Quo vadis ADF?

Last week I attended DOAG Konferenz & Ausstellung in Nürnberg Germany. The DOAG (Deutsche ORACLE-Anwendergruppe e.V.) is the biggest German Oracle user group. The conference covers all Oracle products and technologies, way too much to name them all.

As my personal center of gravity is middle-ware and here ADF and the surrounding technologies, I attended lot’s of sessions about middle-ware, cloud, ADF, MAF and JET. The big picture of Oracle becoming a cloud company is getting clearer.

The way developers currently are working on premise with their products migrating to the cloud is getting clearer. There where about 4-5 sessions which gave explicit advice when to use which technology and what problems might arise mixing them. I’ll cover the main three here.

Frank Nimphius started with a session ‘The Future of Application Development Welcome to your new Job’ where he summarized areas of future of application development as

  • “Server-less” deployment
  • [Micro] [Cloud] Services
  • REST & JSON
  • Mobile centric
  • API first
  • Multi channel
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cloud Native Development
  • JavaScript
Future Application Development Summary 1

Future Application Development Summary 1

Future Application Development Summary 2

Future Application Development Summary 2

and defined different job roles around this like

  • Citizen (Low Code) Developer
  • Mobile Developer
  • Service Developer
  • Architect
  • Line of Business Manager

Each role using different technologies to fulfill the tasks. This should open spaces for new and old developers

Mobile Job Roles

Mobile Job Roles

Duncan Mills tackled the bear from a different perspective. In his session ‘Standing at Crossroads’ (Oracle ADF and Oracle JET) he pointed out the differences between ADF and JET

Oracle ADF Oracle JET
Support 5 + 3 + unlimited, no backport limitations Major release every 6 month, backports only to previous version
API are stable No guarantee of API stability
Could or on premis Cloud
Metadata focused Code focused
Full stack solution Client only solution
Has to „own“ the page Can be used „anywhere“

However, there are things both have in common, as Duncan states:

“Don’t assume the you have to go to JET to look ‘modern'”

“Don’t assume that JET will automatically be more perfomant”

There are more things you have to take into account before making a decision between ADF and JET like

  • Transaction and Services: here you have to check if your services and data model can support a stateless model. Same for your UI which handles the interaction with the user. One thing to note too is that using JET will produce less client – sever traffic.
  • Need to shape the services for the convenience of the UI: paging data, pre-computation, attribute reduction and mega endpoints

If you plan to mix ADF and JET there are a couple of things which should make you think twice:

  1. No session sharing between ADF and JET
  2. ADF and JET can’t use the same cache
  3. No shared transaction
  4. Separate timeouts
  5. geometry management
  6. Drag & drop not possible between ADF and JET
  7. Different maintenance and different libraries
  8. Different popup’s and glasspane

Summary is that there are plenty of reasons not to mix ADF and JET. If you want to mix ADF and JET in a project you should stick to module level and not mix them on one page.

duncan_doag5

The decision for ADF or  JET should take these points into account.

Shay Shmeltzer attended the German Oracle (ADF) Developer Community meeting on the DOAG and we ask him to talk about this topic ‘The Future of Developer Frameworks’.

shay2_doag1 Shay started by giving a main difference between ADF and JET:

“ADF is a framework, JET is a toolkit”

meaning that ADF allows development in all tires (MVC) whereas JET is only a client technology. Using JET you still have to have a back-end which generates the needed REST services. Here ADF comes into the picture again.

“ADF hides the complexity of the technology from the developer” 

True, building a REST service from an exiting ADFbc model is very easy and allow shaping the service too. Besides ORDS (Oracle REST Data Service, a tooling which allows to develop modern REST interfaces for relational data in the Oracle Database ) this is the easiest way I know.

During the Q&A of his talk we specifically ask him how Oracle sees the future of ADF as some rumors are that ADF is dead. Shay answered (loud and clear):

“ADF isn’t dead!”

Oracle is using ADF heavily in the SaaS products and will going on to do so. There are areas where building UI with JET is preferred (not in SaaS), but here the points mentioned by Duncan Mills are always considered.

My personal opinion is that ADF is alive will be used in the future, but there are options now which allow developers to choose different technologies in certain areas. Using ADF in the model layer and working with relational data bases, create REST or SOAP services with ease is a big plus. For the UI there are use cases where JET will be used, but ADF has its share too.

JDeveloper 12.2.1.2 is out

Aside

Today October, 19th 2016 JDeveloper 12.2.1.2 was released. From the first look at it it’s only a maintenance release.  There is currently no ‘What’s new’ document, only a release notes are available.

