OpenWorld Day 3

Day three out at OpenWorld was pretty productive, though much of that productivity centered around meetings, so unfortunatly I wasn’t able to attend many sessions.   There were some tidbits though, which I thought I would share.

Ensamble – The session I did catch yesterday, “The art of the Mash”, was pretty interesting.  The presentation centered around the concept of enterprise mash-ups and specifically how they are implemented using Ensamble, the former BEA product I talked about yesterday.  The big thing I got out of the session was an overview of the security features in Enamble.  It’s pretty interesting actually, I would have assumed it ran in just a simple SSO model, where authenticatoin was handled by ensamble, which then passes the user’s id down to the app for authorisation.  Though it does support that, it also has a number of other trickes for dealing with application that have atypical set ups.

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Day 2 – Real Time Decisioning and More

The day is not over, but I am fairly I’ve seen my favorite demo of the day, possibly the conference. The demo was called “Enterprise 2.0, Multichannel Persuasive Marketing” and it was very, very cool. 

The Demo Of The Day

The Demo Of The Day

The name is a bit long but it makes a lot of sense when you dig in to the details.  What this is is the realization of something the UCM folks were talking about doing at last year’s OpenWorld, integrating Real Time Decisioning in to UCM to create targeting and personalization.

The demo, which basically selected an appropriate banner ad to display as we surfed a site studio web site, uses all information available to decide which ad to show.  For anonymous users that may be just their location based on IP, perhaps their browser or operating system.  For authenticated users that could also include data from their UCM profile, or if say Siebel is configured your entire profile and user history.

What’s also cool is that the configuration can learn on it’s own.  You don’t have to figure out whether your mac users are going to respond better to one piece of content than your PC ones.  Real Time Decisioning will figure that out for you, adapt to market changes and allow you to run tests to see how users respond.

Where it goes beyond being just a really powerful personalization engine though is when you factor in the “Multichannel” word in the title.  With this set up a user could theoretically log in to your web site, search for something on your web site and then perhaps call you.  If your call center is also using Real Time Decisioning(what it was originally designed for) the operator could automatically be alerted to what the caller was looking for, or even better yet, predict what the operator might want to give the caller when they get on the phone.  All of this would happen seamlessly and would adapt over time autonomously.

It’s sort like a big brother, only a really nice one that’s trying to help you out.

Aqualogic User Interaction

I twittered on this quite a bit during the session, but I had the opportunity to catch the strategy and vision for Web Center User Interaction.  The “User Interaction” part of the title is what interested me the most.  Whenever you see those two worlds(along with web center), you’re usually talking about the product formerly known as AquaLogic.

I am a pretty big AquaLogic fan.  First off many of my clients use User Interaction, which automatically makes me a bit partial.  Second though, I really like the architecture and what it’s designed to do.  ALUI has a number of features, but if I was to sum up basically what it “did” in nutshell is;  it allows you to tunnel other, non-portal, web applications as services.  Those services can then be surfaced as portlets in the container.  No java, no 168, no web parts…point it at your application and go.

The neat thing about that design though is that those portlets can be configured to render asyncronously, basically using AJAX.  Fundamentally once you have that ability the portal container becomes unessecary, you can remote-script your portlets(really non-portal web applications) on to just about any web page.  That’s the principle behind the ALUI ensamble product, which was known as an “Enterprise Mashup” application. 

Oracle appears to have big plans for Ensamble and is planning on using is as what they called a “UI Service Bus” with Web Center.  Basically allowing them to drag and drop various web applications, tunneled through ALUI or Web Center services on to thier Web Center pages or really any web application.  In fact in the demo they dropped an application on to an IPhone.

Posted in AquaLogic, Content Management, OpenWorld | Leave a comment

Day 2 – OpenWorld Post 1

It’s about 10am here at OpenWorld and I am catching the Keynotes, as well as the BeeHive demo, down at the Middleware lounge.  I really enjoyed the live blogging yesterday, so I think I am going to try and post updates throughout the day, rather than just at the end.


Middleware Lounge

Middleware Lounge. Where the party is. Look at these rocking folks.


