Anthony Shorten

Subscribe to Anthony Shorten feed
Oracle Blogs
Updated: 5 hours 7 min ago

Welcome to 2019 for the Oracle Utilities products

Sun, 2019-01-06 17:33

Welcome to 2019 for all my blog readers. 2019 is looking like a stellar year for the Oracle Utilities products with exciting new features and new versions being introduced across the year. I look forward to writing articles about new features as well as articles outlining advanced techniques for existing features. I will endeavor to write an article every week or so which is a challenge as we get very busy over certain periods but I will try and keep up as much as practical.

It is going to be an exciting year for the Oracle Utilities Application Framework and Utilities Testing Accelerator with exciting new and updated features. Also remember this year we have Edge conferences in the USA, Australia and England which I will be attending, so feel free to come and chat to me there as well.

Registering a Service Request With Oracle Support

Tue, 2018-11-20 22:25

As with other vendors, Oracle provides a web site My Oracle Support for customers to find information as well as register service requests for bugs and enhancements they want us to pursue. Effective use of this facility can both save you time as well as help you find the information you might need to answer your questions.

Most customers think My Oracle Support is the place to get patches but it is far more of a resource than that. Apart from patches for all its products it provides some important resources for customers and partners including:

  • Knowledge Base - A set of articles that cover all the Oracle products with announcements and advice. For example all the whitepapers you see available from this blog end up as Knowledge Base articles. Product Support and Product Development regularly publish to that part of MOS to provide customers and partner up to date information.
  • Communities - For most Oracle products, there are communities of people who can answer questions. Some partners actually share implementation tips in these communities and they can become self sustaining with advice about features that have been actually implemented and tips on how to best implement them from partners and customers. Oracle Product Support and Development monitor those communities to see trends as well as determine possible optimizations to our products. They are yet another way you can contribute to the product.

Now to help you navigate the site, I have compiled a list of the most common articles that you might find useful. This list is not comprehensive and I would recommend that you look at the site to find more than what is listed here:

For more articles I suggest you use the terms OUAF or Oracle Utilities Application Framework in the search. For specific product advice, use the product acronym or product name in the search to find articles.

Building Your Batch Architecture with Batch Edit

Tue, 2018-11-13 17:08

With the introduction of Oracle Coherence to our batch architecture introduces both power and flexibility to the architecture to support a wide range of batch workloads. But to quote one of the late Stan Lee's iconic characters "With great power comes great responsibility" configuration of this architecture can be challenging for complex scenarios. To address this the product introduced a text based utility called Batch Edit.

The Batch Edit utility is a text based wizard to help implementers build simple and complex batch architectures without the need for complex editing of configuration files. The latter is still supported for more experienced implementers but the main focus is for inexperienced implementers to be able to build and maintain a batch architecture easily using this new wizard.

The use of Batch Edit ( command) is totally optional and to use it you must enable it in you must change the Enable Batch Edit Functionality to true using the -a command. For example:

This is necessary for backward compatibility.

Now that it is enabled the wizard can be use to build the configuration.  Here are a few tips in using it:

  • The command has command options that need to be specified to edit parts of the architecture. The table below lists the command options:
Command Line Usage -c Edit the cluster configuration. -w Edit the threadpoolworker configuration. -s Edit the submitter configuration.
  • Use the -h option for a full list of options and combinations.
  • Within you can setup different scenarios using predefined templates:
Configuration Scope Styles Supported Cluster

We support the following templates in respect to clusters:

  • Single Server (ss) - This is ideal for simple non-production environments to restrict
  • Unicast Server (wka) - Well Known Address based clusters with the ability to define nodes in your cluster within the wizard.
  • Multi-cast Server (mc) - Using Multi-cast for dynamic node management and configuration.

It is possible to setup a individual or groups of threadpools using the tool with the following templates:

  • Standard Threapools - Setting up individual threadpools or groups of threadpools with macro and micro level configuration (including sizing and caching)
  • Cache Threadpools - Support for caching threadpools which are popular with complex setups to drastically reduce the network traffic across nodes.
  • Admin Threadpools - Support for reserving threadpools for management and monitoring capabilities (this reduces the JMX overhead)

If you not using the DBMS_SCHEDULER interface, which uses Batch Control for parameters, then properties files for the submitters will be required. The utility allows for the following types of submitter files to be generated and maintained:

  • Global configuration - Set global defaults for all batch controls. For example, it is possible to specify the product user used for authorization purposes.
  • Specific Batch Control configuration - Set the parameters for specific Batch Controls.

For example:

  • Within each template there are a list of settings with help on each setting to help decide the values. The utility allows setting each parameter individually using in-line commands. Use the set command to set values. Use help to get context sensitive help on individual parameters. For example:

  • One of the most important commands is save which applies the changes you have made.

The Batch Edit utility uses templates provided by product to build configuration files without user interaction. It is highly recommended for customers who do not want to manually manage templates or configurations for batch or do not have in-depth Oracle Coherence knowledge.

