Combine WC Portal Assets in one Workspace

Working with WebCenter Portal 12c, you can develop your (Shared) Assets within JDeveloper. After installing the WebCenter updates, you can create an WebCenter Portal Asset Application: 

Choose a more generic application name, in my case RichardWcpAssets:

Now in step two I already know I am going to create a Page Template Asset, so I name the Project RichardPageTemplate and accept the default Project Features:

Accept the default package and location in step three and move on to step 4. In here we actually select the Page Template as Asset Type and choose a Display Name, I decided on RichardPageTemplate again and select finish:

Let JDeveloper generate the files for you, now, next to a Page Template, we would also like to define a Skin for our Portal. However, the WebCenter Portal Asset is an Application, so we have to create a totally new Application, just as we did with the Page Template. We do not care about the application name, so you can just let it be a default, like Application2 in my case:

In step 2 we know that this time we want to create a skin, so I named the project RichardSkin and select next:

Leave the defaults again in step 3 and move on to step 4, here we select Skin as Asset Type and change the Display Name to RichardSkin as well and click Finish:

Now, we have two different Application, but the good thing is all we are really interested in is inside the project structure. So we close JDeveloper and we navigate to the location of the applications on our file system. We can take the RichardSkin project folder and move it into the RichardWcpAssets application folder:

After this there is no use for the temporary Application2 anymore, so we can delete this. Now restart JDeveloper and navigate back to the initial Application, in my case ‘RichardPageTemplate’. Open the application menu and choose Open Project:

Navigate to the Skin project you just moved to the Asset application, select the .jpr file and open it:

Save your changes and you can now edit both your Page Template and your Skin from within the same JDeveloper Application.

Read more about Assets development in the following resources:

Auto Search in the Enterprise Manager through bookmarks

Since 12c when debugging or looking at flow instances in the Enterprise Manager, we have to use the search button to make the flow instances appear. By default the following text is being displayed: 'Conduct a search to display the list of message flows across SOA composites in the SOA Infrastructure'.

When you open the search bar on the right pane and click search, the instances of the last 24 hours are being displayed:

However, there is also a shortcut on this same search pane to 'Generate a bookmarkable link':

If you press this button, a pop-up will be displayed and the generated link will be selected:

Looking at the link, you can see that it holds URL parameters to open the flowInstancesTab and execute the search query. If you copy this link, and paste it in your browser, you will see that it opens the corresponding tab, and start fetching the data:

This means that if you bookmark the URL, from now on you are only one click away from going into the Enterprise Manager, navigating into the flowInstances tab and query the search results:

OOW15: Oracle Open World 2015

Just before Oracle Open World 2015, the launch of the new 12c (12.2.1) release went public. This release was a full release of the whole stack. From WebLogic Server to Business Intelligence, including product that were not on 12.1.3 yet, like WebCenter. A bit closer to Open World than expected, but this was good news, meaning we can talk freely about 12.2.1 and get all the information on it that we want.

Next to the 12.2.1 release, this Open World was about the Cloud, maybe even more than the previous years combined. The Cloud is inevitable and so is the Oracle Cloud, this year, personally I got more positive about the Cloud. A few years ago I was still skeptic, thought this was just a new hype, last year the Cloud still mostly seemed to exist on PowerPoint, but as we speak there are actually quiet some Cloud products live and ready to use.
I do think Oracle oversells the whole story that the Business user will drag and drop and create their own applications, but who knows, they might prove us wrong there as well. None the less, even if it is not for the actual business users, these products can make the lives of the programmers a lot easier as well.
A big announcement that I do want to mention again, is the Private Cloud, I think this is a huge announcement that can change the Cloud plan for a lot of companies. Here in Europe there are a lot of confusing laws and restrictions, that are different per country concerning data and the cloud. As well as there are institution who closely check what is happening with civilian data. Read more about the Private Cloud on my detailed blog post about this.
Next to that I have blogged about Application Builder Cloud Service, the SOA Suite Cloud Service, and a combined blog about microsites with the help of Sites Cloud Service & Document Cloud Service.

