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Java IoT: Article

REA Is Where RIA Becomes the Norm

JDeveloper 11g is a complete end-to-end development platform

Rich Enterprise Applications - Where RIA Becomes the Enterprise System Norm
Enterprise UI development demands Web 2.0 content but also ease of development, particularly with data-bound controls. Oracle has a strong history in Web UI frameworks, with UIX, ADF Faces (now donated to Apache as the Trinidad project) and ADF Faces Rich Client in the JDeveloper 11g release. ADF Faces RC contains over 150 JavaServer Faces (JSF)-compliant components delivering AJAX functionality such as partial page rendering, client-side validation, smart-data fetching to the client through components such as trees, graphs, gauges, maps, gantt charts, pivot tables, menus, templates, even Web page drag'n'drop facilities, oh, and of course tables. However, more importantly, the Oracle components, through the standardized API provided by the ADF binding layer, can actively support different data sources, such as files, POJOs, EJB/JPA, ADF BC, and Web Services, where the components declaratively fetch and display data from the underlying object with little to no programming required by the developer. This leaves you, the developer, focused on Web design without having to spend hours on the plumbing of interacting with your persistent store (see Figure 1).

Task Flows - Aligning Web Development with the Business
A key challenge for IT is mapping technical solutions to business problems. This is a core focus of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Yet shouldn't SOA principles apply as much to Web design as other parts of the technical sphere?

JDeveloper 11g and ADF take the lead in contemporary JavaServer Faces (JSF) technologies to introduce a new JSF controller that lets you model one or more Task Flows, namely a set of Web pages and callable methods composed into a named reusable flow. Suddenly this lets you, as a developer, move away from this-screen-calls-that-screen-calls-this-and-this-screen approach to creating a series of task flows - supporting their own transactions, inputs and outputs, and method calls - that we then use to build a bigger set of task flows, and so on, until we have a complete application. Imagine what your local business analyst will think when you start speaking his language! As we extend our system and discover a previous task flow in our library can be reused, we've moved into a new era of extreme application reuse beyond what we've seen before in Web development.

How do task flows help model business problems? In many cases enterprise Web design breaks down into a series of screens and method calls that compose an overall business process. Task flows inherently model this series, modelling the pages and page flows in one encapsulated object primed for reuse. Yet the benefits of task flows don't stop here. Oracle's solution addresses many of the complaints that JSF users have had about the framework. Oracle's JSF controller solves various limitations of vanilla JSF with the inclusion of additional memory scopes (process scope), bookmarking support, and back-button navigation.

Web Services - Simple Web Services without a Configuration Headache
JAX-WS has simplified Java Web Service programming given developers the chance to focus on delivering the service without getting bogged down in configurations. How could an IDE make this easier for you? JDeveloper 11g, with full support for JAX-WS 2.1 and JAXB 2.0, introduces the ability to generate your Java Web Services from your own defined WSDL, the ability to create your WSDL by simple drag'n'drop from an XML Schema, even an in-built WS tester and HTTP analyser to ensure your end solution meets your requirements. The current JDeveloper 11g release is missing support for Oracle's SOA offerings, however, this part is available in a technology preview and is expected to return in the next release including such features as BPEL, ESB, and so on.

Oracle WebLogic Server - Moving with the Java EE Application Server Times
A key acquisition for Oracle in 2008 was the purchase of BEA and its strong suite of Java products. A particular focus for this article is the Java EE Oracle WebLogic Server (WLS). Oracle has brooked no delays in harnessing its new Java EE application server since July 1, 2008. JDeveloper 11g has built-in support for WLS 10.3 with both an integrated server for day-to-day developer testing and the ability to right-click and deploy to a remote WLS production server.

Of importance, like Oracle eating its own dog food with its choice of ADF, Oracle is looking to WLS as the Java EE platform of choice for its applications. There's a significant difference between a vendor delivering a development platform for the general IT community and a vendor delivering a development platform that is strategic to its future success.

Yet Oracle recognizes that its own application server technology isn't the choice of all of us, its customers. Oracle doesn't put customers in the difficult position of wanting to adopt JDeveloper 11g and ADF, yet being pigeon-holed into an Oracle application server solution. By adopting Java EE standards, JDeveloper applications can be deployed to any Java EE 1.5 container including JBoss 4.2 and Tomcat 6.x.

Database Development - All Data Starts and Finishes with the Database
Interestingly, in an earlier version of JDeveloper, the overall IDE framework was deemed more than satisfactory to build Oracle's latest database development tool, SQL Developer. In a biblical-like rendition, JDeveloper 10.1.2 begat SQL Developer 1.0, and SQL Developer 1.5 begat the latest JDeveloper 11g database development features. SQL Developer has taken the Oracle world by storm as a free and comprehensive Oracle development IDE with support for browsing database objects, running SQL statements and SQL scripts, and editing and debugging PL/SQL statements. JDeveloper compliments SQL Developer by adding database modelling capabilities in addition to those provided by SQL Developer. And surprisingly SQL Developer also supports non-Oracle databases too, letting Oracle outsiders try Oracle's SQL tool with their favourite ANSI-SQL JDBC-compliant database. JDeveloper 11g includes SQL Developer, continuing the strong tradition of end-to-end development.

Conclusion
As a veteran developer you need tools and frameworks that have survived the test of time and have evolved with the new challenges IT continues to throw at you. Oracle JDeveloper has been a dark horse for too many Java developers, but it offers you a development experience that takes programming to a new level, delivering a clear end-to-end development environment that can focus on the details of 3GL programming, as well as the high-level design around business processes and SOA. Each new version of JDeveloper takes the tool leaps and bounds into a new era, of which release 11g is no exception. If the last time you looked at Oracle JDeveloper was four years or more ago, maybe it's time to sit down and try out Oracle's offerings again to see what this contemporary IDE has to offer.

More Stories By Chris Muir

Chris Muir, an Oracle ACE Director, senior developer and trainer, and frequent blogger at http://one-size-doesnt-fit-all.blogspot.com, has been hacking away as an Oracle consultant with Australia's SAGE Computing Services for too many years. Taking a pragmatic approach to all things Oracle, Chris has more recently earned battle scars with JDeveloper, Apex, OID and web services, and has some very old war-wounds from a dark and dim past with Forms, Reports and even Designer 100% generation. He is a frequent presenter and contributor to the local Australian Oracle User Group scene, as well as a contributor to international user group magazines such as the IOUG and UKOUG.

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