Thursday Jul 15, 2010

Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate Release 1.0.2 Now Available

We are pleased to announce an update to the Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate component, which provides integration with Oracle Access Manager 10gR3. The latest version, Release 1.0.2, provides several bug fixes, improved automation, and support for the use of Oracle E-Business Suite portlets. Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate is available at no charge to customers who have already licensed both Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Access Manager.

For those of you that have already deployed Oracle Access Manager elsewhere in your company, we strongly recommend that you evaluate this integration. We believe that this latest release provides improvements in quality and usability over our previous release.

What About Oracle Single Sign-On Server?

If you are running Oracle E-Business Suite today with Oracle Single Sign-On Server (OSSO), you may continue to do so. However, this product is quickly approaching its end-of-life, so we are now recommending that new implementations evaluate Oracle Access Manager for single sign-on authentication. If you are already using Oracle Access Manager today in your enterprise, then now is the perfect time to begin migrating your Oracle E-Business Suite single sign-on to Oracle Access Manager with the help of Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate.

In my previous article, announcing the initial release of Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate, we mentioned that some products, such as Oracle Discoverer and Oracle Portal, do not support Oracle Access Manager 10gR3, and continue to require Oracle Single Sign-On Server for single sign-on authentication. That limitation continues to exist, and the latest version of Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate does not change that. However, as I also noted then, you can "link" the two authentication systems for easier administration.

In this scenario, OSSO can delegate authentication duties to Oracle Access Manager, so users will only see a single UI whenever they are prompted for single sign-on credentials. Once the user is authenticated and it is determined he is authorized to access the requested resource, Oracle Access Manager returns the user's identity in an HTTP header variable, which OSSO recognizes and trusts. OSSO then sets its own single sign-on cookie in the browser without having to ask for another set of credentials.

Prerequisites for Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate

The requirements for Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate are unchanged from the original release:

  • E-Business Suite Release 12.1.2, 12.1.1; or,
    E-Business Suite Release 11i 11.5.10 CU2 (with ATG RUP 6 or higher)
  • Oracle Access Manager 10gR3 (
  • Oracle Internet Directory 10gR3 (, or
    Oracle Internet Directory 11gR1 Patchset 1 (
  • Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.1 or higher

And, as before, Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate is supported on any operating system platform that supports Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.1. For Oracle Access Manager and its components, such as WebGate, any operating system and HTTP server supported by it may be used for this integration.


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Thursday Mar 25, 2010

Oracle Access Manager 10gR3 Certified with E-Business Suite

Oracle Access Manager 10gR3 ( is now certified for use with E-Business Suite Releases 11.5.10 and 12.1, using the new component, Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate. For information on how to obtain, install, and configure this new component, see:

About Oracle Access Manager

Oracle Access Manager is Oracle's next-generation identity and access management platform, and is a key component in Oracle's Fusion Middleware Identity Management solution. It provides a set of authentication and authorization features, including support for single sign-on authentication, and integration with other identity management offerings such as Oracle Identity Federation and Oracle Adaptive Access Manager.

Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate integration architecture

Oracle Access Manager Benefits

Previously, E-Business Suite only supported single sign-on capabilities through Oracle Single Sign-On Server. While it was possible to integrate with Oracle Access Manager, this still required Oracle Single Sign-On Server as an intermediary, and did not allow access to the full feature set of Oracle Access Manager.

With the release of Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate, this is no longer the case. E-Business Suite AccessGate is a Java EE application that resides on a separate application server, and provides direct integration between E-Business Suite and Oracle Access Manager. This direct integration also opens the door to the full set of authentication features in Oracle Access Manager, as well as integration with other products in Oracle's portfolio, such as Oracle Identity Federation or Oracle Adaptive Access Manager.

I'll be posting another article in the future that describes more about how integration with Oracle Access Manager works through Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate.

Oracle Access Manager vs. Oracle Single Sign-On Server

Our primary audience for this release of Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate (and Oracle Access Manager) is users who have Oracle Access Manager deployed in their enterprise, and want to expand its coverage to include E-Business Suite.