The release notes show only some bug fixes and some deprecation. Noteworthy are some changes in the REST runtime. One of them is that ADF REST HTTP PUT is deprecated functionality. From the doc

ADF REST HTTP PUT is deprecated functionality

Oracle has deprecated the functionality for executing HTTP PUT methods on ADF REST resource requests. In the current release, the describe for ADF REST resources continues to display PUT actions when the backing view object has the Update operation enabled (the operation enables both PUT and PATCH methods); however, ADF REST service clients should avoid making PUT requests (replace all items of the view row) as this functionality will be desupported in a future release

Another change in the REST department is that adf date and datetime attributes are no longer described as string but as date and datetime. Interesting if you work with ADFbc and Oracle JET.

There are some other small bug fixes and deprecation’s of oracle.domain data types and the dvt:stockGraph. You should use dvt:stockChart instead.

Let’s wait if Oracle releases an ‘What’s new’ document in hte near (?) future which will spear us some time searching for new stuff 🙂

Summary of Day 4 at the Oracle Open World 2016

Late, but not forgotten, here is the summary of day four. It was too late yesterday, after the appreciation event to write it all down,

Wednesday was a somehow slow day for me as I attended two sessions only. Most of the day was reserved for meetings around my other activities in the OTN network like moderation and the German ADF Community which will soon relaunch their community page on OTN.

The first session was about testing web applications with Selenium ‘Testing Java Web Applications with Selenium: A Cookbook‘ by Jorge Hidalgo and Vicente Gonzalez Arellano, over at the Java One. It turned out that the Selenium Webdriver for JDev ADF is better working than the one showed in the demo in this session. The JDev Webdriver abstracts all the tricky stuff like waiting for ajax calls or finding the right component away from the developer. This make the job really easy. Summary: nothing new learned.


After a nice working lunch with my peer OTN moderators and the Queen of Moderators I attended a session about developing applications with Oracle JET and ADFbc REST services ‘Oracle Application Development Framework and Oracle JavaScript Extension Toolkit in the Cloud‘ by Sherry Yu, Shray Bansal and Abhinav Shroff. This session was interesting to see as it used REST services generated from ADFbc. This kind of REST services offer many usages

ADFbc REST Services Usage

ADFbc REST Services Usage

and allow some very nice features out of the box like pageable collections, rich set of meta data, list of values, attribute types and validation and resource discovery

ADFbc REST Services Functions

ADFbc REST Services Functions

During run time you can tailor the payload by only retrieving the attributes you need, execute batch transactions, sort the results and have build in security.

ADFbc Run Time Features

ADFbc Run Time Features

Simple queries can be added to the REST calls. These are working like ‘Query by Example’ in ADF tables. This set of features allows for many different use cases

ADFbc REST Use Cases

ADFbc REST Use Cases

like back end for OracleJET based applications, mobile friendly UIs, integration with other services and as REST solution for SaaS.


The remaining part of the day I spend on multiple events like hte OTN Blogger Meetup, OTN Happy Hour and finally the Oracle Appreciation Event featuring Sting and Gwen Stefani.

 

Summary of Day 3 at Oracle Open World 2016

Started with the (early) morning keynote ‘Oracle OpenWorld Tuesday Morning Keynote‘ hosted by Bhanu Murthy B. M., Safra Catz, Hon. Chief Minister Shri. Devendra Fadnavis and Thomas Kurian.

As the keynote and it’s content is covered all over the media already I won’t add to this. Oh, one thing I like to say is that the ‘live’ demos did not really look live to me. Would you risk that your ‘live’ demo is going to hell because of some technical problem with Thomas Kurian on stage?


Next on my list for today was ‘Agile Development and DevOps Done Even Faster with Oracle IaaS and PaaS‘ by Michael Lehmann, Suhas Uliyar and  Siddhartha Agarwal. This session talked about agile development in the cloud using IaaS, PaaS and Microservices together with DevOps tools like Docker.

First a Cloud Navtive Architecture was introduced:

img_bqnk2w

Cloud Native Architecture

 Multiple services working together to build the cloud native architecture
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Services for the Cloud Native Architecture

The practical part was a sample which showed how to build, deploy, or manage mobile-fronted, API-first autoscaling application, a microservice build on Node.js here, live on stage. New here is htat you can use the Management Cloud Service to introspect the microservice to see how it runs on your environment. The just build service then is consumned by anohter app (mobile using MAX) to visualize the data.

