Tuesday Jul 14, 2015

Accessing Oracle E-Business Suite from Mobile Apps

Oracle E-Business Suite users need to have access to the Oracle E-Business Suite server URL. This URL represents the web entry point of your environment. By default, the web entry point is set to the hostname of the application server where Oracle E-Business Suite is installed. If a load-balancer is used, the web entry point becomes the load-balancer's hostname.

If the web entry point URL is not reachable, then users won't be able to connect. This applies to both desktop and mobile Users.

If your mobile users want to use Oracle E-Business Suite mobile apps from outside of your organization's firewall, your Oracle E-Business Suite environment must be set up in a DMZ configuration. Alternately, users may access the Oracle E-Business Suite mobile apps through an intranet connection such as a virtual private network (VPN).

DMZ access for mobile apps requires a mobile app client version of 1.1.0 or higher, with Oracle E-Business Suite Mobile Foundation Release 2.1 or later on the Oracle E-Business Suite server.

References

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Friday Aug 22, 2014

Mobile Apps for Oracle E-Business Suite

Many things have changed in the mobile space over the last few years. Here's an update on our strategy for mobile apps for the E-Business Suite.

Mobile app strategy

We're building our family of mobile apps for the E-Business Suite using Oracle Mobile Application Framework.  This framework allows us to write a single application that can be run on Apple iOS and Google Android platforms. Mobile apps for the E-Business Suite will share a common look-and-feel.

The E-Business Suite is a suite of over 200 product modules spanning Financials, Supply Chain, Human Resources, and many other areas. Our mobile app strategy is to release standalone apps for specific product modules. 

Our Oracle Timecards app, which allows users to create and submit timecards, is an example of a standalone app.

Oracle Timecards app for E-Business Suite screenshot

Some common functions that span multiple product areas will have dedicated apps, too. An example of this is our Oracle Approvals app, which allows users to review and approve requests for expenses, requisitions, purchase orders, recruitment vacancies and offers, and more.

Approval app for E-Business Suite screenshot

You can read more about our Oracle Mobile Approvals app here:

Our goal is to support smaller screen (e.g. smartphones) as well as larger screens (e.g. tablets), with the smaller screen versions generally delivered first.  Where possible, we will deliver these as universal apps.  An example is our Oracle Mobile Field Service app, which allows field service technicians to remotely access customer, product, service request, and task-related information.  This app can run on a smartphone, while providing a richer experience for tablets.

Mobile Field Service for iPhones screenshot

Deploying EBS mobile apps

The mobile apps, themselves (i.e. client-side components) can be downloaded by end-users from the Apple iTunes today.  Android versions will be available from Google play. You can monitor this blog for Android-related updates.

Where possible, our mobile apps should be deployable with a minimum of server-side changes.  These changes will generally involve a consolidated server-side patch for technology-stack components, and possibly a server-side patch for the functional product module. Updates to existing mobile apps may require new server-side components to enable all of the latest mobile functionality.

All EBS product modules are certified for internal intranet deployments (i.e. used by employees within an organization's firewall).  Only a subset of EBS products such as iRecruitment are certified to be deployed externally (i.e. used by non-employees outside of an organization's firewall).  Today, many organizations running the E-Business Suite do not expose their EBS environment externally and all of the mobile apps that we're building are intended for internal employee use.  Recognizing this, our mobile apps are currently designed for users who are connected to the organization's intranet via VPN.  We expect that this may change in future updates to our mobile apps.

Mobile apps and internationalization

The initial releases of our mobile apps will be in English.  Later updates will include translations for all left-to-right languages supported by the E-Business Suite.  Right-to-left languages will not be translated.

Customizing apps for enterprise deployments

The current generation of mobile apps for Oracle E-Business Suite cannot be customized. We are evaluating options for limited customizations, including corporate branding with logos, corporate color schemes, and others. This is a potentially-complex area with many tricky implications for deployment and maintenance.  We would be interested in hearing your requirements for customizations in enterprise deployments.

Prerequisites

References

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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.

Friday Mar 22, 2013

Apple iPads Certified with Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1

Apple iPad and iPad miniApple iPads are certified with Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1. 

This certification covers Safari with E-Business Suite OA Framework-based (HTML) applications.  These are sometimes also referred to as "Self-Service Web Applications" (SSWA).

This certification also covers the use of Apple's Mail app to approve E-Business Suite Workflow notification emails.

It is not possible to run Java-based applications on iOS devices, so Oracle Forms-based products requiring the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) plug-in are not available on iPads.

Requirements

  • Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3 and higher
  • iOS 6.0 and higher

What about iPhones?

EBS OA Framework-based products are currently designed assuming that the client device has a desktop-class screen (e.g. 1024 x 768).  Safari on iPhones also works, but given the smaller screen size, the user experience is not ideal.  We recommend using iPads for the optimal user experience when accessing OA Framework-based EBS products.

The use of Apple's Mail app to approve EBS Workflow notification emails is certified for both iPads and iPhones.

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 have tested Apple's Mail app as part of this iOS certification.  We do not currently perform any tests of Workflow notification emails with other mobile devices (e.g. Android, 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 standards-compliant 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.

What about other mobile devices?

Other mobile devices are not certified yet.  If you have deployment plans for Android-based devices as EBS clients in your organisation, please drop me a line with details.  We are working through complications around fragmentation in the Android space, and insights into your requirements would be helpful.

References

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