For more information about the Batch Edit utility refer to the Server Administration Guide shipped with the product and Batch Best Practices (Doc Id: 836362.1) available from My Oracle Support. Customers wanting to know about the DBMS_SCHEDULER interface should refer to Batch Scheduler Integration (Doc Id: 2196486.1) available from My Oracle Support.

Revision Control Basics

Sun, 2018-10-21 17:53

One of the features of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework is Revision Control. This is an optional facility where you can version manage your ConfigTools objects natively within the browser. Revision Control supports the following capabilities:

  • Adding an object for the first time.  The new object is automatically checked out by the system on behalf of the current user.  The revision is finalized when the user checks in the object or reverts all changes.  The latter causes the object to be restored to the version at check-out time.
  • Updating an object requires the object to be checked out prior to making any change.  A user can either manually check out an object or the first save confirms an automatic check out with the user.  The revision is finalized when the user checks in the object or reverts all changes.  
  • Deletion is captured. Deleting an object results in a new revision record capturing the object at deletion time. This does not remove the object from Object Revision. It also allows for restores in the future if necessary.
  • Restoring generated a new revision. Restoring an object also results in a new revision capturing the object after being restored to an older version.
  • State is important. An object is considered checked out if it has a revision in a non-final state.
  • Algorithms control the revision. A Revision Control Maintenance Object plug-in spot is introduced to enforce revision rules such as preventing from a user to work on an object checked out by another user.  Revision control is an optional feature that can be turned on for each eligible maintenance object.  To turn the feature on for a Maintenance Object, a revision control algorithm has to be plugged in to it.  
  • Automatic revision dashboard zones. A new Revision Control context sensitive dashboard zone is provided to manage the above revision events, except the restore, for the current object being maintained.  The zone is visible only if the Maintenance Object has this feature turned on.  A hyperlink from this zone navigates to a new Revision History portal listing the history of revision events for the current object.      
  • Tracking objects. A dashboard zone is provided that shows all the objects currently being checked out by the user.  
  • Search revision history. In addition, a Revision History Search portal is provided to search and see information about a user's historical work and the historical revisions to an object.

Revision Control supports the ability to check in, check out and revert versions of objects you develop in ConfigTools from within the browser interface. Additionally the Revision Control supports team based development with supervisor functions to force state of versions allocated to individuals. The diagram below summarizes the facilities:

Note: By default Revision Control is disabled by default and the F1-REVCTL algorithm must be added as a Revision Control algorithm on the ConfigTools Maintenance Objects it applies to. For example:

Once enabled whenever the configured object is edited a Revision Control dashboard zone will be displayed depending on the state of the object within the Revision Control system.

The state of a revision can be queried using the Revision Control Search. For example:

This is has just been a summary of some of the features of Revision Control. Refer to the online documentation for additional advice and a full description of the features.

Oracle Utilities Documentation

Mon, 2018-10-08 22:20

One of the most common questions I get from partners and customers is the location of the documentation for the product. In line with most Oracle products there are three locations for documentation:

  • Online Help. The product ships with online help which has information about the screens and advice on the implementation and extension techniques available. Of course, this assumes you have installed the product first. Help can be accessed using the assigned keyboard shortcut or using the help icon on the product screens.
  • Oracle Software Delivery Cloud. Along with the installation media for the products, it is possible to download PDF versions of all the documentation for offline use. This is usually indicated on the download when selecting the version of the product to down though it can downloaded at anytime.
  • Oracle Utilities Help Center. As with other Oracle products, all the documentation is available online via the Oracle Help Center (under Industries --> Utilities).

The following documentation is available:

Document Usage Audience Release Notes Summary of the changes and new features in the Oracle Utilities product Implementation Teams Quick Install Summary of the technical installation process including prerequisites UNIX Administrators Installation Guide Detailed software installation guide for the Oracle Utilities product. UNIX Administrators Optional Products Installation Summary of any optional additional or third party products used for the Oracle Utilities product. This guide only exists if optional products are certified/supported with the product. UNIX Administrators Database Administrator's Guide Installation, management and guidelines for use with the Oracle Utilities product. DBA Administrators Licensing Information User Manual Legal license information relating to the Oracle Utilities product and related products UNIX Administrators Administrative User Guide Offline copy of the Administration documentation for the Oracle Utilities product. This is also available via the online help installed with the product. Implementation Teams, Developers Business User Guide Offline copy of the Business and User documentation for the Oracle Utilities product. This is also available via the online help installed with the product. Implementation Teams, Developers Package Organization Summary Summary of the different packages included in the Oracle Utilities product. This may not exist for single product installations. Implementation Teams Server Administration Guide Guide to the technical configuration settings, management utilities and other technical architecture aspects of the Oracle Utilities product. UNIX Administrators Security Guide Guide to the security aspects of the Oracle Utilities product centralized in a single document. Covers both security functionality and technical security capabilities. This is design for use by Security personnel to design their security solutions. Implementation Teams API Reference Notes Summary of the API's provided with the Oracle Utilities product. This is also available via online features. Developers Developers Guide This is the Oracle Utilities SDK guide for using the Eclipse based development tools for extending the Oracle Utilities product using Java. Partners using the ConfigTools or Groovy should use the Administrative User Guide instead. Developers

Be familiar with this documentation as well as Oracle Support which has additional Knowledge Base articles.

