Oracle Siebel and Webcenter Integration

One of the sessions I’ve attended at Open World in regards of a customer case we’re working on, was regarding Siebel and Webcenter integration.

The presentation was to high-level which wasn’t that interesting after all, but I learned more about the packaging strategies for Webcenter.

Of course I got a bit more information regarding the release date of Webcenter … and to make sure you read this post fully, I will put it at the very end ;o))

What have I noted regarding this presentation:

  • Webcenter, what does it offer? Centralize Applications and embed collaboration within a context specific manner. In other words: you’re showing documents which were published within UCM and the user-account is shown, you can check if the users’ presence by adding the presense services in the portlet, …
  • Webcenter 11g comprises of: Webcenter Composer / Webcenter Services / Webcenter Framework / Enterprise Extensions
  • Webcenter Composer = holds all components regarding collaboration (spaces, anywhere, interaction, …)
  • Webcenter Services = holds all needed services to spice up your portal environment (mashups, analytics, social networking, shared services, …)
  • Webcenter Framework= the actual building blocks of a portal environment
  • Enterprise Extensions

The most important news given during this session:

A Migration Path will be foreseen when moving from OC4J into Weblogic Server

Well let’s see what happens early next year.

So what is FUSION exactly … well it’s exactly what you want it to be !!!

When you’re looking into Oracle 11g, what’s coming up, you will notice one thing very clearly … FUSION. SCA, Webcenter, Jdeveloper, OWB, ODI, BPM Suite, Oracle Service Bus, … it’s all becoming 1 user experience.

If we take a look at the Oracle Fusion Approach, you will have the same user experience in each environment you working in.

The IDE’s are converging, the management console’s are converging, … in other words the developer experience, dba experience, management experience, etl experience … every person, every team will work in the same UI, having the same experiences and in other words can team up with all different teams and projects.

It’s amazing when looking at OWB 11g release … it’s ODI put in a Jdeveloper UI, it’s like you’re working inside Jdeveloper not on a web application, soa architecture, database application … no your designing your datawarehouse.

AIA patterns can be used in BPA Suite, BPM Suite will hold all the features of BPMN to deliver a BPEL Blueprint which can be enriched in your Bpel designer. Bpel designer can be used in Jdeveloper or Eclipse, as well as the ESB Designer. Having the Jdeveloper experience and talking about data integration aspects and ETL, well no problem open up OWB 11g and have the same developer experience. The IDE looks the same, works in the same manner as Jdeveloper as well for OWB as for ODI, all suites converge … were do you have that experience now?

Moving towards 11g you will have the converge of BEA and Oracle to have a stronger middleware, an enhanced governance-approach (using AL Enterprise repository) and a whole new feature set coming up in SCA.

So now the million dollar question … when can we use all this great stuff ;o)

Webcenter Development – SRDemo

When you want to start learning Webcenter, getting a grasp of the technology, the features … have a more practical view, you can download the SRDemo application to get you started.

When you’re going through the installation-guide to set everything up, following tips can help you step-through this installation:
- modify the oc4j.cmd before installing the standalone OC4J in the SRDemo directory and make sure to define the JAVA_HOME, ORACLE_HOME and J2EE-home.
- modifications you need to perform in the adf-config.xml are setting the mds-file location correctly, which is available under your application-folder in OC4J

OOW – Day 3 – Keynote Thomas Kurian

Today I had busy schedule as well … so let’s start talking wright ;o)

The first session I attended was the keynote-speech of Thomas Kurian:
The acquisition of Coherence has been a huge step forward in datagrid enabling the Oracle Fusion Middleware stack.

Coherence could be defined as ‘in parallell processing of transactions which live in-memory and are spread over differnet datagrid engines.

Which benefits can we gain from it:
- 30% more benefit
- less power needed
- less feeds needed
- half as many servers needed

and more over, Coherence still offers absolute reliability and consistent availability.

- Application Server is JEE 5 Compatible which supports WS-* (quality of service), JAX-* and EJB 3.0

What about the OFM offering:
- IDE that integrates all the different technologies of SOA together, such as esb and bpel design, web application design using ADF or Webcenter. By using customizable skins Oracle offers the possibility to use the same application as a JSF application or rich client interface using AJAX, DHTML.

In 11g we will be able to design SOA Composites inside JDeveloper which will hold the entire SOA-technology stack, such as BAM, BPEL, ESB and will give the user the ability to drill down into the specific service he/she’s interested in.

Bpel has been extended :
- System-oriented processes: such as the prepackaged processes for integrating with Siebel, SAP, ERP-systems, …
- Human processes
- Document-centric processes (excel sheets, word documents, …) will all be transformed to service-enabled messaging formats such as pdf, xml, …

Complex Event Processing (CEP) & Activity Monitoring has been added as well to add the ability to collect events in memory and perform analytics on these events use CQL, the Complex Event Processing query language.

Enterprise Manager is now a fully featured management applications that will hold all needed functionality to control services and OWSM has been integrated as well. You will have one single point of thruth to manage your entire SOA enabled application.

