This is the professional blog for me, Brian 'Bex' Huff. My writing covers science, lifehacks, and computers. I spend a good amount of time on Oracle Fusion Middleware -- which includes the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technology Oracle purchased from Stellent...
Be sure to check out my book on Oracle Enterprise Content Management (ECM), my Oracle specific posts, or visit the sponsor Bezzotech -- my Oracle UCM consulting firm. There's plenty of free presentations and components if you're interested...
Another talk I gave at Collaborate 2013 is this one on ADF Mobile and WebCenter. It builds off my talk from last year about general techniques, and gets into specific about the new ADF Mobile technology, and how to integrate it with WebCenter content and WebCenter Portal.
At Collaborate 2013 this year, Tony Field and I put together a talk about a topic that has been been floating around the WebCenter community as of late...How do I integrate WebCenter Sites (Fatwire) with WebCenter Content or Site Studio? We put together a handful of integration techniques, but the main focus was on upcoming features in the next version of WebCenter... specifically the official Sites/Content connector, and support for External Repositories. Cool by themselves, but when combined with Site Studio for External Applications, it's a compelling set of integration options:
How would you like to leave Collaborate knowing exactly what you wanted to learn? Here's your chance...
Like last year, the WebCenter SIG at IOUG Collaborate 2013 (April 7-11 in Denver) will have a deep dive session for Sunday. Bezzotech was asked to deliver 2-hours of a deep dive... and were batting around ideas for what to talk about... Security? Performance? Integrations?
Then it hit us, why not let the attendees pick our talk?
If you always wanted to know something crazy about how WebCenter works, please take our survey so we know what to present. You can also leave a comment, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send it to me directly. We'll tally up the requests and let the WebCenter faithful decide what our talk will be!
I'm genuinely curious about what you are curious about ;-)
I was recently doing some training on ADF, and the students were complaining how slow JDeveloper was... Dragging and dropping Data Controls onto a JSF page? It's the pause of death if you will. Not to mention the "Out Of Memory" errors that crop up in the middle of debugging a large app. Very frustrating for developers, so I decided to once and for all get figure out what magic JVM tuning parameters would speed it up.
As a general rule, Java is optimized for throughput, not latency. Once the garbage collector kicks in, performance drops like a rock. A 2 second pause every once in a while is OK for a server, but for an IDE it's misery. So here's the fix:
- Go to your JDeveloper root directory, is should be something like C:\Oracle\jdev\Middleware\jdeveloper
- Open the file ide\bin\ide.conf, scroll down to the default memory settings:
- Boost the memory to something larger, like so:
- Open the file jdev\bin\jdev.conf
- Add the following config settings:
- Then restart JDeveloper... If it doesn't start, you'll need to reduce the amount of memory allocate in the ide.conf file from step 3.
AddVMOption -Xms128M AddVMOption -Xmx768M
AddVMOption -Xms1024M AddVMOption -Xmx1024M
# optimize the JVM for strings / text editing AddVMOption -XX:+UseStringCache AddVMOption -XX:+OptimizeStringConcat AddVMOption -XX:+UseCompressedStrings # if on a 64-bit system, but using less than 32 GB RAM, this reduces object pointer memory size AddVMOption -XX:+UseCompressedOops # use an aggressive garbage collector (constant small collections) AddVMOption -XX:+AggressiveOpts # for multi-core machines, use multiple threads to create objects and reduce pause times AddVMOption -XX:+UseConcMarkSweepGC
And that's it! Your mileage may vary, of course... And you may need additional parameters, depending on what version of JDeveloper you're running. Just keep in mind that you are tuning Java for shorter pauses, and not greater throughput.
UPDATE 1: some students still had issues, so in addition to the JVM settings, I've found these tips also help out:
Go to Tools / Preferences / Environment, and switch to the "Windows" look and feel. The Oracle look and feel is prettier, but slower.
Disable all extensions that you don't need. This is usually a huge savings... Go to Tools / Preferences / Extensions, and turn off thnigs you know you don't need. One thing I do is disable all extensions by default, then enable only the ones I know I need for my current project. For example, disable everything, then enable only those extensions that start with ADF. This will automatically enable dependent extensions. Enable others (Portal, SOA, RIDC) only if needed.
Open all documents in "Source" mode by default. Go to Tools / Preferences / File Types, and click the Default Editor tab. For all web pages (HTML, JSF, JSP) set the default editor to "Source". You can always click the "Design" tab to see the design. For best results, select items in the "Structure" window (by default on lower left) and edit them in the "Property Inspector" window (by default on the lower right).