One of the "can't miss events" on Open World are always the keynotes, especially those from Larry. If you want to look back at the keynotes, you can find them all on the Open World page. The two quotes from Larry that stuck the most to me were these:
  • ‘Applications shouldn't only be easy to use, but also easy to learn’
  • ‘Security should always be on’
By these principles, Oracle designs there Cloud products as well. They should be easy to learn and easy to use. The line of business user should be able to use the products, not just the IT department, according to Oracle.
Larry explained how a lot of there Oracle products are shipped with good security options, but they are default turned off and you have to turn them on yourself manually. Not in the Cloud, in the Oracle Clouds, security is always on.

Next to the cloud, as a developer I focused on three area's this Open World, you can check out my related findings in the more in depth blogs about: WebCenter Portal, new features in ADF 12.2.1 and Oracle JET.

For an overview of all my Open World 2015 blogs, check this page.

OOW15: Coming soon, ABCService

One of the other cloud announcements that caught my eyes on Open World was ABCS, the Application Builder Cloud Service. A tool for the Line of Business user to create simple web and/or mobile application by drag and drop in the web browser. Simple add components out of a menu on the page, rearrange them and edit them the way you want in the WYSIWYG editor.

The tool either creates business objects from scratch in the underlying Oracle database or you can base them on a REST Service that someone has exposed. Because the application is 100% in the cloud, not only a “development tool” but it also hosts the application, there is no installation required to get you up and running. Honestly said, I was surprised by the intelligence of the tool to help the user promote their changes made in edit mode to production.

At the first publication, obviously this is no problem, but what if you create database changes? The ABCS recognizes whether the change is compatible (for example, adding a column) or non-compatible (for example, deleting a column). In the first scenario (compatible changes), the abcs will suggest two options, promote to production and keep the existing production data or promote to production and promote the stage database to production as well.
In the second scenario (non compatible changes), the abcs tool will warn you about the non compatible changes and suggest to export the production database to the staging database before promoting the staging database to production.
The scenarios might be a bit out of the comfort zone of the average business user, but with a little help from the IT department, you can go a long way.

Obviously the Application Builder Cloud Service supports the Alta UI look and feel, but a nice extra feature is that this PaaS solution is fully written in Oracle JET. Next to that it also produces Oracle JET code. So if your simple application grows out to be more complex it is possible to export the Oracle JET code and have a developer work on the code to evolve this to a more enterprise like application. In other words, you can have your Line of Business user create their own prototype, making sure “the IT guys” are able to implement the application.

The ABCS page is up and running, but the PaaS solution is not out on the market yet. Just as with the other cloud products, it will be possible to get a 30 days trial once the cloud product is launched.

Once again I am sorry for not having better screenshots of the product.

OOW15: Announcing WCP 12.2.1

It has been a long wait, but WebCenter has finally been released on 12c, WebCenter Portal 12.2.1 is out and brings you new features we have been waiting for! Just to name a few:
  • A more/better responsive design
  • a WYSIWYG editor with preview mode
  • Embedded content UI for ECM functionality
  • New Portal REST API
  • Out of the box bootstrap themes
  • A Portal Jump Start kit
  • Cloud Certification (on JCS)

However, there is also a change that might affect you. The Portal Customization Framework as we know it from 11g does not exist anymore. There now is only a Portal Server in 12c. This means you can easily upgrade from your 11g Portal Server to a 12c Portal Server, but if you run on Portal Framework, you will first have to migrate to Portal Server 11g before upgrading to Portal Server 12c.
Oracle does have a whitepaper out on how to migrate from the 11g Framework.

