Fishbowl Hackathon 2016 Summary – Oracle WebCenter Innovations with Slack, Google Vision, and Email

This post comes from Fishbowl’s president, Tim Gruidl. One of Tim’s biggest passions is technology innovation, and not only does he encourage others to innovate, he participates and helps drive this where he can. Tim likes to say “we innovate to help customers dominate”. Tim summarizes Fishbowl’s Hackathon event, held last Friday and Saturday at Fishbowl Solutions, in the post below.

TimWhat an event! I want to start by thanking Andy Weaver and John Sim (Oracle ACE)! Without their passion, drive, leadership and innovation, this event would not be possible.

What a great event to learn, build the team, interact with others and compete. We also created some innovative solutions that I’m sure at some point will be options to help our customers innovate and extend their WebCenter investments. This year, we had 3 teams that designed and coded the following solutions:

  • InSight Image Processing – Greg Bollom and Kim Negaard

They leveraged the Google Vision API to enable the submission of images to Oracle WebCenter and then leveraged Google Vision to pull metadata back and populate fields within the system. They also added the ability to pull in GPS coordinates from photos (taken from cameras, etc.) and have that metadata and EXIF data populate WebCenter Content.

Fishbowl Product Manager, Kim Negaard, discusses the Google Vision API integration with WebCenter

Fishbowl Product Manager, Kim Negaard, discusses the Google Vision API integration with WebCenter.

  • Slack Integation with WebCenter Portal and Content – Andy Weaver, Dan Haugen, Jason Lamon and Jayme Smith

Team collaboration is a key driver for many of our portals, and Slack is one of the most popular collaboration tools. In fact, it is currently valued at $3.6 billion, and there seems to be a rapidly growing market for what they do. The team did some crazy innovation and integration to link Slack to both WebCenter Portal and WebCenter Content. I think the technical learning and sophistication of what they did was probably the most involved and required the most pre-work and effort at the event, and it was so cool to see it actually working.

Team Slack integration presentation.

Team Slack integration presentation.

  • Oracle WebCenter Email NotesJohn Sim (Oracle ACE) Lauren Beatty and me

Valuable corporate content is stored in email, and more value can be obtained from those emails if the content can be tagged and context added in a content management system – Oracle WebCenter. John and Lauren did an awesome job of taking a forwarded email, checking it into WebCenter Content to a workspace, and using related content to build relationships. You can then view the relationships in a graphical way for context. They also created a mobile app to allow you to tag the content on the go and release it for the value of the org.

That's me explaining the email integration with Oracle WebCenter Content.

That’s me explaining the email integration with Oracle WebCenter Content.

Participants voted on the competing solutions, and it ended up being a tie between the Google Insight team and the Email Notes team, but all the solutions truly showed some innovation, sophistication, and completeness of vision. A key aspect of the event for me was how it supported all of Fishbowl’s company values:

Customer First – the solutions we build were based on real-life scenarios our customers have discussed, so this will help us be a better partner for them.

Teamwork – the groups not only worked within their teams, but there was cross team collaboration – Andy Weaver helped John Sim solve an issue he was having, for example.

Intellectual Agility – this goes without saying.

Ambition – people worked late and on the weekend – to learn more, work with the team and have fun.

Continuous Learning – we learned a lot about Slack, cloud, email, etc.

Overall, the annual Hackathon is a unique event that differentiates Fishbowl on so many fronts. From the team building, to the innovation keeping us ahead of the technology curve, to all the learnings – Hackathons truly are a great example of what Fishbowl is all about.

Thanks to all that participated, and remember, let’s continue to innovate so our customers can dominate.

Tim

A Few of My Favorite Things for Ultimate Productivity with Oracle WebCenter

As an Oracle WebCenter consultant at Fishbowl Solutions, I have a number of tools that I use that keep me happy and productive. Whether or not you are a software developer, these tools can do the same for you and your business.

 

Slack

slack

Unless you’ve been hibernating for the last year or so, you’ve probably heard of Slack. Haven’t adopted it for your business yet? Here’s why you should.

Slack facilitates contextual, transparent and efficient communication for teams. Slack helps organize your communications into “channels.” Working on a project with Fishbowl Solutions on a WebCenter project? Create a Slack channel and centralize your communications. Quickly share files with the entire team, and “Slackers” can give instant feedback. On the go? Slack goes with you via mobile, of course. Slack provides direct messaging and private channels, too.

Even better, Slack lets you integrate dozens of apps, so that you can centralize all of the services you and your team use. Send calendar reminders and events, search for documents, even start a Skype call. Slack is team communication for the 21st century (with custom emojis!).

