Monthly Archives: July 2008

Secret Consulting Tip

Back from a productive day at a customer site, I realized that there’s something I do to increase my productivity that it seems many other Oracle professionals don’t do consistently. It’s not that I’m trying to keep this secret – as a matter of fact, I preach it wherever I can – but it’s still not widely practiced. Here’s the tip:

Make use of Oracle Support

Yes, it’s really that simple. But for some reason, many people can still spend days googling error messages and surfing forums without contacting Oracle Support. And when they eventually give up, they’ll vent their frustration by posting on this or that forum that a specific feature is a piece of crap. I know the feeling – back in the Oracle Web Server 3.0 days, I got into a useless shouting match with Oracle Switzerland instead of working with Oracle Support.

Your customer or employer is paying both you and Oracle Support – so it makes sense for you and Oracle Support to work in parallel on any issues you might encounter. It will take you a bit of time to explain the problem clearly to Oracle Support and maybe build a simple test case – but that time is well spent. It’s a classical problem-solving trick to explain the problem to someone else – I’ve closed many Service Requests myself, because the act of defining the problem led me to consider something I had previously overlooked.

So next time you’re feeling stuck on a technical issue, remember that opening a Service Request is not a sign of weakness – it’s the mark of the professional.

That’s not what I meant!

I am one of those who advocated several editions of the WebCenter product – one version with everything, and a cheaper version for those who just need a bit of WebCenter functionality. This has indeed come to pass – Oracle has now both WebCenter Suite and WebCenter Services.

What I meant was that we needed a cheaper product, for example for existing Oracle Portal customers. Unfortunately, we got a more expensive product instead. The new Oracle price list is out, and WebCenter Services (the smaller product) is barely cheaper than the full WebCenter was previously ($70,000 vs. old price of $80,000), and the full WebCenter product has increased in price from $80,000 to $125,000.

Wish: Oracle WebLogic Server XE

Now that Oracle has announced the BEA strategy, it’s time to make sure that the Oracle WebLogic server becomes a huge success. And for this to happen, Oracle needs to announce an application server “Express Edition” – like they have for the database.

This should be free and include ADF. That would lead many more developers to use ADF, which has excellent productivity and gives the highest probability of success for a Java database web application. Like the Database XE, the app server XE version would of course be limited to one CPU, forum-only support etc.

Wouldn’t that be great? If you think so, please head over to Oracle Mix and vote for the idea “Please create a free App Server XE product“.

Oracle WebLogic is in, OC4J is out

It’s official: Oracle’s new JEE server is WebLogic. The strategic product will be called Oracle WebLogic, while OC4J has dropped into the “Continue & Converge” category. The reason for not dropping OC4J completely seems to be the need to let Oracle Applications customers continue running on their existing infrastructure.

While I have not made a solid technical comparison, the enthusiasm of the BEA community for WebLogic seems to indicate that it’s technologically superior to OC4J – I’ve never felt really enthusiastic about OC4J…

On the downside, this means the entire humongous Fusion Middleware stack now has to be tested with a new core component, making it very unlikely that we’ll see Oracle Application Server 11g this year.