More cool stuff on the roadmap for WebCenter Portal, the product will be tighter integrated with the rest of the WebCenter Suite, as well as with some other Cloud products like JCS, ABCS, SCS, OSN, DCS & PCS. All the different search components will be replaces by the Elastic Search and there will be better performance as well as better performance analyzer tools.
WebCenter Portal will remain on premise for some time, however, as mentioned there is a Cloud certification for JCS, so if you wish you can run it in the Java Cloud Services.

Just as with most of the PaaS Cloud solutions Oracle now offers, you can make changes in contribute mode, they are not directly published and you can even setup an approval process before publication. You can choose whether to publish only the portal, the shared libraries, the content or also the shared assets (like page templates).

Portal still uses the Contextual Event mechanism to communicate with the ADF taskflows. As mentioned the integration with WebCenter Content is way better and you can put annotation on your documents. These annotations are stored separately in WebCenter Content and merged on the document by the viewer.

OOW15: Announcing SoaCS

The Oracle SOA Cloud Service is online and you can check it out on the Oracle SoaCS Cloud page. This SoaCS offers you all the functionality the SOA Suite offers you on premise. In the cloud, Oracle has the same red stack strategy as they have on premise. This means the SoaCS runs on Oracle hardware and the Oracle database. This forces you to have a DbCS as well.

To get the SoaCS, you follow a wizard that guides you through the steps of setting up the Cloud. In here you choose what kind of services you want, Service Bus, SOA Suite, a combination of both or the API Manager. You enter the database credentials to connect to the database in the cloud and select how much CPU and memory you want to run on. You even have control in which data center the cloud is going to be hosted. This whole wizard is based on a webservice API, so if you want you can script and automate this process. 30 to 60 minutes later your SoaCS is ready and you can start using it.

So now you got your automated provisioned & back upped SOA Cloud Service. You can connect to an on premise ldap. You can set up an ssh tunnel, not a vpn yet, although this is on the roadmap. Oracle will apply the patches for you, but you are in control whether you want them or not. There is a precheck whether the patch can be applied or not, but you cannot schedule the patch for now, you can choose to apply or to wait with it, but if you choose to apply the patch, it will be done directly.
Oracle will not force you to upgrade, however, they only support the latest and the latest minus 1 version, so you cannot keep creating older versions once newer versions have come out.

Off course one of the great benefits of the cloud is the scaling, so when needed, you can add a node manually. The elastic scaling of nodes is on the roadmap, but not yet there. This means that in the near future you can add rules like ‘If the CPU uses more than 80%, add another one’.
You will have full EM and console access to your cloud instance.

Oracle is working on a white paper with best practices, this should come out soon. But if you can not wait, you can start a 30 days free trail, you will have to go through the JCS set up for this though. Click the ‘Try It’ button on the Java Cloud page for more info.

OOW15: The Oracle Private Cloud

One of the big announcements this year was the Oracle Private Cloud, basicly, the Cloud will come to your on premise data center! Oracle provides the exact same service for the Private Cloud as they do for the Public Cloud. The given timeframe on the Private Cloud is early next calendar year.

The interesting thing here is that Inderjeet mentioned in his presentation that the Private Cloud will have the same pricing module as the Public Cloud, this includes the hardware. The Private Cloud is a new type of rack, it is similar to the ExaLogic and build by the ExaLogic group, but it is not an ExaLogic. Most likely Oracle will synchronize the release cycle between the Public and the Private Cloud, this means you will get all the same features at the same time as you would in the Public Cloud.

For now the Private Cloud only hosts JCS & ICS, but PCS & SoaCS will be add in the next release cycle:

Oracle gives you a full support, including patching and a platinum service is included. You can schedule the patches that create or need down time. You can have on premise cloud administrators who use the Enterprise Manager or oracle compute command line interface (CLI) to administrate the infrastructure:

Backup needs to be done by the cloud administrators, if you want full disaster recovery (DR) you will need to either have two cloud machines in different data centers or back up to and other (on prem) data center.