Oracle Utilities Technical Best Practices whitepaper updated

Thu, 2018-10-04 18:21

With the release of Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4. the Technical Best Practices whitepaper has been updated with the latest advice and latest information.

The following changes have been made:

  • Overview of the Health Check capability
  • Preparing your Implementation for the Oracle Cloud - An overview of the objects that need to be changed to prepare for the migration from on-premise to the Oracle Cloud
  • Optimization techniques for minimizing costs.

The latest version is located in Technical Best Practices (Doc Id: 560367.1) available from My Oracle Support.

Running OUAF Database Installation in Non-Interactive Mode

Wed, 2018-10-03 23:47

Over the past few releases, the Oracle Utilities Application Framework introduced Java versions of our installers which were originally shipped as part of the Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities (for Oracle Enterprise Manager). To use these utilities you need to set the CLASSPATH as outlined in the DBA Guides shipped with the product. Each product ships a Install-Upgrade sub-directory which contains the install files. Change to that directory to perform the install. If you want some custom storage parameters update Storage,xml and StorageOps.xml files.

Use the following command line to install the database components:

java -Xmx1500M -d jdbc:oracle:thin:@<DB_SERVER>:<PORT>/<SID>,<DBUSER>,<DBPASS>,<RW_USER>,<R_USER>,<RW_USER_ROLE>,<R_USER_ROLE>,<DBUSER> -l 1,2 -j $JAVA_HOME


Parameter Comments <DB_SERVER> Host Name for Database Server <PORT> Listener Port for Database Server <SID> Database Service Name (PDB or non-PDB) <DBUSER> Administration Account for product (owns the schema) (created in earlier step) <DBPASS> Password for Administration Account (created in earlier step) <RW_USER> Database Read-Write User for Product (created in earlier step) <R_USER> Database Read Only User for Product (created in earlier step) <RW_USER_ROLE> Database Role for Read Write (created in earlier step) <R_USER_ROLE> Database Role for Read (created in earlier step)

That will run the install directly.

If you added additional users to your installation and want to generate the security definitions for those users then you need to run the new oragensec utility:

java -Xmx1500M -d <DBUSER>,<DBPASS>,jdbc:oracle:thin:@<DB_SERVER>:<PORT>/<SID> -a A -r <R_USER_ROLE>,<RW_USER_ROLE> -u <RW_USER>,<R_USER>

Where <RW_USER> is the additional user that you want to generate security for. You will need to provide <R_USER> as well.

What's New In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4 Whitepaper updated

Thu, 2018-09-27 15:53

The What's New In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4 has been updated to reflect the latest changes implemented in Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4. The whitepaper has been updated with the latest information and is in the new whitepaper format to make it easier to read.

This is one of the last updates to this whitepaper as it was designed to help older Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.x customers to understand the changes to the Oracle Utilities Application Framework since those releases. Given most of the information is already in the release notes and the vast majority of customers are in the process of migration or have migrated successfully, the whitepaper has limited use after the next service pack or major release.

The whitepaper is available for download from What's New In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4 (Doc Id: 1177265.1) from My Oracle Support.

New Process Flow Functionality

Tue, 2018-09-25 14:41

In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4. we introduced an exciting new capability to model and process multi-step long running business processes solely using the ConfigTools functionality. The capability allows implementation to specify a complex step by step process, with associated objects, to perform a business process with the following capabilities:

  • Forward and Back. The ability to move forward though a process and also backtrack in the process if the process permits it. For example, you might be interacting with a customer on the phone or via chat and the customer changes their mind about a particular part of the process. The operator can move back to the relevant part of the process to correct the interaction. A train UI element has been added to visually emphasize the location in the process. For example:

Example Train

  • Save At Any Time.  The ability to pause and save a business process in transit at any time. The Process Flow will pick up from the save point to continue the process.
  • Model Complex Processing. It is possible to model simple and complex processing with branching, multiple panel support and panel group support. The latter allows groups of panels within a single step to be modeled.
  • State Query. A Process Flow State Query has been introduced to allow for users to find processes in progress and deal with them appropriately. For example:

Example Process Flow Query

  • Flexible Configuration. From a single maintenance dialog the Process Flow can be configured including Flow Attributes, Panel sequences, conditions and buttons visible at each stage. It should be noted that a library of common objects including UI Maps is provided with the capability to reduce the configuration effort. For example:

Example Flow Configuration

The Process View is used in the Oracle Utilities Application Framework based applications to deliver key processes out of the box for on-premise and extensively in the Oracle Utilities Cloud Services (SaaS) accelerators. It is also used in the Oracle Utilities Cloud Service Foundation which is a component provided with each Oracle Utilities Cloud Service (SaaS).

