Monday Apr 14, 2014

How not to repeat past mistakes in the mobile world

Author: Shay Shmeltzer, Director of Product Management and Strategy

When talking to customers about their mobile development plan, I can't help but feel a slight flashback feeling to the type of discussion we had when people got serious about Web development 10-15 years ago. While mobile is definitelly a new technology, there is no reason to repeat the mistakes of the past and not to learn from the experience we gathered in the application development community. Here are three things that I noticed were solved in the past, and where the approach to the solution can be applied in the new mobile paradigm.

Cross Platform Development

Back in the 90s there was no single OS that controled the server world. Windows, Linux, and various flavors of Unix were mixed together in various IT shops. Today this is the situation on the mobile client side - there is no single mobile OS that rules the market. There are two clear front runner - iOS and Android - but others are in the mix too, and any organization who adopts the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) approach will need to target more than a single platform.

So how do you solve the need to develop with a single language and run on multiple platforms?
In the 90s we solved this with Java, a language that ran inside a container that was available for each platform. Today we take a similar approach for mobile apps - using an approach called hybrid mobile - relying on a container that runs your mobile application on the mobile OS. With Oracle's Mobile development framework, we are providing a container that runs a single mobile app on multiple platforms. By the way, one part of our container is a mobile-flavored JVM that runs your business logic on the mobile device. This concept of a container that runs your code, is also extended to the UI layer where our framework uses the Webview component to render cross device UI layers.
By picking up this approach you are able to reduce your development effort to building just a single application and running it on multiple devices.

A fear we sometime hear is that this type of in-container apps will be slow because of the container overhead. Again this is a flashback to the early days of Java, when there was a fear that because of its architecture it won't be able to handle the performance load required from enterprise apps. This fear has completely passed now, and Java powers every type of system. This is the same thing we are seeing in the mobile space. While it is true that there is a slight edge to native apps in terms of performance - the difference compared to the hybrid approach is so negligible that you'll only notice it if you were trying to build a real-time gaming system. For enterprise style applications the hybrid approach is performing great. In fact if we encounter slow hybrid apps - the problem is almost always in the way that the app talks to the backend, rather than at the client side.

Architecture and Modularity

In the first several iterations of web development architecture developers mixed UI and logic into the same file (think of CGI, Servlets, JSP). While technically this worked - it became a nightmare to maintain and change applications built this way. This gave rise to the adoption of MVC architecture for web apps - a strict separation between the UI layer and the logic and data layers. However today, when you look at many of the Hybrid applications that are being built, you can see a regression back to the old way of coding, with developers mixing HTML5 (UI) and JavaScript (Logic) in the same file.

With our mobile framework, we incorporated the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern into the way we build mobile applications. User interfaces are defined in one file, business logic and data access in another. Making your application easier to maintain. In addition we put a lot of effort into enabling reusability with the ability to package functionality you build as "features", and then integrating various features into a single application, or reusing features in other applications.

Simplifying UI Development

Hybrid applications are mostly using HTML5 and JavaScript to achieve the native like UI on devices. However another lesson we learned from the past is that coding at this level is both tedious and dangerous. There is a faster and safer way to construct your UI - use components instead of low-level coding.
This approach is faster because it reduced coding drastically. With a rich set of components - like the set of over 60 components provided by Oracle's mobile framework - developers can simply pick and arrange components on the page to create advanced UIs.

In addition, UI technology has a tendency to change and evolve rapidly. For example in the world of web development Flash was the "de-facto" standard for rich internet application just 5 years ago - but today it is rarely used anymore for these type of application and HTML5 is replacing it.
The nice thing about working with components that generate markup language is that the markup that is being generated can be changed or evolved over time. We already did this in our ADF Faces components - components that started by generating PNG files evolved to generate Flash and today are generating HTML5 markup. All through those changes there was no need to re-write the application that were created with those components.
Basically using components can provide protection from technology changes down the road - and this is true for mobile apps too.

