AMIS Query: The Future of Oracle Designer (and other tools)
The Status and Future of CDM, Headstart and CDM RuleFrame
The next presentation by Josef Megens discussed the current status of CDM, Headstart and CDM RuleFrame, as well as the plans moving forward. His presentation can also be downloaded.
CDM Advantage 2.0, Oracle Consultingâ€™s method toolkit for the development of custom internet applications, based on Oracle Consulting world wide custom development experience, was last updated in 2002. It contains Standards and Guidelines for Custom Development with SQL, PL/SQL and development tools such as Oracle Designer and Oracle Forms. These Standards & Guidelines were last edited for the 6i release of the tools – coincidental with the release of CDM RuleFrame. They do not describe in any detail the use of WebForms, Oracle SCM or any of the later features of Forms and Designer 9i and 10g. The Standards & Guidelines for the database – SQL and PL/SQL – are mainly targeted at Oracle 7.x, with some very small inroad into Oracle 8i.
There will be no new versions of CDM Advantage or the Standards & Guidelines. Unfortunately, the sucessor of CDM Advanrtage, jCDM, will not contain any material on Designer or WebForms, nor will it address SQL and PL/SQL. That basically means that whereas CDM provided a huge knowledge base and guidelines for development with Oracle 7, Designer and Forms up to release 6i, Oracle will not provide such Guidelines for later releases, not even of the database. Note: tomorrow I will speak with a senior technoloy officer in the Oracle Applications development organisation for an interview with the Dutch Oracle Usergroup magazine. I intend to ask whether it might be possible to make the Standards and Guidelines used within his organization – presuming there is a substantial set – available to the rest of the world.
The situation with Headstart, template packages and utilities, is the following:
*) for Designer 6i and Forms 6i (Client/Server as well as WebForms), the most recent patch release was 188.8.131.52. There will be no new patches for the 6i tools
*) for Designer 9i and (Web)Forms 9i, the most recent patch release was 184.108.40.206. There will be one last patch, labeled 220.127.116.11, expected in October 2004. After that, there will be no more patches for the 9i tools.
*) for Designer 10g and WebForms 10g, there is not yet a release available. There will be a Headstart 10g – release label 18.104.22.168 – in October 2004. However, experience has taught Oracle that the current 22.214.171.124 for the 9iDS will work fine with 10gDS. After the 126.96.36.199 patch, Oracle will release patches every three months, coinciding with the 10gDS release plan. However, no new functionality is planned for these releases, only bug fixing.
All patches can be found at the supplement option: http://cso.oracle.com, provided you are licensed.
The plan for the future of Headstart is very much in line with the SoD on Oracle Designer: continued certification, no new features. With one positive bonus: Oracle consultants are actively involved projects where Headstart is being used. Whenever they develop new utilities or enhancements in the template package, these will be released through the Supplement Option in the patch releases that have been scheduled. Ton van Kooten indicated that the ‘Open Zorg’ (Health Insurance) team at Oracle Netherlands has developed several improvements for CDM RuleFrame and these will probably be released shortly.
Ton also suggested that perhaps the many ISVs and customers using Headstart and RuleFrame could contribute to the tools by allowing Oracle to distribute their utilities and code enhancements as part of the supplement option. He suggested that since that has been possible for years – for example thanks to the plug-in architecture of the Headstart Utilities – and almost never a contribution was made by external parties, he does not have a lot of faith in an Open Source approach for Headstart and RuleFrame. Only when we can convince Ton that his efforts in turning Headstart and RuleFrame into an Open Source project – no small feat given Oracle’s zealous protection of its Intellectual Property Rights and the license repercussion this may have – will be repricocated by a serious, substantial effort by the rest of the world is he willing to proceed in that direction. He did not indicate by the way what incentive he can offer to us for giving Oracle new utilities or improved code for shipping through the Supplement Option.
The future of CDM RuleFrame
Although Josef agrees with many of the suggestions I made for CDM RuleFrame in a recent post on this weblog, he was quite clear that Oracle Consulting is not going to make a serious effort for RuleFrame. There will be some small enhancements – from the OpenZorg team – but no serious investment. Anything delivered to the Headstart team from the field – either within or outside Oracle – will be seriously considered for incorporation into the patch releases, but that is about it.
Oracle product development has some very interesting plans with Business Rules and engines for implementing Business Rules. Such plans exist for both the Database as well as the Application Server. Unfortunately, Ton was not at liberty to divulge more information. However, he offered to introduce a speaker who can tell us more about these plans during a next AMIS Query session; the audience at that session would be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, as the information discussed is still confidential. Publication of more details to the general public will follow in the december 2004 timeframe.
I will try to work together with Ton to organize an AMIS Query around Business Rules, probably some time in November. News on this session will follow in this WebLog and on our website.
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