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

Fishbowl Solutions at Collaborate 2016: Demos and Discussions on Oracle JET, ADF, Documents Cloud Service, Controlled Document Management and Portals

fbweb_003105
Fishbowl Solutions is looking forward to Collaborate 2016. We have another full list of activities planned, and we are always excited to meet with customers and discuss their initiatives around enterprise content management and portals, the cloud, as well as front-end user design and experience. With the release of Oracle WebCenter 12c back in October, customers are also eager to understand more of what the new version has to offer. Fortunately for WebCenter customers attending Collaborate, Fishbowl Solutions will be covering all these topics across the 5 presentations we will be giving, as well as one-on-discussions in our booth – #1028.

We are also privileged to be joined by two WebCenter customers who will give presentations on their WebCenter use cases. The first customer, ICON plc (www.iconplc.com/) based in Dublin, Ireland, will discuss the process of improving the front-end experience of the WebCenter-based portal they use to manage the clinical trials process.

The second customer is Rosendin Electric (www.rosendin.com) based in San Jose, CA, and they will share how they implemented Fishbowl’s ControlCenter solution to automate the contract management process within WebCenter.

The best part and biggest benefit of attending Collaborate is hearing stories from actual customers, like ICON and Rosendin. Collaborate is truly a user group conference, and hearing case studies on WebCenter deployments, enhancements, integrations, etc., are invaluable for other customers looking to do the same or similar. Less marketing speak and sales pitches, and more learning. As you plan your schedule for Collaborate, look for Session Types denoted as Case Studies.

Here is a preview of what Fishbowl currently has planned for Collaborate 2016.

Booth: 1028

Demos of our WebCenter Portal Solution Accelerator, User Experience (art of the possible) demos of portal and websites, and ControlCenter (controlled document management for WebCenter).

Presentations: 5

  • Monday, April 11, 10:30-11:30 AM:
    A Designer’s Introduction to the Oracle JET Framework

    This session is targeted at front-end developers looking to leverage their front-end design skills to create Modular Single Page applications with Oracle’s new JavaScript Extension Toolkit (JET) framework. The presentation will include an overview of the JET framework and discussion around the features and benefits, along with a quick comparison with Application Development Framework (ADF). Sim and Beatty will walk through and explain JET’s integrated open source libraries and frameworks, and then take developers through the creation of a simple, JET-integrated cloud application.

  • Monday, April 11, 4:30-5:30 PM:
    Integrating Oracle JET With ADF to Create a Modern and Engaging User Experience

    In this session you will learn about the pros and cons of Oracle’s new JET framework and ADF and how you can combine them to create a modern development experience writing Modular Single Page Applications. Sim and Weaver will discuss how front-end designers can create modern, platform agnostic extendable interfaces with JET, and how developers can create ADF integrations and extendable services with the back-end to serve up small data snippets (JSON).

  • Tuesday, April 12, 10:45-11:45 AM:
    Developing Hybrid Solutions for the Oracle Documents Cloud Service (DoCS)

    This session will provide an overview of Oracle’s Documents Cloud Service (DoCS), including its interface, security model, and how to embed the DoCS UI and integrate with the REST API and Applink Resource to create seamless hybrid off- and on-premise applications. As part of the lecture, Sim will provide live examples and code walkthroughs, as well as talk about hybrid application development and the best times to use the Applink Resource vs the REST API with Oracle’s new Oracle JET framework for developing cloud apps. The presentation will conclude with an overview of an integration that Fishbowl has created to support Oracle DoCs.

  • Tuesday, April 12, 4:45-5:45 PM
    ICON Enhances Its WebCenter Portal Design by Keeping the User in Mind

    ICON Clinical Research Limited is a global provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. They specialize in the development, management, and analysis of programs that support clinical development. ICON implemented Oracle WebCenter as the platform for its ICONIK portal, which will be used by the clinical trials team to manage, maintain, and share content created during the trials process. Come to this session to hear how ICON and Fishbowl Solutions leveraged next generation, best practice portal design concepts and technologies to provide a high-end and rich user experience to end users. Learn how ICON leverages WebCenter Portal and Content to surface personalized study documents, quickly manage content, and collaborate with other team members, whether on a desktop or on the go through a mobile device. We will also discuss how ICON has streamlined their business to solve problems

    that contributed to delays in the clinical trials process, impeding ICON’s customers from bringing products to market.

