Web 2.0 Solutions with Oracle WebCenter 11g

By Plinio Arbizu , Ashok Aggarwal
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  1. What is Oracle WebCenter?

About this book

Oracle WebCenter Suite is the industry's most comprehensive enterprise portal platform designed for business users unified with business applications, Enterprise 2.0 services, and social communities. It incorporates Web 2.0 content, collaboration, and communication services. However, without proper guidance on developing performance-critical enterprise applications, it is easy to make the wrong design and technology decisions.

Packed with screenshots, this book offers you in-depth knowledge of developing custom WebCenter applications for your various enterprise requirements. Integrate various web services to make development simpler and faster. Build fast, reliable, and robust Web 2.0 applications with this hands-on practical tutorial.

The Web is no longer just an environment where information is published. It is a powerful tool for collaboration, socialization, and work. This evolution has come about due to the development of technologies such as AJAX, REST, RSS, and so on.

Oracle WebCenter Suite is a stack of products that helps implement Web 2.0 solutions in organizations. This book enables developers to learn the important concepts. It shows several scenarios where Oracle WebCenter 11g technology can be used to improve the productivity of your organization. Each chapter provides a practical application of the technology. It will guide you through many web-building features such as pages and portlets.

Finally, the book describes complete solutions, such as Oracle WebCenter Spaces, and ready-to-use collaborative environments.

Publication date:
October 2010
Publisher
Packt
Pages
276
ISBN
9781847195807

 

Chapter 1. What is Oracle WebCenter?

Man has just landed on Mars! Where would you go to find information about this event? Although Man has not actually reached Mars yet, it is likely that you would have looked for answers on websites like Google, Yahoo, or MSN, thus demonstrating the Web's ability as a tool to work, communicate, and quickly verify that Man has not yet reached Mars.

This book will give us precisely the expertise needed to take advantage the web plataform in order to build applications that offer communication, collaboration, knowledge sharing, social networking, and all those features that become our applications in WEB 2.0 solutions.

This first chapter describes how web technology has evolved into a platform that offers comprehensive services to share knowledge, communicate, and facilitate collaborative work. This platform evolution has been called Web 2.0. The arrival of Web 2.0 has not gone unnoticed in the business environment; indeed, companies have collected the benefits that this can offer and have applied them in their working environments to achieve efficiency in their operations. This new way of using Web 2.0 in business environments has been called Enterprise 2.0.

Obviously, our book is not oriented to simply describing concepts, but also to implementing those concepts using the tools and technologies that Oracle offers. For this reason, we will show the main features of WebCenter Suite and JDeveloper, and how they can be used to develop Web 2.0 solutions.

In this chapter, we will describe the following topics:

  • Web 2.0 concepts

  • Evolution of the platform application

  • Enterprise 2.0 concepts

  • Oracle WebCenter

  • Oracle JDeveloper

WEB 2.0 concepts

The term Web 2.0 was created in 2004 during a brainstorm between O'Reilly and MediaLive International. This term is used to describe a new version of the web platform that offers its users enormous capacities for socialization.

To better understand the evolution of the platform and the social impact of it, we need to review these concepts in detail.

 

WEB 2.0 concepts


The term Web 2.0 was created in 2004 during a brainstorm between O'Reilly and MediaLive International. This term is used to describe a new version of the web platform that offers its users enormous capacities for socialization.

To better understand the evolution of the platform and the social impact of it, we need to review these concepts in detail.

 

Evolution of the platform application


The first platform used for the execution of applications was the PC, and it offered the facility to run our applications. Unfortunately, technical knowledge (memory, I/O, Interrupts, BUS, and so on) was often necessary to build applications.

Currently, operating systems have become the standard platform to support our applications. Proof of this are the various applications for office, database management, multimedia, and others that are executed using those operating systems.

The emergence of the World Wide Web and tools for navigating it (Internet Explorer and Netscape), helped to bring about the emergence of a new platform called the Web (currently called Web 1.0).

At the beginning, the GUI of this platform was limited (using only HTML and JavaScript) and it didn't offer the richness of solutions built under the support of the operating system.

The emergence of new technologies that enrich the user interface, such as AJAX, consolidated the Web as a platform for a new generation of applications that are able to take advantage of these technologies. Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia, Blogs, and Flickr are evidence of this. This new version of the Web platform is called Web 2.0.

The Web 2.0 as a platform provides the following technical advantages:

  • We just need the support of the browser to run our applications.

  • We can offer remote access to applications using the Internet.

  • We can update our applications online, without installing any additional software in the clients.

  • The applications are ready to be implemented in other portable devices such as Palm, BlackBerry, and Pocket PC.

  • It is not necessary to have technical expertise in order to put content on the Web.

All these technical advantages, however, don't compare with the social impact that the Web 2.0 platform produces.

Social impact of Web

The use of the Web 2.0 platform has enabled new ways to foster socialization among users. They are as follows:

  • Communication: The platform, in addition to mail and instant message solutions, opens new ways to communicate using blogs, video, and so on.

  • Knowledge exchange: Spaces opened in discussion areas, sharing pictures and files, allow users to exchange information amongst themselves.

  • Collaboration and participation: Web Technology allows users to participate using simple tools (blogs, podcasting) when they want to publish their information.

  • Content management: The Web now permits us access to repositories of files, such as image, audio, video, and other electronic documents.

  • Creation of social environments: The Web supports the creation of spaces oriented to groups whose members share similar interests.

