Archive for the ‘UX’ Category

WebCenter Suite Real Time Chat – Mobile (Android, RIM, iOS, Windows)

October 25, 2012

As our continued drive to improve the WebCenter Suite I’m happy to announce that Fishbowl Solutions WebCenter Mobile Real Time Chat integration is soon to be released supporting Android, RIM, iOS and Windows Mobile Devices.

No true tablet application support yet but this is on the roadmap (you can use the mobile app on the tablets today or if your site has been optimised for tablets access chat via the integrated browser solution).

If your not familiar with our WebCenter Messging and Presence integration here is a quick rundown of it’s features.

Supports browser messaging integration with the WebCenter Suite – Portal, Sites & Content. There are no requirements to have a messaging XMPP server ie MS Lync setup; however if you do our solution can integrate with a number of messaging solutions ie – MS Lync, gTalk, etc.

For a preview of our browser integration check out these earlier posts

Addon:: WebCenter Portal Spaces Real Time Chat Instant Messaging and Presence Integration Video.

WebCenter Portal Spaces – Real Time Messaging & Presence Solution.


Oracle ADF Mobile released today!

October 22, 2012

Thats right the press release went out this morning (Here).

Oracle ADF Mobile is a HTML5 and Java-based framework that enables developers to easily build, deploy, and extend enterprise applications for mobile environments, including iOS and Android, from a single code base. Based on a next-generation hybrid mobile development architecture, Oracle ADF Mobile allows developers to increase productivity, while protecting investments, by enabling code reuse through a flexible, open standards-based architecture.

Oracle is committed to ADF Mobile driving innovating and delivering cutting-edge mobile capabilities across the enterprise, Oracle Applications are planned to be built with Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), part of Oracle Fusion Middleware.



Check out the latest data sheet here to find out more on ADF Mobile.

Also hit  Oracles Mobile ADF site here to get the latest samples and info on ADF Mobile.


OpenWorld 2012 Recap – Fishbowl Solutions Aligned with Oracle’s WebCenter Strategy

October 18, 2012

Another year; another OpenWorld. It seems that Oracle’s big event comes faster and faster each year and then goes by in a flash. Amidst the glitz and glamor and the sheer spectacle that is OpenWorld, the event has much to offer customers, vendors, partners and general technology enthusiasts. This is the event where attendees get to hear directly from Oracle’s top brass on what’s new, what’s coming, and what’s faster/better. For WebCenter customers, here are a few takeaways from me and my Fishbowl colleagues on what we felt were some of the major stories from OpenWorld 2012.

New WebCenter Content User Interface

The WebCenter community has been abuzz for many months now regarding a new user interface for Oracle WebCenter Content. This new interface was shown at a few sessions and within the WebCenter demo areas at OpenWorld. The responses from people I chatted with were all positive and how could it not have been. After all, WebCenter customers have been waiting for years for a new user interface, and it looks like in 12c they will finally get one.

Can’t wait until then? Fishbowl has been providing user interface enhancements to the Content Server for many years. These enhancements have specifically aided business users in contributing content to WebCenter. One such product is Fishbowl’s Policies and Procedures Solution Suite, which provides an intuitive, visually-rich interface to specifically manage quality documents, governance manuals, and standard operating procedures. Through a combination of search, browsing, workflow and alerts, Policies and Procedures Solution Suite can help improve access to quality control documents while enforcing their follow through.

Stance on SharePoint

We have mentioned in many other blog posts (here & here) some reasons why Oracle WebCenter customers who may also be using SharePoint should reconsider their decision to use more SharePoint or go to SharePoint altogether for content management, or when building an intranet, portal or any other content-backed business system. Fishbowl Solutions was front and center with our stance on SharePoint at OpenWorld. We featured our SharePoint Connector Version 2.0 for Oracle WebCenter, which provides an integration that enables content resulting from collaboration in SharePoint to be transparently and seamlessly stored in Oracle WebCenter Content. The main value proposition with this connector is that enables organizations to continue to use both SharePoint and WebCenter and leverage the benefits of each.

The key point that we want to have resonate with customers is that WebCenter should be the final system of record for content. This includes content not only existing in SharePoint, but also in other ECM systems, file shares, and even desktops. My colleague George Sokol participated in a session at OpenWorld titled “Living with SharePoint”. This session provided attendees some data and examples on what living with SharePoint would represent, namely high services cost, 3rd-party license costs for additional functionality, and potential governance dilemmas (I documented more of these issues in this white paper). All these things can be reduced with WebCenter, but the reality is most organizations want to continue to use SharePoint for work-in-progress collaboration and pair that with robust enterprise content management. Fishbowl’s SharePoint Connector for WebCenter enables organizations to do just that.

Integrations in the WebCenter Stack

Oracle has done a great job providing integrations between products across their various product/technology stacks. One popular example is the WebCenter integrations provided for E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel applications. Basically, these integrations enable content management to be invoked in context of business processes, so, for example, when users are processing invoices they can quickly reference the image of that invoice which was processed with Oracle WebCenter Imaging.