Summary

A wise man is the one who learns from others mistakes. Make sure that when you consider your mobile development approach you are wise. Learn the lessons of the past and apply them to the new world - choose your development framework wisely. 

More Mobile? Checkout the mobile dedicated blog at blogs.oracle.com/mobile

Monday Apr 07, 2014

Is Enterprise Mobility Revolutionizing the Way that Business is done in China?

Author: Winston Yuen Hung Lin, VP, Product Management, OFM

What is changing the IT landscape in China? How do local CIOs react towards the change? Have you dreamed of working anytime anywhere?

As one of the most important mobile device markets in the world, China has been booming rapidly driven by ever-higher-performing smart phones, tablets, and other devices enabled by 3G and 4G networks. With more and more different mobile devices like tablets and smart phones being used widely, it is inevitable that workers want to bring their own devices into their workspaces and conduct their business anytime, anywhere.

Enterprise mobility has been triggered along with the shift in business practices. With the support of enterprise mobility, a doctor can get access to a patient’s files from his tablet; a manager can prepare his presentation from his mobile device while travelling; employees can work outside the office and become more and more productive by using their own devices.

Now the multi channel era has come, the request has arisen. It’s time for CIOs to embrace the change and adjust their strategies and infrastructures to support the mobility revolution. According to a recent survey from the famous research website IT168, more than 90% of Chinese companies have implemented their mobility plans or started to think about their mobility strategy, especially in the financial, government and retail industry. These companies are usually large or medium-sized, and require high levels of integration to interact with companies’ data frequently. There are still 5% local companies that do not need enterprise mobility. These companies are mostly traditional businesses that do not need to cover their business via the internet or mobile.

Why do most companies start to implement enterprise mobility? According to recent research, in China, 56% corporations aim at satisfying business requirements, and then increasing operation efficiency directly; 43% aim at increasing work efficiency. Take the financial industry as an example, most customers want to process a variety of financial business anytime, anywhere. To meet business requirements, the four major national banks in China (ICBC, ABC,BOC, CCB) have provided their own mobile banking services. They bring convenience, efficiency, meeting their mobility strategy and also provide customers traditional and creative services.

Undoubtedly, mobility has become a critical part of the IT environment, with more and more companies regarding BYOD (Bring your own device) as the new mobile business trend. According to a recent survey from IT168, it has become a worldwide phenomenon as well: 74% of worldwide corporations allow BYOD usage according to Forbes: Mobile Business Statistics . BYOD brings many advantages, but what CIOs care about is the security issue that BYOD causes. According to a business value report, 68% local companies worry about BYOD security and it has become the primary barrier to broad mobile deployments within the enterprise.

In the next blog, we will continue to explore the mobility’s world with you, we will discuss the following questions in depth.

What are the advantages that mobility will bring? Also what disadvantages will it cause? What can we do accordingly?



Friday Apr 04, 2014

It's All Systems Go: Fusion Middleware @ COLLABORATE14 Next Week

 Air travel reservations confirmed - CHECK.  Hotel reservations confirmed - CHECK.  Powerpoint presentation ready for COLLABORATE14 - CHECK.  Now, all you need to do is plan which sessions you don't want to miss.  The Fusion Middleware team is out in full force at this year's COLLABORATE and we want to make it easy for you to come, attend, learn and network at sessions.  Below is a short list of sessions you won't want  to miss and hear Edward Zou, Vice-President, Product Management speak about Oracle AppAdvantage, Mobility and Fusion Middleware's future objectives: 

  • AppAdvantage: Business Advantage through Fusion Middleware - Tuesday, April 8 from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

The session will discuss how Oracle EBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft, JDEdwards and Siebel customers are extending and enhancing their existing investments in applications with SOA, BPM, IDM, WebCenter, DI, Exa solutions and Mobile Platform technologies to achieve business results.