Morning Keynotes

I’ve been somewhat casually listening to the keynotes this morning.  Some of the highlights though:

Michael Phelps spoke.  Hey gave his daily routine, which more or less was eating, sleeping and swimming(though I think his swimming routine probably lacks the underwater handstands and cannonballs mine would include).  Interesting note, he said that the OpenWorld crowd was the most amount of people he had been in front of at one time so far.

BeeHive Announced and Demoed – BeeHive was actually demoed last year, but I guess this is it’s official launch.  Most of the demos on BeeHive look pretty nice and all, though it’s tough to dig deep on a new software solution during the 5-45 min presentations.  I say that because I was talking with some Oracle developers yesterday who were very casually talking about how they’ve been using BeeHive internally and think it’s great.

Oracle and Amazon – Oracle announced integration with the Amazon Web Services.  I wish I caught this in more detail, but it definitely sounds like they will have the ability to virtualize the Oracle database on Amazon cloud compute and potentially store information on Amazon S3.  I’ll post more details on this as I get them.


I’m having some trouble getting in to the session builder site right now and unfortunately can’t remember the exact ones I signed up for.  I’ll put and update out when I get at them, but for now I’ll be heading over to a WebCenter session at 11.  Check back for sessions updates later.

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OpenWorld – Keynote, on going updates

A new first for  This is a live blog from Oracle’s keynote kick off.  I am sitting here with Billy Cripe(who’s book I just purchased) as well as Raimonds Simanovskis and Woody Carlisle.

Billy and Raimonds

Billy and Raimonds


Oracle has given me a ridiculously large blogger badge to carry around with me this week.  I think it’s so presenters and other people know a member of the media(hehe) is around when they’re speaking.  I have to admit that it makes me a bit self-concious, but actually we’ve used it to get our current seats spack dab in the center of the “blogger” section.

My enormous blogger badge

My enormous blogger badge

That’s great you have nice seats, but what about the keynote?

The theme of OpenWorld this year, or at least one of the themes, is going green.  So far we’ve heard from the mayor of San Francisico, Gavin Newsome as well as Ed Begley Jr.  They talked about some of the environmental accomplishments San Francisco as well as some of the challenges we have throughout the world.  Sort of a serious theme, but good speaches nevertheless.

Mary Matalin Rocks the House

Mary Matalin Rocks the House

Right now we are hearing from Mary Matalin and I assume we will hear from her husband James Carville who is sitting nearby shortly.  She started off pretty well, lots of clever funny stuff about how she is different than her husband, but sounds like she’s on an MSNBC panel right now.

Carville is AWESOME

James Carville

James Carville

James Carville is speaking now and no offense to Mary Matalin, but a much, much better speaker.  He’s a very funny and animated fellow.  Carville’s primary theme is a sort of amazement of how fast things are happening and changing in the US right now.

Very funny line…”The central point of this campaign is: What are these candidates doing at 3 o’clock in the morning?”

Carville is done…Question and answer time.  I have to say I felt that both speeches left me feeling a little on the depressed side.  It appears our country may have some problems.

Good question on what they think about the Comedy Central satire shows like John Stewart and Steven Cobert.  Apparently James Carville is a fan of

So I have to admit that the cute, funny banter between Mary and James isn’t all that funny any more.  I feel like I am at dinner with the couple that can’t stop arguing.

Ok they’re done.  We’re off to the blogger’s party at The Thirsty Bear.

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Off to OpenWorld

It’s about 10pm here and I am getting ready for my trip tomorrow out to San Francisco for Oracle Open World.  Like last year I plan on putting out a daily diary of events, though in addition I am going to take a page from Bex and give updating my twitter account a try.

I am really looking forward to meeting some of you out there.  I just checked and it appears Jason Stortz will be around.  Should be fun to meet another UCM blogger.

Also like last year I will be traveling with fellow Ironworker Woody Carlisle.

See Woody at OpenWorld

See Woody at OpenWorld

What questions do you have as you head out?

Oracle has been extremely active this year, in general, and with regards to UCM.  I have quite a few questions and while I hope to get quite a few answered, I also expect to walk away with even more as they seem to still be in quite a transition state still with BEA and more specifically AquaLogic.