If you really want to get extreme... you can install a solid-state hard drive for your workstation. Barring that, if you have enough RAM you can allocate 4 GB and create a RAM driver for your system. This looks like a normal hard drive, but it's all in RAM. Then install JDeveloper on that, and it will be almost as good as a solid state drive.
Other developers have had success using
UPDATE 2: A reader has informed me that this line:
Breaks offline database support in JDeveloper... so that one will have to be avoided in some cases.
I was never really a fan of mobile applications: I prefer the mobile web experience. Every mobile device supports HTML5, which means that you can do just about everything a mobile app can do, other than high-performance graphics. In fact, according to an Adobe study users prefer mobile web to mobile apps for just about everything.
It covers a lot of turf, but there are four key takeaways:
- You will need to learn HTML5 eventually, no matter what
- Your mobile strategy should default to the mobile web: mobile apps are rarely needed, and add unnecessary complexity
- And please make sure your mobile strategy is a natural extension of your business model... or you'll be out a lot of money!
Hope this helps!
I'm continuing my tradition of doing my blog year-in-review in late April... mainly because I started my blog six years ago on April 29th. But, also in the hopes it would stand out more, since everybody else has a fiscal-blog-year-end on December 31st!
In the 2011/2012 time frame I had 204,514 page views, which is a 12% increase over the previous year! Woah... surprised to see that spike, considering I've been feeling guilty about not posting enough these days... altho a lot of that was because my post on how Steve Jobs couldn't program a computer was on the front page of Hacker News for a few days! The top posts from 2011 are as follows:
- Oracle Acquires FatWire! And people are curious as to what will happen next...
- Oracle Mix Jumped The Shark: a rant against how some folks rigged the Mix system to con their way into getting Open World Sessions. Uncool.
- WebCenter Performance Tuning: a case study in WebCenter Content tuning
- WebCenter 11g PatchSet5: some useful downloads and links
- One WebCenter To Rule Them All: some coverage of the rebranding that occurred at OpenWorld 2011
- Collaborate 2011 Presentations: always good stuff there ;-)
- Mashup Standards: JSON-P Versus CORS! My opinions on why JSON-P is superior, and an add-on to my popular jQuery Plugin to better support mashups
- PowerPoint Tips From South Park: the title says it all...
- More On FatWire: additional analysis and predictions
- Multilingual UCM: some info on how to support multiple languages with UCM
This year I should have time to add more tutorials... there's some nifty stuff coming out in the next version of WebCenter that could change how people do enterprise integrations. Stay tuned...
Oracle recently acquired FatWire, and renamed it WebCenter Sites. It is a "web experience management" toolkit, which is similar to Oracle's existing Site Studio product -- a part of Oracle UCM, now called WebCenter Content.
After using Site Studio for years, I got pretty accustomed to it's terminology and toolkits... so looking at FatWire was initially intimidating because it was just so dang different. But, after using it for several months, I've come to the conclusion that a lot of the fundamentals are pretty similar. Pretty much everything Site Studio does is built in to FatWire, and FatWire has a few nifty extras as well.
So, for IOUG Collaborate this year, I put my insights together into a presentation: Crash Course in FatWire for Site Studio Developers:
It's not a replacement for actual training... but it does cover all the major low-level assets, and how they fit together to form a site. If you know a thing or two about Site Studio, this should help you get over the initial "fear of the unknown!"
WebCenter sites has out-of-the-box support for translated assets, called dimension sets, which was easy to plug-in to the Lingotek Platform. This connector also engages the community in that people can not only access translated content, but they can recommend content for translation, or even translate the content themselves! That's a pretty handy capability for community-centric web sites...
If you'd like to see more, Lingotek is doing a demo next Tuesday, April 17th, 10am EST. Be sure to register first!
It's that time of year again! The biggest Oracle user conference is nearly upon us... IOUG Collaborate 2012, from Sunday, April 22 through Thursday April 26. This year, my company Bezzotech is sponsoring the Sunday WebCenter "Deep Dive". The deep dive covers Content, Sites, Social, and of course Portal!
We'll be at Booth #1179 right on Main Street, near the Oracle Demo Pods. We are also presenting seven sessions on WebCenter and ADF:
- Sunday, 4:30pm: The Fusion Applications User Experience: Transforming Work into Insight
- Monday, 1:15pm: WebCenter Content, WebCenter Spaces, WebCenter Sites, which is right for me?
- Monday, 1:15pm: How to save physical storage with Oracle UCM
- Monday, 3:45pm: Upgrading to IPM 11g, where do I start?
