Open World made it clear: 2011 is the year of the ADF developer. Not only were there a lot of sessions about ADF, but also because ADF screens could be found in many sessions like the ones on the new Enterprise Manager 12c and on Oracle Fusion Applications. Not only were the number of sessions higher than in other years, also the number of participants per session was significantly higher. Sunday was ADF EMG day, organized by the ADF usergroup, with great sessions on a variety of a little bit more advanced subjects by leading figures in the ADF community.The rest of the week had a choice of more than 60 sessions from introduction to advanced, from low-level technical to more architectural ones and from real-world implement experiences to related to Fusion Apps. Open World 2011 has been of great value for the ADF developer.
The most important ADF annnouncement concerned ADF Mobile.The strategy has been changed dramatically and we can soon expect the tools to create native iOS and Android apps (other OS’s will probably follow later). We can expect the full and familiar ADF development experience in JDeveloper and one-click deployment to a native app (i.e. one per platform) that consists of the ADF webapplication that renders as HTML 5, an embedded JVM and PhoneGap for access to the mobile OS, (Ok, this is actually what you may call an hybrid app).
Application development is done with taskflows, a special set of ADF Faces and datacontrols to access the local database, webservices and the device capabilities like GPS, contacts, email etc. Note that is doesn’t allow for direct access to the enterprise database. That must be organized via webservices, e.g. ADF Services on top of the ADF Business Components. Maybe later, some kind of of synchronization between the app and the enterprise database may became available. But this is not the recommended way as it was in the past. The product managers were a bit vague when we can expect ADF Mobile. They showed live demo’s so it could be available soon, maybe already with JDeveloper 22.214.171.124. We have to wait and see what mobile support we’ll get with 11gR1. At least what we can expect soon is support for a better mobile browsing experience of normal ADF applications. This includes HTML5, a simple table component, gesture support and a flowing layout.
By the way, the ADF / JDeveloper release cycle and version numbering is a highly protected secret of Oracle. The productmanagers never provide exact details and all their statements were always accompanied by a disclaimer. But at many sessions we got some glimpses of the future.
Currently we have three lines: 11gR1, 11gR2 and the future 12c.11gR1 is the stable version. It’s the foundation of Fusion Apps and the whole Fusion Middleware stack. It is the most stable line and I don’t expect many new features. The 11gR2 line gets the new features, like JSF 2.x with Facelets, better Maven support and others. For both lines we can expect soon (this year) a new version with (amongst others) Oracle Cloud Support. It will provide access to the cloud database in the way you’re used to and will provide deployment of applications to the Java cloud all from JDeveloper.
12c is expected in 2012 (probably the end of the year, but you’ll never know) and will be the main line again, also for Fusion Apps and the whole Middleware stack. It includes full support for Java7, JEE6, HTML5 and CSS3. Amongst other we’ll get much more REST support, a Groovy editor and debugger, new DVT’s (like the Sunburst, Network and Timeline ‘charts’), Git support, easier ADF layout management and improvement of public facing websites, e.g. for searchbot support. The JDeveloper development experience will be improved on speed, stability, performance and window management and we’ll finally get tab reorganization ;-). This is the result of an collaboration with the NetBeans team. We can also expect mature Maven support with a solution for the ADF and FMW library (dependency) management, ojdeploy plugin, archetypes, Maven 3, repository authentication and much more. I have the impression that Oracle is really very serious with their Maven support.
It also seems that with 12c we might get a slimmed down, free?, ADF community edition that should run on other platforms like GlassFish and Tomcat, but will not contain DVT’s, Mobile and ADF Desktop/Office.
More support for ADF can also be found in the next version of Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse (OEPE, 126.96.36.199). This version contains support for ADF taskflows and will be compatible with ADF 188.8.131.52. After that, the next priority are datacontrols and then in the far future we might expect full ADF Business Components (ADF BC) support. Note that the next version should be able to run ADF BC application (although you cannot develop them). In addition will this version will also contain WLST (WebLogic Scripting Tool) support and I expect that it will also contain the Oracle cloud support.
Most of the presentations can be downloaded from the OOW content site. I’d recommend the great sessions from Chris Muir, Angels in the sky, about ADF architecture and from Steven Davelaar about Dynamic Tabs (aka the ADF UI Powerhouse) and highly reusable taskflows . Highly recommendable for any ADF developer.
With such a successfull and interesting Open World I’ll definitely be there next year.