Refer to the online documentation for details of the capability as well as sequences of objects to create to use this facility.

Cube Explorer - A new way of viewing your data

Mon, 2018-09-24 18:28

One of the most common uses for spreadsheets these days is to Pivot information. It is a way of displaying information using multiple dimensions in a way that make it easier to analyze. In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4., introduces a new zone paradigm called the Cube Viewer which allows for pivot style analysis to be configured and made available to authorized users.

The Cube Viewer is a new way of displaying and analyzing information with the following capabilities:

  • Dynamic Configuration. End users can dynamically change the look and subset of data available to the Cube within the user interface.
  • Save and Load Views. As with other zones, it is possible to save all the dynamic configuration for reuse across sessions. This allows optimizations at the user level.
  • Configurable Selection Criteria. Allows for users to supply criteria for sub-setting the data to be displayed. For example:

Example Selection Criteria

  • Comparison Support. Allowing two sets of criteria data to be available for comparison purposes. For example:

Example Comparison Criteria

  • Different Views. It is possible to view the data in a variety of formats including data views or graphically. This helps users to understand data in the style they prefer. It is possible to even see the raw data that the analysis was based upon. For example:

Example different views

  • Multiple Dimensions Supported. The dimensions for the Cube are available including any dimensions not shown but available. For example:

Example dimensions

  • Configurable View Columns. List of columns to display for selection. For example:

Example value columns

  • Flexible Formatting.  The Cube Viewer allows for custom formula to be dynamically added for on the fly analysis.

Example formatting

  • Dynamic Filtering. The Cube Viewers allows for filters to be dynamically imposed at both the global and hierarchical levels to allow for focused analysis.

Example Filtering

To use Cube Viewer the following can be configured:

  • Query Portal - A query portal is built containing the SQL and any derived columns for use in the analysis. Filters (User and Hidden) are specified for use in the Cube Viewer. Column displayed are used as the basis for the Cube Viewer display.
  • Business Service - The query portal is defined as a Business Service using the standard FWLZDEXP application service.
  • Cube Type (New Object) - Define the Service and capabilities of the cube in a new object.
  • Cube View (New Object) - Define the Portal to display the Cube Viewer/Cube Type

This process is shown as follows:

Configuration Overview

The Cube Viewer is an exciting new way of allowing users to interact with data and provide value added analysis.

Note: This capability can be used independently of the use of the Oracle Database In-Memory capability. Use with the Oracle Database In-Memory can allow for more advanced analytics to be implemented with increased performance.

For more information about the Cube Viewer, refer to the online documentation supplied with the product.

New Batch Level Of Service Algorithms

Sun, 2018-09-23 18:25

Batch Level Of Service allows implementations to register a service target on individual batch controls and have the Oracle Utilities Application Framework assess the current performance against that target.

In past releases of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework the concept of Batch Level Of Service was introduced. This is an algorithm point that assess the value of a performance metric against a target and returns the appropriate response to that target. By default, if configured, the return value is returned on the Batch Control maintenance screen or whenever called. For example:

Example Batch Control

It was possible to build an algorithm to set and check the target and return the appropriate level. This can be called manually, be available via the Health Service API or used in custom Query Portals. For example:

Example Portal

In this release a number of enhancements have been introduced:

  • Possible to specify multiple algorithms. If you want to model multiple targets it is now possible to link more than one algorithm to a batch control. The appropriate level will be returned (the worst case) for the multiple algorithms.
  • More Out Of The Box algorithms. In past releases a basic generic algorithm was supplied but additional algorithms are now provided to include additional metrics:
Batch Control Description F1-BAT-LVSVC Original Generic Algorithm to evaluate Error Count and Time Since Completion F1-BAT-ERLOS Compare Count Of Records in Error to Threshold F1-BAT-RTLOS Compare Total Batch Run Time to Threshold F1-BAT-TPLOS Compare Throughput to Threshold

For more information about these algorithms refer to the algorithm entries themselves and the online documentation.

New File Adapter - Native File Storage

Thu, 2018-09-20 17:59

In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4., a new File Adapter has been introduced to parameterize locations across environments. In previous releases, environment variables or path's where hard coded to implement locations of files.

With the introduction of the Oracle Utilities Cloud SaaS Services, the location of files are standardized and to reduce maintenance costs, these paths are not parameterized using an Extendable Lookup (F1-FileStorage) defining the path alias and the physical location. The on-premise version of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4. supports local storage (including network storage) using this facility. The Oracle Utilities Cloud SaaS version supports both local (predefined) and Oracle Object Storage Cloud.

