concepts.

After the analysis, simulation and automation has been put in place, using SOA Suite (e.g. Bpel process Manager) you can start integrating these processes within existing environments. Call out to these new processes (a deployed BPEL Process is a web service) from the Back-End. Publish these services to your existing partners and new partners, …

SQL Developer Connection Tip

I have recently been playing with SQLdeveloper and came around an interesting feature: you can group connections in folder. This will prevent you from having a very big list of connections.

To group your connections you must do the next thing:
1. Select two or more connections
2. Press your right mouse button
3. Choose “Add To Folder” -> “New Folder”

The result will look like this:

Nothing very special but it’s a very handy feature!

ODTUG 2009 – Jam Session

During the ODTUG conference a lot of interesting presentations and session were given regarding different aspects, such as:
  • Forms Modernization (Forms 2.0, Forms 11g, …)
  • Apex (Case studies, Apex & reporting, Apex for mobile applications, …)
  • ADF 11g (Fusion development using ADF 11g and rich client components, Package based development using ADF BC, …)
  • Integration (web services, ESB, BPEL, usage of a canonical datamodel, best practices when talking about security, development, …)
  • Finance (Hyperion, Essbase, …)
  • Data Integration (OWB, ODI, …)

Besides these sessions we also had the time to have our own little jam session …

In other words, the conference was a great learning experience and we had a lot of fun as well ;o)

OFM 11g Launch – The fusion ages kicked in

Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g has finally arrived and it’ll give as well developers as customers the possibility to implement bleeding edge technology throughout the Oracle Stack.

Just looking at the different features and functionalities that have been build into the stack is amazing and most of all, you can’t get round fusion anymore.

So let’s have a look at what fusion has to offer us (it’ll swipe you of your feet!):

  1. The BEA Integration Milestone:
    1. Weblogic Server will be the underlying backbone of all fusion applications, going from classic environments such as Forms, Reports to the web 2.0 environments such as Webcenter and ADF. What will this milestone offer us:
      1. Flexibility and agility by declarity of design
      2. Take decisions in real time by integrating analytics within the transactional context
      3. Power for the end-user so business and it can interact and collaborate whilst enabling end-users with a flexible, personalized and easy-to-use business oriented environment
      4. Ease-of-upgrade using automated tools to upgrade existing OC4J applications towards the new Web Logic Server
        1. Automated upgrade for soa components, webcenter applications, forms and reports applications
        2. Smart Upgrade for OC4J JEE Applications
          1. Descriptor analysis to report on recommended findings
          2. Upgrade all the pieces of configuration necessary (pick and choose)
      5. Consolidation and virtualization of the data-center to enable companies to maximize return on investment using the data grid
  • Budget can go to development instead of administration and management
  • Services-based delivery that will enable companies to re-use services throughout the enterprise using a standards based approach giving customers and partners the ability to work within a shared-service infrastructure
  • Unified management and monitoring capabilities within one environment and a rich user interface
  1. Enterprise Manager will be the window on the data-center!
  2. Fusion Middleware Control gives you the ability to manage multi-domains, policies, alerts, SLA and much more in a single environment.
  1. The Grid: A new model for efficient resource utilization:
    1. The Coherence in-memory data grid gives you the ability to paralyze computation across the grid
    2. Inherently use the grid for as well cpu as memory
    3. State-aware continuous availability for service infrastructure
    4. Software-only solution, no hardware costs necessary
    5. Off-heap storage = Significantly reduced coherence nodes
  2. Unified Security Model
    1. Using the Oracle Platform Security Services you can define a generic and integrated security model throughout the Oracle Stack = 1 Common Security Layer

So now we have the backbone of our infrastructure laid out, now it’s time to have a look at the different components that will offer these functionalities.

  1. SCA – Service Component Architecture:
    1. Composites will be key throughout this stack which will give you the possibility to deliver and reuse any service that has been built Enterprise-wide. When you’re talking about data services, business services, web services or even mediator services, it’ll all be managed within one environment. In other words ease of development, deployment, management using a unified approach for as well business and IT.
      1. These composite services can be re-used in different ways throughout the business and it lifecycle going from business dashboards, to side-by-side versioning on composite level, to global-policy management, to unified management and monitoring of each aspect and transactions within and E2E-context and much more.
    2. Integration of BEA products :
      1. OESB will become the mediator component within the Service Component Architecture used for basic routing between components
      2. OSB will become the new service bus that’ll offer routing, transformation, chaining of services and much more within SCA
    3. B2B, BAM, BPEL, Human Workflow, OSB can be hooked up into the SCA cloud using Adapter technology to enable business and it to focus on different aspects of the organization whilst holding the needed agility and flexibility throughout the entire development lifecycle.
    4. A unified BPM Platform which is fully BPMN 2.0 compliant and leverages BPM capabilities using a single environment for as well business as IT, namely Jdeveloper
      1. Integration of BPM Studio within Jdeveloper
      2. Share processes and services using the BPM Process Composer and business Catalog
      3. Easy-to-upgrade using the migration path provided when going from 10g to 11g
  2. Jdeveloper – The development environment for as well business and IT, a unique proposition
  • Integration of BPM Studio
  • Composite based development using Adapter-technology
  • ADF which will put a face on each application that needs to be delivered to end-users
    • ADF render kits for Ajax and Flash
    • ADF render kits to .png (talking bandwidth and performance into account)
    • ADF render kits for usability purposes (e.g. Screen reader-functionality)
  • Active Data Services Push
    • Data changes are pushed into the UI instead of needing to pull for data changes, using Coherence Cache Listeners and asynchronous calls
  • Application Lifecycle Management
    • Pluggable interface to quickly access documentation, bugs, reports etc. used throughout the stack
  • ADF Desktop Integration
    • Build transactional spreadsheets using the existing binding layer of ADF

In other words SCA Suite, Webcenter Suite, Forms, Reports and Fusion Apps will use the same infrastructure which will enable the usage of consistent admin and management tools whilst leveraging capabilities of the infrastructure and database throughout the entire stack.

My 2 cents … Fusion has become a reality with unlimited functionality and features!
Working within a forms, JEE, DB or Apps environment, everyone will be using the same technologies throughout the stack … The fusion ages kicked in!