Friday, June 17, 2016

Oracle Process Cloud Service - Web Form Design Approaches

Oracle Process Cloud Service uses a standards-based technology called "Web Forms" for defining the user interface in business processes. It's based on standards such as XHTML, CSS and JavaScript and allows business analysts and developers to create an end-user interface by just using the browser.

There are three approaches that can be employed when designing web forms:

Form-First: You can follow a "Form-First" approach where you create the form first before any data elements are defined and you let PCS by just drag and dropping components from the component palette to the page.

Oracle PCS will automatically generate the schema that defines the data required by the web form.

The schema that is automatically generated by Oracle PCS is based on the web form controls added to the web form and can be located under "Business Types" section.

When you assign the web form to a human task activity, the schema generated by Oracle PCS will automatically be used to define the human task data structure.

Data-First: A data-first approach implies a bottom-up approach where you create a web form based on data sources or business objects by just drag and dropping the objects on the form to create controls.

In the "Business Types" section you can import your XML schema definition files (XSDs) which you can then use in your web form. 
During the import process Oracle PCS will validate your XML schema and will only allow you to import your XSD if it's valid.

Select the element on which you want to create a business object, give your business object name and optionally create a new parent module (used for grouping business objects).

You will see your new business object  created under "Business Types".
Your new business object is ready for use. You can either use it on an existing web form or create a new one.

However, to make your new business object available for use to a web form, you need to open the  "Form Business Objects" and assign it to your web form (by shuffling it from the selected pane to the selected pane).
You business object should be available now under the "Data Sources" section of your web form.

You can either add individual business object attributes or add the entire business object by clicking on the green plus button. Oracle PCS will automatically translate the business object attributes to Web Form components (which of course you can customize).

Hybrid (Data-First and Form-First): The third and last approach that you can follow uses a combination of the above two approaches, that is a hybrid data-first and form-first approach.
    You can create soma parts of a web form from scratch while other sections can be based on existing data sources and data objects.

    Thursday, June 2, 2016

    Live demo of Oracle PCS at AMIS 25 - Beyond the Horizon

    AMIS is celebrating 25 years in business and I've been invited to present at the conference.

    Join my session to see how you can create a basic travel request application, from scratch, in Oracle Process Cloud Service in 25 minutes. Using different "hats", this session will demonstrate the use of the composer and its artifacts to develop and test applications and the workspace, the end-user environment for performing process tasks but at the same time the administrator environment for monitoring process performance.

    Session Link:

    Speaker Bio:

    Thursday, May 19, 2016

    Peer-to-Peer Interview for Oracle Magazine

    I was recently interviewed by Oracle Magazine with my life journey featuring under the Peer-to-Peer section. If you would like to see how technology has changed my life and what I would like to see Oracle as a company do more then read my story!

    Oracle Magazine also published a video on YouTube on "What I would like to see Oracle, as a company, do more of?"

    Thursday, May 12, 2016

    How Digital Platforms are enabling Digital transformation transforming existing Business models

    Join my session at the 6th ICT Summit in Nicosia to learn how companies are leveraging Middleware & Big Data to support their Digital Transformation initiative.

    AbstractLeveraging Middleware & Big Data in your transformation journey. The Interactive keynote will provide an exploratory overview of how Companies are leveraging Digital technologies creating Digital business platform to support their Digital transformation initiatives.The keynote will feature examples of companies who have undertaken their Digital transformation journey successfully, and will showcase the importance and opportunities of leveraging Middleware and Big Data in building a Digital business platform.

    Event Link: ICT Summit 2016

    Monday, March 28, 2016

    Oracle BPM/SOA Human Task: Java code in jsp source files is not allowed in mode

    Today I came across an exception while trying to load one of my task details (v12.2.1).

    Error: OracleJSP error: oracle.jsp.parse.JavaCodeException: Line # 14, oracle.jsp.parse.JspParseTagScriptlet@66e50889
    Error: Java code in jsp source files is not allowed in mode

    What was really strange to me was that I did not do anything different from what I used to do with previous versions.

    After some research I found out that this was a known issue for 12.2.1. There are two possible causes for getting this error.

    a) Either you are not using the fully qualified host name  (including domain name) for the forms to render properly. See Configuring the SOA Human Task Hostname

    b) If you indeed using the fully qualified host name for your forms then you should open the default generated login.jsp page and remove the line containing <% ... %> and redeploy the form project.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    Oracle ICS Integration Patterns (Part 2 of 3): Publish To ICS

    In this second part of a three part series on Integration Cloud Service (ICS) Integration Patterns we will explore the "Publish to ICS" integration pattern, a motivo which allows you to configure a service to publish messages to ICS through a predefined ICS Messaging target that is automatically created by ICS when choosing this pattern.

    Typical use cases for using this pattern is when you want to decouple your service producers from your service consumers in a typical service bus scenario to provide a visualization layer to your service topology.