1.  Open WCM – Tell me ALL about it.  Last year and actually throughout this year, we’ve seen a couple code examples of how it may work and what some future architectures may look like.  I’d really love to get a look at it if they have anything more tangible available and potentially an update in the release date.

2.  ALUI – We’re hearing a lot about the portal formerly known as PlumTree.  Before Oracle even acquired BEA I would have argued that it was the hottest portal product on the market(though many argue against me).  We’re seeing quite a bit of work tying ALUI with UCM and of course it appears that they will be bundled together now very soon.

3. Web Center – Last year I thought of this product mostly as a Portal Framework, now it appears to be much more.  ALUI seems to have been worked in as a front end for it, which makes the whole thing gets a little gray for me.  Oracle has a strategy here, I think I need to just understand it a little better.  I am looking forward to Eric Marcoux’s sessions, which should help shed some light.

4. Where can I get a copy of Billy’s book?  If it’s there, I am coming hope with one.

That’s it for the pre-trip prep.  Check back tomorrow for an update on the conference kick off.

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Big news in the content management world last week.  The big guys(EMC, IBM, MS, Oracle…and pretty much everyone) came together and proposed a protocol based standard for content management.  The standard, which basically leverages the Atom Publishing Protocol appears to be primarily a REST based service, with additional support for SOAP and potentially JSON formats.  

Take away all the acronyms for a moment and basically we are talking about a language and repository independent method for communicating with content management systems.

The CMIS standard will expose core/common ECM repository capabilities in an intentionally generic way. These will allow for applications to be constructed that can work with content residing in one or more ECM repositories, without having to understand implementation differences between the individual repositories or worrying about interface inconsistencies between the repositories.  From CMIS Part I – Introduction, General Concepts, Data Model, and Services

There it is.  Abstraction, it’s a thing of beauty.  Code to an interface not an implementation.  This is exactly what the industry has been needing for some time, a standardized method for interacting with a content repository.  No more APIs, hierarchical repositories or windows explorer plugins, just a simple http-based standard for managing content.

Why is this cool

You’re talking about Microsoft, IBM, EMC, Oracle, SAP(and many others) getting together and agreeing on a standard way of doing things.  Assuming they not only implement the standard in their content repositories, but leverage in their other applications(portals, email servers, databases, app servers, BPM apps, search engines, ERPs, etc) we could be looking at a new wave of interoperability in these systems.

Everyone uses the JDBC example for ECM standards because of the obvious similarities between a content repository and a database, but I always thought that it was way to optimistic of a goal.  All of these systems are so very different that it’s been hard to imagine a single standardized method for communicating with them.  A change like that would require all the vendors to get on the same page and agree on a single integration method..that seemed like a pipe-dream until last week.

Some questions though

At the risk of bringing down all the positive feelings on CMIS, I did have a couple questions as I read through the documentation:

  • Nothing about workflow – I have never seen a content management system that lacks workflow or at least some sort of approval mechanisam.  Even if it’s just an approve and reject, I think if you’re going to support creating and updating content, you have to have a way to approve changes, otherwise you still have folks heading back to the CMS.
  • CMIS SQL – CMIS will leverage a SQL-92 subset for querying content in the repository.  There will be a full text search as well, but SQL?  Perhaps it’s me but I feel like you query for data and search for content.  Search, like workflow, is something that most CMSs provide natively and very often the language of search is the Universal Query Syntax.  CMIS SQL seems like a tough integration to implement, as you’ll have to bypass the search engine and directly query the database, in addition to it being a great place to introduce a security hole.

Why Oracle Should(and probably is) ALL ABOUT THIS

I am also little surprised that EMC and IBM are the first companies mentioned on this standard, when, to me at least, it so clearly gives Oracle such a clear advantage.  Not to sound like a sales pitch, but Oracle’s 11g database right now is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to storing files.  You can compress them, encrypt them, cache them and de-duplicate them.  The functionality is known as SecureFiles and Oracle’s latest CMS offering, Universal Online Archive, as well as (and this is all based on rumor) the next version of UCM leverage SecureFiles by default.  As the content repositories becomes more decoupled, I really have a hard time seeing how Oracle doesn’t end up just owning that space.  Get ready for SharePoint, powered by Oracle and CMIS.

