One of the taglines I saw last week for the Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g technology stack was ‘ Foundation for Innovation’. I like that one quite a lot. FMW is a stack of various components, underpinnen by the Oracle Database. The stack of WebLogic Server, SOA Suite, ADF and WebCenter at every level provides a foundation that we can create services and web applications on top of. Oracle of course did that itself, with the Fusion Applications. And we are doing it as well, coming in at various levels such as SOA Suite, ADF and the full stack including WebCenter on top of ADF on top of SOA Suite on top of WebLogic on top of Oracle RDBMS. With 11g it all comes together so nicely.
Before last week, I was quite certain I would not do anything more with Application Servers than I absolutely had to. After seeing a presentation and demonstration of WebLogic 11g, I am not so sure anymore. With the ActiveCache (based on Coherence), the new Enterprise Messaging service (JMS in various ways), the clustering with up to 1Tb of in-memory data, the integrated Enterprise Manager, the diagnosiblity and tracing infrastructure, WLS Data Sources handled over RAC and many more features, it is not just robust and reliable, it is fun as well. It is interesting to see how Oracle picked WebLogic as the strategic application server, then cherry picked some of the best features from iAS/OC4J and enriched WebLogic with them. The result is pretty good, for both OC4J and WebLogic users.
SOA Suite 11g and ADF 11g are not as new to me. ADF 11g as launched today is the next step on top of the ‘Boxer release’ we had last October. It adds some components, the SOA Suite integration, the Active Data Service, the MDS based customization and the WebCenter integration. SOA Suite 11g is quite a big step (leap) forward as compared to SOA Suite 10g. Instead of having various independent (almost isolated) service engines, we now create integrated SOA applications (Composite Applications) that combine BPEL, Mediator (pka Oracle ESB), Rules, Human Workflow that communicate based on the XML/SOA standards that internally are implemented natively. Furthermore, the end to end monitoring and exception handling make deployment and management/monitoring so much easier. The Event Delivery Network provides the basis for very decoupled systems that still help each other.
WebCenter – as discussed in a previous article – adds a lot of capabilities out of the box for ADF applications, as well as the ability to portletize ADF pages, consume WSRP portlets in ADF pages, the run time customization of pages using Composer and a complete Portal-out-of-the-Box (Spaces). I am not sure will be using that latter part so much, but definitely the first three dimensions of WebCenter.
With this foundation, the innovation is ours to create. And that is a very inviting challenge.