    Building on the existing source code prepared and presented in the first part on ICS Integration Patterns where we saw the "Map My Data" integration pattern, we will extend the ProcessPurchaseOrder interface with an additional method.

    This method will serve as a proxy service, a facade to service consumers. There will be no implementation other than annotating the method with the @WebMethod JAX-WS annotation to expose it as a web service and the @OneWay annotation to denote that this will be a fire-and-forget web service.

    Deploy your service and go to the ICS Service Console. Because this second part is a continuation of the first part I assume that you already have a connection defined on ICS to point to the "ProcessPurchaseOrder" web service. We only added a new operation.

    Unfortunately ICS doesn't have a way to invalidate its connections cache to pick up the new operation. One way to make ICS aware of your new operation on an existing SOAP connection is to drop the connection and re-create it which of course can be quite time consuming.

    An alternative approach that I discovered is to make a small deliberate change to the WSDL URL, test the service (which would of course fail), save the connection and restore back the WSDL URL, testing the service again and doing one final save to the connection.

    We can now go on and create our integration. Using the menu on the left click on the "Integrations" link to navigate to the integrations home page and click on the "Create New Integration" button.

    From the "Create Integration" popup select the "Publish To ICS" integration pattern.

    In the "New Integration - Information" popup enter an integration name, and optionally update the identifier populated automatically based on the integration name, default version and provide a description if needed, and click "Create".

    You should be presented with the integration canvas with an empty source and a preconfigured target using the ICS Messaging Service.

    From the "Connections" palette on the right of the canvas, drag and drop your connection (if you followed my exact instructions it should be named "Process Purchase Order") to the source placeholder.

    This will bring up the SOAP Configuration Wizard to help in configuring the source endpoint. Enter a name for your endpoint (I named it "PublishToICS") and click "Next".

    In the second step of the SOAP Configuration Wizard select the operation name from the "Select the Operation" drop down list (in my example I selected "processPurchaseOrderPS") and click "Next".

    In the third and last step review the source endpoint configurations and click "Done".

    On the top right of our integration we have a progress bar showing the progress of our integration. If you click on it you will see the missing steps. Doing so we can see that we are still missing one step, to configure tracking for our source.

    Oracle ICS enables you to declaratively define business identifiers to enable runtime tracking on messages. To do so click on the "Tracking" button. This will open the "Business Identifiers for Tracking" popup. Drag and drop the "orderId" element to the tracking field and specify a business friendly tracking name (named it "Order Id") and click "Done".

    The integration progress should now show 100% complete. Save and exit your integration to be redirected to the integrations home page where you should be able to see your integration at the top of the list, marked as new and with a new option to activate the integration.

    Click on the "Activate" button to activate the new integration we just created. In the "Confirmation" popup click on "Yes"and your integration should show as "Active".

    By activating your integration Oracle ICS has created a new ICS specific endpoint url for your integration for invocation which can be found by clicking on the "info" button next to your integration. I will use this endpoint url to test my integration (using SoapUI).

    Using SoapUI I will invoke my integration by supplying a sample order.
    Please note that if you attempt to invoke your integration without a username and a password token and a timestamp you will get a security exception "OSB-386200: General web service security error").
    After invoking my integration supplying the request a username, password and a timestamp I can now see that my invocation was successful.

    I can confirm that data was actually published to ICS by navigating to the monitoring dashboard provided where you can visually see how your integrations are performing during runtime. To access this dashboard simply click on the "Dashboard" link/button on the horizontal navigation toolbar.

    The default view lists all activated integrations with a summary view on the top and a detailed view per integration just below listing key KPIs such as the average response time, messages received, message processed and faulted messages.

    Click on your integration's "Messages Received" to be navigated to the "Tracking" page which will should display all messaged processed by the selected integration in the last 3 days (by default). Please note how instances are displayed; they are displaying using the custom business identifiers defined.

    You can view the details of a specific instance by just clicking on the instance link. The instance will open in the integration canvas in viewing mode where you can inspect the business identifiers, go to the audit train and view any error messages.

    Monday, February 15, 2016

    Correlations in Oracle BPM 12c

    Correlations in Oracle Business Process Management (BPM) is a special mechanism used to associate a message with a conversation between different partners in a business process.

    There are two types of correlations:
    • Automatic: This is the default and out-of-the-box correlation used between two business partners which makes use of a special token called "Conversation Id" to uniquely associate a message with a conversation via Web Service Addressing (WS-Addressing) to correlate a callback message using the "Conversation Id".
    • Message Based: This type of correlation enables the definition and use of "business-friendly" information carried as part of the message payload to be used to uniquely identify and associate a message with a conversation (for example, OrderId, CustomerId, etc.). This type of correlation enables the definition of multiple attributes referred to as "Correlation Properties" into various correlation sets know as "Correlation Keys".
    So let's see how you to use the two correlation types in a demo scenario. The simulated process will invoke an asynchronous process first by using the default correlations and then by using message-based correlations.

