Friday Apr 18, 2014

After Windows XP and Office 2003: E-Business Suite Implications

Microsoft logoMicrosoft ended support for Windows XP and Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. 

Our policy for the E-Business Suite is that we support certified third-party products as long as the third-party vendor supports them.  When a third-party vendor retires a product, we consider that to be an historical certification for EBS.

What can EBS customers expect after April 2014?

After Microsoft desupports WinXP and Office 2003 in April 2014:

  • Oracle Support will continue to assist, where possible, in investigating issues that involve Windows XP clients or Office 2003.
  • Oracle's ability to assist may be limited due to limited access to PCs running WinXP or Office 2003.
  • Oracle will continue to provide access to existing EBS patches for WinXP or Office 2003 issues.
  • Oracle will provide new EBS patches only for issues that can be reproduced on later operating system configurations that Microsoft is actively supporting (e.g. Windows 7, Office 2010)

What should EBS users do?

Oracle strongly recommends that E-Business Suite upgrade their end-user desktops from Windows XP and Office 2003 to the latest certified equivalents.  As of today, those are Windows 8 and Office 2010 (32-bit or 64-bit). 

What about EBS desktop-based client/server tools?

EBS sysadmins might use up to 14 different desktop-based tools to administer selected parts of the E-Business Suite.  These are:

Still in use (i.e. eligible for Error Correction Support)
  • BI Publisher (BIP/XMLP)
  • Configurator Developer
  • Discoverer Administrator/Desktop
  • Forms/Reports Developer
  • JDeveloper OA Extensions
  • Sales for Handhelds
  • Warehouse Builder
  • Workflow Builder
  • XML Gateway Message Designer
Obsolete
    • Applications Desktop Integrator (ADI)
    • Balanced Scorecard Architect (BSC)
    • Financial Analyzer
    • Financial Services Suite
    • Sales Analyzer Client

All of the tools still in use are certified with Windows 7.

For complete details, see:

Pending Desktop Certifications 

A subset of desktop tools are certified with Windows 8.  Certifications for Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Office 2013 are still underway.

Although I cannot discuss certification dates, you can monitor this blog for updates on those pending certifications. 

EBS customers should avoid deploying Win8.1 or Office 2013 to end-users who depend on the E-Business Suite until these certifications are announced.

The preceding is intended to outline our general product direction.  It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.   It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decision.  The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.

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Wednesday Feb 20, 2013

Plans for Certifying Windows 8 and IE 10 with E-Business Suite

Windows 8 logo

[Aug. 9, 2013 update: IE 10 is now certified with EBS]

Microsoft Windows 8 was recently released with Internet Explorer 10 as its default browser.  Here's an interim update on our plans for certifying them with Oracle E-Business Suite.

If you've reached this article via a search engine, it's possible that a later update on our status is available.  For our latest status, please check the Desktop Client Certifications section of our one-page Certifications summary.

Our current plans for Windows 8 and IE 10

We plan to certify Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11.5.10.2, 12.0, and 12.1 with Microsoft Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10.

When will Win8 and IE 10 be certified with EBS?

Oracle's Revenue Recognition rules prohibit us from discussing certification and release dates, but you're welcome to monitor or subscribe to this blog for updates, which I'll post as soon as soon as they're available.    

Which Windows 8 versions will be certified?

As of today, I expect that we will explicitly test the Windows 8 Pro edition with Oracle E-Business Suite.  We expect that the results of these certification tests will apply equally to the following editions:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows 8 N edition
  • Windows 8 Pro N edition
  • Windows 8 Pro Pack N edition
We do not currently plan to certify the following editions with Oracle E-Business Suite:
  • Windows RT
  • Windows 8 tablet-oriented interface (formerly called Metro)

I would not expect the results of our certification to apply to Windows RT.

What about 64-bit Windows 8?

Windows 8 is available in a 64-bit version as well as a 32-bit version.  It is expected that we will certify the 32-bit version first, followed by the 64-bit version later.

IE logoWhat about IE 10 for other Windows releases?

Internet Explorer 10 requires Windows 8 or Windows 7 SP1.  We expect to certify IE10 on those operating systems as desktop clients for EBS 11.5.10.2, 12.0, and 12.1.

We have no current plans to certify the E-Business Suite with IE 10 on Windows RT.

Any Early Adopter Programs planned?

No, we don't currently have any plans to offer an Early Adopter Program for either Win8 or IE 10 with Oracle E-Business Suite.  If that changes, I'll post an article on this blog with a call for participants.  

