There aren't many of us who will be looking back on 2011 with a wistful sigh. But if my conversations with industry watchers this week are any indication, enterprise software developers have a lot to look forward to in 2012 -- and a couple of things to prepare for.
Gartner analyst Eric Knipp shared a few of his firm's beyond-2012 predictions in an e-mail:
- By 2015, at least 20 percent of the Global 2000 organizations will use Ruby in opportunistic application development projects.
- By 2014, 75 percent of the Fortune 1000 will offer public Web APIs.
- Through 2014, 60 percent of the value of PaaS functionality will be delivered and recognized as SaaS revenue.
- By 2015, aPaaS providers that do not offer differentiated SaaS will not be profitable.
"aPaaS" is Gartner's acronym for Application Platform-as-a-Service, which Knipp and fellow analyst Yefim Natis defined in a report as a "highly productive, easy to learn and use development environment that delivers business applications that are customizable, changeable, capable of implementing serious business functionality and, when deployed, offered with massive scalability, high-end enterprise-class (and beyond) performance and reliability, supporting massive amounts of data, all at SMB prices."
The implications of these prognostications for developers this year, Knipp said, are fairly straightforward and not to be ignored:
- aPaaS will continue to provide a broader range of services. Expect to see serious players acquire context brokerage capabilities to expand the portfolio of services interesting to mobile app developers, for example.
- Expect to "build the APIs first" in an increasing number of projects. You will start from the middle out, rather than designing the presentation or database layer first.
- More polyglot programmers. We will start to value the jack of all trades more than the master of one.
- Bonus -- Not in my predictions but others at Gartner spoke of it this year: We're All Developers Now. Citizen developer activities will accelerate.
To this list, he added another bit of advice: "When you're choosing aPaaS to build your app on, put a premium on ecosystem and ecosystem-oriented features (e.g. multi-tenancy management, billing and subscription management, marketplace, and so on). The last aPaaS men standing will be those who build the biggest portfolio of ISV offerings running SaaS in the platform."
(BTW: If you're not reading Knipp's blog, you should be.)
More predictions for 2012 from savvy industry watchers in upcoming posts.
Posted by John K. Waters on 01/06/2012 at 7:46 AM2 comments
"Lifecycle virtualization fundamentally transforms the lifecycle and eliminates many of the common challenges faced by development and test teams…. [It] and its associated technologies assist development, test, and operations teams in cutting the Gordian Knot of schedule, cost, and quality."
That's a piece of the provocative opening statement of a new "category snapshot" report by industry analysts Theresa Lanowitz and Lisa Dronzek. Lanowitz and Dronzek are founder and co-founder respectively of market research firm voke, inc., which focuses on cutting-edge tech and emerging trends that affect enterprises, technology vendors, venture capitalist and financial analysts.
I've been following the virtualization market since it was... well... rediscovered by Stanford prof Mendel Rosenblum, who co-founded VMware with his wife, Diane Green, Stanford grad students Edouard Gugnion and Scott Devine, and Berkeley engineer Edward Wang back in 1998. The value of server virtualization was clear to everyone almost immediately -- it stemmed server sprawl and cut enterprise energy consumption (often dramatically). It wasn't long before companies were virtualizing everything from the desktop to the network. But lifecycle virtualization was a new one on me. The app lifecycle is now pretty well understood; there's a requirements phase, followed by an architecting phase, then coding, testing, tracking, release and maintenance (or some slight variation thereof). But how do you virtualize all that?
You do it, Lanowitz told me, with a combination of existing and often complementary solutions: virtual lab management, virtualized cloud platforms, service virtualization, defect virtualization (virtualized defect identification and/or reproduction) and device virtualization (the management of physical and virtual test devices). The trick here is to recognize that they're providing parts of a larger machine. It's a big-picture idea that Lanowitz sees as potentially transformative.
"There are all these solutions and tools out there that are serving only small portions of the market right now," Lanowitz said. "But if you put them all together on top of the application lifecycle management application you're using, you have this thing we're calling lifecycle virtualization."