For example:

Example Lookup

To use the alias in any FILE-PATH (for example) the URL is used in the FILE-PATH:

file-storage://MYFILES/mydirectory  (if you want to specify a subdirectory under the alias)



Now, if you migrate to another environment (the lookup is migrated using Configuration Migration Assistant) then this record can be altered. If you are moving to the Cloud then this adapter can change to Oracle Object Storage Cloud. This reduces the need to change individual places that uses the alias.

It is recommended to take advantage of this capability:

  • Create an alias per location you read or write files from in your Batch Controls. Define it using the Native File Storage adapter. Try and create the minimum number of alias as possible to reduce maintenance costs.
  • Change all the FILE-PATH parameters in your batch controls to the use the relevant file-storage URL.

If you decide to migrate to the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud, these Extensable Lookup values will be the only thing that changes to realign the implementation to the relevant location on the Cloud instance. For on-premise implementation and the cloud, these definitions are now able to be migrated using Configuration Migration Assistant.

Object Erasure capability introduced in

Wed, 2018-09-19 17:45

With data privacy regulations around the world being strengthened data management principles need to be extended to most objects in the product. In the past, Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) was introduced for transaction object management and is continued to be used today in implementations for effective data management. When designing the ILM capability, it did not make sense to extend it to be used for Master data such as Account, Persons, Premises, Meters, Assets, Crews etc as data management and privacy rules tend to be different for these types of objects.

In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4., we have introduced Object Erasure to support Master Data and take into account purging as well as obfuscation of data. This new capability is complementary to Information Lifecycle Management to offer full data management capability. This new capability does not replace Information Lifecycle Management or depends on Information Lifecycle Management being licensed. Customers using Information Lifecycle Management in conjunction with Object Erasure can implement full end to end data management capabilities.

The idea behind Object Erasure is as follows:

  • Any algorithm can call the Manage Erasure algorithm on the associated Maintenance Object to check for the conditions to ascertain that the object is eligible for object erasure. This is flexible to allow implementations to have the flexibility to initiate the process from a wide range of possibilities. This can be as simple as checking some key fields or some key data on an object (you decide the criteria). The Manage Erasure algorithm is used to detect the conditions, collate relevant information and call the F1-ManageErasureSchedule Business Service to create an Erasure Schedule Business Object in a Pending state to initiate the process. A set of generic Erasure Schedule Business Objects is provided (for example, a generic Purge Object for use in Purging data) and you can create your own to record additional information.
  • The Erasure Schedule BO has three states which can be configured with algorithms (usually Enter Algorithms, a set are provided for reuse with the product).
    • Pending - This is the initial state of the erasure
    • Erased - This is the most common final state indicating the object has been erased or been obfuscated.
    • Discarded - This is an alternative final state where the record can be parked (for example, if the object becomes eligible, an error has occurred in the erasure or reversal of obfuscation is required).
  • A new Erasure Monitor (F1-OESMN) Batch Control can be used to transition the Erasure Schedule through its states and perform the erasure or obfuscation activity.

Here is a summary of this processing:

Erasure Flow

Note: The base supplied Purge Enter algorithm (F1-OBJERSPRG) can be used for most requirements. It should be noted that it does not remove the object from the _K Key tables to avoid conflicts when reallocating identifiers.

The solution has been designed with a portal to link all the element together easily and the product comes with a set of pre-defined objects ready to use. The portal also allows an implementer to configure Erasure Days which is effectively the number of days the record remains in the Erasure Schedule before being considered by the Erasure Monitor (a waiting period basically).

Erasure Configuration

As an implementer you can just build the Manage Erasure algorithm to detect the business event or you can also write the algorithms to perform all of the processing (and every variation in between). The Erasure will respect any business rules configured for the Maintenance Object so the erasure or obfuscation will only occur if the business rules permit it.

Customers using Information Lifecycle Management can manage the storage of Erasure Schedule objects using Information Lifecycle Management.

Objects Provided

The Object Erasure capability supplies a number of objects you can use for your implementation:

  • Set of Business Objects. A number of Erasure Schedule Business Objects such as F1-ErasureScheduleRoot (Base Object), F1-ErasureScheduleCommon (Generic Object for Purges) and F1-ErasureScheduleUser (for user record obfuscation). Each product may ship additional Business Objects.
  • Common Business Services. A number of Business Services including F1-ManageErasureSchedule to use within your Manage Erasure algorithm to create the necessary Erasure Schedule Object.
  • Set of Manage Erasure Algorithms. For each predefined Object Erasure object provided with the product, a set of Manage Erasure algorithms are supplied to be connected to the relevant Maintenance Object.
  • Erasure Monitor Batch Control. The F1-OESMN Batch Control provided to manage the Erasure Schedule Object state transition.
  • Enter Algorithms. A set of predefined Enter algorithms to use with the Erasure Schedule Object to perform common outcomes including Purge processing.
  • Erasure Portal. A portal to display and maintain the Object Erasure configuration.
Refer to the online documentation for further advice on Object Erasure.