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Wednesday May 09, 2012

Update for Web Applications Desktop Integrator 12.1.3 Now Available

Desktop Integration Framework is a wizard-driven user interface to create and manage custom desktop integrators for the Oracle Web Applications Desktop Integrator in Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3. Custom desktop integrators allow your users to:

  • Create a formatted document such as a spreadsheet on the desktop containing application-specific fields for data entry.
  • Import data into the desktop document from the database, a text file or using Java program.
  • Work with the data in the desktop application while enforcing the owning application's business rules.
  • Upload data from the desktop document into Oracle E-Business Suite.
  • Validate the data being uploaded and receive immediate feedback about the results of the validation during the upload process.
  • Submit program to import data from staging tables, Open Interface tables to E-Business Suite base tables.
Web ADI Desktop Integration Framework screenshot

What's new in this update?

An important update for Oracle Web Applications Desktop Integrator Release 12.1.3 is now available:

This update includes a number of new fixes and consolidates previously-released patches that address issues in the Desktop Integration Framework of Oracle Web Applications Desktop Integrator Release 12.1.3. If you are using or planning to use Web ADI's Desktop Integration Framework to create custom desktop integrators, Oracle strongly recommends applying this patch.

Patch 9790225:R12.BNE.B not only fixes outstanding bugs in Web ADI R12.1.3, but also includes following usability enhancements:

  • Security Rules: Ability to add or remove multiple form functions at once. 
  • Pre-import Rules: Ability to reorder the pre-import rules.
  • The pages in the integrator definition wizard are enhanced for greater consistency in titles, formatting, and layout.  

References

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Friday May 04, 2012

Quarterly E-Business Suite Upgrade Recommendations: May 2012 Edition

I've previously published advice on the general priorities for applying EBS updates.  But what are your top priorities for major upgrades to EBS and its technology stack components?

Here is a summary of our latest upgrade recommendations for E-Business Suite updates and technology stack components.  These quarterly recommendations are based upon the latest updates to Oracle's product strategies, support deadlines, and newly-certified releases. 

Upgrade Recommendations for May 2012

  1. EBS 11i users should upgrade to 12.1.3, or -- if staying on 11i -- should be on the minimum 11i patching baseline,

  2. EBS 12.0 users should upgrade to 12.1.3, or -- if staying on 12.0 -- should be on the minimum 12.0 patching baseline,

  3. EBS 12.1 users should upgrade to 12.1.3.

  4. Oracle Database 10gR2 and 11gR1 users should upgrade to 11gR2 11.2.0.3.

  5. EBS 12 users of Oracle Single Sign-On 10g users should migrate to Oracle Access Manager 11g 11.1.1.5.

  6. EBS 11i users of  Oracle Single Sign-On 10g users should migrate to Oracle Access Manager 10g 10.1.4.3.

  7. Oracle Internet Directory 10g users should upgrade to Oracle Internet Directory 11g 11.1.1.5.

  8. Oracle Discoverer users should migrate to Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), Oracle Business Intelligence Applications (OBIA), or Discoverer 11g 11.1.1.6.

  9. Oracle Portal 10g users should migrate to Oracle WebCenter 11g 11.1.1.6 or upgrade to Portal 11g 11.1.1.6.

  10. All Windows desktop users should migrate from JInitiator and older Java releases to JRE 1.6.0_32 or later 1.6 updates.

  11. All Firefox users should upgrade to Firefox Extended Support Release 10.

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Friday Feb 27, 2009

Firefox 3 Certified With E-Business Suite

firefox_logo3.jpg

The Mozilla team released Firefox 2.0.0.20 in December, 2008.  This was the last update to the Firefox 2 codeline; no further additional security or stability updates will be available for Firefox 2.  E-Business Suite users can run this version of Firefox 2 safely.

Mozilla recommends that all Firefox users upgrade to Firefox 3.  Firefox 3 included some changes to its rendering and focus-handling model, and until now, we've had to (reluctantly) advise E-Business Suite customers to wait for our certification to be completed before upgrading to this latest browser release.

The wait is over.  I'm very pleased to announce that Firefox 3 is now certified with Oracle E-Business Suite.

[Read More]

Monday Feb 16, 2009

Sun JRE 1.6 Certified on Windows XP for EBS 11i and FDCC Clients

US Office of Management and Budget Logo

Here's a quick update for our readers in the US Federal sector.  Those readers likely already know that the US Office of Management and Budget has mandated that all US Federal Agencies that use or acquire Windows XP and Vista must adopt the Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) by February 1, 2008 (OMB Memorandum M-0-7-11 of March 22, 2007, on Implementation of Commonly Accepted Security Configurations for Windows Operating Systems, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/memoranda/fy2007/m07-11.pdf).

Oracle has published the following document in the Oracle Software Security Assurance Resource Library to address these requirements:

You may already also have heard that we've already certified Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i with the US Federal Desktop Core Configuration for Windows XP and Vista desktop clients.  All E-Business Suite Release 11i products are certified for use with the US Federal Desktop Core Configuration.