- Tuesday, 10:45am: Crash Course In WebCenter Sites (FatWire) for Site Studio Customers
- Wednesday, 9:30am: HOW TO SAVE $20 MILLION PER YEAR WITH ORACLE UCM
- Thursday, 9:45am: Making Next-Generation Mobile Apps With The Latest ADF Mobile Tools
Dang! Lots of presentations to give this year... so if you don't find us on stage, or hanging out near the WebCenter session rooms, swing by our booth! Or, feel free to tweet me ;-)
It's tough explaining why we have Daylight Savings Time... it's really tough explaining why we have it to a grumpy 4-month old who wants to keep napping... it's really, really tough explaining why we have it the same week it snows in Seattle fer crying out loud... Frankly, I think we should do away with it, and C. P. G. Grey agrees with me:
He's not alone... several academic studies have shown that daylight savings time wastes money and kills people. People use light bulbs less, but air conditioning more, so energy savings is non-existent. Also, there's a higher incident of car crashes, accidents, and heart attacks because everybody is sleepy and stressed out.
I'm for getting rid of it... how about you?
Oracle UCM Patch Set 5 is released! And thus begins the long, long hunt for the patches you need to upgrade...
Most of this info is available in the Oracle FAQ for ECM 11g, as well as the Oracle Fusion Middleware Patching Guide... but I was tired of it being un-googleable... So I decided to put a few of the links together here.
Upgrading ECM can be a multi-step process. You need to upgrade WebLogic before upgrading ECM, and you need to make sure you have the right version of the Repository Creation Utility (RCU)... not to mention the multi-gigabyte general installer for ECM itself (which includes IPM, UCM, IRM, and URM). If it's a new install, just grab the most recent Weblogic Server downloads. Otherwise, use the upgrade installers below:
Patch Set 3
- Patch 11061000: FMW 11G PS3 (22.214.171.124) FOR ECM
- Patch 11060956: FMW 11G PS3 (126.96.36.199) FOR RCU
- Patch 11060985: Oracle WebLogic Server11gR1 UPGRADE installer (10.3.4)
Patch Set 4
- Patch 12395130: FMW 11G PS4 (188.8.131.52) for ECM
- Patch 12395110: FMW 11G PS4 (184.108.40.206) for RCU
- Patch 12395574: Oracle WebLogic Server11gR1 UPGRADE installer (10.3.5)
Patch Set 5
And yes, in case you noticed, I'm using those nifty short URL for Oracle patches I set up... makes the URLs a lot easier to digest, don't ya think?
How many times has this happened to you???
You're looking around Oracle for the latest patches, and after copious amounts of digging, you finally find the mystery patch that you need... you click on the "download" link, install it, and you're good to go!
Later on... your client, or co-worker, or somebody on the message board asks, "How'd you do that?" And because you have a photographic memory, you reply "With patch 12395560, of course!" Then they ask, "got a link?" And then you say this:
https://support.oracle.com/CSP/ui/flash.html#tab=PatchHomePage(page=PatchHomePa ge&id=gj46o799()),(page=PatchSearchResultsHome&id=gj46pr1y(search=%3CSearch%3E% 0A%20%20%3CFilter%20name=%22patch_number%22%20op=%22IS%22%20value=%2212395560%2 2%20type=%22patch_number%22/%3E%0A%20%20%3CFilter%20name=%22platform%22%20op=%2 2IS%22%20value=%22%22%20type=%22platform%22/%3E%0A%3C/Search%3E&incFamilyProds= false&flag=search))
Yikes... not exactly 'twitter friendly.'
In order to simplify the process (and make my documentation more readable), I set up a URL Shortener for Oracle patches for myself. Unlike most URL shorteners, it takes a parameter. The number after the slash is the Oracle patch number... which should be easy to spot on the form. So, instead of the crazy URL above, you could use one of these two:
The first one goes to the standard My Oracle Support page -- with all it's flashy goodness -- and gets as close to a "quick-link" that I could deduce. The second URL goes to the old fashioned Oracle Updates web site, which supports parameterized URL quite nicely. Guess which one I prefer? ;-)
Ideally, the Oracle support team would implement a parameter-based redirect themselves... and expose that "quick link" on the support page. Until then, I'm going to do it this way. I wonder if it will catch on???
For your consideration...
