Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Tuesday at OOW

Wooah! Information overload !!!! and it's raining. I thought it never rained in California?

Interesting and very entertaining keynote this morning from Thomas Kurian (Executive VP of Product Development). Main themes were how Oracle can make your applications work together to present a single view of data from multiple systems using Oracle's AIA (Application Integration Architecture). Some slick demos of various Oracle Apps working together. The coolest demo was a an Oracle eCommerce site where the shopper not only has a very rich browser experiece in the online shop but when they click through to talk to a sales person the shopper's order is automatically opened on the sales centre staffs browser session. The sales taff can then discuss product configuration and push new or revised order line items back in realtime to the shoppers basket. Very impressive. Watch it in full or highlights here

Oracle Database Machine
Last year at OOW Larry Elison launched the Oracle Database Machine in partnership with HP. Only 12 months later the Oracle Database Machine Version 2 is launched this time with hardware from Sun (now there's a surprise). This is quite awesome hardware and if this is your "thing" then you can read more here . Oracle marketing is all over the place at conference claiming Sun hardware beats IBM with OLTP load and the HP based Oracle DB machine Version 1 seems to be no more.

PeopleTools Road Map
Jeff Robbins (Oracle PeopleSoft Snr. Director PeopleTools Strategy)
Jeff had an impossible job this year to pack all 550 new PeopleTools 8.50 features into 1 hour.

Just a few highlights from Jeffs session (if you want a feature overview check link above)
  • biggest release since 8.0

  • Tools testers had to build 10,000 new test cases to QA the new features

  • Enterprise Portal collaboration tools now built into 8.50

  • Major overhaul of UI ( shows how Oracle take UI seriously)

  • Jeffs team has launched code sharing site for customer and Oracle staff to share useful code snippets and projects.

Future PeopleTools plans
  • Contextual navigation menus (a regular portal menu would be dynamically loaded
    with application data based on the context of the current component).

  • Integrated search results.

  • More UI improvements

  • Secondary/associated pages

  • Improvements to related content feature

  • Bring more portal features into core Tools from Ent. Portal

  • More LMS (LifeCycle Management) features

  • Improvements around patching

  • Release more prebuilt installs on VMs
PeopleTools 8.50 Customer Highlights.
Mark Hoenermann (Oracle)
This was a packed standing room only audience listening to the beta test experiences of customers working on 8.50 beta. Oxfam was one of those selected for the beta programme and as 8.50 is now GA I guess it's ok for me talk about what we found. I also sat on the customer panel for this session and explained that Oxfam had concentrated it's initial testing on the network impact of the new AJAX based UI. Our findings to date show that the UI is good but a little rough around the edges (Some of the PeopleTools developers indicated patches 01 and 02 fix a number of UI related issues and 03 (out soon) and 04 wll fix more.

Generally the feedback from the beta testing was very positive. Installations went smoothly, UI testing was good and well received by users, performance seemed "snappy" and list of new eatures to explore extensive.

On the PeopleTools demo pod I met the developer responsible for the new Org Chart Class in PeopleCode. This is pure html and Javascript based hierarchical charting tool. Used in HCM for org charts but can be used for any hierarchical data. The org chart object maps onto a Tree API object and the visual effect is just awesome. I took a picture of the screen but you need to see it in action to get the full effect.

SOA and PeopleTools 8.50
David Bain (Oracle)
The big change in Integration Broker occurred in 8.48 and the 8.50 release changes
were described as "thin but wide". In other words a lot of new features added but
under the hood IB hasn't changed.
Key features were highlighted :
  • Messages can now be reused, nexted and combined in a "container" message.
  • Gateway loggin has been extended and is now easier to find error logs via PIA.
  • A new Application Engine handler type has been added so an inegration can trigger an AW to run to the process scheduler and still return a message on completion.
  • Improved and more accessible performance stats on messages including a graphical
    view of each stage of a message through IB with timings for each stage.
  • Various security enhancements
  • SAML node security
  • whole or part message encryption without using https
  • Options to exclude PSFT authentication token for specific integrations. This means that a Finance users can message HR without needing to be a user in HR (hooray).
  • Bulk load handler has been extended to allow an external system to map it's XML to a rowset message.
  • Improved service test tools- Single page to activate/deactivate all components of an integration (ie Service, Service Operation, handlers and routings)
  • Graphical representation of integration routings (this is nice)All IB objects can now be compared and copied in App designer (hooray!)

My last session of the day was a look at some of the web and app server features of 8.50.

Key features highlighted were

  • web server jolt pooling is now fixed for attachments in 8.50
  • jolt pooling can now be enabled at a site level rather than just for the whole
    PIA instance
  • Verity search server is now supported for all platforms and can be setup for
    failover and failback.
  • Separate PS_HOME and PS_CFG_HOME so that PeopleTools binaries can be secured but still allowing admin and reconfig of PIA, app server domains and process scheduler.
  • App domains for Integration Broker can be cloned and new "slave" domains created allowing offloading IB traffice from main transaction domains.
In conclusion.... what I like most about OOW are the things I liked about the old PeopleSoft Connect conferences and that is "the people you get to meet". Where else do you get to talk face to face with customers, PeopleSoft developers, Tools architects and product strategy.

There are thousands of PeopleSoft customers here and loads of Oracle PeopleSoft staff to network with. Looking forward to tomorrow.

More photos from the conference here....


Abbas said...

Hi Graham, very exciting to browse thru loads of new OOW Info.

Hierarchical representation looks cool. Andy Clarke blogged in our prototype community and pointed to two web locations:
World Vision, and

Later is essentially MS Project style (if not exactly that).

I wonder if 8.50 UI tools can help us design click-and-draggable attributes? Specially with reference to the new restructured PIPs and Projects?


psRoy said...

Great posting! Thanks for taking the time to keep us non-attendees informed.

Jim Marion said...

Ah yes, the rain... Oracle/PeopleSoft conference and rain... It reminds me of the fun I had in Birmingham walking from the Marriott to the ICC. I was very grateful for my umbrella!