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25th July 2017 |

The Oracle Database Cloud Development Story

Are you a software developer looking for the best cloud database for application development?

Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service is the ideal entry-level service for running Oracle Database in Oracle Cloud.

Here's why:

  • It delivers an affordable and fully managed Oracle Database 12c Release 2 experience, with enterprise options, running on Oracle Exadata.
  • It is a great fit for small and medium-sized production databases as well as development, testing and evaluation environments.
  • For developers, Exadata Express provides easy access to advanced development features of Oracle Database, enabling you to rapidly create modern data-driven applications.

 

Exadata Express in Oracle Cloud delivers an easy, affordable and feature-rich enterprise database experience. You do not need to worry about network or storage configuration, patching, upgrade or other DBA tasks. These activities are managed for you by Oracle, so no customer DBA is required. Exadata Express gives you the same compatible Oracle Database Enterprise Edition that runs on-premises and in other Oracle Database Cloud Services–provisioned for you within minutes. It uses one of Oracle’s most advanced configurations, combining shared Oracle Exadata engineered systems for highest performance and availability with Oracle Multitenant Pluggable Database (PDB) containerization technology for security isolation, resource management and lowest cost. With support for up to 50 GB of database storage, Exadata Express is an ideal entry-level service for small and medium sized data bases used in production, development, testing and evaluation environments.

 

OVERVIEW OF EXADATA EXPRESS

 

Service Subscription Price Storage Maximum Data Transfer Maximum X20 $175 / month 20 GB 120 GB / month X50 $750 / month 50 GB 300 GB / month X50IM* $950 / month 50 GB 300 GB / month

*Provides up to 5 GB additional RAM for use with Oracle Database In-Memory Column Store

Oracle Database 12c Release 2 gives software developers get a unifying database that includes support for new data management and access models. Native support for RESTful and a schema-less documents & collections interfaces in addition to supporting standard SQL. The database can natively store JSON, XML and relational data all in a single environment.

In addition, developers get client drivers for all their favorite application environments and programming languages including Java, .NET, Python, Node.js, PHP, C/C++, Ruby and more. Developers can take advantage of free integrated development environments from Oracle for creating and debugging their applications including SQL Developer, Data Modeler and JDeveloper.

With Oracle Database 12c Release 2, developers also get pre-configured Oracle Application Express 5 (APEX). This is a simple declarative environment for rapid development of data-driven web apps using only your web browser. No additional tools are required. APEX version 5 includes all new packaged controls, updated themes, a gallery of productivity applications, and other enhancements that make apps look beautiful across desktop and mobile browsers.

 

 

Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service

Apex 5 Application Builder in Exadata Express

 

But more than advanced features and native support for popular languages, Oracle has brought out several new PaaS offerings Just for Developers:

Oracle’s Application Container Cloud Service includes support for PHP, along with Node.js and Java.

Applications composed from multiple PaaS services can be created, scaled and managed as a single unit with the new Oracle Cloud Stack Manager.

Java EE apps are migrated to the Cloud automatically using Oracle AppToCloud while adding capabilities like active standby and increasing cluster size as the application is moved to the Cloud.

Anyone can author complete applications from a browser without coding skills, using the Oracle Application Builder Cloud Service low-code development platform to extend services with pre-populated Oracle Software-as-a-Service APIs or custom services from a common REST API catalog.

Oracle Developer Cloud Service also makes collaboration between developers easier by integrating with popular collaboration tools like Slack, Hipchat, Hashicorp's Packer and Terraform and including agile management features for managing sprints, tasks and backlogs.

Oracle Mobile Cloud Service now provides actionable insights and engagement across multi-channels and micro locations to improve the customer experience. It also provides an intelligent and contextual Chatbots experience across multiple messaging channels like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik and others.

Ready to code? Get a Free Trial of the Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service.

Ciao for now,

LKR

 

21st July 2017 |

Video: Basic Help for Docker Noobs

Mike Raab, senior principal product manager for the Oracle Container Cloud Service, kicked off his Oracle Code Atlanta session "Introduction to Docker Containers" by asking the standing-room-only audience how many had hands-on experience with Docker. Only four people held up their hands. "People have heard about  this thing called containerization, and they're hungry to really understand this new paradigm of being able to run an application within a container," Mike says.