No single vendor currently offers a unified Virtual ALM solution right now, though something like that is probably on the horizon, Lanowitz predicts. In the meantime, she offers a list of vendors and typically compatible products that provide key the pieces of this model:
Virtual Lab Management (VLM)
• CA Technologies CA 3TeraAppLogic
• Citrix XenClient
• Citrix XenServer
• Microsoft Visual Studio Test Professional 2010
• Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2010 with MSDN
• Wind River Test Manager
Virtualized Cloud Platforms
• Citrix CloudPortal
• Citrix CloudStack
• Electric Cloud Electric Commander
• Skytap Cloud
• VMWare vCloud Director
• ITKO (CA) LISA
• HP Service Virtualization
• Parasoft Virtualize
• ITKO(CA) LISA
• Microsoft Visual Studio Test Professional 2010
• Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2010 with MSDN
• Parasoft Virtualize
• Replay Solutions ReplayDIRECTOR
• Wind River Simics
"Lifecycle virtualization solves a lot of those big, classic problems that people have been struggling with for a long time," Lanowitz said. "It essentially eliminates these time-consuming tedious and manual activities, and frees them to do other more productive things."
Lanowitz and Dronzek expect lifecycle virtualization to become "the hub of the modern lifecycle" that will "shatter silos across development, QA, and operations." They see it as a major disruptor that will break bottlenecks in the lifecycle. And they expect to see widespread adoption across all industry sectors by the middle of 2013.
The complete voke Category Snapshot report on Lifecycle Virtualization is available now to voke's annual research subscribers.
Posted by John K. Waters on 12/02/2011 at 1:25 PM0 comments
Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is collaborating with BlueStacks to optimize the latter company's App Player for Windows for tablet and notebook PCs based on AMD's Accelerated Processing Unit (APU).
The Campbell, Calif.-based startup's App Player makes it possible to run Android phone apps on Windows machines. Essentially, it's an emulated Android mode for Windows that provides exclusive access to one application at a time. The pitch for developers is, not surprisingly, that the solution expands their consumer user based dramatically. But the BlueStacks' technology can also be integrated into offerings for enterprise market segments, the company says.
"It's not just about playing games on a big screen," said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD Fusion Experience Program. "We found that, even with the relative inefficiencies of an application running on Android that is virtualized for Windows, still there was in several applications a 20 to 30 percent improvement in performance," Hegde said. "There's still plenty of headroom, which opens things up considerably."
AMD's Fusion APUs, which were unveiled in January, combine a multicore CPU, a DirectX 11 video and parallel processing engine, a dedicated Universal Video Decoder 3 (UVD3) HD video acceleration block, and a high-speed bus for carrying data among the APU's cores. The APUs come with the company's VISION Engine Software, which AMD boasts is constantly updated to improve system performance and stability.
"Partly because of the success of the iPhone and iPad," Hegde said, "a lot of the small, independent developers are going after the low-power applications. And there's this belief that all the sexiness in the developer community is going there. But I don't believe that's true. There are a number of new apps that have come out on Android that lend themselves really well to x86. BlueStacks virtualizes these apps over Windows, so they're immediately available on a PC."
AMD is actually investing in BlueStacks through its Fusion Fund program, which makes strategic investments in companies that are developing "unique, digital consumer and professional experiences that harness the horsepower of AMD Fusion APU products."
AMD's investment in BlueStacks will help the young company "create an environment where your favorite apps can be accessed regardless of platform technology, providing greater entertainment and productivity value," said Rosen Sharma, BlueStacks' president and CEO in a statement.
This announcement is another example of AMD's ongoing interest in supporting software developers. In June, the chipmaker sponsored a developer conference (The Fusion Developer Summit), which provided three days of keynotes, breakout sessions, and hands-on labs all designed to help developers to make the most of its evolving technology.