    Create the basic BPM application and BPM project (I named it OracleBPM12cCorrelationsDemoApp and OracleBPM12cCorrelationsDemo respectively) and choose "Composite with BPMN Process" in step 3 of the "Create BPM Application" and click “Finish”.
    This will bring up the “BPMN 2.0 Process Wizard”. Give your process a name (for example “DemoProcess” and select the “Asynchronous Service” message pattern. In the second step of the wizard I will define a single input string argument that I will name “MyId” and a single output string argument that I will name "MyStatus".

    The first thing that I will do is to create two corresponding string process data objects, the first one to pass the “MyId” process input argument for reference throughout the process and the second one to be used later for assigning the process output argument.

    Next using the "Start Message" data associations assign the "MyId" process input argument to the "myId" process data object.

    To simulate the interruption between business partners in a business process I will create another asynchronous process which I will then invoke from the main process.

    So create a new "Asynchronous Process" (named it "DemoReUsableProcess") with a single string input argument (MyId) and a single string output argument (MyId).

    As as we did with the main process create a a string process data object to pass the MyId process input argument for reference throughout the process.

    Using the "Start Message" data associations assign the "MyId" process input argument to the "myId" process data object.

    Drag and drop an interactive human task activity onto the sequence flow that connects the message start and message end components to simulate difference approval scenarios.

    Give your human task activity a name (for example "Demo User Task"). From the "Implementation" tab click on the green "Add" button to create a new definition. Specify a name, (for example DemoHT) and leave the rest on defaults.  

    Before closing the properties of the first human task activity make sure you specify a title it (just as you would like it to appear in the BPM Workspace task inbox; I named it “Demo User Task”).

    To simplify the assignment of tasks, open the human task definition file and in the task assignments switch from lane participants to "Names and Expressions" and define "weblogic" as the user to be assigned our order item tasks.

    Based on the human task outcome (approved or rejected) the "DemoReUsableProcess" will respond using a different operation. Therefore drag an exclusive gateway right after the human task activity and name it "Outcome?".

    Open the properties of the "End Message" component and change the default callback operation name from "end" to "reject".

    Open the data associations of the reject "End Message" component and ensure you map the "myId" input data object to the the "MyId" argument of the "End Message". This is crucial as the custom correlation will be based on this argument.

    Drag another "End Message" component and this time define it's callback operation to "approve" (ensure that you have created a string argument just like the default "End Message" operation).

    Open the data associations of the approve "End Message" component and ensure you map the "myId" input data object to the the "MyId" argument of the "End Message". This is crucial as the custom correlation will be based on this argument.

    Open the properties of the human task component and from the data associations go to the "Output" tab and first create a new string data object and then map the human task string output argument to your newly created string data object. The human task data association assignment should look like below.

    Add a conditional sequence flow from the exclusive gateway to the second "End Message" component with the XPath expression set to bpmn:getDataObject('outcome') = 'APPROVE'

    Your simulated business partner process should look as follow.

    We are now ready to invoke our re-usable process from our main process. Open your main process and place a "Send" activity between the "Start" and "End" components. From the implementation tab select "Process Call" as the type and select your re-usable process.

    Place an "Event-based" gateway right after the "Send" activity and rename it to "Outcome". JDeveloper should have created for you a "Message Catch" event and a "Timer Catch" event. We will use a "Receive" activity to asynchronously receive the response from our re-usable process so go ahead and remove the "Message Catch" event.

    Open the "Timer Catch" event and set its time cycle to 1 minute (in case there isn't a reply from the asynchronous sub-process the "Timer Catch" event will get kick-started).

    Extend the "Event-based" activity with two additional "Receive" activities. Your main process should look as follows:
    The two new "Receive" activities are marked with a warning sign to indicate that no implementation is defined yet. So go to the properties of the first "Receive" activity (Approve Msg) and from the implementation type select "Process Call". Select your re-usable process and select the appropriate target node.

    Do the same thing with the second "Receive" activity but this time select the other target node option (in my case it's the "Reject" target node).
    We are now ready to define our custom correlation. Open the "Send" task and from the "Implementation" tab click on "Correlations". In the "Correlation Definition" window click on the "New Correlation Property" button to create a new correlation property. This will be a string correlation property which i named "myCorrelationId". Ensure that you have selected the "Initiates" check-box and assign the "MyId" argument to your correlation property.

    We also need to define the same correlation properties on the two "Receive" activities. So go to your first "Receive" activity and from the "Implementation" tab click on "Correlations". From the correlation property drop-down list select the correlation property created just above. Map the "MyId" argument to your correlation property.

    Apply the same correlation definition to the second "Receive" activity and deploy your process and test your process. If you inspect the audit trail you should see that the instance is waiting at the event-based split gateway activity.

    Go to the BPM Workspace and submit the pending task (either approve or reject it). If you go back to the audit trail you should see the related branch being followed.

    Download sample application: Correlations in Oracle BPM 12c