Throughout a ‘Best Bank’-demo Thomas has shown us the different customer needs and business value throughout the Oracle offering.

The technology-stack that was used throughout the demo:
- JDeveloper
- SCA Composite Editor which is an add-on in JDeveloper 11g
- ADF Developer and ADF Task Forms
- BAM Datacontrols
- Shared repository to give the user the ability to change the web application on any given time he wants.
- All office applications are now supported as well (Excel spreadsheet is build into web application)

The Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 Experience:
- Universal Content Management
- Conversion and filtering of content using tags and categories
- Render files to web-enable the application (word, Excel, … to PDF, XML)
- Open Web Content Management system giving the end-user and developers the possibility to use any UI technology they want such as PHP, JSP, JSF, Ruby on Rails, …
- Archiving and Record Management
- Webcenter (dashboard to integrate adf, portal, discussion forums, forms, third-legacy applications, …)
- Webcenter spaces to share information and create an online community
- Composer: give the user the ability to adjust the application at run-time by dragging and dropping compoentns from the Composer.

Oracle Open World – Keynote Charles Phillips

This morning a Keynote was given by Charles Phillips, President of Oracle Corporation. In this keynote Charles Phillips gave us an insight on the vision of Oracle and the strategy in marketting this vision throughout it’s customers, partners and of course software offering.

Each Challenge was tackled by the different Oracle Offerings there are today.

CEO Challenge:
The CEO of a company needs to integrate different kinds of applications and once in the boardroom he needs to be able to point all noses in the same direction, the direction of ROI.

This Integration-challenge can be tackled by the new Application Integration Architecture offering of Oracle. Through a demo we saw how this challenge was tackled using Webcenter dashboard as a centralized view-point, JDeveloper as the integrated Development Environment and BPA which was used for the full round-tripping of business analysis and development.

Using this Oracle Technology offering, the AIA, the CEO can integrate his existing Siebel, SAP, Financials or CRM applications in a unified, uniform and more-over standardized way.

CFO Challenge:
The Chief Financial Officer has other concerns such as governance and risk management to keep in mind throughout the different processes in his/her company. How can Oracle offer a solution to this common problem, faced within every company that has a diversity of policies and rules to adhere to.

The Oracle Governance & Risk Competence Manager:
Through this manager the CFO has a one-stop view to control the different policies which are defined throughout the organisation. If a certain rule is being violated, the Manager will show up a red light and in 1 step the CFO can change/adapt the policy rules so the company’s back on track.
This manager uses a centralized content repository and enforces the policies at runtime using the Active Apps Policies Suite.

Another Security-stack being offerd by Oracle entails the Database Vault and Audit Vault to secure as well data as audit data in an Integrated Security Stack.

Engineering & Manufacturing Manager:
The engineering and manufacturing manager has a lot of challenges as well, such as keeping insight on the product stock and having the ability bto manage the entire product lifecycle without any delay.

Oracle offers ‘Oracle Agile PLM’ to tackle all of these requirements, the Oracle Product Lifecycle Management Technology Stack.

In the demo we saw that the manager had a centralized view on all the needed data using Webcenter dashboard and a Shared Content System.
The webcenter dashboard could be hooked up with third-party legacy applications through adapters and uses XML standards based messaging for this purpose.

Operations Challenge, Gaining Actionable Insight:
The operations challenge every administrator, manager is facing today: act when necessary!
If a glitch has occured during a business process lifecycle, a product is out of stock, an order hasn’t been processed correctly, if a given manager hasn’t updated his tasks-lists, in other words when a bottleneck is being introduced inside the company … we need to be able to act!

Through the usage of Enterprise Performance Management Workspace, BI Enterprise Edition and the Action Framework we can act upon these glitches immediatly.

Through the Enterprise Performance Management Workspace, we have a real-time view on the business processes in our company, and act when necessary.

The Action Framework gives us the possibility to interate transactions, historical data and tasks so were able to act correctly given we have all the needed data to provide with an accurate view on our current business.

Through the usage of Packaged BI Applications (Financial Package, Operations Package, CRM Package), the customer can purchase thed package which is measured for his/her company.

How can we manage these heterogenous environments?
Enterprise Manager Services Dashboard gives us the capability of monitoring and administrating the different services which are running inside our business.
The EMSD gives a follow-up on as well the business as the system metrics in our organisation.

Through this EMSD we can enable Real Application Clustering at runtime, without downtime.

Oracle Webcenter technical workshop (part 2)

As promised here is the continuation of the technical workshop we have followed.
In this text I will talk about how we created a little appliciation in Webcenter with some build in features of webcenter. In most part of the exercise we used ADF to build this, but we have also build in some out-of-the-box portlets of webcenter such as the Omniportlet and the Rich Text Editor Portlet but this will be discussed later.

I will go into detail on the real webcenter development and I will not go into detail about the not really webcenter related issues(this is not a step by step guide)

If you want to know more about this, you will have to read further

First thing we had to do of course is to open Jdevelopper, since this is the (free) tool which is used to create the webcenter portlets – portals. The version we need for using Webcenter is jdev (or later).