If you share that hunger, this appetizer of an interview will provide some basic background into why Docker is such a hot topic, along with a brief overview of a couple of illustrative use cases. Watch the video!

Additional Resources

 

 

 

19th July 2017 |

Podcast Show Notes: Trajectories: Career Paths of IT Stars

Listen to the Podcast!How old were you when you first started experimenting with writing code?  How did that early interest evolve into your current career?

The genesis of this program was an interview I did with Sean Phillips at the Oracle Code event in Atlanta. Sean is Principal Software Engineer at a.i. Solutions, where works with NASA creating applications that plot trajectories for space missions.

In that interview I asked Sean about his own trajectory, about the career path that lead from his teenage interest in computers to a cool job making sure that zillion-dollar spacecraft get where they’re supposed to go. After the interview Sean and I agreed that it would be fun and interesting to get the career backstories from other accomplished developers and IT pros. Sean suggested several people to serve as panelists, and the result is the conversation you are about to hear. Listen!

This program was recorded on July 5, 2017.

The Panelists

(In alphabetical order)

Mark Heckler

Mark Heckler is a Developer Advocate, conference speaker, published author, and Java Champion. His focus is on developing innovative production-ready software at velocity.

Pratik Patel

Pratik Patel is Chief Technical Officer at TripLingo, a Java Champion, a frequent conference speaker, and a recognized expert in agile methodologies, mobile applications, and enterprise architecture.

Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips is Principal Software Engineer at a.i. Solutions, specializing in data visualizations and ground system automation. Sean was named a JavaOne Rock Star in 2016, and received the Duke's Choice Award in 2013.

Heather VanCura

Heather VanCura is Director and Chair of the JCP program, leader of global Java adoption programs in conjunction with Java User Group leaders, an international speaker, and passionate about Java, community building dynamics, and women in tech.

Johan Vos

Johan Vos is Chief Technical Officer at Gluon, a Java Champion, frequent conference speaker, and author. His current focus is on cross platform mobile Enterprise apps using Java on the back end and the native mobile front end.

Stephanie Xu

Stephanie Xu is a rising senior studying Computer Science at Cornell University. She previously interned at NASA and currently interns at TD Securities.  

Additional Resources

 

 

17th July 2017 |

Video: Making RESTful Web Services the Easy Way with Node.js | Dan McGhan

Drivers make it easy to connect to and run statements against a database. That means they're perfect for creating RESTful APIs, right? You'll want to add some pagination capabilities, maybe sorting controls, and perhaps some generic filtering options. You could do all that with the driver and some smart code, but is there an easier way?  In this video replay of Dan McGhan's session from the Full Stack Web track in the recent Oracle Code Online event, you'll learn about some of the challenges associated with manual API creation using drivers, and about several tools that offer similar functionality out of the box, including Loopback, Sails, and Oracle REST Data Services. Watch the video!

Related Resources

Video: Taming the Asynchronous Nature of Node.js

Node.js Community Space

Video: Implementing Node.js in the Enterprise

Mocha.js for Test Automation of Node.js REST API on Oracle Developer Cloud Service

 

14th July 2017 |

Video: Discover Graal: Open Source Polyglot Runtime Environment

Have you discovered Graal? It's a new open source project created by Oracle Labs. "Graal allows you to deploy virtually any language in a single environment and actually deploy multiple languages in that same environment," explains Scott Lynn in this interview. "So you can have a JavaScript front end that talks to an R back-end that's talking to a database, for example. And there isn't the normal requirement of creating, say, a JSON file to actually send a command over to the R engine and then have the R engine execute and send a JSON file back with the data in it. You can literally just transfer the objects back and forth, because they're in the same language environment."