"When the PC market was young," Hegde told ADTmag at the time, "it was possible to sell based on technical merits and technology metrics -- basically, processor speed. But as the market matures, and as Apple has shown the world so forcefully, end users care about solutions based on what they want to do -- solutions and experiences -- not megahertz and gigahertz. All these experience that users really care about come from a strong ecosystem between us and developers..."
The alpha version of the BlueStacks App Player can be downloaded now from the company's Web site.
Posted by John K. Waters on 11/28/2011 at 11:08 AM0 comments
The Eclipse open source community is celebrating a birthday this month, as we reported last week. So is one of the founding members of the Eclipse Foundation: Genuitec announced the availability of version 10.0 of its MyEclipse Java EE IDE.
The Flower Mound, Texas-based Genuitec's MyEclipse, is both a Java EE IDE and a Web development tool suite for the Eclipse platform. The company promotes the tool for developers using UML, JSP, XML, Struts, JSF and EJBs. It supports Ajax, Web Services development, Java Persistence, extended database support and application server integration.
MyEclipse Workbench Enterprise Edition 10.0 is built on Eclipse Indigo (v3.7, released in June), and it continues the company's support for the Apache Maven build automation and software comprehension technology.
The production release supports HTML5 and Java EE6, and comes with new support for JPA 2.0, JSF 2.0, Eclipselink 2.1 and Apache's OpenJPA 2.0 release. The company overhauled the MyEclipse in-workspace deployment in this release, making it easier to collaborate and share their workspace settings or user profiles among team members. MyEclipse Blue Edition supports the latest build of WebSphere Portal Server 7.0, WebSphere 8, as well as WebSphere 6.1 and 7. IBM's DB2 series is supported with database integration connectors on both Windows and Linux operating systems. My Eclipse for Spring incorporates a suite of Spring-specific add-ons for Eclipse, including bean wizards, bean editors, Spring configuration editors, Spring Web Flow editors, content assist, refactoring support, project validation, Spring DSL and bean dependency graphs.
I've had the pleasure of interviewing MyEclipse CEO Maher Masri several times, and I've found him to be a keen observer of the Eclipse ecosystem. In the press release for this product announcement, he said, "Genuitec was born in 2001 out of sheer frustration that the tools market did not do a better job supporting developers, so in 2003 -- with the founding of the Eclipse Foundation -- we introduced MyEclipse... The mission of Genuitec has remained the same over these 10 years: to give developers an enterprise technology driven by their demands at a price they can pay out of their own pocket if necessary...."
When I talked with Masri in 2008 about the MyEclipse 7.0 release, he said, "Most people think of Eclipse as a platform for development tools. We subscribe to the idea that Eclipse can be a framework for any kind of application."
In 2007, when I talked with Masri about the then-new Eclipse Pulse, an online social network and product catalog combo for Eclipse users, he observed, "The Eclipse Foundation walks a fine line between providing a platform and consuming its own ecosystem. It relies on companies like us to take that work forward -- to provide tooling and technologies on top of the platform, and to consume that platform. And that enlarges the overall ecosystem."
When I talked with Masri back in 2005 about MyEclipse 5.0, he said, "The tooling is just a stepping stone into what is becoming a very exciting market."
Posted by John K. Waters on 11/09/2011 at 11:19 AM0 comments
I keep thinking of JetBrains as a Java tool maker because of the enduring power of its IntelliJ IDEA code-centric Java IDE. But that's a mistake. The Prague-based company makes tools for software developers, some of whom are Java jocks. That fact was brought home to me this week by Eugenia Dubova, JetBrains' indefatigable marketing manager, who let me know that her company has added another dev tool to its ever growing product catalog.
The new one is an IDE for Objective-C developers, dubbed AppCode. The company is billing its new offering as "a perfect choice for developing iOS and Mac OS Apps," because of its integration with Xcode (the suite of tools for creating apps for Mac OS X). The Xcode interoperability is seamless -- you just open or create Xcode projects from within the AppCode IDE.