- Oracle Patches:
- Oracle Bugs:
In part 1 of this post, I covered the JSON-P "standard" for mashups. Not so much a standard per se, but a sneaky way to share JSON code between servers by wrapping them in a 'callback' function... For example, if we have our raw JSON data at this URL:
A direct access would return the raw data dump in JSON format:
Since JSON-P is something of a hack, many developers started looking for a more secure standard for sharing JSON and XML resources between web sites. They came up with Cross-Origin Resource Sharing, or CORS for short. Enabling CORS is as simple as passing this HTTP header in your XML/JSON resources:
Then, any website on the planet would be able to access your XML/JSON resources using the standard XmlHttpRequest object for AJAX. Despite the fact that I like where CORS is going, and see it as the future, I just cannot recommend CORS at this point.
Since CORS is built on top of the XmlHttpRequest object, it has much nicer error handling. If the server is down, you can recover from the error and display a message to the user immediately. If you use JSON-P, you can't access the HTTP error code... so you have to roll-your-own error handling. Also, since CORS is a standard, it's pretty easy to just put a HTTP header in all your responses to enable it.
My big problem with CORS comes from the fact that it just doesn't seem that well supported yet... Only modern browsers understand it, and cross-domain authentication seems to be a bit broken everywhere. If you wanted to get secure or personalized JSON on a mashup, your back-end applications will need to also set this HTTP header:
And, in theory, the AJAX request will pass along your credentials, and get back personalized data. The 1.7 jQuery plug-ins works well with JSON-P and authentication, but chokes badly on CORS. Also, keep in mind that authenticated CORS is a royal pain in Internet Explorer. Your end users will have to lower their security setting for the entire mashup application in order to make authenticated requests.
Now, JSON-P isn't great with security, either. Whereas CORS is too restrictive, JSON-P is too permissive. If you enable JSON-P, then you pass auth credentials to the back-end server with every request. This may not be a concern for public content, but if an evil web site can trick you into going to their mashup instead of your normal mashup, they can steal information with your credentials. This is call Cross-Site Request Forgery, and is a a general security problem with Web 2.0 applications... and JSON-P is one more way to take advantage of any security holes you may have.
In addition, the whole CORS process seems a bit 'chatty.' Whereas JSON-P requires one HTTP request to get secure data, CORS requires three requests. For example, assume we had two CORS enabled applications (app1 and app2) and we'd like to blend the data together on a mashup. Here's the process for connecting to app1 via CORS and AJAX:
- Pre-Flight Request: round-trip from client browser to app1 as a HTTP 'OPTIONS' request, to see if CORS is enabled between mashup and app1
- Request: if CORS is enabled, the browser then sends a request to app1, which sends back an 'access denied' response.
- Authenticated Request: if cross-origin authentication is enabled, data is sent a third time, along with the proper auth headers, and hopefully a real response comes back!
That's three HTTP requests for CORS compared to one by JSON-P. Also, there's a lot of magic in step 3: will it send back all the auth headers? What about cookies? There are ways to speed up the process, including a whole ton of good ideas for CORS extensions, but these appear to be currently unpopular.
Conclusion: Use JSON-P With Seatbelts
If all you care about is public content, then CORS will work fine. Also, it's a 5-minute configuration setting on your web server... so it's a breeze to turn on and let your users create mashups at their leisure. If you don't create the mashups yourself, this is sufficient.
However... if you wish to do anything remotely interesting or complex, JSON-P has much more power, and fewer restrictions. But, for security reasons, on the server side I'd recommend a few safety features:
- Validate the HTTP_REFERER: only allow JSON-P requests from trusted mashup servers, to minimize request forgery.
- Make JSON-P requests read-only: don't allow create/modify/delete through JSON-P.
But wait, isn't it easy to spoof the HTTP referrer? Yes, an evil client can spoof the value of the referrer, but not an evil server. In order for an evil mashup to spoof the referer, he'd have to trick the innocent user to download and run a signed Applet , or something similar. This is a typical trojan horse attack, and if you fall for it, you got bigger problems that fancy AJAX attack vectors... DNS rebinding is much more dangerous, and is possible with any AJAX application: regardless of JSON-P or CORS support.
Links and Free Downloads
For those of you interested in Oracle WebCenter, I created a CrossDomainJson component that enables both CORS and JSON-P, and it includes some sample code and documentation for how to use it. It currently works with WebCenter Content, but I might expand it to include WebCenter Spaces, if I see any interest.
For those of you in the Toronto area, I'll be presenting at the AIIM/Oracle Social Business Seminar this Thursday! Its at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, 145 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON. The agenda is as follows:
- 10:00 a.m: How Social Business Is Driving Innovation, Presented by: John Mancini, AIIM
- 11:00 a.m: Solving the Innovation Challenge with Oracle WebCenter, Presented by: Howard Beader, Oracle
- 12:00 noon: Lunch and Networking, Table Discussions on Case Study Challenges
- 1:00 p.m: Strategies for Success Case Study, Presented by Bex Huff, Bezzotech
- 1:45 p.m: Final Remarks
Space is limited, so register now for a seat!