Since our original certification announcement, we've found that the latest FDCC images -- a.k.a. FDCC 1.1 -- have been updated and now are compatible with the native Sun JRE plug-in for Windows XP desktop clients.  This adds one more certified Apps 11i configuration for FDCC clients.

[Read More]

Thursday Jan 15, 2009

Troubleshooting Mouse Focus Issues Using JRE Clients with EBS 11i

I'm pleased to hear that many of you are heeding our urgent call to retire JInitiator for the native Sun JRE plug-in.  Thanks for your emails and comments about your experiences; these have been very useful in helping us understand the types of stumbling blocks that you've been encountering along the way.

Diagram showing Forms JRE JInitiator desktop client architecture layers

Some of you may have encountered issues with mouse navigation in Forms.  Others have reported intermittent focus-related issues, which may be compounded by mouse navigation issues.

It appears that the majority of these issues may be related to your Forms 6i patchset level installed in your E-Business Suite Release 11i environment.  That said, there may be other configuration-related issues in your environment that are complicating things further.

[Read More]

Wednesday Jan 07, 2009

Block Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 for EBS Users

IE8-beta-logo.png

[Oct 6, 2009 Update: IE is certified with EBS 11i; see this article.]

[Sept 11, 2009 Update: IE8 is certified with EBS 12; see this article]

Brace yourself: another browser is coming.  It looks like Microsoft is gearing up for an imminent release of Internet Explorer 8.  Neither Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i nor 12 have been certified with IE8 yet.  Our latest tests of the IE8 Release Candidate drops have shown that there are a number of important compatibility issues that need to be resolved.

[Read More]

Tuesday Dec 30, 2008

Reminder: Migrate Your JInitiator Clients to Sun JRE Now!

[June 29, 2009 Update: The July 2009 desupport date for JInitiator 1.3 applies to E-Business Suite customers only. Generic Oracle Forms customers should see Note 761159.1 for generic JInitiator desupport dates.]

The significance of many problems lessens over time, so procrastination has its place as a stress management technique.  Unfortunately, putting off your EBS end-user migration from Oracle JInitiator to the native Sun Java plug-in doesn't fall into that category.  We are down to the last grains of sand in this particular hourglass.

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i end-users access Forms-based content either with the native Sun Java Runtime Engine (JRE) client or Oracle JInitiator.  Oracle JInitiator comes in two flavors: 1.8 and 1.3.  The sun is setting for both JInitiator versions.

Error Correction Support (ECS) for JInitiator 1.1.8 will end on December 31, 2008.  In other words, the Oracle Forms group will no longer issue bug fixes for the JInitiator 1.1.8 codeline as of tomorrow.

Error Correction Support for JInitiator 1.3 for E-Business Suite Release 11i customers will end on July 31, 2009.

Diagram showing Forms JRE JInitiator desktop client architecture layers

[Read More]

Friday Nov 21, 2008

JInitiator 1.3.1.30 Certified With Apps 11i

Oracle JInitiator is definitely in its sunset phase now.  JInitiator 1.1.8 will no longer receive any new bug fixes as of December 31, 2008.  Similarly, official Error Correction Support for JInitiator 1.3 will end as of July 31, 2009.

I don't have statistics on how many E-Business Suite customers have converted their desktop clients from Oracle JInitiator to the native Sun Java (JRE) client.  Given the impending desupport dates for these two client codelines, I hope that all of you have already switched over -- or, at minimum -- are in the process of migrating your end-users' desktops to the native Sun Java plug-in.

Forms Apps architecture: Logical architecture showing desktop clients running Sun JRE or Oracle JInitiator, connecting via HTTP or HTTPS to Oracle Forms running on the Application Server tier

In these final days of support for Oracle JInitiator, I'm pleased to announce that JInitiator 1.3.1.30 is now certified with the E-Business Suite Release 11i.  Oracle JInitiator 1.3.1.30 is released via Patch 7410076.  It requires Apps Interoperability Patch 6169479.

[Read More]

Friday Nov 14, 2008

Interim Update: Firefox 3 Certification With Apps 11i + 12

firefox_logo3.jpg

Some of you have been escalating your requests for updates on our upcoming Firefox 3 certification through Oracle Support and your Oracle account managers.  These escalations ultimately end up in my beleaguered inbox. The buck stops here.

We are acutely aware that the clock is ticking for Firefox 2.  Our certification of Firefox 3 with both Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12 is still underway.  As I've discussed previously, I am strictly prohibited from discussing release dates of upcoming certifications or products.  I can, however, share our progress on this certification.