But the tool set comes with a bunch of features and capabilities, including the ability to run and debug iOS apps on a device or in a simulator; a visual unit test runner for OCUnit; automatic memory leak detection with a quick-fix option; support for such iOS 5 features as Automatic Reference Counting; and Version Control Systems integration with a unified UI for most popular VCSs (Git, SVN, Mercurial, Perforce, CVS). Look also for intelligent code completion (a JetBrains trademark), refactorings, auto-import, one-click code navigation, automatic code formatting and an integrated graphical debugger over GDB or LLDB.
Maxim Shafirov, the AppCode project lead at JetBrains, says his company's goal with the new IDE is to help developers maintain the high quality of their code "so it equals the high standards for UI and user experience that iOS and Mac OS platforms apply."
In a statement, he added: "After 11+ years of successful IDE development, we have formed a set of development best practices and code quality standards that we think will benefit the fast-evolving community of Objective-C developers. Thanks to tight integration with the existing set of tools provided by Apple, we can see AppCode quickly becoming a key tool in the arsenal of professional Objective-C developers."
Canned but cool.
There's a free 30-day trial version of AppCode available now for download on the JetBrains Web site.
Hodně štěstí. (Hoping that's Czech for good luck.)
Posted by John K. Waters on 10/28/2011 at 9:57 AM0 comments
Zend Technologies CEO Andi Gutmans isn't one of Silicon Valley's most dynamic executive conference keynoters, but he's still one of my favorites. Benioff and Ellison are true showmen and fun to watch, but nobody cuts to the chase like Gutmans. He just walks onstage and tells you what his company is doing, clearly and in context. No yacht race videos. No musical tributes to our 50th state. No chats with celebs or digs at competitors. It's truly a beautiful thing.
But Gutmans slipped his Zen-like reserve yesterday during a post-ZendCon-keynote sit-down with a handful of industry reporters when the topic turned to the long-term implications of the cloud for developers
"Everyone is always talking about how developers are important, but in my opinion very few are actually doing anything about it," he said. "They're focused on their production environments and prettying them up to attract developers. We think that there really can be a step function improvement in how developers develop."
"Step function" is math geek for a big, sudden change, and it's a fair description of Zend's new phpcloud.com. Gutmans introduced his company's new platform and partner ecosystem for the development and delivery of PHP-based Web applications to attendees of the annual ZendCon PHP conference gathered in the Santa Clara, Calif., Convention Center. A key component of the new platform is the Zend Developer Cloud, a toolset designed to exploit the inherently collaborative nature of the cloud.
"I really think that companies have to think very differently about how people develop and engage in the cloud," Gutmans said. "The cloud actually gives you the opportunity to foster engagement and collaboration. It's not that it's impossible to do it on-premise, but it's very hard...Think about the Web frameworks -- Zend Framework (PHP), Rails (Ruby), Django (Python) -- they emerged about five years ago. I think there's another step function that we can add, and it's around enabling developers to better collaborate to make the life cycle smoother. Even Zend now is just scratching the surface of what is possible."
"The sheer fact that you have all these developers now in a centralized location," he added, "where you have proximity of storage and proximity of communications, and so on -- our ability to build on top of that and make it easy for them to communicate is going to make many things possible. We've been thinking about how we get these developers actually engaged in best practices, how we get them communicating. Maybe something like Twitter, where they say, 'Hey I've got a question. I've got this function that isn't working for me.' And then one of 10,000 developers online at that moment gives you an immediate answer. That's really for me the biggest piece that I'm excited about."
Forrester Research analyst Jeffrey S. Hammond was also at that meeting, and he observed that one of the most powerful current drivers of cloud adoption is mobile application development.
"The data are showing us a rapid ramp up the S curve in terms of technology adoption and the number of developers that are writing mobile apps, either web based or native," Hammond said. "When we dig into those mobile applications and look at how they're constructed, I think what we're seeing is mobile driving demand for cloud adoption. Because essentially the cloud-based scale-out services are great ways to back those mobile apps when you have no idea how quickly they're going to take off, and to do that very economically."
