By Steven Chan - EBS-Oracle on Jan 29, 2010
Before I go into the details, though, it's very important to note that this particular area is evolving extremely rapidly. If a search engine has brought you to this article long after its initial publication, you should check this blog and other Oracle sources carefully to confirm our latest position on mobile device support for the E-Business Suite.
Support for iPhones and iPads
Apple's seems to have had a good week with their iPad launch. Even before that, interest in using iPhones with the E-Business Suite seems to be extremely high. Oracle offers several official iPhone apps that are related to the E-Business Suite, including:
- Oracle Business Approvals for Managers
- Oracle Business Indicators
- Maintenance Workbench for Oracle Enterprise Asset Management
- Oracle CRM On Demand Integration Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite (Opportunity to Quote)
Using smartphones and mobile devices with EBS self-service apps
Some E-Business Suite products offer web-based screens that can be accessed by standards-compliant browsers. These products have HTML-screens, are built using OA Framework, and are sometimes referred to as "Self-Service Web Applications" (SSWA).
We officially certify and support these web-based products in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12 with:
- Various Windows desktop clients running Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8
- Various Windows desktop clients running Firefox 3
- Mac OS X desktop clients running Safari 3
- Mobile Safari running on iPhones
- Internet Explorer Mobile (formerly Pocket Internet Explorer)
- Opera Mobile
- Firefox Mobile
- BlackBerry Browser
- Other mobile device browsers
Using smartphones and mobile devices with EBS Forms-based apps
Some E-Business Suite products run in Oracle Forms. These Forms-based products require the use of Sun's Java Runtime Engine (JRE) to run. We test the Sun JRE with Windows-based desktop clients. We do not test any mobile Java clients with E-Business Suite Forms-based products, and I would be rather nonplussed if I received any reports of this configuration actually working.
If you encounter any issues with mobile-based Java clients that cannot be reproduced on a Windows-based desktop client, our recommendation would be to use the latter client, instead.
Using standards-compliant mail clients to approve Workflow notifications
Oracle Workflow is a key part of the E-Business Suite's technology stack. It can be configured to send emails (via SMTP) that notify E-Business Suite users that certain EBS transactions are awaiting their approval. E-Business Suite end-users can respond to those notification emails by clicking on a link in those emails, or responding with an email containing certain keywords in the body of a reply.
We test Workflow and E-Business Suite notifications using Windows desktop based email clients such as Microsoft Outlook. We do not currently perform any tests of Workflow notification emails with mobile devices such as iPhone Mail app or BlackBerry Email.
We would expect standards-compliant email clients to be able to handle Workflow notification emails properly, including email clients on mobile devices. Some mobile email clients are unable to handle standards-based emails, and other email clients may truncate long Workflow notification emails. These issues may prevent certain email clients on mobile devices from handling Workflow notifications properly.
If you encounter issues with Workflow email notifications on smartphones or mobile devices that can't be reproduced on a conventional Windows desktop-based email client, our recommendation would be to process Workflow notifications on the latter.
On a side note: technically-inclined readers might be interested to hear that we're aware of at least one web-based email client that does not comply with RFC 2368 in its handling of new line characters in mailto URL encoding. Web-based email clients with issues like that will be unable to handle Workflow notifications properly. If you encounter issues with web-based email clients that cannot be reproduced on a conventional Windows desktop-based email client, our recommendation would be to process Workflow notifications on the latter.
Your feedback is welcome
As I mentioned above, it's very important to note that this particular area is evolving extremely rapidly. This article represents a snapshot of our current certification and support position, but this position reflects the relatively small demand for mobile device support today (at least when compared to desktop-based users).
We're always monitoring demand for new requirements, so your feedback has the potential to influence our priorities for mobile device support. You would be amazed at how important decisions about product strategy can be influenced by a small amount of direct customer feedback.
If your organization plans to support the use of smartphones or other mobile devices with the E-Business Suite, we'd be very interested in hearing from you. Post a comment here, or drop me a private email with details about:
- E-Business Suite release and products in production (e.g. "Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.1, running iExpenses, HRMS, and Financials")
- Who will be using mobile devices with EBS, and in what scenarios? (e.g. web-based EBS products, Workflow email notifications)
- Numbers and types of mobile devices to be deployed
- Deployment schedule
- Hands-On with Oracle's iPhone Apps
- Oracle Business Approvals for Managers Now Available for iPhone
- Roundup: Oracle JInitiator 1.3 Desupported for EBS Customers in July 2009
Full disclosure: I own shares in Oracle and Apple. This article is intended to describe our current certification and and support position and is not an endorsement of Apple products.