We can conclude that the arrival of Web 2.0 impacts not only technology, but above all, it represents a social impact. This social impact has significance in the business environment and leads to creation of new Enterprise 2.0 concepts.

 

Enterprise 2.0 concepts


Companies can also take advantage of new web technologies. When establishing the "Enterprise 2.0" concept and examining the evolution of a company adapting to the use of new technologies, it's important to remember that the scope of Enterprise 2.0 is not restricted to the organization itself, but also includes its partners and customers.

The technological benefits that Enterprise 2.0 offers are as follows:

  • Work environments online

  • Use of social networks

  • Creating and customizing collaborative work environments

  • Management and dissemination of knowledge of the organization

  • Integration with internal and external business applications

  • Ease of contacting the organization's resources

  • Fermenting communication between an organization's members

We can then conclude that Enterprise 2.0 promotes the productivity of organizations by using a new technology platform offered by Web 2.0. At this point, you could ask yourself: How we can implement a solution that supports the guidelines suggested by Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0? The Oracle answer is called Oracle WebCenter Suite.

 

Oracle WebCenter Suite concepts


Oracle WebCenter Suite is a platform for building corporate portals or custom applications that integrate Enterprise 2.0 features, and aims to improve business processes through the integration of business applications and user communities.

This suite allows companies to build corporate portals, social networks, collaborative communities, content managers, composite applications, and intranet and internet sites.

Oracle WebCenter suite has the following key components:

  • Oracle WebCenter Framework: Used for building user interfaces and portlets in our solutions. The components built with this Framework use JSF and AJAX to provide a rich interface.

  • Oracle WebCenter Services: This component provides capabilities that integrate our solutions with content managers, search, wikis, discussions, blogs, messaging services (mail, instant message, telephone) and the whole of the features of Web 2.0.

  • Oracle WebCenter Composer: Allows users to personalize their content through friendly interfaces.

  • Oracle WebCenter Spaces: An out-of-the-box application, which uses components previously detailed to provide a collaborative work environment, the ability to create social networks, and the facility to share resources.

  • Oracle WebCenter Anywhere: Introduced to enable an application's interaction with mobile devices such as PDAs and smartphones.

The relationships between these components and the application server are displayed in the following image:

In order to build Oracle WebCenter solutions, we need the support of a tool, and that is Oracle JDeveloper.

 

Oracle JDeveloper


Oracle JDeveloper was created in 1997 as a tool for building Java solutions. Although, initially, it was based on a tool called JBuilder, Oracle started to add features for interacting with database. During this evolution, JDeveloper added many frameworks like Business Components (formely BC4J), UIX, and others.

A big change came with the appearance of version 10g, which introduced the productivity framework called Application Development Framework (ADF), and which accelerates the development of JEE solutions through Oracle libraries.

New versions of the tool have included other technologies such as ADF Faces, which help to create user interfaces in a declarative way. Recently, a new version of ADF Faces, call ADF Faces Rich Client, has enriched the user interface thanks to the use of technologies such as AJAX.

After being consolidated in creating JEE solutions, Oracle JDeveloper was chosen as the standard tool for building solutions over the Fusion Middleware Platform. This platform supports solutions based on JEE, SOA, and Enterprise 2.0 using Oracle WebCenter. JDeveloper uses an extension in order to take advantage of key components in WebCenter such as the Framework, Services, and Composer.

Therefore, during the course of the book, we will use this tool to build our custom solutions.

 

Summary


The evolution of technology platforms and their use in new forms of socialization have led to the creation of Web 2.0, and the use of these concepts in the business environment is called Enterprise 2.0. With this motivation, Oracle introduced WebCenter as a platform for building Enterprise 2.0 solutions, which facilitate the development of collaborative environments in organizations.

Finally Oracle JDeveloper is chosen to build those solutions using the platform offered by Oracle WebCenter.

Now that we have the technology concepts in mind, we will begin developing our custom applications. But before that, we need to install and configure WebCenter. We'll do it in the following chapter.

About the Authors

  • Plinio Arbizu

    Plinio Arbizu is Peruvian and member of Oracle ACE Director program, which selects professionals in the world who have a strong technical level and commitment to Oracle technology diffusion. He currently serves as a senior consultant in the company, Global Business Solutions and is an official instructor for Oracle University courses such as JEE and Oracle WebCenter. You can follow him on his blog: http://plinioa.blogspot.com/.

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  • Ashok Aggarwal

    Ashok Aggarwal has been delivering web-based collaboration, document management, content management, and workflow solutions using Oracle's products before they were named Enterprise 2.0.  As Oracle's offerings have matured and the market has grown, so has Ashok's involvement in the Oracle Fusion Middleware technology stack, leading to early adoption of Oracle WebCenter Suite 10g and 11g.

    Since 2002, Ashok has delivered robust solutions by leading a highly talented implementation organization, M&S Consulting.  Prior to co-founding M&S, Ashok focused on delivery of enterprise applications and integration solutions at Accenture in a variety of industry verticals.

    Ashok has led innovative business transformation initiatives leveraging SOA, BPM, BI, Identity Management, and Enterprise 2.0 technologies as he works to solve today's most challenging business problems.  He is a regular instructor and speaker at private and public events.  Along with white papers and trade journal publications on Fusion Middleware, Ashok is co-authoring an Oracle SOA book and sponsoring technology and process publications for others on his team at M&S Consulting.

    Ashok holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a Minor in Computer Science from The Johns Hopkins University.

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