In my previous post, I was talking about the JSON-P standard for mashups. It's very handy, but more of a "convention" than a true standard... Nevertheless, it's very popular, including support in jQuery and Twitter. In this post I'm going to discuss what some consider to be the modern alternative to JSON-P: Cross-Origin Resource Sharing, or CORS for short.
Lets say you had two applications, running at app1.example.com and app2.example.com. They both support AJAX requests, but of course, they are limited to the "Same-Origin Policy." This means app1 can make AJAX requests to app1, but not to app2. Let's further assume that you'd like to make a mashup of these two app at mashup.example.com.
No problem! In order to enable cross-origin AJAX, you simply need to make sure app1 and app2 send back AJAX requests with this HTTP header:
This is easily done, by adding one line to the Apache httpd.conf file on app1 and app2:
Not to mention, because the XmlHttpObject is used, CORS has much better error handling than JSON-P. If there's an error accessing a file, you can catch that error, and warn the end user. Contract that with JSON-P, where there's no built-in way to know when you can't access a file. You can build your own error handling, but there's no standard.
Nevertheless, I still prefer JSON-P for mashups. Why? Well, it boils down to two things: performance, and security. I'll be covering the specifics in part 3 of this port.
In a recent project, I had a client who wanted to resurface Oracle UCM content on another web page. The normal process would be to use some back-end technology -- like SOAP, CIS, or RIDC -- to make the connection. But, as a lark, I thought it would be more fun to do this purely as a mashup. I would need to tweak UCM to be more "mashup-friendly" -- I'll be sharing the code (eventually) -- but first I needed to do some research on the best mashup "standard" out there.
You would then use the standard AJAX XmlHttpResponse object, parse this JSON data, then do something with the message. My jQuery Plugin for UCM does exactly this... but of course has the limitation that it will only work on HTML pages served up by UCM. You can use fancy proxies to bypass this limitation, but it's a pain.
Instead, if UCM supported 'padded JSON', the process would be different. The URL would look something like this:
In this case, the callback=processData parameter triggers the server to 'wrap' the JSON response into a call to the function processData. Then, instead of using the XmlHttpResponse object, you'd use good old-fashioned remote scripting. Like so:
Now... JSONP is a good idea, but it's about 5 years old... A lot of newer browsers support a slightly different standard: Cross-Origin Resource Sharing. It's an actual standard, unlike JSON-P which is more of a convention... the purpose is to safely allow some site to violate the silly "Same-Origin Policy". I'll be covering CORS in part 2 of this post, including the security enhancement. But, in part 3 I'll explain why I still prefer JSON-P, provided you add some extra security.
I knew that 2011 was a big year... but not until I saw the video above did I realize that so many events that will shape the decade to come all occured in the same year:
- Tsunamis and nuclear disasters in Japan
- Extreme weather worldwide
- Revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya
- Rumblings of revolutions in Syria, Yemen, and Iran
- Near economic collapse of the Euro zone, including riots in Greece
- The death of three monsters: Osama Bin Laden, Gaddafi, and Kim Jong Il
- The 99% 'Occupy' movement throughout Western countries
- The passing of Steve Jobs
And countless other events and ideas and innovations that spread through the world like wildfire... It's not a cliche to say that we live in remarkable times.
"Immortal God! What a world I see dawning! Why cannot I grow young again?" -- Erasmus
"O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible" -- Pindar
Happy new year!
Sorry I haven't been blogging as much these days... But you can see why! A lot of end-of-year projects, and our new little girl. Here she is in her first holiday dress, meeting Santa for the first time... And looking a bit confused about the whole thing!
I'll blog next week... promise!
I gave two presentations at Oracle Open World this month... one on Integrating WebCenter Content: Five Tips to Try, and Five Traps to Avoid! I broke it down into the big sections: contribution, consumption, metadata, security, and integrations. Special thanks to IOUG for sponsoring this talk!
My second talk was a case study based on a big project that completed recently, integrating WebLogic Portal, UCM, E-Business Suite, Autonomy IDOL, and a whole bunch of other stuff to make a global e-commerce web site. The client is in a highly regulated industry, and I was unable to get permission to use their name... but if you're curious about the details ping me!
If I missed you at Open World, I hope to see you at IOUG Collaborate 2012!