In a very multi-cultural – representatives from France, Italy, the UK and Austria – and rather strong display, Oracle opened the ODTUG 2006 conference formally with the keynote address. Marco Tilli, Vice President voor Fusion Development Technology, orchestrated this presentation and invited on stage Clemens Utschig for BPEL and Oracle Rules, Regis Louis for ADF Faces and Keith Laker for Oracle Warehouse Builder 10gR2.
The presentation focused on the move from the good old days with isolated applications that are basically just intermediaries between the data(base) and the end-users to the very near future where we are implementing business processes that make use of reusable services across the enterprise and possibly between enterprises. Such processes may occasionally need human interaction for approval, decision, conferring etc. and for those occasions, we will develop some UI. But the approach is inside out: from processes to services and the occasional UI instead of from the UI downward to the database and the odd batch process ("service").
The way the Fusion approach was presented made it look very well thought out and very well integrated. Since I have worked with most of the tools and technology discussed, I can confirm that it was quite truthfully presented. The message was much stronger and optimistic than last year’s keynote and seemed to have a much better effect on the audience.
Marco Tilli revealed something of a roadmap: Oracle 10g AS 10.1.3.1 with Oracle ESB and the 10.1.3 of Oracle BPEL PM will be available in CY 2006. Earlier I had heard dates like late Summer 2006. He also indicted a new major release of Oracle Apps (E-Business Suite): R12 on the 10.1.2 Forms and Reports Technology Stack for the GUI and the ADF UIX, ADF Framework and ADF BC stack for the Web UI. That is a pretty important announcement, given all the conFUSION we have seen recently. While Fusion Middleware is pretty well underway, the Fusion Development tools are far from begin as clearly defined, and WebForms is definitely seeing another round. Later this conference there is supposed to be some sneak preview of Forms Release 11. If we have news, you will read it here.
The most impressive demonstration – given my own familiarity with both Oracle BPEL PM 10.1.3 and OWB 10gR2 – was the usage of RIA style ADF Faces components like the accordion, the drag and drop across the page and the dynamic data grid with client side column repositioning and resizing. I am going to find out how we can get our hands on that functionality!
Marco also announced – although by now it was hardly news anymore – the Oracle Warehouse Builder 10gR2 release and the fact that its core functionality is free for every organisation with an Oracle database license. Which is very good news. However, the following demo by Keith Laker demonstrated the Data Quality option – a fine piece of functionality- that is definitely NOT for free!
By the way: a quick poll of the audience (some 500 people?) revealed that over half is using Oracle Designer, even more work with Oracle Forms. My estimate is that under 20% uses JDeveloper and even less than that is working with SQL Developer, Application Express and Oracle Warehouse Builder.
Asking for trouble…
I am really surprised that the ODTUG conference organisation has asked Sohaib Abassi, formerly of Oracle and currently of Informatica – to do the second keynote session, immediately following the one by Marco Tilli cs. Abassi presented on PowerCenter 8, a fairly well known, very expensive tool for ETL and a direct competitor to Oracle Warehouse Builder! I am not saying that products from Oracle’s competitors should not be showcased at ODTUG. Of course it is good they are here as well. But it seems a little tactless to schedule them back to back.