At OpenWorld 2012, Oracle also spoke about integrating components of WebCenter with each other. One popular topic was the integration of WebCenter Sites (Fatwire) with Oracle WebCenter Content. Another popular topic was integrating WebCenter Portal with WebCenter Content. Oracle has made this integration possible with the Content Presenter task flow. Although this integration does provide the ability to surface content from WebCenter Content to WebCenter Portal, Fishbowl has found that most organizations are looking for integrations that provide greater scalability while leveraging standards-based technologies (JAVA, JSP) over proprietary (iDoc).

Fishbowl provides an integration framework called Intranet In A Box (IIAB) that integrates WebCenter Content with WebCenter Portal by leveraging WebCenter Spaces as the container to which content will be surfaced to. This framework eases contribution through profiles defined in WebCenter Content, including categories, sub-categories, topic pages, articles, contacts, images and landing page assets. IIAB also includes JSR-286 portlets for interfacing with WebCenter Content. The value of IIAB is it removes some of the complexity around integrating Content with Portal while easing content contribution. Organizations using IIAB have been able to build WebCenter Content and Portal-based corporate intranets in less than 60 days, including the University of Pretoria. Fishbowl’s best demos at OpenWorld were of Intranet In A Box, and organizations that have made the investments in WebCenter Content and Portal but have struggled to build out next-generation intranets and portals were very interested.

Another Go at Social

There was a lot of buzz at OpenWorld regarding the Oracle Social Network (OSN). Oracle announced OSN at OpenWorld 2011, and we are starting to see more and more examples of how OSN can be applied. I had the privilege of participating in the OSN team’s Developer Challenge as I got to present John Sim’s “Avengers Assemble” application. The OSN Developer Challenge was open to any Oracle or Java technologist (hack) that wanted to build an application that leveraged OSN’s REST API and another service or application. The entries must help solve a business problem, and John focused his efforts on helping to keep teams on the go in touch. John specifically used Google Maps and PhoneGap to build an application he described as a Mobile GeoTagging Solution. John provides much more detail on this solution in this C4 blog post.

Mobile ECM  

Oracle provided further details at OpenWorld 2012 on their mobile application – Oracle ADF Mobile. According to this blog post, Oracle ADF Mobile uses a metadata-based development framework enabling developers to develop one application for multiple platforms (iOS and Android, for starters). It can also easily incorporate HTML5, Java, and the devices native container. As business processes become more and more mobilized, Oracle will be in great position to help facilitate the various business process steps that occur between the user and back-end systems like Oracle E-Business Suite. Oracle has the enabling technologies like SOA and BPM to provide a tightly integrated system for mobile processes.

Fishbowl Solutions has been developing Oracle WebCenter-based mobile applications for over two years now, and we were fortunate once again to be joined at OpenWorld with a customer that has succeeded deploying the mobile applications we have available for the iPad and Android devices. Banner Engineering was kind enough to speak during the WebCenter Content Strategy and Vision session at OpenWorld and also during a social business panel. Banner has rolled out a Mobile Library application that has enabled their sales force and distributors to reference sales collateral stored in Oracle WebCenter from their iPad and Android devices. This application has improved the overall sales process, making customer meetings much more interactive and engaging, and also provided a competitive advantage for Banner – their competitors are still bound to paper catalogs and the like to share product information.  Banner created a lot of excitement with their story, and this excitement carried over to the Fishbowl booth. Fortunately, we had enough iPads to circulate to show off the application and its features.

As a WebCenter partner, it was definitely reassuring to see that alignment existed between Fishbowl’s current software and services offerings and Oracle’s stated direction and positioning with the product that was discussed at OpenWorld . We are excited to see where the next year takes us.

Addon:: WebCenter Portal Spaces Real Time Chat Instant Messaging and Presence Integration Video.

September 6, 2012

For those interested in Fishbowls WebCenter Real Time Chat – Instant Messaging and Presence Integration;
I’ve created a quick preview viewlet so you can see it in action.

If your looking for that GTalk or Facebook chat styled integration with Spaces then here it is:

For an overview on how it works check out my previous post –

ADF WebCenter Portal/Spaces Advanced Skins Overview

August 24, 2012

First off this post is not a guide to skinning but an advanced overview of WebCenter skins; how they are put together and my recommended best practise for creating a new skin in PS5.

Oracle ADF has always had a number of skin families that you could choose; I believe when I started skinning WebCenter Spaces PS1 there were around 10 to choose extending from blafplus-rich.

ADF uses hierarchical relationship to skinning with its base skin family called “Simple” (which contains minimal ADF formatting) all skins inherit this base and may extend from it or another skin or set of skins.

To give you a better understanding of this current hierarchy here is the Inheritance Relationship diagram of ADF Skin Families Provided by Oracle ADF Docs

With WebCenter Spaces PS1/2 blafplus-Rich was the default skin with the other skins extending from it.

