Forms Modernization at OOW 2009

Oracle OpenWorld 2009 is rapidly approaching, only a few weeks from now, San Francisco will turn into the mekka for the developer community around the world to share experience, knowledge and of course to network and learn from eachother.

At OOW 2008 we gave 2 presentations regarding Forms Modernization and Data Warehousing, and the audience was great. A lot of people were facing the same questions and problems we discussed during the sessions.

At ODTUG 2009 we saw that the audience was very pleased with the Fusion Middleware 11g, because more and more questions regarding Oracle and BEA infrastructure were getting answered.

But what to do next, how to get started?

That’s why we’ve decided to give another presentation regarding Forms modernization:
“Integrate Bleeding-Edge Technologies in Your Existing Oracle Forms Application”!

We will talk about the different issues customers are facing today with their existing Forms Applications. After identifying some cases, we will dive in to some Forms cases we’ve worked on were you will see it’s no rocket science to integrate with bleeding edge technologies and of course about modernization.

Do you also want to modernize your existing Oracle Forms applications, give it a rich look and feel, adopt bleeding edge technologies without throwing away years of investments in Oracle Forms?

During this session we will show you how you can achieve this!

More details regarding the presentation:
ID#: S308194
Date: 11-OCT-09
Time: 13:15 – 14:15
Venue: Hilton Hotel
Room: Yosemite C

Hope to see you all there !

ADF EMG at UKOUG and OOW

This year we’ve had a interesting pannel discussion at ODTUG regarding the ADF EMG where we’ve discussed some customer cases, do’s and dont’s regarding fusion and ADF development, thoughts regarding Fusion 11g, …

Because we want to follow up on the new technologies, discuss the new concepts, new features and work out guidelines and best practices, we encourage people to become a member of the group and share their experiences with the community.

That said aside … we try to share the experiences and material worked out by the ADF EMG at any possible event, and we’ve got very good news!

We’re very happy to announce that we’ll be running an ADF EMG session again this year at Oracle Open World 2009, and even more excited to let you know we’ll be running another session at the UKOUG conference in Birmingham Nov/Dec.

Like last year’s OOW session, we’d like to invite you all to make these events a success. This group is only as good as with your participation. We’ll be blessed by the presence of Oracle Corporation’s own ADF gurus, as well as Oracle ACEs and ACE Directors, leading ADF experts from around the world.

The OOW session details:
Session ID: S312516
Title: Oracle ADF Enterprise Methodology Group (An ODTUG Oracle Fusion Middleware SIG session)
Date Time: Monday 11th October 10:30 – 11:15

The UKOUG conference session details are pending.

Are you planning to attend OOW09 or the UKOUG conference? Happy to attend the ADF EMG sessions?

With less than 60 days to OOW09 we’re getting excited.
We very much look forward to hearing from you soon, and seeing you at OOW09 or the UKOUG conference!

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, …

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!

Fusion Design Fundamentals

Duncan Mills gave a great presentation on ODTUG regarding the Fusion Design Fundamentals which gave more insight in how to manage and start in Fusion Development.

The key take aways I found very interesting:

  • The Groundwork: 1. understand the fundamentals of the UI in which you’re aware of what ADF can and can’t do (don’t start designing in dreamweaver because you need to be able to hook it up into ADF. 2. Prototype it and make it sufficiently real which will also give your team and the customer a real case study of what the application can become. 3. Approach the framework and architecture with an open mind because the architectural approach is key.
  • What is the fusion blue print = View – Business Logic – Data (as what you would think working with an MVC-framework.
  • Educate your UI Designers: Use the Placeholder Data Control to mock data and services + show them the rea-site in which you have a sandbox available to plug and play with the different components + behaviour of the design is key when designing User Interfaces (e.g. what happens to the application when I resize the window)
  • Team organisation: a. Optimize team size so you can have expertise in specific technology areas (you can’t do that if the team’s to small, in that case they need to know more about the framework, as well UI as business logic for example). b. try to partition the skills: UI specialist, Service specialist, Orchestration Specialist, DB Specialist, SCM-build and release management. => more separation within the team so developers can specialize.
  • 2 trains of training: a. Create Subject Matter Experts that can mentor large teams (they create POC’s and get to know the framework). b. SWAT-team: mixture of architects and PM’s to get high level view of development teams and decide when to move up and escalate, e.g. in case of a bug
  • Source control and release management need a separate team in which Master Data Management is an integral part of dependency managment
  • Specific things you can do with the stack: a. Create your own Superclasses (Application Super Classes for ADF BC + UI Event Handler Superclasses). b. Use templates for the UI and taskflow using your pre-defined exception handlers. c. Use the skinning-technology to be able to change the look and feel of the UI in a general, generic way. d. Learn to love ADF Taskflows which is fundamental to create reusable stuff and to encapsulate a flow of information ( ADF Taskflow = Page flow on steriods; used for chunks of reusable UI with transactional state, private memory areas, … the true Web 2.0 experience). e. Work with the UI, not against it (think of geometry management, e.g. use decorativeBix which can be resized and stretched depending on the UI Specs) => don’t use absolute sizing or positioning. f. Document the UI patterns you’re using: e.g. master-detail, wizards, … the common patterns are documented on OTN: ADF Functional Patterns.
  • ADF 11G: You will have different source of template patterns to choose from (this is an awesome functionality in which you can choose to work with 1, 2 or 3 columns and each area can be defined upfront as being locked, stretchable, scrollable, …)

Another interesting part of the presentation, 5 laws to live by ;o):

  • Don’t write javascript because anything in Javascript can be hacked or bypassed (make use of the Client Side and Server Side Listener functionalities)
  • Don’t mix in html => stick to the components, avoid JSP Constructs (e.g. JSP include or JSTL) => in this way you can use any controller-layer possible and uplift performance
  • Minimize Use of CSS => use skinning technology and define custom styles in skin
  • Don’t write Custom SQL => try to do it declaratively using view and entity objects
  • Communicate ! Demo, document and share experiences

This was a really interesting presentation regarding the organisation of teams, how to use ADF and what the pitfalls can be.