Android – Bridging the Gap Between Native and HTML5 Mobile Apps (ADF-Mobile And Cordova)

March 4th, 2014 by

At Fishbowl Solutions; we’ve been looking at ways to enhance and bring the Android experience closer to that native experience that every user wants: – here are some solutions that we are using today to help bridge the Android <4.4 gap and also bring in the latest web technology like WebSocket and WebRTC support not available with either cordova or ADF Mobile today..

When it comes to mobile development with ADF-Mobile or Cordova (HTML5) you will notice that there’s a significant difference in performance and support with the HTML5, CSS3 standards between Android and IOS when building HTML5 hybrid mobile apps.

Today; IOS is closer at bridging the gap – giving it a near to native experience in IOS7; – however with Android if your running a device lower than KitKat OS you will still notice a big hit with performance – this is due to ADF-Mobile and Cordova surfacing the standard webview with an old WebKit engine using the default browser with android and not the chromium browser (now part of KitKat).

 

With those developing ADF-Mobile be aware of the following -

- An old version of jquery (1.7.1) is used with the AMX views (1.7.1 was not designed for mobile) – hopefully Oracle will be upgrading this to the latest supported jquery release targeted for mobile or alternatively swap to mobile jquery syntaxed framework like Zepto.js.

- You can push the updates in manually – this will improve response times and animations;  however be aware that some jquery methods may of been depreciated and may cause you some issues – although I have not come across anything major when manually enhancing ADF Mobile.

There is also a bug with the initial load times of apps in ADF Mobile (Android) – I believe Oracle are working to fix this with the next ADF-Mobile update – this is outside of Cordova or the webview issue and I believe to be more related to the JVM setup. (Correct me if I’m wrong – anyone…)

Cordova 2.2.0 is also used on ADF Mobile (the currently cordova release is 3.4.0) – I’m hoping in the future that Oracle will make it easier for us to upgrade the Cordova Release and supply better release notes on ADF Mobile compatibility with Cordova.
i.e. 2.x is supported in the current release 3.x to be supported on the roadmap – 9 months time, etc.

- If you run into any issues with ADF Mobile; its worth taking a look to see what issues/bugs were in Cordova 2.2.0 release and follow up with Oracle Support to supply an fix for the issue or risk patching the framework yourself.

 

Creating that Native UX with Android (Cordova and potentially ADF-Mobile)

At Fishbowl Solutions we split our Apps to a Single Page App view outside of AMX Business component view for content management – this allows our clients web and marketing teams to quickly enhance content and brand mobile apps; without the need to learn ADF-Mobile using best practices for developing hybrid html5 mobile applications. This approach allows us to deploy our core apps to Cordova or lifecycle management systems like IBM-Worklight when clients do not need the power of ADF-Mobile and JAVA support to integrate with other Oracle systems.

Suggested Frontend JS Libraries (Cordova)
After working with Phonegap/Cordova for the last 4 years these are my recommendation of libraries to use for mobile app development outside of ADF-Mobile AMX views.


Rethinking Best Practices

1. ReactJS developed by Facebook/Instagram is a perfect open sourced library for developing Single Page Apps optimised for mobile development with its virtualised DOM and JS Engine makes animations and transitions effortless – If you are new to ReactJS you need to watch Rethinking Best Practices to give you an underlining understanding and appreciation of why virtualisation of DOM makes complete sense – when developing mobile apps – no need for acceleration on your browser to create clean transition touch events. Alternatively you could take a look at AngularJS by Google; but in terms of performance for mobile I personally believe ReactJS is the way to go even though its still fairly new to the industry – it will provide a closer native experience if used correctly.

2. Director part of the Flatiron framework is a great match for Reactjs – it’s a great URL Router to handle page history and template requests for single paged mobile apps.

3. RequireJS library – is a module loader that will improve the speed and quality of your code; compressing both CSS files and JS libraries into a single compressed file.

4. i18next translation library is a great solution for marketing teams to manage internationalisation string for your apps.

5. jQuery 2.1.0 the latest release is now optimised for mobile development a year or so ago I would of recommended Zepto.js but today jQuerys latest release is just as good for mobile development.

Getting Rid of Androids Old WebKit Browser and enhancing with Chromium and Blink!!

So this is where things get interesting!…

I’ve been working with the Crosswalk-Project runtime this last month upgrading Fishbowl Solutions Mobile Cordova Apps – which in effect has given me the OOTB power and experience achieved with IOS7 Cordova apps and more!

CrossWalk Overview

At the heart of Crosswalk is the Blink rendering and layout engine – this provides the same HTML5 features and capabilities you would expect to find in any modern web brower ie webSocket webRTC etc..

