What a week – sessions on Advanced Java, SOA, BPEL and the AMIS Crossroads project

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Some weeks are relatively quiet, some are more hectic. This past week leans towards the latter catagory. Apart from the normal every-day routine, there was our Knowledge Center session on Advanced Java Programming in Java 5 on Tuesday, the SOA, Integration presentation and BPEL Workshop on Thursday and to top it off we had on Friday the first brainstorm session in the AMIS Crossroads process where we collectively decide on the tools, components and technology that we – AMIS – prefer and recommend to use for Application Development. It were all valuable sessions. And especially yesterday’s four our marathon on application development – with representatives from our Sales teams, the Technical Specialists, the three Expertise Managers for Project Management, Business Consultancy and Technology as well as one of the People Managers responsible for Recruitment covering all angles for choosing methodology, technology, frameworks and tools – was very fruitful as well as enjoyable. Three more sessions are to come, discussing Containers – such as Database, Application Server, Operating System and Browser, BI, SOA and Integration; discussing Project Management, Development Methodology and Software Engineering; discussing Analysis, Functional and Technical Design and Business Consultancy.

Advanced Java Programming 

The Advanced Java Programming Session discussed four topics, some new in Java 5 others already more familiar. These were: Threads (including DeathTreads), Reflection, Generics and Annotations. More on the latter in a subsequent article. Of course each presentation was followed by a brief workshop, using Eclipse 3.1 or JDeveloper 10.1.3.

SOA and BPEL

The Thursday session on Enterprise Architectures covered a lot of ground: discussing Service Oriented Architecture, Enterprise Application Integration, Business Process Management and Meta-Data Service Management. The presenter for the first part of the session – Edwin van Asch – represented Software AG and positioned the Crossvision SOA Suite. Though not as in depth as some of us would have liked and without real demos, it still proved useful to get an overview and to hear the story from a not so usual suspect – rather than e.g. Oracle, Microsoft or BEA.

After dinner – Chinese Buffet this time – a dozen diehards continued with a workshop on SOA and BPEL, using Oracle BPEL Process Manager. We implemented the AMIS Job Application process initially in monolithic Java or PL/SQL and published the interface as a WebService. Then we recreated the process as a BPEL process, calling out to partnerlink-services that were in fact pieces of the original implementation in both PL/SQL and Java. After deploying this BPEL Process we tested this new service, with the same functionality as the original process – however, with the many facilities of the BPEL Container at our disposal.

The final stage of this workshop showed how we can further refine our process once implemented as a BPEL process, with hardly any programming activity, further leveraging existing services and built-in functionality of the Oracle BPEL product. We added Email-notification capabilities, changed the text-labels that are returned to the Job Applicant and added a check on the desired salary, immediately aborting the process if we met too stiff demands. 

All in all the workshop was a fine demonstration of leveraging existing services in a BPEL process as well as flexibly refining the business process.

AMIS Crossroads

The AMIS Crossroads process targets to periodically (6-9 months) decide on the components palet – consisting of methodology, technology, tools, frameworks and libraries – that we as a company utilize in the projects we execute for our customers. It also strives to continually monitor developments in the industry and in the market. In the Crossroads process, account managers, development specialists and architects discuss the AMIS palet with project managers, our recruitment department as well as the expertise managers.

In this very open process, every employee at AMIS is invited to come forward and help decide on the collective toolbox. The outcome of the process is published extensivly on our intranet, serving as a reference for our projects as well as future customer engagements. Internally, from a knowledge management perspective, the outcome of Crossroads is leading in focusing time and energy, book acquisitions for our library and workshop planning etc.

Through Crossroads we take a collective stand and provide clarity for ourselves and our customers, a beacon in an ever-changing world.

Yesterday’s session shed light on our Oracle Development Tools strategy, our intentions with regard to Stand Alone GUI Development, our technology suitcase for Java/J2EE development and our plans for .NET. In three more rounds, we will go into other areas.

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About Author

Lucas Jellema, active in IT (and with Oracle) since 1994. Oracle ACE Director for Fusion Middleware. Consultant, trainer and instructor on diverse areas including Oracle Database (SQL & PLSQL), Service Oriented Architecture, BPM, ADF, Java in various shapes and forms and many other things. Author of the Oracle Press book: Oracle SOA Suite 11g Handbook. Frequent presenter on conferences such as JavaOne, Oracle OpenWorld, ODTUG Kaleidoscope, Devoxx and OBUG. Presenter for Oracle University Celebrity specials.

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