[Read More]

Tuesday Nov 11, 2008

US Federal Desktop Core Configuration Certified With Apps 11i

[Feb 16, 2009 Update: The native Sun JRE may now be used with the WinXP configuration; additional details added below. Added cross-reference to Metalink Note 552724.1]

US Office of Management and Budget Logo

The US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) manages the budget for US Federal Government agencies.  The US Office of Management and Budget mandates that all US Federal Agencies that use or acquire Windows XP and Vista must adopt the Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) by February 1, 2008 (OMB Memorandum M-0-7-11 of March 22, 2007, on Implementation of Commonly Accepted Security Configurations for Windows Operating Systems, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/memoranda/fy2007/m07-11.pdf).

Oracle has just published the following document in the Oracle Software Security Assurance Resource Library to address these requirements:

In conjunction with that document's release, I'm pleased to announce that Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i is certified with the US Federal Desktop Core Configuration for Windows XP and Vista desktop clients.  All E-Business Suite Release 11i products are certified for use with the US Federal Desktop Core Configuration.

[Read More]

Friday Oct 31, 2008

Tuning All Layers of the Oracle E-Business Suite (OpenWorld 2008 Recap)

I'm highlighting OpenWorld 2008 presentations that cover some of the most popular E-Business Suite technology stack topics. A catalog of all of the Applications Technology track sessions with links to the presentations is available here:

We have an Applications Performance Group whose raison-d'etre is to ensure that the E-Business Suite runs at peak performance in all circumstances.  This team has helped tune the world's largest companies and their E-Business Suite environments to handle staggering amounts of transactional volume in enormous databases.  This is the same group that publishes all of the official Oracle Apps benchmarks, white papers, and performance metrics.

Their OpenWorld sessions are a perennial favourite with hardcore Apps DBAs looking to squeeze out the last ounce of performance out of their existing hardware.  Isam Alyousfi and Lester Gutierrez from our Applications Performance Group share their hard-won performance tuning tips in this in-depth session:

Table showing sample AWR report of top 5 timed events used for tuning EBS database tier performance

[Read More]

Wednesday Oct 22, 2008

Sun Java Plug-in 1.6.0_10 Certified with the E-Business Suite

Regular readers know that you're now free to use whatever version of the native Sun Java plug-in with the E-Business Suite as long as you meet certain minimum requirements.  Nonetheless, the latest Sun JRE is a bit of a new animal, so my team performed an explicit set of certification tests to ensure that it's as compatible as previous releases.

Based on those latest test, we've confirmed that the latest Sun Java Runtime Engine (JRE) native plug-in release 6u10 (JRE 1.6.0_10) is compatible with both Oracle Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12 on Windows-based desktop clients.

mzFormsArch: [Read More]

Thursday Jul 03, 2008

Out With the Old, In With the New

[Read More]

Friday May 16, 2008

WinXP Service Pack 3 Certified with E-Business Suite

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) is now certified with Oracle Oracle E-Business Suite Releases 11i and 12.

WinXP SP3 Download Screenshot: Screenshot of Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 download overview page

Simply Business As Usual

For Oracle E-Business Suite users, the base desktop client requirements are the same as for Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).  Customers already on WinXP SP2 can move seamlessly to the latest Service Pack 3.

All certified browsers --IE 6, IE7, Firefox -- are certified with the E-Business Suite on WinXP SP3.  Likewise, all certified Java clients -- JInitiator and the native Sun Java Runtime Engine (JRE) plug-in -- are also certified to work with the E-Business Suite on  WinXP SP3.

References
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Wednesday Dec 26, 2007

Editorial: Macs Slipping Into the Enterprise

Ah, Christmas.  I love this time of year.  This is when I get to wrap up some longstanding questions in my overflowing blog mailbag.  Here's an answer to a fun cluster of emails about my new laptop.

MacBook Pro: Screenshot of laptop images from Apple's MacBook Pro website

I was carrying a new MacBook Pro laptop around at the OAUG Collaborate and OpenWorld conferences this year.  This prompted a number number of questions to which I've been procrastinating on replying.

Never Took The Easy Road

But first, some context.  I'm a power user and developer.  I've been a Windows developer since its initial release, and as a a former IBMer, an OS/2 developer as well.  Before that I was an MS-DOS programmer, and long before that I was hand-coding 6502 assembler in hex on a KIM-1. Apple computers were intriguing, but aside from a short period when I wrote an inventory system on an Apple II, lay on a road less traveled by me. I've owned literally dozens of Windows PCs and laptops.

Somewhere along the way, unnoticed by me, Apple's operating system grew up.  Then Apple really got my attention when they switched to Intel chips.

A Windows User in an Apple World

Despite the ballyhoo that the press likes to make about Oracle's competition with Microsoft, Oracle is a staunchly-Windows environment.  It was with some trepidation that I purchased my first MacBook Pro (with my own funds) last year.

You know what?  All the hype is true.  As a long-time (hardcore) Windows developer and power user, I can only say that Mac OS X is a dazzling eye-opener.  It's easier to use, slicker, has lower systems administration overhead, and is demonstrably stabler and more secure.  New Leopard features like Time Machine are, indeed, as revolutionary and as good as the hype.  I now understand the sentiment that turns some Mac users into Apple zealots.

