Friday, 14 October 2011

PeopleTools Tables Reference Library

My good friend, Dave Kurtz,  from Go-Faster Consultancy Ltd produced this handy PeopleTools reference a little while ago and I thought the PeopleSoft community might like a reminder that this very useful resource exists.

It's a reference for all PeopleTools tables.  Not sure what tools release it's based on and there are a few gaps. But, if you know how to fill them then you can contact Dave and make this resource more complete.

Monday, 10 October 2011

OOW Wrap Up

So here are my top 11 take-aways from OpenWorld 2011

1) Continued massive investment by Oracle development of new features in PeopleTools and PeopleSoft applications (see below for highlights).
2) Most of the development effort going into improving the User Experience (as distinct from user interface).  This is a combined focus on improving process, UI and software behaviour.
3) Pivot Grids are very nice.  See screenshot here. (8.52)
4) Embedded Oracle (SES) Secure Enterprise Search in PeopleTools for cross application and component keyword  search really is going to "change the world".  (8.52)
5) Inter Pagelet communication framework significantly opens up the power of Work Centers (8.52).
6) Related  Actions are a very powerful concept (8.52).
7) PeopleTools 8.52 is coming soon.
8) Oracle are launching big time into the public Cloud market with back-end Exadata and Exalogic.  Look out Amazon?
9) A little bit more noise at conference around Oracle Fusion Applications but they didn't appear to be the big noise. I think some customers are now live.
10) Oracle heading unashamedly down the "engineered" solutions road.  In some books this might be called proprietary.  I think proprietary solutions can be good and I certainly think Oracle have some very smart engineers to produce some of the best hardware and operating system software combinations on the planet. (see Exadata, Exalogic and Exalytics).
11) A long conversation with Greg Kelly and Tom Lenz (both Oracle security experts) was incredibly useful.  I'm afraid I can't tell you here as "The first rule of security? - - - -  Don't talk about security". 

Nice to be back home!

Friday, 7 October 2011

OOW2011 Thursday Day FOUR

Last day of conference... loads to try and squeeze in.  Here are the highlights.

Spent a brilliant hour with the PeopleSoft platforms team (Mark Johnston & Friends) in the hand-on-labs building a virtual machine using on the Oracle VM templates.  Very easy to if you know a bit about Linux (I know nothing) and if you have access to an Oracle Virtual Server platform to host your new VM (not many people do).  Some discussion about the value of providing an ISO disk image that would work with local PC based VM clients such as Virtual Box or VMWare.  It really can be done in minutes.

One of the last sessions of the day was a useful panel discussion with PeopleTools product management.  From left to right there was Jeff Robbins (PT Strategy), Binu (PT Development), Willie Suh(PT Strategy), Ravi Shankar (PT platforms development),  Virad Gupta (PT Dev - IB & Reporting) and on the end is Mike (PT tools development).

Discussed were topics such as
  • release date of 8.52 - A: very soon.
  • more auto setup in Apps Portal
  • 8.52 to split out PS_APPS_HOME
  • IB Integration Network in 8.52.  Aims to simplify setup, monitoring through auto-discovery.
  • Support for FireFox and Google Chrome. When a tools version is released Oracle will support minimum versions at time of release.  Aim to certify each new version of browser being relseased.
  • 8.53/4 plans to allow LDAP authentication for 2-tier tools connections.
Very usesful session on PeopleSofyt Reporting.  Jody (PT development)  covered subjects such as

  • rename of XMLP to BIP (Businesss Intelligence Publisher).
  • BIP now with Rich Text and Image support
  • BIP Query data sources can now be transformed before rendering using XSLT
  • Connected Query performance significantly improved.
  • Drilling URLs in Query now have free form URL structure
And so, finally, to my companion Smurf to tell us of this conference MAIN MESSAGE.

Hadware and Software - Engineered to Work Together.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

OOW2011 Wednesday Day THREE

Today was even busier than yesterday. I spent more time at the PeopleSoft demo booths talking with Keith Collins (developer of all things integration broker) - he showed me all the new tools for building RESTful services in 8.52 - Very nice!  I love meeting with Keith.... he knows his stuff and he's a great programmer.

Met Tom Lenz from Global Support and Greg kelly (both PeopleSoft Security gurus) and found out how to integrate PeopleSoft signon with Windows.  I'll blog on this once I've got it working.  Thanks guys.  "The number one rule of Security....?  - Don't talk about security!" (hat tip Mr Kelly).

Tom Lenz
Keith Collins

The Meet The PeopleTools Experts session at the end of the day was just great. Thanks to all the Oracle staff for showing up and in engaging so well with the customers that showed up.

I sat through a great session by Christine Libby from FSCM Applications Architecture who showed how some of the new PeopleTools 8.52 features can be used to extend applications. She covered Pivot Grids, Related Actions, Inter Pagelet Communications and the simply awesome Oracle Secure Enterprise Search (SES) embedded into PeopleSoft. Her presentation slides are well worth getting hold of as they cover in quite a bit of detail how some of these things are put together. Loved the Lego bricks Christine!