"It's almost like this Reese's Peanut Butter Cup thing," he added, "where the cloud makes mobile better and mobile makes the cloud better."
Hammond also compared the results of a 2010 Forrester survey of the Eclipse community, which showed that around 19 percent of respondents intended to deploy on private clouds, with a 2011 survey, which showed that about 25 percent of respondents were cloud bound.
"There's really only one reason developers are going to the cloud," Hammond said. "It's fast. They get much quicker feedback on what they're doing in a realistic environment. And they're saying, If the ops guys can't give that to me on my private cloud, I'm just going to the public space."
Gutmans said that the Zend Developer Cloud will continue to be one of his company's top initiatives "What we showcased today is a big step up," he said, "but it's just the beginning."
Posted by John K. Waters on 10/19/2011 at 4:25 PM0 comments
During the Tuesday morning keynote at last week's JavaOne conference, Rob Benson, director of runtime systems at Twitter, took the stage to announce that his company would be joining both the OpenJDK community and the Java Community Process (JCP). Twitter wants to work with members of the JCP and the OpenJDK Community, Benson said, to help evolve the Java platform.
Twitter was also among five new candidates for seats on the JCP's Executive Committee (EC). During a JavaOne press panel, JCP chair Patrick Curran reminded reporters about the current election, which, according to the JCP Web site, will be in its "ballot open for voting" phase until October 31. The other candidates include Azul Systems, CloudBees,The Central Ohio Java Users Group and Software AG.
The EC currently counts two other Java user groups among its members: the Brazilian group SouJava and the London Java Community. "Both are working really well to bring the regular Java developers into the process," Curran said, "as a way of focusing their energies and helping them to understand how the process works."
"This is much more competition than we've seen in recent elections," Curran added, "and I see that as a very positive sign."
When Curran took over as chair of the JCP in 2007, he said, the organization didn't have the best reputation.
"People called us commissars," he said. "We were accused of being authoritarian and secretive, and just not community oriented. From the beginning I said that, should I have the opportunity, I'd like to open up the process and turn this into a real community organization, to allow the millions of Java developers out there who wanted to, to actively participate. I think now we've made some significant steps in that direction."
The committee took a big first step in the form of Java Specification Requests (JSR) 348, proposed in May and led by Oracle and the combined Executive Committees as the Expert Group, which aims to "update and revitalize" the JCP itself.
"We're revising the process through the process," Curran said.
JSR 348 ("Towards a new version of the Java Community Process") tackles four areas, including Transparency, Participation, Agility, and Governance. The longest list of proposed changes comes under the "Transparency" heading. The JSR calls for greater transparency into Expert Group (EG) operations of the JCP with a mandate that certain recommended practices become requirements. The example listed: "requiring all EG business to be carried out on public mailing lists, requiring issues and comments to be tracked through a publicly viewable issue-tracking mechanism, and requiring EGs to respond publicly to all comments."
The JSR also seeks greater transparency into the operations of the EC itself, the election process and the licensing process.
"We wanted to work on things that were important, but relatively non-controversial, and so, easy to do in a short period of time," he said. "We picked the low-hanging fruit... primarily focusing on transparency [of the process]. In the future we are going to mandate that all expert groups do their work out in the open, basically with public mailing lists and public issue trackers, making it very easy for members of the developer community to participate."
Next on the committee's to-do list: the merger of the two JCP ECs: the SE/EE EC and the ME EC.
"It seems like the right thing to do," Curran said, "that we should have a single executive committee which will deal with all of the three platforms -- because it is one platform with three flavors."
Down the road, Curran expects the EC to take on tougher intra-organizational changes, including issues around intellectual property rights, the Java Specification Participation Agreement (JSPA) and the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK).
"We decided to put off tackling some of the more difficult issues so that we would actually achieve something this year," Curran said, "including revising the JSPA and looking at the whole question of licensing."