An Apple User in a Windows World



I run native Mac applications where possible. Where it's necessary for my work, I run all of my Windows-based applications on my Mac, too.  My MacBook Pro is the best Windows PC I've ever had.

I run WinXP using VMWare's Fusion (no relationship to Oracle's own Fusion Applications), which provides me with a stabler and more-robust Windows environment than my Oracle-issued Dell.  If I want to experiment with some sketchy Windows betas, I copy my base WinXP image to a sandbox and play there.  I simply delete the sandbox when I'm done.

I can run multiple virtual sessions of WinXP and Linux side-by-side on my Mac OS desktop.  This makes for an astonishingly elegant and powerful computing experience.

My anecdotal impression is that I'm not alone.  I see more of my colleagues carrying Macs instead of their Oracle-sanctioned Dells, and even Intel's CEO admits that he uses a Mac.  Macs seem to be slipping into the enterprise faster than before.

I've now been an Apple user for over a year.  The number of newly-acquired Macs in my household has shot up alarmingly.  At this point, I see no reason to recommend a conventional PC when you can purchase a Mac that runs both Windows and Mac software side-by-side. And here's a final confession that shouldn't make any difference to an IT professional like me (but does): it's simply more fun to run Mac OS X than Windows.

Related
Disclaimer:  Although I am clearly enthusiastic about Apple products, this does not represent Oracle's endorsement of my opinions. This is an editorial, and as such, reflects only my opinion, not Oracle's.  In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I have been sufficiently impressed by my experience with Apple's products to purchase some AAPL stock along the way, too.

Monday Nov 26, 2007

Analyzing Memory vs Performance of Apps 11i and 12 Clients

I've recently published a new Oracle whitepaper that compares combinations of browsers with JInitiator and the native Sun Java plug-in (JRE) to determine which is best for low-specification clients.  It provides specific scenarios and examples showing where there is little difference between low and high specification clients in terms of end-user performance.

This white paper takes a completely different approach from the usual emphasis on tuning Windows clients. Instead, this paper focuses on analyzing the memory requirements for a range of Oracle E-Business Suite Forms and OA Framework (OAF) web-based HTML screens.  I touch on Windows tuning in an appendix.

There are two main concepts in the paper:

Establish your minimum desktop configurations

While the latest and fastest machines will help provide the best performance, the latest technology tends to command a price premium. Budgetary constraints and asset life dictate that the price/performance goal is to balance the return on investment while providing reasonable longevity. The information will help you establish the minimum requirements for a specific price-performance point, and identify a specific configuration that will achieve the throughput necessary to support your business

Extend the life of existing PCs

The second concept concentrated on how to extend the useful life of slow or low-memory PC clients and where upgrading to faster clients would make very little difference meaning that you may have to look elsewhere, such as the network, for a solution.

I Have Fast Clients - Why Do I Care?

If you have what would normally be considered a high-specification machine, you may still encounter memory problems when running several applications simultaneously, so the ideas and concepts will still help.

Do I Need CPU, Memory Or Both?

Microsoft states that adding memory makes a significant difference to Windows performance. This is also true for some Oracle E-Business Suite components. Note that this statement does not mention CPU speed, and therefore it appears that they consider this less significant. In order to answer this question the charts show the difference in performance across a range of clients. The answer is very clear.

Browser Add-ons and plugins

Add-ons and plugins can make a huge difference to the amount of memory needed just by the browser. The following chart from the paper compares the memory profiles of the certified browsers with and without browser add-ons (Adobe Acrobat, Google Toolbar, and Skype). As you can see, even this limited number of additional components can almost double the amount of memory required by the browser. In reality, you will probably have many many more add-ons and plugins that are not necessary for a business environment, and so the paper includes a comprehensive list of components and their relative affect on the browser profile, including for example, browser themes, toolbars, extensions, plug-ins, and helper applications.

Browser Memory Use Comparisons: Bar chart comparing browser add-on memory profiles, including Adobe Acrobat, Google Toolbar, Skype.  Browsers reviewed include Firefox 2, IE 7, IE 6.

After investigating a range of OAF/HTML screens and Oracle Forms, and accepting that there may be some exceptions, the products can be grouped by type as shown in the following chart. Clearly, the amount of data will affect the amount of memory and an example is displaying thousands of tasks on screen simultaneously as in some of the largest Gantt charts.

Memory Consumption All Tests: Comparing Memory Averages by Group for Menus, OAF / HTML, Forms, Gantt Charts for Firefox 2, IE 7, IE 6

Although the memory used by a combination of forms and OAF/HTML screens used in a business flow does not scale linearly, the generalizations shown in this chart can be useful if you can broadly categorize your Oracle E-Business Suite usage by product type for a particular part of your organization..

