New Whitepaper: Extending E-Business Suite 12.1.3 using Oracle Application Express

I'm pleased to announce the availability of a new whitepaper:

  • Extending Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 using Oracle Application Express (APEX) (Note 1306563.1)
Oracle Application Express APEX screenshot

It's possible to personalize the E-Business Suite, but there may be situations where personalizations aren't sufficient to meet your requirements. In these scenarios, Oracle Application Express, also known as Oracle APEX, is an option for creating supplemental applications that can be integrated with your Oracle E-Business Suite instance.

This new whitepaper outlines how to extend Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3 (and higher) functionality using Oracle Application Express. Recommended architecture and security considerations are discussed in detail.

You can also find the whitepaper on the APEX OTN Site > Learn More > Technical Information and White Papers > Extending Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 using Oracle Application Express (PDF).

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Comments:

Hi Steven, Couple of questions: 1) What was the motivation behind enabling complete/supported integration between Oracle EBS and APEX when Oracle already allows for the use of OAF to extend the Oracle e-Business Suite? 2) From the Oracle Tech team's perspective, for customers planning a new Oracle EBS extension, would you recommend they use OAF or APEX to extend? Why? 3) Any thoughts on the loss of OAF's powerful personalization and extension framework when opting to use APEX instead of OAF to extend. Kind Regards, Andries

Posted by guest on May 15, 2011 at 09:12 PM PDT #

Hi, Andries, 1. OAF is useful for many extensions. However, there may be cases where OAF doesn't meet your requirements. Customers have used APEX with EBS to meet those special requirements for years. This is the first time that we've written up integration procedures and best practices to support those efforts. 2. We would recommend OAF first, since it's much easier to use. If you have special requirements that can't be met by OAF, then APEX is worth a look. 3. Lack of those capabilities (persistent personalizations, transparent upgrades) is the primary reason we recommend using OAF over APEX. If you choose APEX over OAF, you should do so with a clear understanding of the tradeoffs involved. Regards, Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on May 16, 2011 at 06:57 AM PDT #

Hi Steven We are thinking of extending R12.1.3 and I was very impressed by a demonstration of ADF the other day (by Grant Roland). I think this is the future for web development, and was wondering if you had any thoughts on using ADF with R12.1, or knew of any companies who had extended their R12.1 installation using ADF? Kind Regards Stuart

Posted by Stuart on May 17, 2011 at 12:41 AM PDT #

Hi, Stuart: See above for my thoughts. ADF has interesting new capabilities over OAF, but comes with tradeoffs, too. You should carefully assess whether the benefits outweigh the costs. I know that a number of EBS customers have shown interest in using ADF, but I haven't seen any references or case studies from them. Regards, Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on May 17, 2011 at 02:29 AM PDT #

Good news. Forms are obsolete. Java is difficult to learn and use due to its complexity. Technology which is based on the OAF is also outdated and replaced by ADF. Personalization of Forms and OAF is limited. Great to have one language to work with the database and create the user interface to applications (PL / SQL). Great to have a simple development environment and solve the business problem rather than spend time learning technical details. Regards, Michael

Posted by guest on May 18, 2011 at 05:46 PM PDT #

Stuart - It would also be worth reading the whitepaper referenced in this blog post to get further insight into OAF vs ADF. It may help guide you in your decision process. http://blogs.oracle.com/stevenChan/entry/new_whitepaper_ebusiness_suite Thanks, Anthony

Posted by Anthony Go on May 19, 2011 at 12:11 AM PDT #

Hi Steven,
I have some questions

1. will ADF work with E- bussiness Suit 12.1.3

2. if it works then what is compatiable version of ADF(like ADF 10.1.3.3 or ADF 11g) to Work with E- Bussiness Suit 12.1.3?

3. is there any metalink path need to apply for using the ADF

Posted by guest on February 23, 2012 at 02:09 AM PST #

Hi,

Integration between Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle ADF is an ongoing project, and integration-related features are available in the Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java. See https://blogs.oracle.com/stevenChan/entry/appsdatasource_jaas_ebs on the blog, and see MOS Note 974949.1 for more information about the parts of the integration that are available now. In answer to your specific questions:

1. Will ADF work with E-Business Suite 12.1.3?
Oracle ADF can be used on a separate middle tier as an external application, using the AppsDataSource to access EBS data.

2. If it works then what is compatible version of ADF (like ADF 10.1.3.3 or ADF 11g) to Work with E-Business Suite 12.1.3?
Use Oracle ADF 11g with Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.5 or higher.