Oracle Utilities Customer To Meter/Customer Care And Billing is available

Tue, 2018-09-18 19:03

Oracle Utilities Customer To Meter and Oracle Utilities Customer Care And Billing are now available for download from Oracle eDelivery Cloud. These new releases are based upon Oracle Utilities Application Framework with new and updated functionality.

For details of the release, refer to the release notes and documentation available from Oracle eDelivery Cloud and Oracle Utilities Help Center.

Inbound Web Services - REST Services

Tue, 2018-09-18 14:43

In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4., the Inbound Web Services object has been extended to support both SOAP and REST based services. This has a lot of advantages:

  • Centralized web services registration. The interface Application Programming Interface (API) are now centralized in the Inbound Web Services object. This means you can manage all your programmatic interfaces from a single object. This helps when using the Web Service Catalog used for Oracle Integration Cloud Service as well as any API management capabilities.
  • Isolation from change. One of the major features of the REST capability within Inbound Web Services is the the URI is no longer fixed but can be different from the underlying service. This means you can isolate your interface clients from changes.
  • Standardization. The Inbound Web Services object has inherent standards that can be reused across both SOAP and REST based services. For example, the ConfigTools object model can be directly wired into the service reducing time.
  • Reduced cost of maintenance. One of the features of the new capability is to group all your interfaces into a minimal number of registrations. This reduces maintenance and allows you to control groups of interfaces easily.

The Inbound Web Services now supports two Web Service Classes:

  • SOAP - Traditional XAI and IWS based services based around the SOAP protocol. These services will be deployed to the Oracle WebLogic Server.
  • REST - RESTful based services that are now registered for use. These services are NOT deployed as they are used directly using the REST execution engine.

Inbound Web Service Business Object

For REST Services, a new optimized maintenance function is now available. This facility has the following capabilities:

  • Multiple Services in one definition. It is now possible to define multiple REST services in one registration. This reduces maintenance effort and the interfaces can be enabled and disabled at the Inbound Web Service level. Each REST Service is regarded as an operation on the Inbound Web Service.
  • Customizable URI for service. The URL used for the REST Service can be the same or different than the operation.
  • Business Object Support. In past releases, Business Objects were not supported. In this release, there are some limited support for Business Objects. Refer to the Release Notes and online documentation for clarification of level of support.
  • Open API Support.  This release introduces Open API support for documenting the REST API.

For example, the new Inbound Web Services maintenance function for REST is as follows:

Example REST Inbound Web Service definition

Active REST Services are available to the REST execution engine.

Open API (OAS3) Support has been introduced which provides the following:

  • Documentation of the API in various formats. The documentation of the REST based API based upon the meta data stored in the product.
  • Ability to authorize Inbound Web Services directly in Open API. It is possible to authorize the API directly from the Open API documentation. Developers can check the API prior to making it active.
  • Multiple formats supported. Developers can view payloads in various formats including Model format.
  • Ability to download the API. You can download the API directly from the documentation in Open API format. This allows the API to be imported into Development IDE's.
  • Ability to testing inline. Active API's can be tested directly into the documentation.

The following are examples of the documentation:

API Header including Authorization (Note: Server URL is generic as this server is NOT active).

Open API Support - Authorization

Operation/API List:

Open API Support - URL List

Request API with inbuilt testing facility:

Open API Support - API Request

Response API with response codes:

Open API Support - API Response

Model Format:

Open API Support - Model List

For more information about REST support, refer to the online documentation or Web Services Best Practices (Doc Id: 2214375.1) from My Oracle Support.

Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4. Release

Mon, 2018-09-17 18:05

Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4. based products will be released over the coming months. As with past release the Oracle Utilities Application Framework has been enhanced with new and updated features for on-premise, hybrid and cloud implementations of Oracle Utilities products.

The Oracle Utilities Application Framework continues to provide a flexible and wide ranging set of common services and technology to allow implementations the ability to meet the needs of their customers.  The latest release provides a wide range of new and updated capabilities to reduce costs and introduce exciting new functionality. The products ships with a complete listing of the changes and new functionality but here are some highlights:

  • Improved REST Support - The REST support for the product has been enhanced in this release. It is now possible to register REST Services in Inbound Web Services as REST. Inbound Web Services definitions have been enhanced to support both SOAP and REST Services. This has the advantage that the registration of integration is now centralized and the server URL for the services can be customized to suit individual requirements. It is now possible to register multiple REST Services within a single Inbound Web Services to reduce costs in management and operations. Execution of the REST Services has been enhanced to use the Registry as the first reference for a service. No additional deployment effort is necessary for this capability. A separate article on this topic will provide additional information.
  • Improved Web Registry Support for Integration Cloud Service - With the changes in REST and other integration changes such as Categories and supporting other adapters, the Web Service Catalog has been expanded to add support REST and other services directly for integration registration for use in the Oracle Integration Cloud.
  • File Access Adapter - In this release a File Adapter has been introduced to allow implementations to parameterize all file integration to reduce costs of management of file paths and ease the path to the Oracle Cloud. In Cloud implementations, an additional adapter is available to allow additional storage on the Oracle Object Storage Cloud to supplement cloud storage for Oracle Utilities SaaS solutions. The File Access Adapter includes an Extendable Lookup to define alias and physical location attributes. That lookup can then be used an alias for file paths in Batch Controls, etc.. A separate article on this topic will provide additional information.
  • Batch Start/End Date Time now part of Batch Instance Object - In past releases the Batch Start and End Dates and times where located as data elements with the thread attributes. This made analysis harder to perform. In this release these fields have been promoted as reportable fields directly on the Batch Instance Object for each thread. This will improve capabilities for reporting performance of batch jobs. For backward compatibility, these fields are only populated for new executions. The internal Business Service F1-GetBatchRunStartEnd has been extended to support the new columns and also detect old executions to return the correct values regardless.
  • New Level of Service Algorithms - In past releases, Batch Level Of Service required the building of custom algorithms for checking batch levels. In this release additional base algorithms for common scenarios like Total Run Time, Throughput and Error Rate are now provided for use. Additionally, it is now possible to define multiple Batch Level Of Service algorithms to model complex requirements. The Health Check API has been enhanced to return the Batch Level Of Service as well as other health parameters. A separate article on this topic will provide additional information.
  • Job Scope in DBMS_SCHEDULER interface - The DBMS_SCHEDULER Interface allowed for specification Batch Control and Global level of parameters as well as at runtime. In this release, it is possible to pre-define parameters within the interface at the Job level, allowing for support for control of individual instances Batch Controls that are used more than once across chains.
  • Ad-hoc Recalculation of To Do Priority - In the past release of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework an algorithm to dynamically reassess ad recalculate a To Do Priority was introduced. In this release, it is possible to invoke this algorithm in bulk using the new provided F1-TDCLP Batch Control.  This can be used with the algorithm to reassess To Do's to improve manual processing.
  • Introduction of a To Do Monitor Process and Algorithm - One of the issues with To Do's in the field has been that users can forget to manually close the To Do when the issue that caused the condition has been resolved. In this release a new batch control F1-TDMON and a new Monitor algorithm on the To Do Type has been added so that logic can be introduced to detect the resolution of the issue can lead to the product automatically closing the To Do.
  • New Schema Editor - Based upon feedback from partners and customers, the usability and capabilities of the Schema Editor have been improved to provide more information as part of the basic views to reduce rework and support cross browser development.
  • Process Flow Editor - A new capability has been added to the Oracle Utilities Application Framework to allow for complex workflows to be modeled and fully capable workflow introduced. This includes train support (including advanced navigation), saving incomplete work support, branching and object integration. This process flow editor was introduced internally successfully to use for our cloud automation in the Oracle Utilities Cloud Services Foundation and has now been introduced, in a new format, for use across the Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products. A separate article on this topic will provide additional information.
  • Improved Google Chrome Support - This release introduces extensive Google Chrome for Business support. Check the availability with each of the individual Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products.
  • New Cube Viewer - In the Oracle Utilities Market Settlements product we introduced a new Cube Viewer to embed advanced analytics into our products. That capability has been made generic and now included in the Oracle Utilities Application Framework so that products and implementations can now build their own cube analytical capabilities. In this release a series of new objects and ConfigTools objects have been introduce to build Cube Viewer based solutions. Note: The Cube Viewer has been built to operate independently of Oracle In-Memory Database support but would greatly benefit from use with Oracle In-Memory Database. A separate article on this topic will provide additional information.
  • Object Erasure Support - To support various data privacy regulations introduced across the world, a new Object Erasure capability has been introduced to manage the erasure or obfuscation of master objects within the Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products. This capability is complementary to the Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) capability introduced to manage transaction objects within the product. A number of objects and ConfigTools objects have been introduced to allow implementations to add Object Erasure to their implementations. A separate article on this topic will provide additional information.
  • Proactive Update ILM Switch Support - In past release, ILM eligibility and the ILM switch was performed in bulk exclusively by the ILM batch processes or using the Automatic Data Optimization (ADO) feature of the Oracle Database. To work more efficiently, it is now possible use the new BO Enter Status plug-in and BO Exit Status plug-in to proactively assess the eligibility and set the ILM switch as part of processing, thus reducing ILM workloads.
  • Mobile Framework Auto Deploy Support - This releases includes a new optional parameter to auto deploy mobile content automatically when a deployment is saved. This can avoid the extra manual deployment step, if desired.
  • Required Indicator on Legacy Screens - In past releases, the required indicator, based upon meta data, has been introduced for ConfigTools based objects, in this release it has been extended to Oracle Utilities Application Framework using legacy screens built using the Oracle Utilities SDK or custom JSP (that confirm to the standards required by the Oracle Utilities Application Framework). Note: Some custom JSP's may contain logic to prevent the correct display the required indicator.
  • Oracle Identity Manager integration improved - In this release the integration with Oracle Identity Manager has been improved with multiple adapters supported and the parameters are now located as a Feature Configuration rather than properties settings. This allows the integration setup to be migrated using Configuration Migration Assistant.
  • Outbound Message Mediator Improvements - In previous releases, implementations were required to use the Outbound Message Dispatcher (F1-OutmsgMediator) business services to send an outbound message without instantiating it but where the outbound message Business Object pre-processing algorithms need to be executed.  This business service orchestrated a creation and deletion of the outbound message, which is not desirable for performance reasons. The alternate business service Outbound Message Mediator (F1-OutmsgMediator) routes a message without instantiating anything, so is preferred when the outbound message should not be instantiated.  However, the Mediator did not execute the Business Object pre-processing algorithms.  In this release the Mediator business service has been enhanced to also execute the Business Object pre-processing algorithms.
  • Deprecations - In this release a few technologies and capabilities will be removed as they were announced in previous releases. These include:
    • XAI Servlet/MPL - After announcing the deprecation of XAI and MPL in 2012, the servlet and MPL software are no longer available in this release. XAI Objects are retained for backward compatibility and last minute migrations to IWS and OSB respectively.
    • Batch On WebLogic - In the Oracle Cloud, batch threadpools were managed under Oracle WebLogic. Given changes to the architecture over the last few releases, the support for threadpools is no longer supported. As this functionality was never released for use on-premise customers, this change does not have any impact to on-premise customers.
    • WebLogic Templates - With the adoption of Oracle WebLogic 12.2+, the necessity of custom WebLogic templates was no longer necessary. It is now possible to use the standard Fusion Middleware templates supplied with Oracle WebLogic with a few manual steps. These additional manual steps are documented in the new version of the Installation Guide supplied with the product. Customers may continue to use the Domain Builder supplied with Oracle WebLogic to build custom templates post Oracle Utilities Application Framework product installation. Customers should stop using the Native Installation or Clustering whitepaper documentation for Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4. and above as this information is now inside the Installation Guide directly or Oracle WebLogic 12.2.1.x Configuration Guide (Doc Id: 2413918.1) available from My Oracle Support.