It is very unlikely that this paper could match the exact combination of forms and screens, client specification, and the specific combination of other software that you use. Instead, general guidelines have been provided that can be applied to your own environment as needed.

What Else Can You Do?

The paper includes some working practices that have been extensively deployed by certain customers that has extended the life of their existing clients. It makes very specific recommendations about the best technology combinations for low specification clients, and clients that run low on resources. It clearly identifies scenarios where a very low specification machine can be deployed usefully and shows others where it is unlikely that the throughput would be sufficient to support the business.

For full details, download the whitepaper here:
Related

Tuesday Jul 10, 2007

New Search Plug-in for Metalink Users

[Read More]

Monday Dec 11, 2006

Microsoft IE 7 Certified with Apps 11i

[May 14, 2007 Update:  IE 7 is now certified for Release 11.5.9 environments, too.  For details, see:  IE7 Now Certified on Apps 11.5.9]

[May 11, 2007 Update:  Bug 5608740 has been resolved.  Discoverer 10g users can now safely upgrade to IE7 without any drill-down issues.
]

Terrific news:  Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 is now certified with the E-Business Suite Release 11i.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 logo 2: <br>

Minimum requirements for this certified configuration are:
  • E-Business Suite Release 11i version 11.5.10
  • Oracle Developer 6i patchset 18 (6.0.8.27.x) or later
  • Oracle Applications Technology 11i.ATG_PF.H Rollup 4 (RUP 4) (patch 4676589)
  • JInitiator 1.3.1.x
  • Desktop clients running Microsoft Windows XP
There are a couple of things to note about this certification:
  • Tabbed Browsing:  MS IE 7.0 provides a tabbed browsing facility. When using Oracle E-Business Suite, the Forms window will still open in a separate frame rather than in a new tab. This is intended functionality and is not a bug.
  • Discoverer 10G:  Discoverer Viewer users should not upgrade to MS IE 7.0 until the resolution of bug 5608740. This bug prevents the listing of drill items under the drill icon.
For complete details about this configuration, see:
Related

Monday Dec 04, 2006

Your Priorities for Windows Vista?

Before I dive into the meat of this post, it may be important to emphasize that this post is not an editorial; it's a request for input from you.  I don't belong to the vocal anti-Microsoft faction that seems to be gleefully sharpening its knives with the arrival of Microsoft Vista.  With that out of the way, on to the main point of this post...

Microsoft Vista Logo:

Last week was a big week for Microsoft.  After over five years of sometimes turbulent development, Microsoft released Windows Vista to corporate customers.  Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, has stated, "This is the biggest launch we've ever done."  Microsoft will reportedly spend $450 million in marketing this product launch.

In marked contrast, reactions from the mainstream IT industry press, including BusinessWeek, Computerworld, InformationWeek, InfoWorld have been decidedly muted and reserved. 

What Are Your Firm's Plans for Vista?

With our intense focus on Release 12 and Fusion Applications, our certification teams have their dance cards full.  As part of our ongoing prioritization activities, it would be helpful for us to understand your plans for adopting Windows Vista, specifically:
  1. When will your organization first start conducting trials of Vista?
  2. When will Vista be rolled out to the majority of your desktops?
  3. When will you need Vista to be certified with Release 11i?
  4. When will you need Vista to be certified with Release 12?
Please feel free to post a comment to this article, or if this is sensitive information, drop me a line directly.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Related

Tuesday Oct 31, 2006

Apps 11i Jinitiator Conflicts with Other Java Clients for Discoverer

Today we'll take a short breather from OpenWorld coverage, since I'm still doggedly plowing through what seems like a terabyte's worth of Powerpoint presentations.


If you're still debating the value of participating in our Early Adopter Program for replacing Oracle's Jinitiator with the native Sun Java plug-in for your E-Business Suite users, here's another possible conflict scenario with Oracle Business Intelligence 10g that's recently been uncovered.

If you have both of the following combinations in your environment:
  1. E-Business Suite Release 11i configured with Jinitiator 1.3.x
  2. Discoverer 10g 10.1.2 configured with Sun Java 1.4.x or 1.5.x
Then you may encounter conflicts between the Java Virtual Machines for those two configurations.  These conflicts will trigger one or both of the following errors:
  • 'Runtime Error! Program: C:Program FilesInternet Exploreriexplore.exe abnormal program termination'
  • "Register Failk"
If you run into this situation, Metalink Note 396773.1 lists a number of possible workarounds.  It may also be worth looking into our Early Adopter Program, as well, to see if that configuration eliminates the conflict in a less-painful manner than the workarounds.