Although things were "kind of quiet" during the last year or two of Sun's stewardship of Java, Curran said, since Oracle assumed that role, things have "heated up" at the JCP. He estimated that since the JSRs for Java SE 7 were approved in December, about 17 JSRs have been submitted. That's compared with a handful submitted in the previous few years.
"The JCP is definitely unstuck," Curran said.
Posted by John K. Waters on 10/12/2011 at 8:59 AM0 comments
JavaFX was something of a darling of JavaOne this week. Oracle not only came through on its promised update of the Java user interface (UI) platform, it delivered additional features, such as a new HTML editor and the new WYSIWYG GUI design tool, Scene Builder, with this release. And JavaFX Script (which still exists as the open source Visage) has been replaced by Java APIs, so Java jocks can use their favorite IDEs to develop, compile and debug JavaFX 2.0 applications.
JavaFX 2.0 also adds support for Flash XML (FXML), an XML-based declarative markup language for defining the user interface in a JavaFX application. Scene Builder is essentially an FXML editor.
Oracle explains why FXML is a good thing on its JavaFX 2.0 documentation page:
"One of the advantages of FXML is that it is based on XML and is familiar to most developers, especially web developers and developers using other RIA platforms. Another advantage is that FXML is not a compiled language; you do not need to recompile the code to see the changes you make. A third advantage is that FXML makes it easy to see the structure of your application's scene graph. This, in turn, makes it easier to collaborate on user interfaces among the members of your development team."
JavaFX Script was created by Sun Microsystems engineer Chris Oliver back in 2006 as something called F3 ("Form Follows Function"), which, as he wrote in his blog back then, was created "to explore making GUI programming easier in general."
Oracle threw a spotlight on JavaFX 1.3 last year when it announced the Composer plug-in for NetBeans 6.9, which provided a visual layout tool for building JavaFX GUI apps along the lines of the Swing GUI builder for Java SE applications.
During Tuesday's keynote presentation, Nandini Ramani, vice president of development for Client Java at Oracle, and Adam Messinger, Oracle's VP of development for Fusion Middleware, demo'd JavaFX running on both an Apple iPad and a Google Android-based Samsung Galaxy tablet. "We want to hear from the community, Ramani said. "If this is something you want to see, we're happy to make it a priority." The next release of JavaFX (version 3.0) will be bundled with Java SE 8, Ramani told reporters yesterday.
She also disclosed Oracle's plans to open source JavaFX. Oracle will submit a proposal to open source the JavaFX platform as a new project within the OpenJDK Community she said, "ASAP." The company plans to start by contributing the JavaFX UI controls and related libraries, and will contribute other JavaFX components in multiple phases.
"I think [open sourcing JavaFX] is the right decision," Ramani said. "Now that we've reverted back to Java APIs, it's part of Java and makes sense there. And we believe that clients on the UI side need an updated, state-of-the-art set of APIs, and JavaFX is the right solution for that. It just makes sense for it to be in the community."
One of the many sessions at this year's conference that I regret not being able to attend is Gorilla Logic senior software developer Eric Bruno's Monday presentation, "JavaFX on Wall Street." This session looked at a project Bruno has been engaged in for "a leading national bank" in New York City, and his work with teams to build and deploy JavaFX components in an existing Java Swing application used by companies globally. Bruno deployed JavaFX 1.3.1 successfully, and is now moving to JavaFX 2.0.
With two conferences to navigate, it's not surprising that I was unable to connect with IDC analyst Al Hilwa, who was also onsite this week. But I managed to get his views on Oracle's JavaFX announcements via e-mail.
"Overall I like what I am seeing in the way JavaFX is moving," said IDC analyst Al Hilwa, who attended the conference. "Turning it into a framework to be used from within Java is definitely a better approach... I would love to see it [turn] Java back into a tool for cross-platform mobile development."