 

Twitter and Evernote

Evernote

Twitter and Evernote are my number one/two combo punch for staying on top of all things development. Twitter allows me to keep up to date with the latest news and trends in the web development world. I can peruse dozens of articles every day with information I want to store for later use. I save links to the best articles in my Evernote account, which I have organized into different notebooks for various topics. For example, I’m working on a presentation for Collaborate 16 on Oracle JET, Oracle’s new front-end JavaScript framework. Anything interesting I see on Twitter re: Oracle JET goes right into my Evernote notebook. It makes keeping track of news and information a breeze.

 

Trello

trello

Trello is the application for list-making over-achievers (like me). I organize my to-dos into different “boards”, depending on the project. I have a different board for each project I’m working on at Fishbowl. As I think of something I need to do, I can quickly add it to the appropriate to-do column. When I’m busy with a task, I put it in the “doing” column, and then slide it on over to “done” when finished. I can keep up with my task flow, it’s motivating, visually appealing, and goes with me where I go. Trello also allows me to share tables with others for easy collaboration. Oh, and did I mention I can integrate Trello with Slack (insert custom Slack emoji here)?

Toggl

toggl

Toggl is a fantastic little desktop timer tool my colleague Nate Yates introduced to me. We consultants at Fishbowl Solutions need to keep very accurate timing of the hours we spend on different projects. Toggl allows me to input my different projects, and then just click the appropriate button when I start working on it. It keeps track of my time for the week on each project. It makes keeping track of my time simple, so that I can focus most of my time on creating responsive single-page applications for Fishbowl Solutions customers.

 

 

Oracle OpenWorld 2015 Recap – The Forecast Includes Clouds and a Better WebCenter User Experience

12189830_10153162421878053_7938706606449034768_nOracle OpenWorld 2015 wrapped 2 weeks ago. For those of you unable to attend, it was sunny all week with temperatures in the 70s, yet clouds were everywhere. My apologies for the pun, but you could have easily not noticed the blue skies and bright sun as The Cloud was really everywhere. Attendees even had the chance to immerse themselves in the cloud with an interactive display consisting of a few thousand plastic balls you could jump into and roll around in.

Sadly I wasn’t able to partake in this fun, but I was able to attend most of the keynotes, so I got pretty well immersed myself. The Cloud was the theme of the keynotes, with Oracle making it very clear that the future of their applications, middleware, and database technologies are in the cloud – as part of their software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings. In fact, the future is really now as Oracle announced they have over 1,300 customers already using their Oracle ERP Cloud.

All of this is very exciting from an IT and technology perspective, as the cloud makes it easier to innovate and deploy home-grown or 3rd-party applications across business functions. But what about Oracle WebCenter? Can that innovation and deployment flexibility be extended to Oracle WebCenter in the cloud? Not yet, or not entirely. WebCenter is currently in a hybrid mode when it comes to the cloud. WebCenter customers will continue to manage their content on premise, but use Oracle Documents Cloud Service for file syncing and sharing in the cloud. Despite this, Oracle did have some exciting announcements regarding Oracle WebCenter 12c, which was released on October 26th. Here are some highlights:

  • User Experience (UX) is a major priority for Oracle WebCenter. UX has been a problem area for WebCenter for many years, but a lot of enhancements have been made that customers should be excited about. I saw a lot of these demonstrated during the WebCenter Portal Strategy and Vision session, and I came away impressed with the improvements they have made with contribution, publishing, and mobility.

    Specific examples include a new inline editor (WYSIWYG) entirely written in Oracle’s Application Development Framework (ADF), which will make it easier for contributors to add content to the portal in-context of the page. Overall, the page composer is just more intuitive, and the click stream to add, edit, and publish content on the portal was easy to follow during the demonstration. Lastly, the page templates are now mobile responsive meaning they will adjust for the form factor of the device (desktops, tablets, and smartphones) being used to view the portal.

  • WebCenter Content also received some user interface improvements. This includes a new image viewer featuring annotations so users can mark up images. And speaking of images, the imaging server has been merged with the content server.
  • And for the front-end developers out there, Oracle was heavily promoting their new JavaScript framework called JET. If you like to use frameworks like bootstrap you should check out JET’s component library. JET will be Oracle’s framework of choice for the cloud and its applications going forward.

Fishbowl Solutions will be sharing more about what we learned regarding Oracle WebCenter 12c, Oracle’s cloud offerings, and Oracle’s front-end design and development technologies during a webinar in early December. Check back to this blog or the Fishbowl website for more details soon.

