Just as ODTUG Kaleidoscope and Oracle Open World, the UKOUG Tech-EBS is a great Oracle oriented conference. It’s held in Birmingham but the speakers and participants come from all over Europe and also from America. It covers much of Oracle’s product portfolio including Fusion Middleware development, the e-Business Suite, Server Technology, APEX and much more with an impressive list of speakers both from Oracle as well as from other many companies. There were many high quality presentations and I’ve enjoyed them very much.
My main interests are ADF Fusion development and Application Lifecycle Management, so I spend most of my time in the ‘Design and Development’ and ‘Application Server and Middleware’ tracks and it had a lot to offer:
- In the Middleware keynote: Application Server Platform Strategy, Mike Lehman from Oracle gave an overview of many things that are happening in the Application Server realm, both for Weblogic and for GlassFish. He talked about the positioning and the architecture of the Weblogic Suite as the combination of Weblogic Server, Oracle Coherence and JRockit. He also talked (off course) about the Exalogic Elastic Cloud as the platform for the enterprise and presented the four flavors: quarter, half, full and multi rack systems. We can expect a release of Weblogic soon (I suppose, together with the next JDeveloper release). Amongst others, will this release have ant and maven support, more JEE 6 (JPA 2.0, JSF 2.0, JAX-RS, SCA) and Spring 3 support. It will available an easy installation (probably a zip distribution) and we can also expect a lightweight, web profile, version later. The next version, expected late 2011, will have full JEE 6 support.
- Simon Haslam gave a great presentation, One Year On: Field Experiences of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g, about his experiences with Fusion Middleware 11g and especially with migrations from OC4J (iAS) to Weblogic. And although I’m more focussed on development, it’s a good thing to be aware of the administration aspects.
- In ‘Total Visibility into Enterprise Java Applications with JRockit Mission Control and the WebLogic Diagnostic Framework’ we got an overview of the management and diagnostics features of JRockit. It’s really impressive what information can be retrieved from the JVM about running (and failing) applications, even to the level of method invocations.
- Duncan Mills gave a two hour session, ‘An Introduction to Functional Patterns & Best Practices for Oracle/ADF’. This great session is based on internal trainings for the developers that are working on Fusion Applications. It covers experiences, best practices, tips and trics etc. on a whole range of subjects from coding to team organization, form taskflow to project organization and a lot more. A must for every ADF developer.
- Guido Schmutz gave a very valuable presentation on ‘Best Practices for testing SOA Suite 11g based systems’. He discussed different strategies for testing SOA services and showed us the build-in support for unittests in the SOA Suite 11g. He also showed how SoapUI is used and how it can be used for mocking patterns. A great and interesting session.
- Susan Duncan’s presentation, ‘Practical ALM, Testing and Build Management in JDeveloper’, is also recommended for everybody on ADF development. She is a strong advocate of good oragnization and management of the software development process (Application Lifecycle Management) and is as an Oracle product manager responsible for the activities on that subject. In my opinion, Oracle takes a very sensible approach by focussing on existing solutions instead of re-inventing the wheel. We got an overview of Oracle’s (JDeveloper’s) activities on that subject like TPC, SCM support (by the way, Git support is coming but not yet in PS3), Hudson, and much more. Actually, she had a very ‘brave’ audience, because it seemed like everybody was using SCM; that has been different on other occasions. However continuous integration didn’t seem a big issue with the audience, so more evangelism is needed…
- Duncan Mills did another very interesting presentation, this time on customization: Mastering customization and personalization in Oracle ADF applications using Oracle Metadata Services (MDS). He demonstrated the different ways of customizing an ADF application, and it’s really amazing what’s possible. Almost everything can be customized, Business Components, Controller, UI, library usage etc. It seems like almost the whole application can be rebranded, presonalized and reorganized. And by using a centralized metadata service these customizations can even be managed ;-). The next session, Castle in the clouds – SaaS Enabling ADF Faces applications, in the same room was actually a very good follow-up in which my colleague Lucas Jellema actually demonstrated customization in SAAS enabled applications.
- Testing seems to be an important topic nowadays as Sue Harper also demonstrated in ‘PL/SQL Development and Unit Testing with Oracle SQL Developer 3.0’. The coming release of SQLDeveloper (3.0) will contain better support for unittesting PL/SQL with e.g. so called data libraries, data preparation, lookups and exception testing. It will also include support for remote debugging.
- Sten Vesterli had a good presentation on ‘Building Enterprise Applications with ADF’, in which he covers the aspects involved with developing an ADF application like team organization, application structuring, standards and best practices, team productivity etc. He is writing a book about it so keep an eye on it.
- The last presentation of the conference was by Dominic Delmolino, Oil and Water: Development Procedures and Database Structures and while almost everybody was already on their way to the All Bar One, he had a great and inspiring presentation on Agile Database Development and how that improves the quality of your database applications.
Besides the presentation, the conference also hosts round-tables that offer an informal way to people to discuss certain subjects. The ADF Enterprise Methodology Group round table mainly discussed how to start ADF development and how to organize the development team and process. The participants share their experiences and ideas on how to improve this process. A very valuable way to match your own opinions and ideas with others.
This was my first visit to the UKOUG Tech EBS and I was very happy to participate with two presentations: ‘Webservice based ADF Business Components‘ and ‘Spend Some Quality Time on your ADF Fusion Application‘. I enjoyed the conference very much, had great discussions, met many very nice and interesting people. It’s great to see the commitment to Oracle technology and to ADF in special. I’ll certainly return next year.