Related

Thursday Oct 26, 2006

The Temptation of Firefox 2

[Editor Update May 21, 2008:  Keith has moved on to another team within Oracle and, sadly, is no longer an active contributor to this blog.  Feel free to direct any questions about his posted articles directly to Steven Chan, instead.]

Hot on the heels of Microsoft, Mozilla has released their latest update in the form of Firefox 2.

Firefox 2 logo:

Although it won't show up as any kind of high-priority automatic update, it's likely that many users will want to upgrade to take advantage of its new UI and security features. However, we all thought it would prudent to remind you that deploying Firefox 2 to any Oracle production environment is not recommended until after certification has been completed.

Rest assured, though, we do have plans to certify Firefox 2 with E-Business Suite 11i and 12, and you'll find out about here as soon as that's done.

Firefox 2 tabs:     <br>

In the meantime, if you'd like to use Firefox 2 for any other browsing you need to do, you can still use my earlier article as a guideline for installing versions 1.5 and 2.0 side-by-side.

Related Articles


Thursday Sep 07, 2006

Pre-Release Browsers: Why Internet Explorer 7 Matters

[Editor Dec 14 Update:  IE 7 is now certified with the E-Business Suite.  See Microsoft IE 7 Certified with Apps 11i.]

[Editor Update May 21, 2008:  Keith has moved on to another team within Oracle and, sadly, is no longer an active contributor to this blog.  Feel free to direct any questions about his posted articles directly to Steven Chan, instead.]

After a lengthy and unintended delay, I will now begin the "last" of my three-part series on working with pre-release browers. I would like to say I saved the best for last, but I'll try to be more objective and say that it's really the hardest that I saved for last: Internet Explorer 7. In fact, it turned out to be so hard, that the issue is best divided into two separate posts, so perhaps you haven't seen the last of this topic yet.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 logo 2: <br>

For this post, I'll concentrate on why you will most likely want to test Internet Explorer 7 before it is released, and how to avoid some potentially nasty surprises when it is released, and shows up overnight on every PC in your organization -- even though you told everyone not to download it on their own. As one might expect, Microsoft is eager to help you on both points, with readily available IE 7 release candidate downloads, and a highly important Blocker Toolkit to manage the incoming tide.

Bigger than Big

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 (IE 7) is one of the most talked about updates in browser history. Most notably, it is Microsoft's first major update to their core browser product in nearly five years. IE 7 has promised many new features that bring it up to parity with competing browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, but the biggest changes, despite being under the covers, will have even more of an impact in the IT department than on the users' desktops.

Microsoft is making great efforts to do a better job of adhering to web standards, and "clean up" much of the buggy CSS and JavaScript behavior that
has been the bane of every web developer's existence. Chances are if you're reading this blog, you don't design web sites for a living, so you may be wondering, why is this so important to you? The answer comes in two parts.


 

Seeing is Believing

First off, if you customize the look and feel of any Oracle HTML-based applications, you're probably more impacted than you may know.

It's important to understand that you can't throw an HTTP request around without hitting a website these days that doesn't have some kind of code branch along the lines of "if IE then do this (hack-filled code), else do this (standard code)". Microsoft is well aware of how this practice has ballooned over the years, and because of this, they made the unusual move of sending out an early warning to web developers and site maintainers around the world, saying that many of these web page "hacks" will not only fail to work with IE 7, but will actually fail to render properly, yielding unintended consequences and, in some cases, totally unreadable or non-functional web pages.

This means that testing your internal web-based applications and even helping to test vital supplier web sites is crucial to ensure a smooth transition with IE 7 arrives. Included in that list of applications is any customizations you may have made to E-Business Suite.

Granted, it will be difficult to fully test it without certified E-Business Suite code; rest assured, we've got a headstart on our certification efforts and are working hard to keep the gap between release and certification as small as possible. In the meantime, you will probably get the best results by extracting your customized HTML code and testing it independently from the rest of the E-Business Suite code. This will also allow you to roll out your changes along with any interoperability patches we may require as quickly as possible.

Coming Soon to a PC in Front of You

The second reason for the importance of pre-release testing is that Microsoft is sending you this new browser whether you like it or not.

Capitalizing on its popularity, and the fact that they have control over the product as a "core component of the operating system", the new browser version will be automatically delivered to all Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 users that have the Automatic Updates feature configured on their desktop. Although it won't exactly be forced on users, IT departments that have configured their users to automatically download and install updates from
Microsoft will find that one day in the near future, quite suddenly, everyone will have gone from running IE 6 to IE 7. (Ed. Update: This actually won't happen invisibly; customers will always have to consent to the upgrade in a pop-up window. See the followup to this article for more details.)