And the wait begins

I’m a consultant, so like many of the current and potential CMS customers out there, I’m now starting the waiting game to see where this goes.  Open Source ECM vendor Alfresco apparently has already developed their CMIS integration, we’ll see how long it takes the other vendors to follow suit.  The real fun part will actually not be when the content management systems begin implementing the service, but when the other applications begin supporting it’s consumption.  This should be a lot of fun.

Posted in CMIS, Content Management, Oracle, Secure File | Tagged | 1 Comment

General Blathering

I haven’t really posted anything in a couple weeks so I thought I would throw a little blog update out.  Work and life have been a bit busy and that’s been keeping me from my usual routine, but things should be getting back to normal pretty soon, so look forward to UCM and really more middleware posts as well.

Happy Blog Anniversary

So it’s been a year since I “really” started the blog.  The URL and some amount of content has been out here really for two years, but the you know began about a one year ago in September.

I am not sure how to evaluate the “success” of a blog, but writing and maintaing this thing has been an extremely rewarding and also challenging endeavor.  I’ve met quite a few nice people across the globe and also engaged in some great discussions.  All I can say is that it’s been great fun and I look forward to another year of writing.  Thanks very much for reading if you do, I hope you’ve gotten something out of it it, I know I have from your participation.

So What Have You Been Doing?

For the past few weeks I have to admit to a small obsession with anything related to the Large Hadron Collider.  The collider, which while I write this is hours away from being started up, is the gigantic 17 mile long science experiment out in Geneva.  My interest started of course with all the doomsday stuff, I mean how can you ignore something like that?  I started doing some reading and now I am just hooked on it.  I’m still a little freaked, but wow some of the things they are going to discover are just incredible.

One possible outcome for the CERN LHC….this is a joke

The reality is that the LHC is aimed at discovering new things, and when you’re doing that it’s always easy for other to point out that there’s an unknown.  Just from a personal perspective(and I know nothing about physics), I have to imagine particles end up colliding all the time, if it was possible to spawn off planet eating black holes that way I am sure we’d see quite a few more black holes around then we do now.  Thats the general crux of the LHC team’s argument, in addition to the massive amount of research and science backing their predictions.  I could be wrong, they could be wrong, but I’m onboard…good luck to those LHC folks today.

Oracle OpenWorld

OpenWorld is just around the corner and I’m pumped.  Like last year, I’m planning on posting the daily log of what I am seeing.  I may also twitter, we’ll see how that goes…Perhaps this year there will be pictures, who knows.

While I’m out there I am hoping to meet some of you, so definitely shoot me an email if you’re going to be there.

Posted in OpenWorld, Oracle | 1 Comment

JCR Follow Up

A little while ago(and my last post) I talked a little bit about my surprise discovery of the JCR adapter for Oracle UCM on the documentation site.  I received quite a bit of nice feedback about the post and was actually pretty surprised by it as it was one of my more casual entries.

One of the responses though came from a member of the Oracle UCM team and they had some great info that was definitely worth sharing:

  • Apparently the answer to the title question, “JCR for UCM when did that happen?” is just before the end of the 4th quarter.
  • The API is indeed a wrapper on top of CIS and it implements all of the JSR-170 (Level One) specifications.
  • At the time of our email exchange last week, there was a new version coming out.  And then later in the week it arrived.  You can download it right off of OTN, under the document management section:
  • There are a number of nice ADF components that “just work” with UCM.  Probably more to come on that.  I’m also told that the new JDeveloper version is worth checking out, nothing explicitly in the email about it, but the components might be in there.
There was a semi-cautionary note in the email related to “additional overhead” while using the API.  The JCR wrapper from a high level is a lot like a square-peg-to-round-hole connector as it’s making the content server appear as an XML-based content repository.  Apparently the extra work required to abstract the repository like that is “sub-optimal”, though it’s unclear whether we are talking about performance or just memory utilization.  It’s something to look for though.
Is anyone out there using the JCR yet?  I would love to get your feedback on it if you have a chance.
Posted in Content Management, Oracle | 6 Comments

JCR for UCM…When did that happen?