More information on Oracle WebCenter 12c can be found on the Oracle WebCenter blog and within this press release.

For more information on Oracle’s cloud offerings, see this Forbe’s article.

Did your organization recently purchase Oracle WebCenter Content? Are you the new admin? Consider these 4 tools to successfully manage and administer the system

AdminSuiteCongratulations! Your organization has made an investment in a leading enterprise content management and portal system, and even better, you get to manage and administer the system. Lucky you, right? As long as users can access the system, find what they need, and receive important, system generated notifications that are relevant to them they will generally be happy and leave you alone, right?

Unfortunately, a complete state of end-user bliss doesn’t exist – if it did, there might not be a need for system administrators. The reason for this is there will be many different personas that will access and use the system, and each will have their own set of likes, dislikes and complaints. For example, some users won’t like the interface (most popular complaint). Others will complain about the (perceived) lack of features and functionality. Regardless, as the system administrator you will not be able to satisfy all user requests, but with Fishbowl’s Administration Suite  you will be able to ensure WebCenter users get the most out of inherent features and system functionality.

Administration (Admin) Suite brings together Fishbowl’s most popular components for WebCenter automation. The reason for their popularity is they truly help administrators be more efficient when performing the most common and repetitive tasks within Oracle WebCenter Content, as well as they provide additional functionality that provides organizations with more business value. These include rule-based security mappings to provide users with the right level of access (read, read/write, read/write/delete, etc.), enabling custom email notifications to be sent for content subscriptions, scheduling and off-loading the process of bulk loading content in WebCenter, and the addition of several workflow features to aid in workflow creation, review and auditing. Let’s take a closer look of each of these components.

Advanced User Security Mapping (AUSM)

  • Overview:
    • AUSM provides rule-based configuration to integrate external user sources (LDAP or Active Directory) with Oracle WebCenter. Rules can be created to assign aliases to users based on their directory information, and this information can be directly imported into WebCenter. AUSM also provides reporting capabilities to quickly audit user access and troubleshoot permission issues.
  • Business Problems it solves:
    • Decreases the time it takes for administrators to integrate an enterprise security model with Oracle WebCenter. No more having to create multiple (sometimes hundreds…) of mappings between LDAP groups and roles in WebCenter
    • Enables administrators to quickly troubleshoot user access issues
    • Accelerates new user access to content in the system by not having to wait until users log in

Subscription Notifier

  • Overview:
    • Subscription Notifier provides an intuitive interface for administrators to create subscriptions for tracking and managing business content. This is done through queries that can be scheduled to run at various intervals. For example, you can create queries to notify a contract manager at 90, 60 and 30 days before a vendor contract expires. You can also create queries that notify content owners that content is X days old and should be reviewed.
  • Business problem it solves:
    • Ensures internal and external stakeholders have visibility, and have enough time to respond, to when high-value content is set to expire (contracts, etc.)
    • Helps avoid duplication of effort by alerting teams when new content is available – sales teams get notified when new marketing content is checked in, for example
    • Provides owners of web content with triggers to update, create new or delete – this can help keep content on the site fresh and new which is important for SEO

Enterprise Batch Loader

  • Overview:
    • Enterprise Batch Loader provides a robust, standalone component for WebCenter administrators to quickly and efficiently load content into the system. This content can come from ERP, CRM, CAD and other business systems as Enterprise Batch Loader can be configured to “watch” folders where such data is output and then create a batch load file for loading into WebCenter. Metadata from these systems can also be mapped to fields existing in WebCenter.
  • Business problems it solves:
    • Helps organizations reduce content repositories and file shares by automating the process of checking content into Oracle WebCenter
    • Ensures high-value data from ERP, CRM, CAD and other business systems gets loaded into WebCenter, providing a single location for users to access and find information

Workflow Solution Set

  • Overview:
    • Packed with 9 powerful features, Workflow Solution Set complements the out-of-the-box Oracle WebCenter workflows through detailed auditing, the ability to search for content in workflow, and the ability to customize email notifications and the workflow review pane. Workflow Solution Set makes it easier for users to interact with and fully leverage WebCenter Content workflows.
  • Business problem it solves:
    • Helps remove confusion from the workflow process by enabling explicit instructions to be included in the workflow review pane or email notifications
    • Ensures the history of a workflow is fully retained – including rejection comments
    • Provides visibility into content that is in a workflow, which natively in WebCenter items in a workflow are not included as part of search results
    • Improves performance of review process by separating out workflow items into pages instead of one long list

I will be covering more of the capabilities of these components that make up Fishbowl’s Administration Suite during a one-hour webinar on Thursday, June 11th. Come hear more about why, together, the components of Fishbowl’s Admin Suite provide the perfect tools for WebCenter admins.