Here are some examples of those skins that can still be used today.

skinFamily: default
skinId: default.desktop
skinExtends: blafplus-rich.desktop

skinFamily: monochrome
skinId: monochrome.desktop
skinExtends: default.desktop

skinFamily: olive
skinId: olive.desktop
skinExtends: default.desktop

skinFamily: white
skinId: white.desktop
skinExtends: default.desktop

skinFamily: onyx
skinId: onyx.desktop
skinExtends: default.desktop

skinFamily: storm
skinId: storm.desktop
skinExtends: default.desktop

skinFamily: bluesky
skinId: bluesky.desktop
skinExtends: default.desktop

skinFamily: deepsea
skinId: deepsea.desktop
skinExtends: default.desktop

BlafPlus Overview
As you can see above blafplus-rich extends from blafplus-medium which extends from the Simple family.
The skins I list above all extend from blafplus-rich.

The main difference between blafplus-medium, blafplus-rich is that Rich provides more styling than the blafplus-medium skin adding graphics and improving the overall look and feel.

A word of warning as of PS3 blafplus has now been depreciated in favour of the new fusion skin family.
This includes the WebCenter Portal that was released with PS3.

So lets take a look at Fusion..

The fusion family (fusion-base) now defines the default styles for the ADF Faces components.

You can see the tree splits into 2 paths one path to fusionFX and the other to fusionFX-simple.
Fusion FX is the latest and greatest skin; if your not interested in skinning, colour schemes branding and want your site/app to look good this is the skin to use.

As of ADF 11g Release 2 ( there are a few additional skins not listed in the diagram (fusionFx-v1.1, fusionFx-v2) these are not yet in WebCenter Spaces as of PS5, maybe PS6 OR 7 we’ll see. (Reading the docs V1.1 is included as part of PS4 but I couldn’t find it in my install)
Spaces/Portal PS5 has only 2 built in skins (Fusion FX, Spaces FX)

FusionFX Skin Extends from:

SpacesFX Skin Extends from:

skinFamily: webcenter-fusion-internal
skinId: webcenter-fusion-internal.desktop
skinExtends: fusionFx-v1.desktop

skinFamily: webcenter-fusion
skinId: webcenter-fusion.desktop
skin Extends: webcenter-fusion-internal.desktop

skinFamily: webcenterfx
skinId: webcenterfx.desktop
skin Extends: webcenter-fusion.desktop

Note:: SpacesFX (fusionFx-v1.desktop) is currently the most common skin to extend from.

So you can see Fusion FX V1 is currently being used for Portal/Spaces with SpacesFX extended from FusionFX (webcenterfx.desktop) applying its own look/feel customisations.

Some of the other skins you may want to try out that I dont believe are listed..

skinFamily: deepseafx
skinId: deepseafx.desktop
skinExtends: webcenter-fusion.desktop

skinFamily: duskfx-internal
skinId: duskfx-internal.desktop
skinExtends: webcenter-fusion-internal.desktop

skinFamily: monochromefx
skinId: monochromefx.desktop
skinExtends: duskfx-internal.desktop

skinFamily: mistfx-internal
skinId: mistfx-internal.desktop
skinExtends: webcenter-fusion-internal.desktop

skinFamily: whitefx
skinId: whitefx.desktop
skinExtends: mistfx-internal.desktop

skinFamily: wccollabfx
skinId: wccollabfx.desktop
skinExtends: webcenterfx.desktop


With PS1/2 I create new skins based off the Simple Skin Family; as there were minimal amounts of customisation providing a lightweight skeleton structured framework to work from. The problem with using BlafPlus or FusionFX and extending a skin from here is there is a lot of overhead and rewriting of styles which aren’t stripped by the ADF Skin renderer.

For example; I have a adf style  af|showDetailFrame::header-start & end with medium chrome applied. By default the fusion fx skin provides corner graphics in the header of  the show detail frame. If I want to get rid of this I have to overwrite the style within my extended stylesheet by adding background-image:none; as this style is featured lower in the stylesheet it overrides the property background-image.. This causes alot of unnecessary bloatware, especially if your skinning to a design agencies requirement. It also wastes a lot of time as you are constantly reviewing which styles have to be overwritten or normalised.. The simple skin provides a lightweight framework so you no longer need to concentrate on the vast styles that may need overwriting.

Now I find it strange that WebCenter doesn’t include FusionFX-Simple skin. As of PS3 you could still use the Simple Skin Family but if you’ve tried the Simple skin with an out of the box template you will see some issues for example the af|decorativeBox container requires additional skinning and a bit of cleanup is required for the ADF to look clean.

So first thing is to create your FusionFX-Simple skin for WebCenter Portal/Spaces. Head over to

If you are using PS3 download and install Fusion ADF Simple Skin otherwise PS4+ download and install Fusion ADF Simple Skin v1.1.
Package and deploy this to your environment.

Update your trinidad files (a good guide can be seen here).

Now you should have a lightweight easy to skin skeleton CSS framework for WebCenter to extend from –

skinFamily: skeleton
skinId: skeleton.desktop
skinExtends: fusionFx
simple –v1.1.desktop