If you aren't sure, open up Automatic Updates from the Control Panel. If you see something configured like this:

Automatic Updates: If the first bullet is selected, as shown here, IE 7 will automatically be downloaded and installed. If the second bullet is selected, the user will have the ability to deselect IE 7 before installing any other updates.<br>

then IE 7 will automatically be downloaded and installed to your machine. If the second bullet is selected, you will have the ability to deselect the IE 7 update before installing any other downloaded updates.

While Microsoft is simultaneously using the lure of new features and security improvements to encourage its user base to upgrade, they are also taking advantage of their deep OS integration to minimize the user base running the older, outdated browser as quickly as possible. There are certainly benefits to this approach, but the impact it will have on IT departments and web designers around the world that have yet to clean up their IE-specific code is nothing short of painful.

Damming the River

Before you panic, however, Microsoft has you covered. Microsoft is offering a bone to the IT departments out there in the form of an Internet
Explorer Blocker Toolkit
. This toolkit will allow you to configure your network so that the browser update is "blocked" before it can be delivered to PCs in
your domain, until you decide your organization is ready for it.

Oracle has recently published
MetaLink
Alert 390582.1

on this topic; if you're interested in learning more about this tool, I encourage you to check it out.

In fact, I would go so far as to recommend that everyone that is responsible for PCs that are using Internet Explorer to access E-Business
Suite review this alert as soon as possible.

Alternatively, if you have control over automatic updates on your machine or your network, you may want to turn off the feature that automatically applies these patches. (If you're one of the many companies that believes in testing automatic updates before deploying them widely, then you're probably already doing this, and should be insulated from the sudden change.)

Preparation Before Preparation

The upshot of all of this is that before you can prepare to test your applications and services with the new version of Internet Explorer, you should prepare everyone else by ensuring the update doesn't get deployed prematurely.

Very soon, I'll discuss how you can go about testing IE 7 on your network without getting in the way of your E-Business Suite usage. Depending on your goal, as you'll soon find out, this turns out to be either very easy or very hard.

Related

Friday Jul 21, 2006

Working with Pre-Release Browser Versions

[Editor Update May 21, 2008:  Keith has moved on to another team within Oracle and, sadly, is no longer an active contributor to this blog.  Feel free to direct any questions about his posted articles directly to Steven Chan, instead.]

Editor Dec 14 Update:  IE 7 is now certified with the E-Business Suite.  See
Microsoft IE 7 Certified with Apps 11i.


Like Steven, I'm rather particular about the web browser I use every day. (Pick up a copy of O'Reilly & Associates' Firefox Hacks and scan the list of contributors in the Preface -- you'll see just how strongly I feel about it.) Since the majority of my working time is spent there, new features and improvements are often a strong motivator to experiment with beta and pre-beta test versions of new browsers. But being early releases, one must use caution and discretion before throwing them onto your primary machine, and especially before using them in any kind of production setting.

Still, that shouldn't keep us from looking, right?


Welcome (to) Bon Echo


Last week, Firefox users were treated to the first official beta release of Firefox 2, which had previously gone by the codename "Bon Echo". The new major version -- which is really somewhere between a minor and major release -- offers several valuable new features, such as: 


  • Safe Browsing (built-in anti-phishing protection)
  • tabbed browsing enhancements (such as reopening closed tabs)
  • inline spell checking for text boxes
  • better support for reading and subscribing to RSS feeds (like this one!)
  • session restore capabilities
  • Microsummaries (bookmarks with dynamic titles updated in real time)
  • a search plugin manager
Firefox 2 Beta:

 


The final release of Firefox 2 is expected in the third quarter of this year, and will support a wide variety of operating systems, including Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.


Playing Catch-Up


Not to be forgotten, the behemoth of the web browsing business is also getting ready to release a new version.


Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3 is the final beta release of Microsoft's first major browser update in nearly five years, and adds significant features that bring it more in parity with the other leading industry browsers.


The new IE brings to the party new features such as these: 


  • improved security features
  • tabbed browsing, including "Quick Tabs" preview and auto-restore
  • new streamlined interface
  • improved printing support
  • support for RSS feeds
  • instant search box
IE7 Beta:

 


Internet Explorer 7 is expected to ship later this year, and will only support Windows XP Service Pack 2 (and the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system, but that's a topic for another posting).


The Support Folks Make Me Say This


Unfortunately, Oracle does not support beta browsers when using our products. So please do not use any version of Firefox 2 or Internet Explorer 7 with Oracle E-Business Suite (or other Oracle products) in production use until we have announced certification for the final versions of these browsers, which will hopefully happen sometime shortly after their release.


Now That Your IT Manager Has Left the Room...


Okay, so certification and support notwithstanding...if you're like me, you're probably eager to try out the new version anyway. So what can you do?


The answers will be coming soon. I'll be writing a couple of "HOW TO" posts that will tell you how to gain some familiarity and experiment with these pre-release browsers safely, and without interfering with your certified and supported production browser.


Stay tuned!

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