You can register for the event here. I hope you will be able to join us.

ControlCenter for WebCenter Content: Controlled Document Management for any Device

Fishbowl Solutions recently held a webinar about our newest product, ControlCenter for Oracle WebCenter Content. Product manager Kim Negaard discussed ControlCenter’s unique features and advantages for controlled document management. If you missed the webinar, you can now view it on YouTube:

Below is a summary of questions Kim answered during the webinar. If you have any unanswered questions, or would just like to learn more, feel free to contact Fishbowl by emailing cmsales@fishbowlsolutions.com.

Is this a custom component that I can apply to current documents and workflow processes, or are there additional customization that needs to be done?

ControlCenter is installed as a custom component and will work with current documents. You can identify which document types and workflows you want to be able to access through ControlCenter and additional customizations are not necessary.

Does the metadata sync with the header information in both Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF documents?

The metadata synchronization works with PDF and Word documents.

Do you need to have a specific template in order to synchronize?

Not really. There’s two ways you can insert metadata into a document:

  1. You can use the header or footer area and replace anything existing in the current header with a standard header.
  2. You can use properties fields: for example, anytime the Microsoft Office properties field “document ID” occurs in a document, the dDoc name value could be inserted into that field.

In either of these cases, the formatting standards wouldn’t be rigid, but you would ideally want to know before rolling this out which approach you’d like to take.

What version of WebCenter do you need for this?

This is supported on WebCenter Content version 11.1.8 or above.

Is it completely built on component architecture as a custom component?

Yes.

Does ControlCenter require the Site Studio component to be enabled in order to work?

No, Site Studio doesn’t have to be enabled.

Does ControlCenter require Records Management to be installed on top of WCC?

No.

Does the custom component require additional metadata specific to ControlCenter?

Not exactly. We’ve made it pretty flexible; for example, with the scheduled reviews, we don’t force you to create a field called “review date”. We allow you to pick any date field you want to use for the scheduled reviews, so that if you already have something in place you could use it.

Where do you put ControlCenter if you don’t already have an existing server?

You do need to have an Oracle WebCenter Content server to run ControlCenter. If you don’t have a server, you’ll need to purchase a license for WebCenter Content. However, you don’t need any additional servers besides your WebCenter Content server.

Does the notification have to go to a specific author, or could you send it to a group or list in case that author is no longer with the organization?

The notification system is very flexible in terms of who you can send documents to. You can send it to a group, like an entire department or group of team leads, or it can be configured to send to just one person, like the document author or owner.

How does this work with profiles?

ControlCenter fully supports profiles. When you view content information for a document, it will display the metadata using the profile. If you check in a document using a check-in profile, then all of the metadata and values from that profile will be respected and enforced within ControlCenter. I should also mention that ControlCenter does support DCLs, so if you’re using DCLs those will be respected, both from a check in perspective but also in the metadata on the left. So as you are creating a browse navigation in ControlCenter, it will recognize your DCLs and allow you to filter with the proper relationships.

Does it integrate with or support OID (Oracle Internet Directory)/OAM (Oracle Access Manager)?

ControlCenter will use whatever authentication configuration you already have set up. So if you’re using OAM with WebCenter Content, then that’s what ControlCenter will use as well.

Does it support any custom metadata that has already been created?

Yes, if you have custom metadata fields that are already created, any of those can be exposed in ControlCenter.

Does it support any other customizations that have already been defined in the WebCenter Content instance?

It will depend on the nature of the customization. In general, if you have customized the WebCenter UI, those customizations would not show up in ControlCenter because ControlCenter has a separate UI; however, customizations on the back end, like workflow or security, would likely carry over into ControlCenter.

Does ControlCenter integrate with URM?

The ControlCenter interface isn’t specifically integrated with URM.

In case of a cluster environment, does ControlCenter need to be installed on both WebCenter Content servers?

Yes, if you have a clustered WebCenter Content environment, you would need to install ControlCenter on both/all nodes of the clustered environment.

Does it change anything within core WebCenter?

Not really. The only change to the core UI is an additional button in the Browse Content menu that will take you to the ControlCenter interface. But other than that, ControlCenter doesn’t change or prevent you from using the regular Content Server interface.

Can you customize the look and feel (icons, colors, etc.)?

Yes. We will work with you to customize the look and feel, widgets, etc. The architecture that we used when we created this supports customization.