Then we had to create a new application. If you want to create a porlet application you have to select Webcenter Application(Portlet, content Repository,JSF) as application template.
This will not only create a new application for you, but it will already contain some structure to build your pages – portlets in. The structure contains 3 ‘directories’: Model, ViewController and Portlets. As we have already mentioned webcenter uses the MVC ADF framework. The next thing was creating a portlet. We had to right click the portlets ‘directorie’ in the application navigator and then choose the option below Web Tier -> Portlets which was ‘Standards based Java Portlets(JSR-168) the other option is the Oracle PDK-Java Portlet (this is based on the Oracle portal API’s).

Next thing we had to do in the creation wizard was to select the web application version. We had the choice between j2ee 1.3 and J2ee 1.4

We also had to give in some names, titles, keywords,… and we had to make a choice which portlet modes we wanted to use(possibilities are: help, about, config, preview, print, view, edit and edit_defaults), for this exercise we only choose view, edit and edit_defaults. For each of these 3 modes a different jsp will be build.

In this wizard you will also have to create the parameters if you want to use some in your portlet.

Once finished, our first portlet was created. But before deploying this we had to create a link to an application server and a deployment file.

In this version of jdev there is a preconfigured OC4J for webcenter. So we used this container to deploy our application on, we didn’t had to install the webcenter suite for testing our portlets. You first have to start this container, this can be done by clicking the green light on the top right of the menu in Jdev.

Hint, when creating a connection you should use 22667 as RMI port, this is the default RMI port for the webcenter container.

Once your portlet is deployed into your OC4J you can find the WSDL URL by using http://localhost:6688//portlets/wsrp2?WSDL.
We have now created a portlet but we don’t have a page to publish it on. Therefor we had to rightclick the Viewcontroller ‘directorie’ in the Application navigator and choose New. Once again you will have to choose a technology, in this case we had to choose JSF JSP(Web Tier -> JSP) .
A wizard opens and we choose jspx (xml version of a jsp page). In the wizard we selected the needed libraries(adf faces components,adf faces html,customizable components, jsf core, jsf html) since we were going to use some parts of all these libraries we selected them all.

So now we have a portlet and a page, but how do we have to include this portlet into the page? Well we have to register the portlet into the oracle Webcenter framework. Go to the Application Navigator and right click the Viewcontroller and click new. Select WSRP Producer Registration(Web-Tier -> portlets). In the next wizard you will have to give in the WSDL URL(see above). Once you have selected all the other attributes you click finish and your portlets is registered.

Now you just have to drag and drop the portlet into the jspx file. Therefor you have to open your jspx file and then select your producer in the Component Palet and drag and drop your portlet into the application.

Conclusion: I believe that there is a good future for this product it has lots of options and lots of potential, but you have to get used to all the possibilities of it and where you have to select what… But I believe that you really can create some nice working portal pages after a few days. If you want to learn more about ADF or webcenter there is only one option, start using it! I really got interested in it maybe you do too…

Oracle Webcenter technical workshop (part 1)

On the 17th of april we where invited to join a technical workshop about Oracle Webcenter for partners at Oracle DeMeern near to Utrecht (Holland).

We wanted to know what Webcenter really could do for us, and what the capabilities are, and of course what the next generation of Webcenter would look like.

Well, we came back full of enthusiasm and the will to explore and look deeper in the webcenter technology.

Read further …

What have we seen during that day?
First of all we got an introduction about all the different layers on which the webcenter framework was build.
And we also saw that webcenter uses several known standards like wsrp, jsr168, jsr170, web 2.0 …

They explained that the Webcenter framework uses Oracle Metadata Management (MDS). This is an XML based repository that stores all kinds of application metadata. In the version we use now this is file based, but in future versions the user will have the choice between file and database based storage.
Webcenter is the first tool in the fusion stack that uses MDS but in the next releases this will also be used for other tools.

In Webcenter it is also possible to use existing portlets/pages/… Therefore you will have to use the ‘Federated Portal Adapter’.
The other way round is also possible, by using the ‘JSF Portlet Bridge’. This will make it possible to publish any portlet created in webcenter to a portal (e.g. oracle portal) that supports jsr168.

The main subject of the day was the JSF part. Oracle uses their ADF framework for creating these kinds of applications.
Not being a real java expert, I really enjoyed working with this tool and the fastness of creating little applications with it.
In the webcenter there are already a few build in portlet applications like the rich text editor, omniportlet which we already knew from the oracle portal.

We also saw how the future of webcenter possible would look like.
First of all the UI of the portlets will look much flashier with more use of AJAX, dhtml,…
It will also be possible to change pages on the fly and there will be more drag and drop functionality.

Last but not least, we also discussed the positioning of the product, particularly against the oracle portal. This was a tricky one, but I kind of know now how I have to position it now. If you want to use open standards and you don’t mind to create applications (almost) from scratch (apart from the already build in applications like rte, omniportlet,…) this is a very fast and good development tool!

One of the next days we will handle the practical part of this day, to give you a glimpse on how webcenter works.

To be continued…