  • Build Mobile Apps, Extend Fusion Apps and Integrate Cloud Apps with Fusion Middleware - Tuesday, April 8 from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

The focus of the session will be a discussion on where we are investing in Oracle Fusion Middleware. We’ll also be discussing the cloud, particularly how to leverage your current and planned investments in Oracle database, applications or other middleware technologies.

  • Simplify Enterprise Mobility: Extend Oracle Applications to Mobile - Tuesday, April 8 from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Read up on Edward Zou's interview with IOUG's Dan McDonnel, right here, and learn what's coming up at the show and how AppAdvantage and Enteprise Mobility are key Middleware objectives you should know about. 

We have even more sessions at the show across other lines of Fusion Middleware that you shouldn't miss - here's a listing: 

  • Real World Cloud and On-Premise ERP Integration Simplified with Oracle SOA Suite - April 9 from 1:00-2:00 PM, Level 3 Murano 3206
  • Reducing Data Center Cost and Complexity with Oracle Exalogic - April 11 from 8:30-9:30 AM, Level 3 San Polo 3403
  • ADF Mobile with Oracle Java Cloud - April 9 from 12:15-12:45 PM, Level 3 Murano 3206
  • Oracle Exalogic Security Best Practices and PCI Compliance - April 8 from 8:30-9:30 AM, Level 1 Galileo 1005

Have a great week at COLLABORATE14 - See you at the show!

Monday Mar 31, 2014

Enterprise Apps - The Snowball

Author: Martin Cookson, EMEA Director for Mobility

The smartphone has really taken hold within the enterprise. With initiatives such as BYOD (bring your own device) and COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) in typical knowledge worker industries every professional employee will have a smartphone and/or tablet.  The intelligence of these mobile devices comes down to apps. Currently most of the apps that people use are developed by third parties – and downloaded from public app stores.

Enterprise employees use their mail app, Evernote, LinkedIn, Twitter, Calendar and Contacts to name a few as business apps. Of course we have to get the security right for these dual-usage apps (watch out for future blog posts on this!) but there is immense amount of value from app such as these.

But what about apps developed by the enterprise for their own use? Here we see we have only just scratched the surface. In a survey done my MGI Research in 2012 they stated that 70% of enterprises had only 5 or less apps in development. Now in 2014 the number has probably increased slightly but the opportunity for custom built mobile apps is massive.

For B2C enterprises can provide apps for any customer contact point e.g. for eCommerce or self-service support. Any product or service that is sold could have a mobile app to go with it. Certainly your next new car or smart TV will likely have a mobile app to go with it.

For B2E and B2B, any interaction with a process or system could have a mobile app – allowing freedom in the way that employees work, improving efficiency and provide immediate access to enterprise data. Mobile apps can enhance the collaboration of mobile teams  - providing enterprise social networks and secure data and documentation sharing.


My experience working with customers on their mobile strategy is that they always have candidates for their first mobile apps – they are able to make the first snowball – if you will. Oracle helps them put these ideas into action using the Oracle Mobile Platform – a process we coin “App Fast.”

But if for some reason you can’t identify your first snowball here are some of the typical common first enterprises apps we have helped customers’ develop. They are not always large – remembering the preference for micro apps in mobile -  but they start the snowball rolling!

  1. Approvals - Allow managers to be alerted, review, and quickly take action on: people  moves, expenses, requisition requests, decisions etc.. Often the approvals span multiple back end-systems.
  2. Inspection App - Allows field workers to check status of sites, following set inspection processes including data. This is very popular with examples in: port inspections, restaurants, building sites, retails spaces etc.  The apps can use location and camera to improve the information capture.
  3. Requisitions - Many utility and field engineer applications. For example checking availability of spare parts, scanning component details, ordering parts from the field.
  4. Citizen Self-Serv - There is many examples of this in the public sector as municipal and regional governing bodies look to provide more contact to citizens and service them better. These apps allow reports of potholes in the road, street lighting not working. They provide location of local amenities and provide real time information from transport networking and parking.
  5. I am sick today - For workers operating shifts for example in manufacturing or retail shop workers providing a slick process for informing others when a worker is not able to come to work. The HR sickness reporting is incorporated into the process but then the person responsible for rescheduling rotas as well as the colleagues of the worker is also informed. The app can also capture the location of where the ill worker is when they report the illness … just as a check that the absence is valid.