So I was on the Oracle UCM documentation page the other day looking for the Javadocs for CIS and I ran across something I had not seen before, the “Content Server JCR Repository Adapter” document.

JCR Screen Shot

It was hiding there is plain site for, well I am not sure how long, I guess I just missed the memo on that one.  Very interesting though.  For those of you who are curious about what a JCR is, it stands for Java Content Repository and though it uses the word “Repository” it’s really more of a connector.  The big thing about it is that it’s a Java standard, specifically the JSR-170 standard actually.

BEA(now Oracle) WebLogic as well as WebCenter(the flagship portal of the Oracle fleet) both communicate to content management systems using a JCR.  UCM and before that Stellent have both traditionally not provided a JCR, rather they provided a pretty robust API known as the Content Integration Suite.  From the new document(and of course it’s location) it appears that the JCR is more or less a wrapper on top of CIS.

The Swiss are Clever

The JSR-170 standard has an interesting history.  It was submitted by Day, a CMS vendor out in Switzerland.  Thier content managment system(and I may be messing this up a little) Communique, leverages a proprietary content repository called CRX which of course is a JCR(and most likely the first).  The thing about Day though is that they are Swiss, and so very clever.  While many CMS vendors had interesting and/or creative content repositories, Day not only touted theirs as the best, they also submitted it as a Java standard.

Since then a number of other vendors began supporting the standard.  Apache released Jackrabbit, I think Vignette uses it too, but really when BEA started adopting it in Weblogic, it became quite a bit more credible.  The Day team and of course the standards committee has since updated it, there’s now a new version known as JSR-283, though I have not seen much use yet.

My Somewhat irrational dislike of the JCR standards

I really don’t like the JCR standards and my reasons really aren’t all that good.  There’s nothing technically wrong with them.  I think they are somewhat on the simple side, but honestly for a standard simple is probably better.  My problem really stems from the fact that they are Java based in a multi-language world.  Having a CMS with a standards-based connector that oh-by-the-way only works in Java, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  All of your content consumers must then be in Java, and that just really limits the whole “Enterprise” piece of the Enterprise Content Management system.

The unfortunate thing I would see though was that many CMS vendors would market their support of the JCR standard as a sort of money back guarantee for buying their product.  ”Go ahead and buy our CMS and if you don’t like it you can just switch it out with another, we support the JSR-170 standard”.  While of course that was technically true from a 10k foot level, I am sure the reality of the implementation was much different from the sales presentation.  Of course overcoming the “money back guarantee” argument with “the standard should not be Java-specific” never went over very well though.

Things are looking good

Despite my somewhat irrational dislike, I am pretty excited about this new connector.  There are a number of applications that support JCRs(though most of them serve like UCM), including a Spring module.  In addition it looks like there may be some movement on getting a “Service-like” standard for content repositories and actually we would have the JCR to thank for it.  Back in December, BEA filed a patent for a JDBC-like services wrapper for the JCRs.  Though many folks weren’t too crazy about the fact that they filed a patent instead of just releasing a connector, I think this is a pretty positive move.  Oracle obviously owning BEA won’t hurt the future UCM integration either I’m sure.

Posted in BEA, Content Management, ECM, Oracle | 5 Comments

OpenWorld, Blog Update

It’s about that time again where I start to feel bad because I haven’t posted anything in a while.  Work has been a bit busy as of late and one particular client (you know who you are), has been my primary focus.  That said, I actually have quite a few partially completed examples I’m hoping to release soon.  So stay tuned, there’s more to come.

Open World

One interesting note from this week though was that I completed my OpenWorld registration and most importantly travel arrangements to California.  For those not familiar with the conference, this is Oracle big annual get together out at the Moscone center in San Francisco.  Last November was my first OpenWorld, I had a blast and also posted a little conference diary.

This year I plan on doing the same, but I also hope to meet a few of you out there.  So if you’re planning on attending, shoot me an email, post a comment, or use the Oracle Mix site.

Here’s the link to my profile:

New UCM Blogger

Today I ran across a new UCM blogger, Jason Stortz –  Looks like the blog was started just this month, but he already has a bunch of good articles.  Give him a read.

Posted in Content Management | Leave a comment