  • Wednesday, April 13, 9:15-10:15 AM:
    Rosendin Electric Pairs a Modern User Experience with WebCenter Content to Automate Contract Management

    Rosendin Electric is the top-ranked private electrical contractor in the nation whose work spans preconstruction, prefabrication, building information modeling, and renewable energy. Join us to hear Rosendin describe how they leveraged Oracle WebCenter and Fishbowl Solutions’ ControlCenter to automate and improve their contract management process. Rosendin’s new contract management system provides an intuitive, mobile-enabled interface and dashboard view for their contracts team that shows working, pending, and executed contracts. This dashboard is specific for each user, enabling them to quickly take action not only on contracts, but also on associated documents such as non-disclosure agreements and corporate governance documentation. Come see how WebCenter Content has streamlined Rosendin’s contract management process, making it much more efficient while ensuring the lifecycle of contracts and related documents can be easily tracked, viewed, and archived within one enterprise repository.

We hope to see you at Collaborate 2016!

WebCenter Portal & SPA (Single Page Application) – Enhancing ADF UI Design and UX Functionality

First of all, you may be wondering: what is SPA and how can it improve Oracle WebCenter Portal?
It’s the future, trust me, especially when it comes to providing the best possible UX and flexible UI to your users and enhancing the power of ADF Taskflows with a radical UI overhaul. ADF is great for creating rich applications fast, but to be honest, it is limited in its capability to provide that rich flexible HTML5 UX  through the ADF UI components and to create that truly interactive design that we all seek in today’s modern web based apps and portals. If we are honest, the developer (or more importantly, the designers) are constrained with the out-of-the-box ADF components/taskflows and their lack of design flexibility, unless they want to create their own and extend the render kit capabilities (but extending the render kit will be for another post – today lets cover SPA with Portal).

SPA fits in perfectly – overhaul the ADF UI using today’s modern techniques and design agency with the skills to build responsive components using the latest frameworks

and libraries, such as knockout, backbone, requirejs, socket.io with reactive templating using mustache, handlebars to compliment ADF and WebCenters services via its REST API.

But before taking the next step and thinking SPA is right for you, read these warnings!

  • The taskflow interface is developed using the latest framework and libraries – not all partners and web design agencies are forward thinking and may not be able to develop and achieve SPA components for WebCenter Portal.
  • The cost can be greater, as the interface is usually designed from the ground up and requires browser and device testing. But if it’s done well, it will outmatch anything that the ADF UI layer can provide your users.
  • Experience goes a long way, especially with matching your design agency with ADF-experienced developers to provide responsive web services and inline datasets.

So what is SPA?

A single-page application (SPA) is a web application or website that fits on a single web page with the goal of providing a more fluid user experience. In an SPA, either all necessary code – HTML, JavaScript and CSS – is retrieved with a single page load, or the appropriate resources are dynamically loaded and added to the page (similar to ADFs PPR) as and when necessary, reducing the page load and speeding up page load times.

With our use of SPA within portal, the SPA is made modular and wrapped within a taskflow container, providing the rich capability to have multiple components that can be easily dropped into a page while providing rich interaction between components that are context aware by simply adding them from the resource catalog from within the WebCenter Composer view.

Workspace manager

Here is an example Photoshop design that we can easily convert into a pixel perfect functioning SPA taskflows we have developed that enables logged in users to manage their own list of Application and Spaces. All server side interaction is handled via ADFm (model) layer, which enables the ADF life cycle to be aware of REST calls and prevent memory leaks or other possible session issues. While the UI layer is all custom with reactive dynamic templating that is far superior and faster than the current ADF, PPR calls, as all the interaction and updating of the template is handled client side. Another great thing is that this template can easily transform and support modern responsive design techniques and can be consumed by mobile devices, and could also be deployed to other app environments like Liferay, SharePoint, and WebCenter Content, as the UI layer does not rely on ADF calls and service requests can be proxied or CORS enabled if the calls are handled by AJAX and are not WebSocket requests.

Click here for hi-resolution

Here you can see another example of a SPA Taskflow in action displaying the JIVE Forums (above), compared against the out of the box ADF Forum Taskflow (below).

Conclusion

If you are looking to create applications fast that are functional, use the out of the box taskflows or develop your own ADF components entirely in ADF with your development team and customize the ADF skin to improve on the ADF look.

However, if you are looking to take the experience to the next level and want to invest more to create visually interactive modern and rich dynamic experiences to your users, bring in a good UX/UI team that can help transform your interface layer while enabling components to have the potential to be deployed across multiple platforms while maintaining the power of the ADF back end.

Side Note

I’m currently co-authoring a white paper on modular SPA for ADF taskflows providing examples and different development techniques that can be used to enrich the UI. I hope to get this out to you and on OTN in the next 6 months so keep a look out for it.