E-Business Suite users that are currently integrated with Single Sign-On Server do not necessarily need to migrate to Oracle Access Manager, and, in fact, may not want to at this time, as not all products in the E-Business Suite technology stack support Oracle Access Manager today. Oracle Access Manager and Oracle Single Sign-On Server may be used together, however, and this, too, will be covered in more detail in a future article. For more details from the Fusion Middleware Identity Management team, see:

Prerequisites for Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate
  • E-Business Suite Release 12.1.2, 12.1.1; or,
    E-Business Suite Release 11i 11.5.10 CU2 (with ATG RUP 6 or higher)
  • Oracle Access Manager 10gR3 (
  • Oracle Internet Directory 10gR3 ( or 11gR1 Patchset 1 (
  • Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.1 or higher

Oracle E-Business Suite AccessGate is supported on any operating system platform that supports Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.1. For Oracle Access Manager and its components, such as WebGate, any operating system and HTTP server supported by it may be used for this integration.


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Tuesday Jul 10, 2007

Firefox 2 Now Certified with E-Business Suite


[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.]

Firefox 2 logo:

Those of you out there using the Firefox browser may have been anxious to upgrade to the latest version ever since version 2.0 was released 8 months ago. Various announcements regarding termination of support for Firefox 1.5 may only have added to your concern. Unfortunately, our certification backlog has been pretty high, and you may have been afraid to upgrade from version 1.5 while awaiting the results of Oracle's testing.

Well, I'm happy to say the results are in, and we are now announcing support for Firefox 2.0 with E-Business Suite Release 11i and Release 12. The details can be found in these Metalink notes:

And, as it turns out, we're just in time, as most Firefox 1.5 users have been asked by now to upgrade via the Firefox Automatic Updates mechanism.

We Won't Leave You Hanging

This brings us to the recent automatic update notes you may have seen encouraging you to move to Firefox 2. If you've been keeping your 1.5 release up to date, this notice may have popped onto your screen overnight:

Firefox 2 Update:

By all means, if you can, click "Get the new version" as soon as possible.

Many users may have seen announcements about Mozilla's end-of-life for Firefox 1.5. Originally slated for April 24, it was delayed one month
to May 24, when the final set of fixes on Firefox 1.5 ( was released. That's the last of them, however, and no new updates --
including security fixes -- will be issued on the Firefox 1.x line.

As Steven explained about "end of life" statements in his article on vendor desupport for J2SE 1.3, this type of notice shouldn't be cause for too much alarm. We will continue to provide best effort support for Firefox 1.5, just as we will for other older technologies. That said, if you can upgrade, you absolutely should, in order to ensure that your browser is always up to date with the latest security fixes.

For the record, the certification of Firefox was not exceptionally problematic, it just took us a while to start due to conflicting resources coming on the heels of releases to all the major application suites and technology suppliers. But this should be viewed as good news the next time a new Firefox release comes out and you're a little nervous about taking it too early. Should a similar confluence of events hold up our ability to certify Firefox 3.0 in a timely manner, keep in mind that Oracle will still support Firefox 2.0 as a client for our applications, at least until we've certified the latest version, and for some reasonable overlap period. During that time, we'll make our best efforts to address any browser-specific issues.


By the way, we rarely hear about Firefox issues from our users, which has led many to speculate it's not a popular browser among our customers. (I've tried to explain how that logic is faulty, but not always with success.) If you're using Firefox in your company -- particularly if you deployed it as the standard browser for a large base of E-Business Suite users -- drop us a line through this blog and let us know. The more feedback we get, the higher priority future certifications will get.

Wednesday Sep 20, 2006

In Depth: Try Internet Explorer 7 Beta without Breaking EBS

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

In this fourth post of our increasingly inappropriately-named trilogy (kudos to Douglas Adams), we expand on the concept of why you might want to test pre-release versions of Internet Explorer, by discussing how to do your pre-release testing, and how to do so safely.

Minor Errata

But first, I'd like to provide a quick update on my previous post. In there, I mentioned that Microsoft would be delivering Internet Explorer 7 via Automatic Updates, and that you might want to take steps to avoid it showing up by surprise. Well, it turns out Microsoft won't becatching users completely by surprise; unlike other auto-updates, this one will come with a warning dialog, requiring users to explicitly accept the upgrade.

IE 7 Warning Message:

Nevertheless, forearmed is forewarned, and use of the blocking tool iscertainly the safer and better recommended approach.

What Sounds So Easy Isn't

In an ideal world, you should be able to try new software alongside old software to make sure you like it and that it works with complex web-based software such as Oracle E-Business Suite before getting rid of your old software. You may have gotten the impression that this should be pretty easy, especially if you read the article that covered how to do this with Firefox 2 Beta.

Well, the good news is that Microsoft makes it very easy to download and install IE 7 Beta for testing. But the bad news is that Microsoft is digging in its heels when it says that IE is "part of the operating system". This means that it's all but impossible to run IE 7 and IE 6 at the same time.

