Monday, September 19, 2016

Learner Series: Dynamically load XSL templates

I received a few requests from readers on how to dynamically load XSLT stylesheets in SOA 11g/12c.

This usecase finds importance when you have the following;

  • You have one input source (master data) and multiple destinations each of which receives the same data in different formats
  • Your destination requires minor changes on the data being sent and you don't want to redeploy the whole process causing downtime to other systems
  • You have dynamic partnerlinks to connect to multiple targets each of those targets expect data in a certain format

We will leverage SOA-MDS to store and retrieve our XSL stylesheets dynamically at runtime.

Step 1: Develop your XSLT mappings and test them before you persist them on MDS
Ref: learn how to use MDS in 11g/12c

Once you have your stylesheets in MDS, you can reference them from within your BPEL process using the oramds:/ protocol

Step 2: You don't need to use the "Transform" activity in your BPEL. Use either of the following BPEL XPath Extension Functions to load and process your XSL stylesheets within your "Assign" activity.


For example, ora:processXSLT('oramds:/apps/stylesheets/xformOrder.xsl', $inputVariable.payload)

You can further parameterize this expression by using a DVM to store the XSL references and use dvm:lookup to get the first parameter - XML template location.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Smart Connect Modern Enterprise Apps & SaaS w/ Oracle iPaaS

Modern enterprise systems stretch from ground to the cloud and everything in between.
With plethora of diverse SaaS applications combined with existing home grown/legacy on-premise applications - each promising to solve a specific business problem, the integration problem has just got complicated.

IDC predicts that by 2018, SaaS-based enterprise applications would generate over $50 billion in revenue resulting in more than 27% of enterprise apps running on cloud.

Enterprises must equip themselves to embrace this change to integrate, secure and manage their "extended" enterprise on cloud.

Most traditional integration solutions have 2 shortcomings;
One, they require considerable DevOps efforts - think development, deployment, maintenance etc..
Two, they aren't built ground-up for SaaS integrations - lack of SaaS adapters, network latencies, firewall pinholes for SaaS connectivity etc..

Hence the need for an iPaaS - Integration Platform as a Service. For any iPaaS solution to be successful, there are 3 important considerations that enterprise architects must account for;

  1. Ease of Use
  2. Time to Market &
  3. Deployment Choice

1. Ease of Use:

A cloud solution's first deliverable to business must be "Simplifying IT" and bringing IT closer to business. Oracle Integration Cloud Platform (ICS) is built for "citizen developers" and hence truly offers a "zero code" integration platform. This is a huge advantage for business and IT alike, as all technology complexities are hidden away. This means; there is no new technology to learn / ramp-up, no skill-gaps to fill, quicker turn-around times...

Oracle ICS also features a pattern-driven integration model with a bunch of common integration patterns to choose from, for a variety of integration needs including pub-sub, straight-on data mapping, orchestration etc.. all delivered just over a browser. No IDE, No installation & Zero Code.

2. Time to Market:

A huge impediment to any project plan is "TTM" delays that concerns the business.

Even for some of my customers who are on the bleeding edge of technology find it pragmatically difficult to staff, develop, administrate & manage their integration projects - partly owing to changing trends in technology but mostly because their DevOps can't scale to handle business demands. For instance, in the last 6-9 months, their sales department has bought into, HR moved to Fusion HCM cloud and Marketing is automating campaings on Eloqua. All of these are strategic initiatives driven by the line of business which offers feature-rich enterprise applications with lesser dependency on IT Ops at least to manage & maintain them.

However, care must be taken not to build silo'ed SaaS applications - there must be a robust integration platform to connect SaaS with On-prem systems without the complexities of a traditional middleware. Oracle ICS was architected ground-up with "Time to Market" as its principle goal. Integrations that typically take a few months can be up & running in a few days.

This is made possible with the ever-growing list of feature-rich SaaS, Apps and Technology adapters built for cloud, pre-built integrations and smart recommendations.

3. Deployment Choice:

Another integration decision is the "Integration Center of Gravity" which defines where the integration can be run for best performance. Let's say we want to connect 2 SaaS applications - does it make sense to run the integration on-prem behind your enterprise firewall? probably not. On the contrary, if you want to integrate 2 on-prem systems but still like to leverage the advantages that Oracle ICS offers, you have the flexibility to run ICS on-prem within your datacenter.

Oracle ICS is a truly hybrid iPaaS providing full deployment choice whether you want to run your integration platform on cloud or on ground.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Learner Series: SOA 12c Share Resources easily using MDS

SOA 12c has simplified the way developers leverage the MDS capabilities.

Developers still have the 11g way of deploying "SOA Bundle" archives to MDS described here.
But if you are on SOA 12c, you get a simpler option.

Once you install SOA 12c quickstart, you get a file-based SOA DesignTime MDS Repository by default. You can choose where to host your MDS root.

Under the Resources window in JDeveloper, expand SOA-MDS IDE connection. You must have a default SOA_DesignTimeRepository. Go to properties and set your MDS root folder.

You can copy your resources that you want to reuse/share to your MDS root folder and reference them within your SOA composite by using the oramds:/ protocol. eg., oramds:/apps/xsd/employee.xsd

Now to create a runtime MDS repository, first create a DB MDS connection to your SOA instance using your prefix_MDS schema [prefix is what you specified during RCU config].

From the Resources window -> IDE connection panel, right click SOA-MDS and create a new SOA-MDS connection. Provide a unique connection name, choose Connection type as "DB Based MDS", select the MDS connection created above and choose the "soa-infra" partition.

Note: SOA quickstart by default uses Java derby database (no DB MDS capabilities). You must either have a compact domain installation or a full-fledged SOA installation (your staging / test / production server).

To deploy the design time MDS (file-based) resources to DB based runtime MDS repository, right click on the design time repository and choose Transfer. The wizard will prompt you for the runtime MDS to which the resources must be transferred to. Choose the resources you need to transfer and your DB MDS connection and click on Transfer.