Posted by John K. Waters on 10/06/2011 at 9:00 AM3 comments
I spent Tuesday morning at the Hilton on JavaOne duty, but I made the long trip back to the Moscone Center after lunch to chat with some Oracle customers. My favorite of the day was Mike Riley, president of the Oracle Development Tools User Group (ODTUG). Riley is a big, affable guy with more than 20 years of experience in the field and what you might call a self-conscious passion for Oracle tools and the community that uses them.
"That's just another way of saying I'm an old fart," he said.
The ODTUG was founded about 18 years ago "by developers, for developers," Riley told me. It's an independent, not-for-profit, global organization that aims to provide education, support, advocacy and networking opportunities for developers working on Oracle Databases. Members, who number close to 25,000, Riley said, design applications, model data, write code, manage app systems, maintain legacy code and, as the Web site puts it, "are key to the middle-tier technology in Oracle Fusion."
The group started with a focus on Designer, and evolved into several different technologies, Riley said. Today, it supports virtually any tool that can be used to develop applications against an Oracle DB, whether that's Oracle's own tools (JDeveloper, Application Express, Forms and Reports, SQL Developer) or tools from a third party.
Riley was happy about many of Oracle's announcement at this year's show, including the new Exalytics Intelligence Machine, a hardware-plus-software business intelligence management appliance designed to handle relational, unstructured, and multidimensional data. He said it would be very good for the business intelligence and Hyperion users. But he was particularly excited about one of the quieter announcements at this year's conference: the release of 11g R2 Forms.
"We're thrilled with that news," he said. "It shows that Oracle is extending their commitment to Forms even further down the line, which is important for a lot of our users."
Oracle Forms, of course, is software for developing screens that interact with an Oracle database. It's a component of Oracle's Fusion Middleware stack, and it's widely used to design and build enterprise applications. On its website, Oracle pledges to continue supporting Forms. The company "remains committed to the development of this technology, and to the ongoing release as a component of the Oracle platform."
Many of the organizations in which ODTUG's core membership work are heavily invested in Forms, Riley said, including his own employer. Riley's day job is project manager and development DBA for Hortica, a company that specializes in providing insurance and employee benefits for the horticulture industry (garden centers, nurseries, florists, landscape contractors, etc.). The company was founded in the 1800s by a group of florists who wanted to protect their greenhouses from the ravages of hail.
"Oracle Forms is what we do," Riley said. "We've developed a lot of custom Forms that we're hoping that we don't have to get out of."
When Riley started with Hortica, the company had just purchased Oracle 6, and Forms was in the 2.3 release, so he's seen a lot of changes in the technology.
"Most of them have been good," he said. "It's nice to have an integrated solution that's optimized for the entire stack. You have no questions about the parts you get not being optimal for your software or the database behind it."
Riley is also one of 25 user-group leaders promoting a new tool developed by the International Oracle Users Group Community (IOUC) at this year's conference. Dubbed the "Your Path to Understanding Fusion Applications" tool, it's designed to help users... well... understand Fusion applications. The tool reportedly takes the form on an online map that resembles a London Tube map. It was drawn by Sten Versterli from the Danish Oracle User Group. I say "reportedly" because it won't be live for another two months.
"Because we do the Fusion development tools, we feel that we are a critical component of the Fusion application ecosystem," he said. "So it makes sense for us to participate in this project."
Riley was quick to plug his organization's upcoming Kscope 12 Conference in San Antonio, Texas, June 24-28 at the JW Marriott. Formerly called ODTUG Kaleidoscope, the event features sessions and presentations on a pretty wide range of technologies, including Hyperion and Essbase, not to mention Forms and Reports.
"If you use Java, PHP, ColdFusion, Toad, Visual Basic, or Visual C++, among others, ODTUG is the forum for talking about your approach and learning what other developers are doing," the website declares.
"We have a lot of good resources for the community," Riley says. "But we're not the only user group out there. My message to the customers of Oracle is definitely to get involved in a user group. They're that extra layer of support, and influence, that users really need."
Posted by John K. Waters on 10/05/2011 at 2:43 PM0 comments