Building on Blink, Crosswalk uses the Chromium Content module to provide a multi-process architecture, designed for security and performance.

For anyone developing Cordova or hybrid apps I’d recommend taking a look at this project and incorporating the runtime if you are working on Android Mobile apps.. This month we’ll be looking at the potential to incorporate this runtime with ADF-Mobile – we’ll let you know how we get on.

 

 

ADF Mobile – Packaged WebCenter Accelerator (Cordova Application)

February 16th, 2014 by

[Fishbowl Solutions WebCenter Accelerator] [ADF Mobile]
[Portal, Content And BPM/SOA] 

At Fishbowl Solutions we’ve been focusing heavily on Mobile solutions over the last 4 years – working on both award winning native and hybrid apps as well as adaptive and responsive web sites and portals for tablet and mobile devices. Last year we decided to expand our reach with ADF Mobile and Cordova based hybrid applications targeting the WebCenter Suite for Android and IOS  (as well as Blackberry, Microsoft for those using plain Cordova or IBM Worklight).

Both Oracle and Fishbowl offer a suite of powerful Native apps available on the Android Google Play and IOS iStore; however these solutions to date are not extendible or brand-able from Oracles side or require customisations and consultancy services from Fishbowl Solutions to extend and enhance the native apps to meet unique client requirements.

With the Oracle ADF Mobile Framework java developers and clients can now easily pull together hybrid applications within JDevelopers visual app designer; however and unfortunately there are currently no Oracle supported open ADF Mobile application for the WebCenter suite that allow clients to easily extend and enhance existing functionality for their corporate users running on mobile devices – and currently the WebCenter apps are not targeted to provide the clean User eXperience for mobile devices and lack features like offline or native device support.

All existing WebCenter Apps that clients want mobile access too, now have to be rebuilt for mobile devices as either native or hybrid applications like the ADF Mobile Framework – so at Fishbowl we’ve decided to build out Fishbowl supported mobile app accelerators for WebCenter Spaces, Content and BPM/SOA (More to come on our Mobile Roadmap). That will allow both your Marketing (Web designers with no ADF knowledge) and ADF Mobile Development teams to extend and quickly and easily customise, enhance and build mobile applications that provide all of the key out of the box features that come with the WebCenter Suite more importantly if you don’t have a requirement for any of the modules these can easily be switched off until you need to enable them in the future – these can also be packaged as a single unified app or multiple individual applications based on your requirements.

The core Fishbowl WebCenter accelerators (Portal, Content, BPM/SOA) are packaged and cannot be customised directly this is so that we can send out software updates as we follow our roadmap for more integrations and accelerators to all our clients without the need to worry that our core accelerators have been tweaked – what we do provide is a key set of APIs and templates that enable you to easily extend, enhance, brand the application as well as create or extend the UI or User Flow of the app to support and integrate with customised bespoke client WebCenter services or custom portal taskflow services or even third party core business applications – empowering you to manage and maintain the app whilst we at Fishbowl provide the key core support, services and UI Shell for future WebCenter OOTB releases.

For more information or a demo – Please contact Fishbowl Solutions here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collaborate 2014 – 79 days until 79 degrees and Poolside WebCenter Discussions!

January 17th, 2014 by

79 days.
Vegas.
Collaborate 2014.
79° F (average temp. in Vegas during April)

Fishbowl Solutions has another full list of activities planned for Collaborate 14. We look forward to discussing your Oracle WebCenter Content and Portal initiatives with you – hopefully poolside while we enjoy the warm weather together. It is a balmy 3° F in Minneapolis right now…

Here is a sneak peek of Fishbowl’s activities for Collaborate 2014:

Booth: 1453
Demos of our WebCenter Portal Solution Accelerator, SharePoint Connector 3.0, Google Search Connector for WebCenter and many more.

Presentations: 5

Here are the titles and abstracts of the sessions that Fishbowl is presenting or co-presenting on.