3. Is there any metalink patch needed to apply for using the ADF?
To use AppsDataSource and other features of the Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java, you would need to apply the patch that contains the SDK. See MOS Note 974949.1 for more information.

Thanks,

Sara

Posted by Sara Woodhull on February 23, 2012 at 01:37 PM PST #

Hi Sara ,

Thanks for the Reply, Could you please provide more information on

1 . is ADF 11.1.5.5 or ADF 11.1.2.1 will work for E-Bussiness Suite 12.1.3 or do we have to apply Specific Patch ?

2. Can we deploy ADF11g in OC4j, which is compatible with E-Business Suit 12.1.3

3. We are having E-business Suit 12.1.3 in production, want to develop new functionality which should share same user session, Can you please suggest the best approach. preferably, with out applying patches to the production servers.

Thanks
Raja

Posted by guest on March 07, 2012 at 05:02 AM PST #

Hi Raja,

1. Does ADF 11.1.5.5 or ADF 11.1.2.1 work for E-Business Suite 12.1.3 or do we have to apply Specific Patch?

--The Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java is a Java library that is meant to be independent of what Java EE (including Oracle ADF) is calling it, so I would expect it to be fine with ADF 11.1.5.5 or ADF 11.1.2.1. That said, I've only been using JDeveloper Studio 11.1.1.5.0 and 11.1.1.6.0 with the SDK, so I haven't tried any other releases of ADF with the SDK.

2. Can we deploy ADF11g in OC4j, which is compatible with E-Business Suite 12.1.3?

--Oracle ADF 11g can be used with Oracle WebLogic Server or IBM's WebSphere, not with OC4J. The SDK is meant to be used with external Java EE applications that are typically running on a separate machine from Oracle E-Business Suite anyhow. If you plan to use the JAAS feature of the SDK, you must use Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.5 and up.

3. We are having E-Business Suite 12.1.3 in production, want to develop new functionality which should share same user session, Can you please suggest the best approach. preferably, with out applying patches to the production servers.

--The best approach is to use the session management APIs that will be in a future release of the Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java. Unfortunately revenue recognition rules prohibit my commenting on when that will be released.

Thanks,

Sara

Posted by Sara Woodhull on March 07, 2012 at 04:02 PM PST #

Hi Sara,

We have a requirement that we need Upgrade the Existing Production which is Running with OAF and E business Suite 12.1.3 to ADF 11g and E business Suit 12.1.3

AS an ADF Team Members we are Supporting that we can Do this in ADF11g , But we are unable to Find the perfect Process So please Help and Provide the Info.

Please Find the Question

1. Did ADF 11g Supports E business Suit 12.1.3. If supports which versions will support.
2. Any other supporting tools ?
3. Can we deploy directly ADF 11g application in to E Business Suit 12.1.3, if yes how to deploy? Any patches needed?
4. Can we integrate ADF 11g application with E Business Suit 12.1.3, if yes what is the procedure and steps? which application server would be best.?
5. If we cant deploy, or integrate ADF 11g application with R12 E business suit 12.1.3 then what could be the best approach .

Thanks
Raja

Posted by Raja on March 13, 2012 at 09:39 PM PDT #

Hi Raja,

If you are already in production with EBS 12.1.3, that's great! You don't need to move those EBS applications

to Oracle ADF at all. Let me clarify the use of Oracle Application Framework (OAF) and Oracle ADF for Oracle

E-Business Suite (EBS):

-- EBS is built using OAF and Oracle Forms.

-- New versions of EBS are continuing to be built with those (mostly OAF).

-- EBS is not upgrading from OAF to Oracle ADF or replacing OAF with Oracle ADF.

-- In a few _very_limited_ cases, EBS is starting to use Oracle ADF _in_addition_ to OAF where Oracle ADF has

specific features that are not in OAF.

-- The Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java is meant to help integrate _external_ applications (built using

Oracle ADF, SOA Suite, and other technologies) with EBS.

Oracle Fusion Applications are built from the ground up using Oracle ADF. If your requirement is really to use

Oracle ADF, you may want to consider Oracle Fusion Applications.

Now, for your external applications built using ADF 11g:

-- Steps for integrating an Oracle ADF 11g application with EBS, using the Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for

Java, are covered in My Oracle Support Document 974949.1.

-- Oracle Weblogic Server 10.3.5 and higher is recommended for Oracle ADF 11g applications using the Oracle E-

Business Suite SDK for Java.

-- External applications should generally be deployed on an application tier (middle tier) machine that is

separate from the EBS application tier machine.

Thanks,

Sara

Posted by Sara Woodhull on March 15, 2012 at 12:54 PM PDT #

Hi Steven,

What are the options for using APEX with 12.0?