Smurf with Larry Grey's iPad app
On Monday night I got a chance to see the new soon to be released PeopleSoft Mobile solution from GreySparling.  They've got a very neat thing their doing to get PeopleSoft pages rendering and behaving like a native iPad or iPhone application. I'm going to leave them to talk about technically what they're doing because I don't want to get it wrong.  Just to say here - it's impressive and well worth a look if mobile enabling PeopleSoft in your thing.  I took a picture of Larry with the iPad app but for some reason it didn't come out. (this is odd as my photo of Chris also didn't come out either - must be something about GreySparling staff - are they real?)

It was great to meet and present alongside Mark Johnston from Oracle WebLogic and JOLT development today.  We we're cover the benefits of virtualising PeopleSoft.  Some really good news is that in 8.52 a new feature has been added to allow new application servers to be introduced into the server string without needing to bounce PIA.  Very nice... thanks Mark.

More great content expected on Day 4 tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

OOW2011 Tuesday Day TWO

I'm starting to see a big theme for PeopleSoft at this conference...... Paco's session on PeopleSoft Apps strategy, Jeff's session on PeopleTools roadmap, Jim, Mathew and Robert's session on building a good UI and even Jim's "legendary" tips & tricks session are all following a strong theme this year - USER EXPERIENCE.

It appears that a significant investment is being but into the look & feel, navigation experience and application behaviour of PeopleSoft apps.  What I'm seeing is VERY nice.  Having had a tour of Oracle User Experience Labs at Redwood Shores last week and having sat through an hour of usability testing and feedback with the PeopleSoft eProcurement team today I'm not surprised that such high class software is being tuned out.  - - BTW Thanks for the nice chocolates UX Team and really nice to have met you all :-)

Got a picture of the new pivot grid feature being released with 8.52 ("due soon").  Thanks Michael from Oracle Dev team for a great walk through of this on the PeopleSoft demo pods today. You guys all work really hard down there on the demo pods - thanks!

Mathew Haavisto and Jim Marion and Robert (sorry didn't get surname) both gave great demos of how to themse and re-skin the Applications Portal (see above sample from their presentation).  Jim's posted a blog entry on the really neat concertina menus which are based around navigation collections.

I had a very useful time today with some members of the Oracle CABIO (Customer Advisory Board for International Organisations) many of whom share similar harsh comms challenges like Oxfam. (low bandwidth, high latency, high packet loss).  World Bank, BIS, US State Dept, UNDP and others.  I think there could be a lot synergy within this group with a common set requirements for disconnected mobile working - something Oracle/PeopleSoft are not really focussing on much.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

OOW2011 Monday Day ONE

So it's the first day of OpenWorld conference and the downtown San Francisco area is packed with conference attendees as usual. I've been here for 4 days already attending meetings with Oracle development at Redwood Shores and the weather has been blue sky and a scorching 35C.  Today it's cold, wet and windy.  Of course only the sensible ones brought umbrellas - so not many then.

Paco Aubrejuan gave a break-kneck speed insight into what PeopleSoft developers are doing in 9.1 Feature packs and 9.2 Applications with the new 8.50, 8.51 (and soon to be released 8.52) toolset.  Lots of prebuilt Work Centers, integrated search-centric interface (search then act rather than navigate, search, act) which more closely matches the consumer internet experience (such as Amazon, Google, etc) and strong emphasis on improved usuability.  Paco gave some examples of features to keep cost down such as dynamically building your own product update package (need to find out more on this as it sounds fascinating - sounds like you pick and choose what patches, features you want and an upgrade package gets built for you online) and new feaure called Data Sets which allow you to compare and migrate confiuration data from one system to another.

Spent another high speed, concentrated "run" through building and consuming web services in PeopleTools. Highlighted some new features in 8.52 including REST, new configuration Work Center and improved cross PopleSoft transaction monitoring and test and diagnostics tools.  The presenter brilliantly demonstrated how easy it was to create and consume web services and how the new 8.51 Document feature was the way forward in working with XML.  Excellent hour.

The last session of the day was the PeopleTools Roadmap. Jeff Robins (Oracle PeopleTools Strategy) gave a great insight into what applications look like when the new PeopleTools were used.  Rather than a blow by blow list of new features Jeff took the approach of demonstrating applications built using the tools.  Nice!  Here's the main themes

1) A change from the traditional "Navigate - Search - Action" to a new search centric paradigm of "Search - Action".  The inclusion of Oracle SES (secure enterprise search) as part of core PeopleTools is most impressive feature.  A search experience similar to Amazon, Google or eBay is now available across the entire application or within a specfic component.

2) Context sensitive action menus are springing up in search results and elsewhere in the application.

3) Heavy investment in improving how pagelets behave in portal, work Centers and Content Dashboards.

4) Pivot tables/graphs are new programming objects replacing the traditional analytic grid.  Vey visual way of viewing and dynamically changing the view of data on a page.

More tomorrow.