Scott, director of product strategy for Oracle Linux, delivered the session "Polyglot Development and Deployment Through Language Environment Virtualization" at the Oracle Code event in Atlanta, GA on June 22, 2017. He took a break from prepping for his session to talk with me about Graal and invite developers to get involved in this open source project, available on GitHub. Watch the video!

BTW: Scott will present a session on Graal at the Oracle Code event in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday July 18, 2017. If you'll be in the neighborhood, there's still time to register.

 

Additional Resources

 

12th July 2017 |

Video: Microservices and Modern Software Development

Microservices are pretty much a done deal, according to Mark Cavage VP of Software Development for Oracle. "I think almost everybody out there admits that in some part of their organization they're going to build a microservices-based application. Across the board. That's a given." It's also a given that Docker is part of the plan. "Docker is the fundamental technology used to encapsulate an application and ship it from laptop through testing through production."

Mark and his colleague Chad Arimura, also an Oracle VP of Software Develpment, stopped by the DevLIVE set at Oracle Code Atlanta to recap their keynote session, "Microservices: Where are We, and How Did We Get Here," and chat about containers, Kubernetes, Werker, serveless architectures, and a whole lot more. Watch the interview.

Related Content

 

 

11th July 2017 |

Video: Think in a Functional Style to Produce Concise Code

The addition of lambda and Streams to Java 8 made it much easier for developers to think in a functional style to produce concise, readable code. In this interview, Josh Backfield, a senior software engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton, digs into some of details and recaps his Oracle Code Atlanta technical session.

Additional Resources

 

 

 

7th July 2017 |

Video: Data Visualization: Just Say No to the Default Sort Order

It has been a while since I've posted any Business Intelligence content on this blog, but that drought ends now with this new 2 Minute Tech Tip from Oracle ACE Tim Vlamis. If I were giving out trophies for the shortest-ever 2MTT, Tim would take the prize. His tip clocks in at a mere 33 seconds, so you have no excuse for not taking a micro-break to absorb some of Tim's BI insight.

Tim's tip was recorded at the 2017 Great Lakes Oracle Conference (GLOC),  which was held practically in my back yard. Well, about 25 minutes east of my back yard, in beautiful downtown Cleveland, Ohio. As has been the case for the last couple of years, I had the good fortune to host a dinner for a group of Oracle ACEs who participated in the GLOC event, which is organized each year by the Northeast Ohio Oracle Users Group. We had a great dinner at the Greenhouse Tavern, celebrity chef Jonathan Sawyer's flagship restaurant, located on East 4th Street, Cleveland's vibrant downtown entertainment district.

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5th July 2017 |

Chatbot Challenges: Talking Tech About Talking Tech
Despite the dizzying evolution of computer technology over the last three decades, the input/output process remains deeply dependent on fingers. True, I can now use my iPhone or Amazon Echo to request weather reports and ask bizarre questions of Turing Test candidates. However, most of my time spent interacting with a computer still requires my not-always-cooperative fingers. But those days are numbered, thanks to chatbots.

As with other innovations, there’s reality amid the chatbot hype, as I discovered when I posted several chatbot-related questions in a community forum. Among the responses were two accounts that prove that when it comes to chatbots, it’s not just talk.

Oracle ACE Leon Smiers, Center of Excellence lead for Oracle PaaS at Capgemini, based in the Netherlands, reports that his organization has already implemented chatbot projects using a variety of technologies, and has recently started a new chatbot project for the Dutch police that will make use of Oracle Technology.

According to Smiers, designing a chatbot project differs considerably from designing a standard user interface for a Web application or a mobile application. “The focus is on conversation rather than on transaction,” Smiers says.  “Chatbots are another channel in the interaction with customer, with the primary focus on delivering a fast track for providing answers or enabling transactions.” 

Smiers cites two unique challenges in developing chatbots. The first, and this should come as no surprise, is the complexity of language. As he explains, there are a variety of ways one might report that one’s bicycle was stolen. “My tandem is gone,” Smiers suggests, or “somebody nicked my iron horse,” amid nearly infinite variations. “With bots you need to able to understand the intent of a sentence, in singularity and in context of a conversation,” Smiers explains.