  • A Successful WebCenter Upgrade: What You Need to Know
    If your organization has not upgraded its WebCenter Content, Portal, or Imaging environment from pre-11g to 11g, then this 5-hour session is for you. Join WebCenter Content and Portal Specialized partner, Fishbowl Solutions, as they share facts and use cases that you will be able to apply to your WebCenter 11g upgrade. Fishbowl Solutions will be joined by customers who have successfully upgraded to 11g and therefore will be able to share their learnings, tips, and best practices that you will be able to utilize as well. This session will include a fact sharing discussion on upgrades, use case stories from WebCenter customers, and a roundtable forum where attendees will be able to ask questions specific to their Content, Portal, or Imaging upgrade. If your are planning your WebCenter upgrade and it seems daunting, or you aren’t sure where to begin; come to this session to collect first-hand and actionable information to get your upgrade project started and successfully completed.
  • Delivering on the Oracle WebCenter Portal Composite Application Vision – Top 5 Lessons Learned
    Most organizations see the benefit of creating composite web applications that aggregate services from disparate corporate and 3rd-party systems into a cohesive capability that efficiently supports business processes, driving self-service interactions for employees, customers and suppliers. The challenge is how to deliver on this vision, where to start, and how to plan and execute against your roadmap. Join us in this session as we discuss the Top 5 Lessons Learned at Rolls Royce in deploying WebCenter Portal, and how we were able to bridge content from multiple sources and surface that content to the right person, at the right time, and in the right context, to support our global customer portal.
  • Taking the WebCenter Portal User Experience to the Next Level
    Most organizations see the benefit of creating composite web applications that aggregate services from disparate corporate and 3rd-party systems into a cohesive capability that efficiently supports business processes, driving self-service interactions for employees, customers and suppliers. The challenge is how to deliver on this vision, where to start, and how to plan and execute against your roadmap. Join us in this session as we discuss the Top 5 Lessons Learned at Rolls Royce in deploying WebCenter Portal, and how we were able to bridge content from multiple sources and surface that content to the right person, at the right time, and in the right context, to support our global customer portal.
  • Leveraging BPM workflows for Accounts Payable Processing
    Accounts Payable departments are looking to create a more streamlined and paper-less business process. By achieving this an AP department, along with HR and many other departments are seeing huge ROI when converting from paper to digital management, but one key piece of this is the approval workflow of these documents. Oracle Business Process Management along side of Oracle WebCenter Imaging helps trigger an approval workflow to many different approvers to be acted upon. This session will describe how BPM workflows can be used for Accounts Payable processing and how they can be implemented with popular ERP applications like PeopleSoft and E-Business Suite.
  • Understanding Your Options for Searching Oracle WebCenter
    Search is a critical part of any effective content management solution. Without it, documents, web pages, policies, and other enterprise resources cannot be easily surfaced to end users. This session will explore the search technologies available to Oracle WebCenter customers including metadata-only search, Oracle Text Search, and Secure Enterprise Search, as well as the search functionality available with the Google Search Appliance. Attendees will get a side-by-side comparison of these search options covering the pros and cons of each technology and the use cases most suited to their capabilities. Whether you’re using WebCenter to power your website, intranet, or document management system, join this session to learn the differences between your search options and determine which one is best for you.

More information regarding the sessions above, as well as all of the scheduled sessions for Oracle WebCenter, can be found here: http://collaborate14.ioug.org/schedule

Did I mention it is 3° in Minneapolis right now with a high of 10° expected?! April, and Collaborate, can’t come soon enough.

The pool deck at the Venetian

 

 

Enhancing the WebCenter Portal ADF Template – 3 easy steps for front-end developers.

January 13th, 2014 by

Here are a few tips for creating new ADF Templates for WebCenter Portal.
These tips are for front end developers applying a branded template or who are integrating their own custom Javascript enhancements.

There are 2 approaches widely used – the first option is to use pure ADF for everything – the second and one which I follow is the hybrid approach to use HTML and JSTL tags only for templating; as I feel its easier for web designers to skin and maintain a light weight frontend without the need to learn ADF techniques.

Read on for tips on templating -

Read the rest of this entry »

WebCenter Portal, ADF, REST API & JS templating – another approach to faster portlets.

January 13th, 2014 by

So there are a few ways to create portlets, widgets and gadgets for WebCenter -

I’m going to show a few tips and tricks and one of the methods I use – to create faster interactive portlets using the WebCenter REST API and Javascript to leverage the services available.

As an example I will show you the basics to recreating the “OOTB WebCenter Portal forum taskflow” that hooks into JIVE as a light weight Async JS template driven portlet that you can drag and drop from the resource catalogue and supply configurable values.

This will enable marketing or IT teams who have no knowledge of ADF to manage, customise and enhance the look and feel of the portlet with just HTML and CSS skills. Also they will not need to redeploy the portlet via weblogic to apply enhancements – if they have access to the files on the server ie with FTP or SCP – you could also include these files on the content server – if it’s externally facing to handle revisioning version control much like sitestudio.

Click here to see the viewlet

Here’s a quick video that shows the OOTB Spaces Forum on the bottom against a simple one on the top that I created using this approach. You’ll also noticed I added an upload capability that allows the user to upload docs into WebCenter Content associated to the JIVE forum that is not part of the OOTB taskflow capability.

Read on to view the guides on how to recreate this approach and learn some useful tips on the way -

Read the rest of this entry »