ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2009

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Recently I presented for the fourth time at the annual ODTUG Kaleidoscope conference. It’s really a great conference that I recommend to every Oracle consultant. It features great presentations, discussion forums, hands-on labs on a broad range of subjects ranging from Oracle Forms to ADF, SOA, Apex, Essbase, PL/SQL, methodology etc. etc. But it’s not only the sesssions, but also the fun and discussions during breakfast, lunch, diner and other social activities and it’s very easy to meet the experts in the field. This makes the Kaleidoscope one of the most valuable conferences.

For me, one of the highlights every year is a presentation of Steven Feuerstein. This year he had a great presentation about the psychology of coding. He shows how basic psychological behaviour affects our coding in a negative way. And provides some basic ‘rules’ to address that, like ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help’, ‘Code must make you feel good’, ‘Take your time’ oir ‘Be ready to learn from non-programmers’. One of the interesting aspects he describes is the fact (!?) that the human brain is optimistic by default and that the the present dominates and overwhelms our perceptions. This leads to the phenomenon that the code we’re writing at the moment seems to very obvious that is doesn’t need any explanation… A compulsory presentation for everybody, managers included.

 

Another highlight was the keynote of Steve Miranda, already described in much detail by Lucas. It is really impressive to see how the latest (ADF) technologies are applied to Oracle’s Fusion Applications. It’s web 2.0 (or actually enterprise 2.0), it’s collaborative, it’s SOA, it’s BI everywhere, it’s personal, it’s Business process, it’s … overwhelming. And it’s technology we can use in our applications too :-)

Later, in a presentation by Duncan Mills, we got a glimpse of the underlying development process. It must have been a nightmare sometimes. The development of Applications using the ADF 11g framework that itself is under development (with input from the applications developers). The development of Applications generates a lot of experiences, (architectural) patterns A lot of experiences, best-practices etc. that will be shared with the community on an even greater scale than before. We can also expect a a new training for Fusion Architects; I can tell that I’m very interested in that.

 

On the whole, the Kaleidoscope offered lots of sessions about ADF 11g, about the wonderful possibilities it offers as wel as the more realistic tales from the trenches. Which was actually the title of (one of) Paul Dorsey’s presentations and (almost) that of mine. Paul’s presentation was more or less a summary of a survey he did amongs many ADF experts about their experiences with Java and the ADF technology stack. We all know that Paul is quite critical about Java EE and ADF and that he likes bold statements ;-). The conclusions of the survey were that when you’re developing Java EE applications, use ADF, start small and get help.

In another great session, completely at the end of the conference, Maiko Rocha and George Magessy demonstrated the concepts of the ADF 11g UI interaction and how to ‘work with them instead of fighting them’. It is essential to understand the stretching and flowing behaviour and how nested components behave (or not). It was all illustrated by the the implementation of two major websites with ADF 11g UI components, a great demo.

 

ALM, application lifecycle management, is an important aspect of application development and is getting more attention. Susan Duncan presented the first version of Oracle’s Team Productivity Center (TPC), that provides integrated support for the development processes (requirements, build, test, change control, defect management etc) within JDeveloper. It consists of three components: the server, that provides team management, integrated access to the artifact repositories (like Jira) and that links artifacts to each other, the JDeveloper extension (actually a set of extensions), that allow the developer to interact with the artifacts, like a Jira issue and the connectors that provide the actual connection to the artifact repositories. Currently, connectors are available for Jira, Microsoft Project Server – task management and Rally Software – agile development lifecycle; more will follow soon. An SDK is available for creating your own connector (if necessary because we can expect that the major products will be supported). Testimonies by Rally Software  claims that connector development is actually quite easy, as long as the repository provides a webservice interface. I really like the philosophy to integrate with existing tools instead of the creation of a new product. I think that support of the development process is essential to improve development quality and I’m really happy that this will be available within JDeveloper. More on this subject soon…

 

I’ve spend most of my attention on the subjects of ADF, SOA, Fusion and methodology and you may have the impression that this is what the Kaleidoscope is about. Which is certainly not the case. The whole Oracle space was covered and the sessions from Tom Kyte, Steven Feuerstein and Gary Millsap were the most attended ones. And off course, there is Apex, that attracted a lot of attention, probably even more than ADF. At some moments it even seemed like Apex and ADF are battling for the Forms developers that face the end of the lifecycle. Both sides claim high productivity and ease of development. I got the impression that the Apex ‘side’ even ‘accused’ ADF of their complexity and difficulties and that they stressed their own simplicity. It seems that they somehow need to prove themselves, we’ll see how it works out in a few years. In the meantime, let’s not work against each other, but with each other.

All in all, again a great conference. See you next year…

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About Author

Aino Andriessen is a consultant on Enterprise Java, ADF, PL/SQL, XML, and SOA development and is Expertise Lead on Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). He has a strong interest in ADF, SOA, Maven, architecture, quality management, delivery and application lifecycle management. Aino publishes on the AMIS technology blog and has been a presenter at the ODTUG Kaleidoscope, Oracle Open World and UKOUG TechEbs.