There are several approaches you can take, some fast and easy, and some difficult and resource intennsive. Unfortunately, the easy ones are the least complete, and the most accurate way to test is the hardest. I'll discuss three options, starting with the safest and most supported method, and move in increasing levels of kludginess.

The Box Inside the Box

Microsoft's official recommendation for testing IE 7 is to use a separate PC that does not contain any mission-critical applications on it. In the world of practicality, this barely enters the atmosphere, since it's the mission critical apps that you want to test the most.

So Microsoft's official solution to this is virtualization. Steven already discussed this topic briefly in an older blog entry, as related to E-Business Suite. In this case, you can use a tool such as VMWare Server 1.0 or Microsoft Virtual PC 2005 -- both totally free -- to create a virtual instance of Windows running on your machine.

IE in Virtual Machine: IE 7 running inside a virtual machine, with IE 6 running on the host OS.<br>

It's an elegant, easy-sounding solution, but isn't just for anyone. First, it requires that you have access to a Windows XP install CD, or a previously created virtual image that was made in your organization. (Unlike Linux-based images that can be distributed freely, the licensing requirements of Windows insist that you create your own virtual images, with your company's serial key and activiation codes.) Second, it requires a lot more physical resources: while the browser requires only a negligible amount of disk space and RAM, an entire virtual machine for Windows requires about 8-10 GB of disk space, and a machine with at least 1 GB of RAM (but 2 GB is recommended).

However, if you can manage to leap past these hurdles, the upshot is that you'll have a virtual copy of Windows XP, where you can safely upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 and do your testing in a fully-supported, yet isolated fashion. The image above shows IE 6 running on a host OS, side-by-side with IE 7 running in a guest (virtual) OS.

Only for the Truly Brave

Technically, there is one other supported method for testing Internet Explorer 7, and that's by installing a pre-release copy of the forthcoming Windows Vista client. Release Candidate 1 of the new operating system is available for open testing, and if you really feel brave, you can install this on a new machine (or, unofficially, in a virtual machine), and use the version of Internet Explorer that is included in the OS itself.

For the record, this version of IE is actually "Windows IE 7 in Windows Vista", as opposed to "Windows IE 7 for Windows XP" [emphasis added by me], which you can download separately. No, I'm not making up those product names. Although these are actually separate products, the additional features in the Vista version -- Protected Mode, Parental Controls, and improved Network Diagnostics -- are all beneath the covers, so you shouldn't notice any differences for the purposes of testing basic web usage and how pages render.

While this approach doesn't require any fewer resources, you at least get the added bonus of experimenting with the new Windows client UI as well, if that's your idea of fun. (Tell your boss you're "getting a headstart.")

Using the Back Door

Back in the Good Ol' Days of Internet Explorer 5.0, Microsoft included a "compatibility" option in their install that allowed users to keep IE 4 on their machine, while running IE 5 alongside. This was mostly a nod to web developers (and the relatively fewer corporate users that existed at the time), as Microsoft understood the need to test web sites against and run them with older browser versions until the newer versions took a significant enough foothold and were fully supported. Starting in IE 5.5, this practice was no longer officially supported, but the feature remained present in an undocumented form, through which users (mostly savvy web developers) could install IE in its own directory and, by the presence of a "secret" file, instruct it to only load DLLs only from that directory. This worked up until the latest version, IE 6 Service Pack 2.

For better or for worse, Microsoft implemented new security restrictions in IE 7 that require the addition of over 1500 new registry entries in order to run the browser, effectively closing that hole (or at least making it much, much harder to exploit), and thus forcing developers -- and users -- to take drastic steps to work with IE 7 Beta without giving up their fully supported IE 6 installation. If you're really under the gun, and need to do some work with IE 7, but you don't have time to set up a separate machine or a virtual machine, you might want to try this "standalone" version of IE 7.

Fortunately, it's very easy to try. Everything you need, including instructions and links to download the necessary pieces, can be found at (If you prefer to see what this program is doing, you can follow this alternate link to Jon Galloway's blog. Jon is the pioneer in reverse engineering all this registry work that Microsoft has done, and most of us have him to thank for coming up with this approach.)

Here's how it works: you download the latest IE 7 version, but extract the files into a directory, rather than installing it. You'll also need to apply a minor update to some XML files. Then, you will use a standalone launch program (IE7S.exe) to launch the browser. This program will automatically populate your registry with many of the required entries to run IE 7, then clean them out when you exit the browser, restoring your system to its original state.