The Benefits of Integrating a Google Search Appliance with an Oracle WebCenter or Liferay Portal

This month, the Fishbowl team presented two webinars on integrating a Google Search Appliance with a WebCenter or Liferay Portal. Our new product, the GSA Portal Search Suite, makes integration simple and also allows for customization to create a seamless, secure search experience. It brings a powerful, Google-like search experience directly to your portal.

The first webinar, “The Benefits of Google Search for your Oracle WebCenter or Liferay Portal”, focused on the Google Search Appliance and the positive experiences users have had with incorporating Google search in the enterprise.

 

The second webinar, “Integrating the Google Search Appliance with a WebCenter or Liferay Portal”, dove deeper into how the GSA Portal Search Suite and how it improves the integration process.

 

The following is a list of questions and answers from the webinar series. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to the Fishbowl team!

Q. What version of SharePoint does this product work with?

A. This product is not designed to work with SharePoint. Google has a SharePoint connector that indexes content from SharePoint and pulls it into the GSA, and then the GSA Portal Search Suite would allow any of that content to be served up in your portal.

Fishbowl also has a product called SharePoint Connector that connects SharePoint with Oracle WebCenter Content.

Q. Is Fishbowl a reseller of the GSA? Where can I get a GSA?

A. Yes, we sell the GSA, as well as add-on products and consulting services for the GSA. Visit our website for more information about our GSA services.

Q. What is the difficulty level of customizing the XSLT front end? How long would it take to roll out?

A. This will depend on what you’re trying to customize. If it’s just colors, headers, etc., you could do it pretty quickly because the difficulty level is fairly low. If you’re looking at doing a full-scale customization and entirely changing the look and feel, that could take a lot longer – I would say upwards of a month. The real challenge is that there isn’t a lot of documentation from Google on how to do it, so you would have to do a lot of experimentation.

One of the reasons we created this product is because most customers haven’t been able to fully customize their GSA with a portal, partly because Google didn’t design it to be customizable in this way.

Q. What versions of Liferay does this product support?

A. It supports version 6.2. If you have another version you’d like to integrate with, you can follow up with our team and we can discuss the possibility of working with other versions.

Q. Do you have a connector for IBM WCM?

A. Fishbowl does not have a connector, but Google has a number of connectors that can integrate with many different types of software.

Q. Are you talking about WebCenter Portal or WCM?

A. This connector is designed for WebCenter Portal. If you’re talking about WCM as in SiteStudio or WebCenter Content, we have done a number of projects with those programs. This particular product wouldn’t apply to those situations, but we have other connectors that would work with programs such as WebCenter Content.

Q. Where is the portlet deployed? Is it on the same managed node?

A. The portlets are deployed on the portlet server in WebCenter Portal.

Q. Where can we get the documentation for this product?

A. While the documentation is not publically available, we do have a product page on the website that includes a lot of information on the Portal Search Suite. Contact your Fishbowl representative if you’d like to learn more about it.

Q. What are the server requirements?

A. WebCenter Portal 11g or Liferay 6.2 and Google Search Appliance 7.2.

Q. Does this product include the connector for indexing content?

A. No, this product does not include a connector. We do have a product called GSA Connector for WebCenter that indexes content and then allows you to integrate that content with a portal. Depending on how your portal is configured, you could also crawl the portal just like you would in a regular website. However, this product focuses exclusively on serving and not on indexing.

Q. How many portals will a GSA support? I have several WebCenter Content domains on the same server.

A. The GSA is licensed according to number of content items, not number of sources. You purchase a license for a certain number of content items and then it doesn’t matter how many domains the content is coming from.

Upcoming Webinar Series: Using Google Search with your Oracle WebCenter or Liferay Portal

GSA Portal Search LogoFishbowl will host a series of webinars this month about integrating the Google Search Appliance with an Oracle WebCenter or Liferay Portal. Our new product, the GSA Portal Search Suite, fully exposes Google features within portals while also maintaining the existing look and feel.

The first webinar, “The Benefits of Google Search for your Oracle WebCenter or Liferay Portal”, will be held on Wednesday, October 15 from 12:00-1:00 PM CST. This webinar will focus on the benefits of using the Google Search Appliance, which has the best-in-class relevancy and impressive search features, such as spell check and document preview, that Google users are used to.

Register now

The second webinar, “Integrating the Google Search Appliance and Oracle WebCenter or Liferay Portal”, further explains how Fishbowl’s GSA Portal Search Suite helps improve the process of setting up a GSA with a WebCenter or Liferay Portal. This product uses configurable portlets so users can choose which Google features to enable and provides single sign-on between the portal and the GSA. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, October 22 from 12:00-1:00 PM CST.

Register now

For more information on the GSA Portal Search Suite, read our previous blog post on the topic.