Thanks

Posted by martin on July 09, 2012 at 06:12 AM PDT #

Hi, Martin,

We haven't tested or documented the 12.0 configuration. This might be a good time to remind everyone that Premier Support for EBS 12.0 ended in January 2012.

The documented 12.1.3 configuration for APEX requires an FND patch (12316083) to fully enable support. If you're interested in using APEX, I'd recommend applying the 12.1 Release Update Pack to your environment first.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 09, 2012 at 08:08 AM PDT #

We are working on a Oracle E-Business implementation(Release 12.1.3).

As part of that, we have to develop some custom screens(forms) to extend the functionality.
These screens should be developed in either OAF or ADF.

The question I have is which one to use - ADF or OAF?
Some articles say OAF is better as it integrates well with Oracle E-Business and it uses the e-business security well.
They also mention that ADF is better for developing standalone applications.

But there are other articles which says, Oracle has improved ADF and now ADF is the way to go.
These articles also say that ADF integration with E-Business has been improved and future developments should be done in ADF.

As ADF requires a separate Weblogic server, do we have to do any extra work for session management? Do we have to use JAAS?

Which technology to use?
The custom forms to be developed should have a good look and feel and they will be having complex business logic.

Please advice.

Posted by guest on July 23, 2012 at 01:35 PM PDT #

Hi Guest,

You asked: "Which technology to use?
The custom forms to be developed should have a good look and feel and they will be having complex business logic."

The answer is "it depends on what you want to do".

As you have noted, there are good reasons to use OA Framework for extensions to Oracle E-Business Suite (flexfields, same look and feel, security), and there are also good reasons to use Oracle ADF (cutting edge components, better support for development of mobile applications). There is also a third option, hybrid OA Framework pages with embedded ADF regions in them using the OA Framework rich container and the Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java.

With the Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java, it's now easier than it was before to build ADF applications that integrate with Oracle E-Business Suite, but we still recommend using OA Framework for most cases of extending EBS functionality.

In Oracle E-Business Suite, we are still using OA Framework as our primary development platform, and we are still enhancing OA Framework. However, we are also using ADF for specific limited cases, such as for an organization hierarchy chart feature in Oracle E-Business Suite HCM (hybrid: ADF embedded in a region of an OA Framework page).

Here are a few example cases:

- If your custom pages will need flexfields, the choice is clear: use OA Framework, because ADF does not have any support for flexfields (neither does the Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java).

- If you are adding pages to an existing flow of OA Framework pages, it is best to use OA Framework so the user interface will be consistent through the flow.

- If you are planning to build mobile applications, ADF is the answer.

- If you are building a totally new application with a separate UI where users do not interact with Oracle E-Business Suite pages, then either OA Framework or ADF is fine.

Since you say you plan to build "some custom screens (forms) to extend the functionality", rather than a totally separate application, I would recommend you use OA Framework in your case.

Hope that helps!

Thanks,

Sara

Posted by Sara Woodhull on July 25, 2012 at 04:41 PM PDT #

Unfortunately I cannot comment on APEX having never used it however I've been working with OAF on a number of sites since it's early inception in 2003 and I'm now working on a project where we are building custom ADF Fusion applications integrated with existing E-Business Suite 12.1 environments.

Having worked with OAF for some time and now having moved to develop ADF applications which integrate with E-Business Suite what you quickly realise is how much you get for free with OAF. Aside from the availability of pre-packaged UI components for E-Business Suite native features such as Flexfields, there is a wealth of toolkit available which is built into OAF that isn't there in ADF.

Common tasks such as fetching profiles values, translating messages, fetching quick codes (lookups) and interrogating the function security are all built into OAF so only require a quick call to an API. What's more a lot of this data is stored in the AOLJ cache in the application tier. This increases performance and reduces the load on the database and network.

With ADF you have to build most of that yourself which is no small task. With the introduction of the Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java detailed by Sara above it makes things easier but not as easy as working with OAF directly.

Session management is complicated too. With the introduction of the Oracle E-Business Suite SDK for Java again it makes things easier but with OAF it's pre-integrated and you don't have to write any code. An alternative to this is to implement a fully integrated single sign-on environment using the Oracle Identity Management products which means that you can navigate between ADF applications and E-Business Suite pages seamlessly (except pages which require encrypted parameters but we'll leave that for another day) however this has significant cost implications.

