Sunday, June 29, 2014

My first take on SOA/BPM Suite 12c.

The Oracle Fusion Middleware circles have been abuzz this weekend with the launch of the latest and greatest release of BPM/SOA Suite 12c.

The 12c release announcement late Friday evening (GMT+1, UK time)  caught me pleasantly off guard as during the past 6 months I have been very focused on a client project.

Listing below are just a few of my initial notes on the features that caught my attention.

- Experience with initial installation
   Downloaded the generic quick start installation bundle for 64 bit JVM's. 
   After the download, it took 9 minutes to install and get JDev running with a blank BPM project (Others on the twitter hashtag #BPMSuite12c reported around 15-20 minutes so I think my lower time might be due to the solid state drive in my laptop). 
Configuration of the integrated domain and launching the server took longer though but was straightforward and smooth. 
  I really might be one of the first few  in the UK (maybe even the first) who reported installing 12c on the twitter hashtag #BPMSuite12c (1:30 AM UK Time on the 28th of June) after its public release.

- True convergence of BPM and BPA?
Sounds like marketingspeak, but that is the phrase that comes to mind when I see the new 'BA' circle that surrounds the familiar 'BPM loop'
I felt the BPM Composer 11g  completely lacked BPA (business process analysis) support but that seems to have changed now.. 




- Feature: process comparator/ history tab in BPMN
I had noticed in earlier releases that the 'history' tab used to be missing in the JDeveloper BPMN studio's process designer view. BPMN definition is essentially just another XML file (albeit a lot more complex to interpret without tool support unlike BPEL) so this didn't make much sense. 
Seeing the 'history' tab with the 'process comparator' feature made me realise why it took this long. It's a fairly complex feature to have (and very useful to have for any collaborative development or even for any to-and-fro between the composer and JDev BPM studio). They  needed to get it right. 


- Collaboration features between BPM Composer and Studio are more robust
Just after exporting the BPM project to 'PAM' I could basically view it in the BPM Composer (so far nothing different from exporting it to BPM-MDS and loading it up on Composer in 11g). 

The additional useful thing to note is the automatic versioning using an inbuilt subversion server. After 'publish' of changes via Composer and then updating the version in Studio, the version numbers got updated and in one case I got conflicts pending resolution.

*That said, I wouldn't use simultaneous changes in Composer and Studio as a regular development practice. 

- Finally, we can debug BPEL and use breakpoints
The OSB has had this for long and that is one feature (in addition to the slick refactoring capabilities) that made me envy eclipse users. 
Well, now we have - PROPER debugging, breakpoints and watch window for BPEL**
(Oracle ADF on the other hand has allowed breakpoints in nearly all of its XML-defined components: task flows, jspx pages etc.) 

**I did notice that you could set breakpoints in BPEL in JDev 11g too. They seemed to have no use. I did plan to one day run weblogic in debug mode and see - I guess that's no longer necessary!

- Some things never change
It does make you smile to see that breadcrumb trail on Weblogic 12c console still stacking up indefinitely (It has almost started to seem like the right behaviour to me now!)




Anyway, this was just a set of brief observations on the shiny new release. Nothing profound or in-depth. There's a lot to read and learn. 



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