IE in Standalone Mode: IE 7 running in standalone mode (with IE 6 also running)<br>

While this approach seems as elegant as the old days, I must warn that there are some severe caveats here. Most notably, many of IE7's new features (and some old ones) don't work, including RSS feeds, favorites, the search box, and the menu bar, because the necessary registry entries have yet to be uncovered and incorporated into the standalone launch program.

For the purposes of testing web site compatibility and page rendering, this approach is generally acceptable, if limited. Nevertheless, the program is fairly crippled without a complete set of registry entries to work with -- even drop-down menus weren't working in the last version I tried. So if your primary goal is brief compatibility testing  -- particularly if you have a lot of advanced Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) -- and you don't want to spend a lot of time and resources on setting up a VM, then this is something worth considering.

The Low-Tech Approach

Finally, I would be remiss in not mentioning one last option: just go ahead and install IE 7 for testing, and uninstall it when you're finished playing with it. The uninstall has been well tested by many users and is reportedly very clean now, but I would still do a full backup of your OS ahead of time, just to be safe.

Note that in order to uninstall IE 7, you'll need to check the "Show updates" option in your Add/Remove Programs applet, then look under "Windows XP - Software Updates" in order to find it.

Show Updates checkbox: The "show updates" checkbox at the top of the Add/Remove Programs applet.<br>

Microsoft also promises that users can uninstall IE 7 at any time, even after the final version is pushed down to users, and revert back to a fully working version of IE 6 Service Pack 2.

While this approach is certainly easy and safe, it doesn't fully meet the qualifications of our experiment, which is to leave you with a supported version of IE in place while doing your testing. So be sure to install the latest copy of Firefox so you can access E-Business Suite in the meantime, if necessary.

Final Preparation

Before you head out and start using IE 7, I want to recommend a few additional links for more information.

  • Microsoft hosts an IE 7 Readiness Toolkit, which consists of documents all kinds of detailed information on deploying and developing for the new version of IE.

  • The IE-Vista site contains what I believe to be the most comprehensive list (outside of Microsoft's own bug reporting system, which is anything but easy to browse) of known issues with the beta and release candidate versions of IE 7. If you're having problems, you should definitely check here first.

  • It's never too late to give Microsoft your feedback (though that's not to say it isn't too late for anything you report to get fixed in the final version of IE 7). You can sign up to participate in Microsoft's Beta program by visiting Microsoft Connect, which will give you access to early (non-public-release) test builds, as well as mechanisms for providing feedback directly to the product teams on issues you may encounter.

Go Get Started

I hope this series of articles on pre-release browsers has been useful to many of you. Exploring new technologies is interesting for some, and important for others, but the difficulties that can lurk in the shadows often make people more reluctant to experiment. With the right amounts of preparation and advanced knowledge, however, the seemingly impossible can become a realistic plan of attack.

Happy browsing!


Friday Jul 28, 2006

In Depth: Try Firefox 2 Beta without Breaking EBS

[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.]

As I explained in my previous posting, trying to access a production instance of Oracle E-Business Suite, or any other Oracle product, with a pre-release version of a web browser should be considered a no-no. But if you rely on accessing Oracle Applications every day, that shouldn't prevent you from trying to gain some familiarity with the upcoming releases.

I'm happy to say that with some sleight-of-hand, you can still take your new browser version for a spin and keep your current installation active for all your day-to-day business use. Today we'll start with managing two Firefox installations side-by-side. It's a fairly delicate operation but easy and fast. In the end, you'll be able to safely experiment with the new browser without affecting the operations (and supported status) of your old version.

Preparation Is Key

By the way, all of the instructions in this article assume a Windows client, but if you're running on Linux or, dare I say, Mac OS X (where we don't currently support Firefox at all), the process is generally the same.

Before we begin, a word of caution is in order: in order to avoid any mishaps, I strongly recommend that you close all your Firefox windows and make a backup of your user profile before beginning this process. On Windows, you'll want to make a copy of this directory, where username refers to your Windows login:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

On Linux, you'll find the crucial files in the more easily located $HOME/.mozilla/firefox, where $HOME refers to your home directory.

If at any time you run into problems or make a mistake following these instructions, simply recover this directory and you'll be back to square one with no harm done.

Now, let's get started...

Step One: Install, but Don't Run!

Start by downloading the new test version of Firefox and launching the installer. Since you want to retain your existing version of Firefox, be sure to install the new version to a different directory (like C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox 2). In order to do this, you must choose the "Custom" option when promped in the Installer, as seen below:

Firefox 2 Install (1):

Do not choose the Standard install type. If you do, your existing install and profile will be updated before you even have a chance to hit the Cancel button, which doesn't actually exist.

