Archive for the ‘WebCenter Spaces’ Category

Tick, Tock, WebCenter Interaction…

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

While we may eventually see the new version of WebCenter Interaction (code name: Neo) this year, we’ve been hearing about it for what seems like years now. Neo will be more of a patch release – say, 10gR4 or 10.3.3 – rather than a new major revision. Pre-release versions have been out there for some time now; see Jeremy’s excellent post for some idea of what to expect with this build.

Whatever it ends up being called, Neo is largely a refresh to get additional platform support (64-bit, IIS7, Windows 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2010). The pre-release version that we’ve been working with has a couple of interesting new features – especially around Collaboration – but it remains to be seen whether these make the final cut. This will certainly be the last significant WebCenter Interaction release, and it’s time to start thinking about what happens next.

The support clock is ticking:

Oracle wants you on WebCenter suite, but you have choices. At Integryst, we spend a lot of time discussing the “Post-WCI World“, and the choices faced by our clients when deciding whether to remain on the Oracle stack or move to a different platform entirely.

Either way, we’ve got you covered. As always, stay tuned to this blog to read the latest coverage of new and noteworthy tips and tricks for WCI. But, in the coming weeks and months, you’ll start seeing more posts discussing alternate portal-type technologies, including Atlassian Confluence (wiki), Alfresco (document management), Frevvo (forms/workflow) and Drupal (Content Management, Collaboration).

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.