The final dashboard build for the mobile app, it took only about 20 minutes to build and deploy:

img_20160920_113941

Dashboard for the Mobile Application

and the final detailed architecture of the application:

Detailed Architecture

Detailed Architecture


Next on my Cloud program was ‘Development Operations in the Cloud: A Use Case and Best Practices‘ by Greg Stachnick and Jeff Stephenson. They talked about best practices using the Cloud Services to develop applications from the modern DevOps point of view.

img_20160920_123652

Modern DevOps

The case study was about the development of the Developers Cloud Service itself, neat!

img_20160920_124923

Developers Cloud Service Outline

This is a big project which is running completely in the cloud. Here is an image that shows a code review screen (sorry for the poor quality)

img_20160920_125529

Code Review

After accepting the changes the changes are pushed back to the mail line, triggering the next integration cycle in the continuous integration system. The typical cloud developers life is

IMG_20160920_125920.jpg

Day  in the Life of a Devloper

and the day of a manager

to summarize these points

img_20160920_131605

Summary

This summary hit the nail on the head. I’ve bin a contractor in many projects, always asking for more machines or more power. I would be happy if I could spin up another machine to do some testing instead of waiting for some other things to finish using the machine I wait for.


Before my day is over there are two sessions about ADF and JDeveloper to attend. First was Shay Schmeltzer with ‘Oracle Application Development Framework and Oracle JDeveloper: What’s New‘ which reveals what’s coming up in the world of ADF and JDeveloper. Shay started with the short history of ADF and JDev

img_20160920_160536

which is even longer if you count JBO to it too, which started 1999. Impressive. The session was more about features which are new in JDev 12.2.1 and JDev 12.2.1.1, both versions are out quite some time.  So, nothing new for seasoned ADF developers at the beginning.

Not so well known are ADF Business Components Triggers which are more known by Forms developers. They allow to do things right before or after some DB events fires.

IMG_20160920_161311.jpg

ADF BC REST Services and REST DataControl are better known if you work in the cloud or with mobile applications:

Remote Regions where introduced with JDev 12.2.1 but needed a patch to make them run (fixed in 12.2.1.1):

img_20160920_162051

Remote Task Flows:

img_20160920_162302

UI stuff like responsive support through templates (Tablet First), Massonry Layout and matchmediaqueries:

IMG_20160920_162555.jpg

Lots of new and changed data visualization components:

and finally to sum things up, other enhancements behind the scenes:

IMG_20160920_163029.jpg

For the future we can expect more and easier support for REST services and writing Groovy code. The biggest change will be the integration of JET Composite Components into ADF pages. JET Composite Components are an equivalent to ADF Declarative Components. You can build components from using other components, add properties to them to influence their behavior. Composite Components fire events which you can use to interact. Not sure how this will work, other that in the end you have HTML. Bad thing is that there is not even a time frame for this. More details in hte next section.

Anyway, ADF is not dead! There will be future development and enhancements in JDeveloper and ADF.


Final session for this long day ‘Oracle Development Tools and Frameworks: Which One Is Right for You?‘ by Shay Shmeltzer (again) and Denis Tyrell. As some of the features are not available at the moment the ‘Safe Harbor’ statement comes to play. So if you see something which you don’t find in the available version, you have to patiantly wait for it. No time frame given 😦

Shay summarized the different frameworks ADF, MAF, JET and ABCS and pointed out their key features. As the frameworks are well known I spare most details. As promised I give more detail about the Oracle JET Composite Components.

Sample JET Composite Components

Sample JET Composite Components

Key features of JET Composite Components and there basic structure is shown below

(Coming soon!) The composite components end up together in a Tenant Component Catalog where the components can be filtered by their characteristics

 

Which late will be extended so that components are available from different channels

img_20160920_183844

In the end there will be Project Visual Code provides a low code environment

Project Visual Code

Project Visual Code

After this deep dive into JET Composite Components I present the summary of the session which shows which development framework is used for which development

At the end of the session Shay and Denis answered some question which are noteworthy. I Cant remember all question but tried to summarize the key points from the answers:

  1. Oracle focuses on JET as the future development environment Future focus on jet. Why? ADF is already feature rich and the developer don’t ask for much more.
  2. Developers want more client side development. Demand on server generated UI is going to decline.
  3. JET will get offline capabilities! This can’t be done easily with ADF.
  4. JET allows faster exchange of libraries. JavaScript developers tend to rewrite their UI faster then ADF developers (see yesterdays summary where Geertjan Wielenga made the same point).
  5.  Public Component Catalog is only public to a point. You have to submit components which then will be vetted by someone before other users can use them.
  6. Cloud IDE (writing code in the cloud) will have JavaScript capabilities
  7. ABCS (Application Builder Cloud Service) is not available on premise right now
  8. For declarative JET development look at ABCS. ABCS allows to get the underlying JET code (save as) so you can look at the code and change it, e.g. to use it elsewhere.