Spent an enjoyable few days at HQ this week catching up with the development team and discussing what we are going to do vis a vis new features for future releases. Taking a step back we have an imminent release coming in 10.1.3.3, which although only a 'point-point' release meant really for bug fixes, etc it has a bunch of new and improved features. I can share some of them here but they have to be read with the caveat that:
The following 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.
OK, thats out of the way ....
- Data Template - the engine has gone through another iteration of performance improvements, it can now handle CLOB, BLOB, long and raw data types natively (hoooray!) There will be a lot of new features coming in the engine in future releases even a scripting engine to allow you to carry out calculations and conditional logic in the data structure layer ... very cool and of course still performant.
- A few new RTF template features most notably the ability to add a show/hide '+' graphic into the HTML output make reports more interactive - more on this next week.
- Flex Templates - I have written about these in the past and finally they become a reality. If you are a 'template builder' for your company, dig into Flex your business users are going to love you for it. I have written a primer for Flex Templates but I bearly scrtch the surface with what you can do with them. You're going to be able to build some of the most interactive 'offline' reports your users have ever seen. They will be able to schedule them to be deliverd to their inboxes, you'll even be able to burst them ... imagine your sales managers being able to interactively looks at their performance over the last year, drill into transactions, look at trends ... all off line and built by you - get flex now!
- Online Template Builder - this makes a beta appearance in 10.1.3.3 pure DHTML drag and drop interface. It will really put the power of template building into the hands of your true end users. The beta will have some limitations but we think you'll like where its going and if you have suggestions, enhancements, we want to know about it.
- Online Analyzer - this was a somewhat hidden feature in 10.1.3.2. Its was a nice interface to play with your data but there was no way to save the viewof the data you built so it had limited value. In 10.1.3.3 we now allow you build 'templates' that can be saved and retrieved by your end users.
- You will be able to add a digital signature to your PDF output with this release, fast becoming a very important requirement for anyone dealing/delivering PDF output to customers/suppliers/partners.
- The underlying formatting engine has again improved its performance and now has a multi thread mode that it can be put into, to improve performance further.
Thats not all but after a tortuous trip back from SanFran last night finally getting in at 2am Im beat ... Happy Friday!