A number of additional articles will be published over the next few weeks going over some of these topics as well as updates to key whitepapers will be published.

Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Whitepaper Updates

Wed, 2018-09-12 18:07

The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Whitepaper has been updated with the latest information about the Testing capability optimized for Oracle Utilities.

The documentation is available at Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator for Oracle Utilities (Doc Id: 2014163.1) from My Oracle Support.

The article includes the following updated documents:

  • Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview - Overview of the testing solution and how it optimizes the test experience.
  • Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Frequently Asked Questions - Set of common questions and answers about the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator including migration from the previous Oracle Application Testing Suite based solution.
  • Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Data Sheet (New) -  A brochure about the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator.

Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator training is now available via the Oracle University training on-demand.

Patches available for Internet Explorer 11 performance

Tue, 2018-08-07 21:45

A number of Oracle Utilities Customer and Billing customers have reported some performance issues with Internet Explorer 11 in particular situations. After analysis, it was ascertained that the issue was within Internet Explorer itself. An article is available at Known UI Performance Issues on Internet Explorer 11 (Doc Id: 2430962.1) from My Oracle Support with an explanation of the issues and advice on patches recommended to install to minimize the issue for affected versions.

It is highly recommended to read the article and install the patches to minimize any issues with Internet Explorer 11.

Keep up to Date With Critical Patches

Wed, 2018-08-01 20:39

One of the most important recommendations I give to customers is to keep up to date with the latest patches, especially all the security patches, to improve performance and reduce risk.

For more information refer to the following sites:

Oracle WebLogic, Oracle Linux, Oracle Solaris and Oracle Database patches apply to Oracle Utilities products.

Using Groovy Whitepaper available

Sun, 2018-07-29 18:33

Groovy is an alternative language for building extensions for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products for on-premise and cloud implementations. For Cloud implementations it is the preferred language replacing java based extensions typically available for on-premise implementations. The implementation of Groovy in the Oracle Utilities Application Framework extends the scripting object to allow Groovy script, Groovy includes and Groovy libraries to be implemented. This is all controlled using a whitelist to ensure that the code is appropriate for the cloud implementation.

A new whitepaper is available outlining the Groovy capability as well as some guidelines on how to use Groovy to extend Oracle Utilities products. It is available as Using Groovy Script in Oracle Utilities Applications (Doc Id: 2427512.1) from My Oracle Support.