Making good on its promise, Oracle has added an application lifecycle management solution to its developer tool set to enable teams of developers to work together more effectively.
As part of its Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g announcement on July 1, the database giant announced Oracle TPC (Team Productivity Center), an ALM solution that sets Oracle up for greater competition in the tools space against the likes of IBM Rational, Microsoft and others, as eWEEK initially reported in 2007.
Indeed, Oracle TPC will compete with components of IBM Rational’s Jazz and Jazz-based offerings, Microsoft’s VSTS (Visual Studio Team System), and TFS (Team Foundation Server), among other technologies from companies like Borland Software, Serena Software, AccuRev, MKS and others. Yet, despite having a captive audience in its installed base, by entering the ALM space as a Johnny-come-lately, Oracle has a challenge ahead in taking on the likes of IBM and Microsoft.
In a Q&A session with reporters, Ted Farrell, chief architect and senior vice president of Tools and Middleware for Oracle, said, “Our ALM strategy is a best-of-breed strategy where we focus on adding functionality into the design time. Team Productivity Center is focused on bringing team members together.”
Farrell said unlike makers of competing solutions, “We don’t require you to use our server; we allow you to use what you have. I think it’s a very unique sort of approach because customers have a lot of open-source, home grown and commercial software” in their IT environments.
Oracle TPC is an ALM tool that allows software development teams to collaborate and work productively together through the development of software code applications using JDeveloper, Oracle said. It provides a Connector Framework to enable third-party ALM repositories-such as task and project management, version control, document management, software bug reporting and management systems, and build systems-to be integrated with JDeveloper, enabling users to directly interact with their existing ALM artifacts while working in Oracle JDeveloper.
Essentially, TPC brings ALM tools directly where developers need it: in the IDE (integrated development environment). TPC includes an extensible server component with prebuilt connectors to popular products used in the software development life cycle such as Atlassian’s Jira, Microsoft Project and offerings from Rally Software. TPC also provides a JDeveloper extension to integrate the various life-cycle management and collaboration tools into the IDE.
In a blog post on Oracle TPC, Product Manager Susan Duncan of Oracle’s UK operation said:
“In a world where software development teams work across organizations, time zones, cultures and business functions they need ALM pieces that are closely integrated and lead to better productivity.Oracle Team Productivity Center in JDeveloper will facilitate this productive team working and collaboration through the integration of your existing ALM assets plus additional centralized and customizable services and collaboration.“
“TPC introduces the Team Navigator to JDeveloper. Through this navigator I can set up my team and user structure, applying team roles to users in teams/projects. I can connect to my existing ALM repositories and query/update artifacts in those repositories while working in JDeveloper.“
Duncan also said Oracle’s aim is to extend TPC capability beyond the developer, much like IBM Rational and Microsoft have been doing with their ALM tools. Said Duncan: “This release of TPC concentrates on enabling JDeveloper users, but [ALM] is about more than just developers-it has a role in breaking down functional silos (development, QA, Doc, PM … ) and it’s our aim to push TPC out to more than developers going forward-both in terms of increased services provided by TPC and increasing the number of connectors available to differing ALM repositories (requirements, task, defects, testing, etc).”
JDeveloper, WebLogic Suite 11g, WebCenter Services
Other new features in the IDE include customizations and personalization enhancements. Also, with Oracle’s ADF Desktop Integration, developers can bring the power of ADF to Microsoft Office. For developers, extending an ADF application to Excel uses the same familiar programming model and can leverage shared business services for improved reusability and data integrity.
The new version of JDeveloper, JDeveloper 184.108.40.206, also features the Oracle SOA Suite extension, which reintroduces the popular design time for Oracle SOA Suite with new features. And the new version of the IDE delivers Oracle WebCenter Framework and a Services extension.
Oracle JDeveloper allows developers to quickly assemble and build applications and services across application servers, the company said. Alternatively, developers can also leverage the open-source Eclipse IDE through Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse.
“Our goal is to let users choose” which development environment they want to use, Farrell said. However, Farrell would not comment on what Oracle plans to do with the open-source NetBeans IDE that the company stands to inherit in its pending acquisition of Sun Microsystems. “NetBeans is a viable IDE in the market,” Farrell said.
As part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g launch, Oracle announced the release of Oracle WebLogic Suite 11g, which includes Oracle WebLogic Server, as well as Oracle Coherence, Oracle JRockit, Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle Enterprise Manager. Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g also builds on the previously announced Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g strategic development tools including Oracle JDeveloper, Oracle Application Development Framework and Oracle TopLink.
“Avis Budget has always been on the forefront of new technology. We use information technology to reduce cost, [to] increase customer satisfaction and to help us provide a great product to our customers,” John Turato, vice president of Technology for Avis Budget Group, said in a statement. “Our service-oriented architecture … is the home of our Oracle Fusion Middleware investment. As such, we are closely tracking WebLogic Server 11g and related components that can continue to enable us to provide better customer service and reduce our costs.”
Oracle WebCenter Services provide the following new social computing services: tagging, linking, recent activity, RSS, ratings, people connections and activity graphs that enable users to integrate these technologies with their enterprise applications and collaborate with others, Oracle officials said.
“With WebCenter 11g, we really like the component-based development features. Using these, we have built several prototypes, which front-end our transactional system. The prototypes were created literally within a couple of days, which allowed us to readily showcase these to our clients,” said John Chung, vice president of IT for Arcturus Realty.
“By making it easy for our end users and developers to customize business applications within the portal environment, Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g helps us better align IT with our business goals,” said Lee Fairclough, vice president of Knowledge Management for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. “In particular, the tools offered in Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g will assist us in providing users access to the latest materials on cancer, including the research, guidelines, information, and relevant services and tools to support both patients and families going through an experience of cancer or those actively working in the cancer system in Canada. In this way, Oracle WebCenter 11g will provide us the ability to support our broad cancer community with a one-stop access point to Canadian information to meet their cancer-related needs, including interactive online discussion forums.”