That's the first potential "gotcha" in the process. Here's the second one: when the install is finished, do not launch the program yet. There is another important step we need to do first.

Step Two: Create a New Profile

When you start up a new version of Firefox for the first time, it will update your user profile automatically. (This is the directory that contains all your personalizations, like bookmarks, cookies, stored passwords, and extensions.) A user profile is generally associated with a specific browser version, and Firefox does not support using the same user profile with multiple versions of the browser, due to potential incompatibilities. (Broken windows, crashes, and lost data can frequently happen if you try this...believe me.)

So it's important that you create a separate user profile to be used only with Firefox 2, while leaving your existing profile untouched for Firefox 1.x.

You can create and manage profiles using the Firefox Profile Manager. To bring up the profile manager, click on the Start menu and choose Run..., then enter the full path to the new Firefox executable, followed by the -P option, e.g.:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox 2\firefox.exe" -P

(If you installed to a different location, make the necessary modification to the above example.)

This will bring up a Profile manager like this:

Firefox Profile Manager:

Now click on "Create Profile". You'll be asked to give the profile a name (something like "beta1" works fine), and a folder location, which you can keep as the default if you like.

Click on Finish, and it'll take you back to the main profile manager screen. Highlight the profile you just created, and then click the button that says Start Firefox, and you're on your way.

Step Three: Automatically Choose the Right Profile

As you may have noticed, there is an option to have the Profile Manager always start up whenever you launch any version of Firefox on your machine. You could uncheck the option that says "Don't ask at startup", and that will let you choose the right profile for the right Firefox version each time you start it up.

You could do that, but if you make a mistake and choose your Firefox 1.x profile when launching Firefox 2, the browser will upgrade your profile, and render it incompatible with 1.0/1.5! (If this happens to you, it's time to look at that backup you made before we started.) Furthermore, I'm lazy: I don't like to click more buttons than I have to.

Instead, you can modify the shortcuts used to launch Firefox (on your desktop, in your quick launch bar, and/or in your start menu) to select a specific profile automatically. All this takes is a small change to the command used to launch Firefox.

For each of these shortcuts -- including the shortcuts for your existing Firefox 1.x install -- follow these steps:

  1. Right click on the shortcut, and choose "Properties". By default, the Target line will be highlighted with the command line to launch Firefox, like this:
    Firefox Shortcut:

  2. Go to the end of that line, and add -P profilename, where profilename is the name of the profile associated with that version of Firefox. For instance, if you just created a profile called "beta1" for your Firefox 2 install, your new command line will look like this:

    "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox 2\firefox.exe" -P beta1

    Note that the profile name is case-sensitive. Be sure to put a space before and after the -P, and be sure to do this for your Firefox 1.x install, also. (By default, your original profile name is called, fittingly, "default").

Now whenever you startup one version of Firefox or the other, it will use the right profile you've created for that particular version.

For the Nitpickers

Two more issues bear noting. The first won't apply to everyone, but if you chose the Windows XP option to display your default Internet browser on your Start Menu, and have an entry at the top of your Start Menu for Mozilla Firefox, like this:

Firefox on Start Menu:

Guess what? It's now pointing to Firefox 2, even though you would probably never know from looking at it. Changing this involves a few tweaks to your Windows registry, which is beyond the scope of this little "How To", but most of what you need can be found in this Microsoft Knowledge Base Article.

The last potential snag is that you can only have one version of Firefox running at any given time. This means if you have a Firefox 1.x window open, clicking on the shortcut for Firefox 2 will actually open another Firefox 1.x window.

If, for some reason, you're really put out by this minor inconvenience, there is a little-known workaround that involves setting the environment variable MOZ_NO_REMOTE. As before, the details are outside the scope of this blog entry (that's code for "this article is already too long, and the music is playing me off"), but you can find more information in this off-site article.

Take the Plunge

If you were thinking about experimenting with the new Firefox 2 Beta, I hope this helps you feel comfortable about going for a test drive, without interfering with your daily web surfing. You can learn more about the Firefox 2 Beta 1 Release by reviewing the release notes on their Web site.

Next up, the final part in this series which will talk about safely using the Internet Explorer 7 Beta. You can also look forward to an occasional article from me on some advanced Firefox hacks and tricks for EBS users. (I'm already thinking Microsummaries have some great potential!)

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