You also need to consider the performance implications of using ADF with your existing E-Business Suite RDBMS. With the exception of some enhancements in 11g, the model (server-side) layer of OAF is the same as ADF namely Oracle Business Components (formerly known as BC4J). Although this means that you get the same transaction and application module pooling features in ADF as you have in OAF you have got to consider that the number of database connections to your E-Business Suite database is going to increase potentially considerably. This is because you are going to have sessions in your E-Business Suite application tier consuming JDBC connections as well as your WebLogic instance running your ADF applications. Prepare for your DBA's to get very worked up about this.

Finally licensing. WebLogic is not cheap so you need to consider this when making the decision on whether to use ADF to build E-Business Suite integrated applications.

Working on a client site which is currently using both approaches, I would agree with all of the points above from Sara on each use-case.

Cost and resource availability aside, in general I would say that at the present time the most painless approach to build applications that need to closely integrate with E-Business Suite is to use OAF. If you are building large-scale applications or Portals which will interact with other systems as well as EBS and you wish them to move in line with Oracle's future application road map then I would suggest looking at ADF.

Posted by David Archbold on September 26, 2012 at 08:34 AM PDT #

Hi,
An additional question here, is adf 11.1.2.3 supported with weblogic 10.3.6?

If my weblogic isntance is integrated with EBS SDK (following the document 974949.1), can a ADF 11.1.2.3 application be deployed on the weblogic instance? Are there any additional steps that need to be performed to ensure successful deployment?

Thanks

Posted by guest on May 08, 2013 at 09:36 PM PDT #

Hi,

We have not explicitly tested that combination of Oracle ADF 11.1.2.3 (or 11.1.2.4), Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.6, and the EBS SDK for Java. However, we expect that it should work just fine. The only setup difference I am aware of is that for the last step of setting up your AppsDataSource, you need to specify the name of the target server BEFORE you test your datasource (the step sequence changed slightly between WLS 10.3.5 and 10.3.6).

If you do encounter issues with this version combination that you did not encounter with previous combinations, please log an SR with Oracle Support for assistance.

Thanks,

Sara

Posted by Sara Woodhull on May 09, 2013 at 09:24 AM PDT #

Hi

May I please request help about following query. Finding an answer asap is quite critical for our small business. Please help.

Background:-
We are nearing to complete development of an Application Express based product that is tightly integrated into Oracle E-Business Suite R12. It is more like an extenstion of Oracle EBS. Our database components are in a custom schema in Oracle EBS database. We are struggling to determine the licensing needs of our potential customers.

Q1. What is best hosting platform (economically and stable production performances point of view) to host an Application Express based business application integrated into Oracle E-Business Suite.
a. Use Oracle E-Business Suite HTTP Server
b. Use a different installation of HTTP server
c. Use Glassfish Server
d. Use Java Standalone service

Q2. What type/levels of licenses are needed by our customers to our application?
a. Oracle E-Business (Database) license type/level
b. Oracle http server license type/level

Kindly help or point us to relevant material please.

Thank you

Posted by Ebby Kore on June 10, 2013 at 04:15 AM PDT #

Hi, Ebby,

1. This blog isn't the best forum for evaluating deployment architectures for custom APEX applications.

I've forwarded your email to the APEX product management team to see if they can assist.

2. You should contact your Oracle account manager or Oracle Partner Network representative to discuss licencing requirements.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on June 10, 2013 at 07:18 AM PDT #

Hi Steven, we are on E-Biz R12. Can you please tell me how we can utilize the e-sign feature of Oracle OPM in a custom OAF page? Thanks

Posted by guest on September 06, 2013 at 03:41 AM PDT #

Hi, Guest,

I'm afraid that I'm not familiar with that functionality. You might wish to post this on an OPM discussion forum to see if one of those specialists can help.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on September 06, 2013 at 04:36 PM PDT #

Dear Sara/Steven,

We are having a requirement for developing a small application for a small dept and we thought of using APEX but our Applications Tech stack Manager who is in charge of applications security is not ready for this integration and insisting to use OAF instead. Please we need your help how we should go forward whether to go with APEX integ or OAF extention we are on r12.1.3 with advanced tech setup. Any guidelines wchih can help us in making this decision would be of great help

Posted by guest on December 03, 2013 at 01:39 PM PST #

Hi,

The choice between Oracle APEX and OA Framework greatly depends on your organization's skillset, since those are very different between the two. If you have the OA Framework skills such as Java and BC4J already, and your application will integrate with other Oracle E-Business Suite flows, then OA Framework is a clear choice. Oracle APEX does not require or allow Java coding--it is an easy way to get (usually prexisting) PL/SQL code up and running in an HTML interface.

Hope that helps,

Sara

Posted by Sara Woodhull on December 03, 2013 at 01:46 PM PST #

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