For each of the apps customers have to have the technology to develop the apps securely but perhaps most importantly it is getting the organization to think mobile and to realist the incredible enterprise mobile opportunity.

Friday Mar 21, 2014

AppAdvantage Webcast Series Rolls On with Mobility and Oracle Applications

Missed our first kickoff Oracle AppAdvantage webcast?  Not a problem -- tune in to the next webcast now available - all about how to innovate and extend Oracle Applications to Mobile. IT needs a consistent way to meet requests to develop new mobile applications quickly and make existing applications, mobile applications.  Oracle AppAdvantage is a program powered by Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies that helps customers strengthen their investments in Oracle Applications. An important part of this program is Oracle Mobile Platform, an integrated set of technologies that enables enterprises to rapidly build, deploy, secure, and integrate mobile applications with Oracle Applications and third-party applications for any device and any data source.  Transforming existing applications (JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, EBS or non Oracle ones) into mobile applications helps take investments further and makes them more accessible anywhere and at anytime.  Register for this webcast and learn how you can Innovate and Extend Oracle Applications to Mobile. 


Monday Mar 17, 2014

Your Enterprise Mobile Strategy

Posting on behalf of Martin Jarvis, Senior Director, Fusion Middleware Market Development

For many enterprises Mobility is rapidly becoming a strategic issue. The way in which you interact with both your customers and you employees via their smart phone or tablet can have dramatic impact on the business. Much has been written about the importance of developing a Mobile Strategy unique to your organizations needs and aspirations, but what exactly does a mobile strategy look like?

Oracle has worked with many customers to help them maximize the benefits from deploying Enterprise Mobile solutions. Through this experience we have developed an 8 point domain model to ensure the customer’s mobile strategy covers the key subject areas: 



Alongside the Mobile Strategy it’s important to plan a roadmap that will take you from where you are now to a point where you are fully exploiting the benefits of enterprise mobility.  We divide the roadmap into three distinct phases, starting at “App Fast” getting the quickest possible returns from implementing the strategy, through being “Mobile Ready” to finally becoming a true “Connected Enterprise”.



Since developing this approach to Mobile Strategy we have worked with a number of customers to help them get started on their own mobile strategy using this model. We generally start the process with a half-day Mobile Strategy Workshop involving the key stakeholders from the customer’s IT, enterprise architects and lines of business management. Together we go through the elements of the strategy, facilitating discussion and capturing key points. We also present Oracle’s Mobile Strategy and look to align it to the customer’s requirements.   Feedback from customers who have been through the workshop has been very positive and all have found it a worthwhile and valuable experience. After the workshop we consolidate all the points captured into a report, which is provided to the customer.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you develop your own mobile strategy please get in touch through your usual Oracle sales contact.

Thursday Dec 12, 2013

Going Mobile?...ORACLE is!

If you didn’t hear about it at Oracle Open World, if you didn’t read our Press Releases … if you didn’t see our homepage banner, OR EVEN IF YOU DID .... you definitely need to register for our Oracle Mobile Strategy Update - to get the latest on what Oracle's Mobile Strategy. Mobile is hot and it is here to stay … but today the complexity is no longer just about how to develop mobile apps, it is also about how to integrate, secure, deploy and manage with the backend systems.

In this video webcast, Gartner, leading industry analyst, will provide an overview of the current mobile landscape, the challenges and opportunities for enterprises, then our top Oracle executives will discuss how Oracle is simplifying enterprise mobility and demonstrate how you can easily develop, integrate, secure, deploy and manage .

Let’s chat  or tweet #OracleMobile during the webcast at Dec. 12, 2014 at 10:00AM (PT) and be sure to visit: www.oracle.com/mobile

Tuesday Jul 30, 2013

What Are you Doing on July 31st?

