Posts Tagged ‘WCI’

WebCenter Spaces, Weblogic, ALUI, Plumtree, Oh My!

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

When BEA acquired Plumtree and repositioned everything under the Aqualogic User Interaction brand, they made a decision that few of us consultants thought was incredibly logical: they kept the Plumtree product line separate from the BEA product line.  We commonly heard stories where a “BEA Classic” salesperson and “Plumtree” salesperson were calling the same customer prospect, one touting the virtues of the Weblogic Portal and the other touting the Plumtree Portal.  Of course, this was odd since at that point we all worked for the same company, and in my opinion, they never were really even the same product: WebLogic Portal was a set of APIs for developing a portal; Plumtree Portal was an out-of-the-box product that you largely configured rather than programmed.  So if you were a Java shop and/or had developers who could code and compile web apps, you should be using WLP.  If you were a .NET shop and/or didn’t have a development team, ALUI was the way to go.

Since Oracle now owns these product stacks, there are three “portal” offerings – and, if you buy the Oracle WebCenter Suite, you own them all:

  1. Weblogic Portal.  Built as a set of APIs that allowed developers to create portal applications in Eclipse on top of WebLogic Server, this was a powerful set of libraries that provided a great environment for Java shops to code their web interfaces to back-end applications.
  2. AquaLogic User Interaction (aka WebCenter Interaction).  Built as an out-of-the-box portal, the Plumtree application was designed to be open and flexible, but more for mixed (.NET/Java, Oracle/SQL Server) shops to configure the web interfaces to their applications.
  3. WebCenter Spaces.  This is basically Oracle’s “portal”, which provides a web-based UI to access various social networking and personal productivity (read: Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking) features provided by WebCenter Services.

I can’t profess to know the exact plans that Oracle has here, but it seems pretty clear to most outside observers (and most insiders I’ve spoken to): WebLogic Portal and WebCenter Interaction will continue to be supported for years to come, but Oracle is throwing its weight behind WebCenter Spaces.  This has a couple of implications for legacy Plumtree customers:

  1. Oracle is going down the path that the Weblogic Portal took – while a lot of the functionality you need (such as Collaborative and Social tools) will be available out of the box through WebCenter Services, you will be doing most of your customizations with Java in jDeveloper.
  2. If you’re a .NET shop, you need to brace yourself for a huge learning curve, or consider looking at other platforms, such as SharePoint, or a hybrid solution using tools like Confluence, WordPress, and some glue that holds the pieces together.
  3. There still is no formal migration plan for getting from WCI to Spaces.  Although Oracle has promised it for some time, a migration will not be a one-click process, so when you’re evaluating what to do “after WCI” – whether you’re Java or .NET – consider ALL available options, as a migration from WCI to Spaces could be as complicated as just “starting over”.
  4. Each of the individual products in the stack has its own migration path.  For example, WCI configurations will need to be migrated to WebCenter Spaces, Publisher content will need to be migrated to Oracle Universal Content Manager (UCM), and Collaboration and Studio will need to be migrated to their equivalent WebCenter Services.

Regardless of what path you choose, at this point it’s pretty clear:  you need to start thinking about a long-term strategy in a post-Plumtree world.  As a vendor-agnostic consulting firm, Integryst can help you choose your way – or help implement whatever technology you’ve ultimately chosen.

“I’m nawt dead yet!”: WCI getting some love at Oracle?

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Woah, what’s this?  Perhaps rumors of WebCenter Interaction’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.  The Little Portal That Could seems to have gained a foothold – however slight – in an Oracle site at communities.oracle.com.

I don’t really know how long this has been available – or even if it’s an official Oracle site – and maybe you’ve already heard of it.  But I think it’s promising that at least the old AquaLogic User Interaction is getting some mindshare over at the Oracle mothership.

Ironically, this portal is still BEA’s ALUI version 6.5:

alui-6-5

.. and not Oracle’s WebCenter Interaction (10gR3).  It would have been even neater if this was a preview release of the much-fabled 11g, but I’m not complaining.  The site does look pretty interesting in an “Enterprise 2.0-y” kind of way and appears to have some neat social features such as tagging, profiles, and a much more integrated Collab (if it’s even Collaboration Server at all?).  Maybe this will some day replace that terrible flash-based support.oracle.com site?  A person can hope…

Check it out at http://communities.oracle.com/ – your support credentials should work to get you logged in:

oracle-communities

Finally, special thanks to Monty Pyton, Mark Twain, and, uh, The Little Engine That Could for providing the mixed metaphore fodder above…

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