Me? I am tuning into the Cloud Application Foundation virtual launch event at 10 am Pacific on July 31st.

Following the announcement of availability of Cloud Application Foundation (CAF) 12c on July 11, we have heard from customers like Gemalto (video), TURKCELL (blog post) and CERN (video) that were instrumental in shaping the product roadmap for CAF in discussions in Customer Advisory Boards for Weblogic and Coherence.

The launch event promises to give you a 360-degree view of the recent launch. Complete with panel discussions with industry thought leaders and customers, briefings with product management executives and product deep-dives with experts and demonstrations of the latest releases of Oracle WebLogic Server, Oracle Coherence, Oracle Enterprise Manager, and Oracle Developer Tools, the launch event will cover all you need to know to get started with CAF12c.

The line-up of speakers include:

  • Ajay Patel, vice president of product management for Oracle Cloud Application Foundation and Exalogic
  • Cameron Purdy, vice president of development at Oracle
  • Mike Lehmann, vice president of product management for Cloud Application Foundation

The event will also feature industry experts, Frank Munz and Simon Haslam sharing their perspectives.

Are you registered yet? If not, click here for registration and more information.

Monday Jul 15, 2013

It’s Here – Cloud Application Foundation 12c!

Last week, Oracle announced the availability of Cloud Application Foundation 12c, the latest release of the #1 Application Foundation across enterprise and cloud environments.

For more information, please join Oracle, along with partners and customers for the Cloud Application Foundation launch webcast on July 31, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. PDT.

Oracle’s Cloud Application Foundation is an integrated, flexible, best-of-breed middleware platform that enables organizations to deliver next generation applications with native cloud management optimized for high performance, reliability, availability and lower TCO. Built on standards-based technologies, it brings together key industry-leading technologies: Oracle WebLogic Server for Java EE; Oracle Coherence In-Memory Data Grid; Oracle Tuxedo for C/C++/COBOL; Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder; and Oracle Traffic Director for load balancing capabilities.

The latest release of Oracle Cloud Application Foundation includes Oracle WebLogic Server 12.1.2 and Oracle Coherence 12.1.2.

Oracle is also announcing 12c updates to its framework and developer tools product portfolio, including, Oracle Application Development Framework, Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse, which provide an integrated development platform for Oracle Cloud Application Foundation. For more information, see related press release.

Helpful Resources:

Oracle Cloud Application Foundation Blog
Oracle WebLogic Server Blog
Oracle Coherence Blog
Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle ADF Blog
Oracle Enterprise Manager Blog

Thursday Oct 27, 2011

Enabling Data Governance with Oracle Enterprise Data Quality

Data Governance is one of those terms in the IT ecosystem with a pretty nebulous definition. It can mean different things to different people and depending on who you ask it's as simple as extra monitoring of your business process with some additional auditing for IT processees.  On the other hand, it can be defined as the point where data quality, data management, data policies, business process management, and risk management converge in terms of the handling of data in an organization.  Data Quality is an important component of Data Governance, for that matter to any type of IT initiative - Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing or Master Data Management, and enables organizations do a better job of governing their data in the following ways:

  • Brings clarify and transparency to data
  • Ensures high data quality for enterprise IT systems that need it
  • Provides data control and standardization

Oracle Enterprise Data Quality is a data quality solution that handles both customer and product data and has unique approaches geared to handling the unique characteristics of each data domain.  In addition, it plays an important role in helping organizations manage data quality as part of data governance projects by ensuring that data of poor data quality is cleansed, standardized and ready to meet compliance mandates, there by making sure that "dirty data" does not cascade throughout the enterprise and infiltrate IT systems.  Join us on a webcast on this very topic - October 27, 2011 at 10 AM PT and learn how Oracle Enterprise Data Quality can help give you the tools you need to drive your Data Governance projects forward to completion.  Register today for this webcast.

For more information on Oracle Enterprise Data Quality visit us here.

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