The other challenge? The sky-high expectations of end users and companies. “Chatbots are expected to deliver neuro-linguistic programming [NLP] and artificial intelligence in every possible way,” Smiers explains. “So we need to tone down the user expectations.” To that end Smiers’ team has created a Chatbot Maturity model, “to provide a roadmap and make it clear what can be expected in the first and consequent releases.”

Smiers and his team rely on a variety of tools and technologies to support chatbot development, including Apache Open NLP and Stanford NLP. “These can be implicitly available in tooling, such as the Intelligent Bot Services, but also explicitly used when calls via API’s are made to enrich the conversation,” Smiers explains. “These API calls need to be fed with the proper information from the question sentence in order to provide the right answer.”

Oracle ACE John Sim, a consultant with Fishbowl Solutions in the UK, reports that the Fishbowl team has built Atlas, a chatbot that was initially developed as an entry in Fishbowl’s annual hackathon event. “We are now using it internally to help to build up its intelligence through machine learning and natural language understanding capabilities,” Sim says. “Once we feel Atlas has built up enough wisdom, we plan to release him as an offering with integrations for SaaS and PaaS applications.”

The Fishbowl team did its homework before kicking off the Atlas project. “Our goal from the beginning was to make an intelligent bot and not simply an if-then-else bot,” Sim says. “We also wanted to write a user flow and look at common tasks where we could abstract the user interface and do the interactions through user intents. Our intent here was to enhance the user experience to quickly access content and get tasks completed effectively without going through a click form filling process stream.”

The Atlas project was fun, according to Sim, but it wasn’t without challenges. “The biggest ones were multilingual support and connecting user credentials so that Atlas only retrieves relevant info for the user,” Sim says. 

And the work continues. “We are now looking at areas where we can enhance Atlas, such as an administrative interface to allow users to review mapped credentials and his offerings and capabilities from outside of the chat window on Facebook and Slack,” Sim says. “We are excited about the future for Atlas and the use cases for bots overall. Who knows, bots could replace mobile apps. We shall see.”

How do chatbots figure in your future? Are you doing your homework to prepare to meet the challenges of this revolution in human-computer interaction? Post your comments below.

Additional Resources

 

30th June 2017 |

Video: How Do You Get from a Tandy 1000 to the Moon?

During my first interview with Sean Phillips, recorded at Oracle Code in Washington DC, he went into technical detail about the role JavaFX played in his work for NASA on an application that plots space flight trajectories. Cool gig, right? So when I had another chance to talk to Sean, this time at last week's  Oracle Code event in Atlanta, I wanted to focus on his career, tracking his own trajectory from his first experiments with a Tandy 1000 computer to his current work helping spacecraft to get to the farthest reaches of our solar system. That's what you'll get in this video. After a brief recap of his Oracle Code Atlanta keynote session, Sean describes when he first caught the software development bug, and brings us up to the present and the NASA projects in which he is involved. Watch the video!

Additional Resources

 

28th June 2017 |

Two New Articles on API Management and Microservices

Oracle ACE Director Luis Weir and ACE Associate Phil Wilkins, both from Capgemini, already teamed up to present API Management and Microservices: A Match Made in Heaven at the recent Oracle Code event in London, captured in the video above. Now the dynamic duo has collaborated again on a pair of articles now available on OTN.

Luis's contribution, 3rd-Generation API Management: From Proxies to Micro-Gateways, examines the confluence of cloud adoption, ntegration platform as a service, and microservices.

Phil's contribution, Registries: Use Cases for API Management and Microservices, explores the role of registries in a microservices environment and their relationship to API Management.

Taken together the articles offer a detailed view of what's happening in the confluence of two very hot topics. So read them already!

Additional Resources

 

 

 

 

 

26th June 2017 |

Video: APIs and Microservices: Making the Right Choices for Your Mobile Apps

 “In the past few years the REST APIs that mobile apps use to access server resources have gotten a lot of prominence," observes, Parvez Syed Mohamed, Director of Product Management for Oracle Mobile Cloud Service. "But it’s still very difficult to figure out the right methods to browse and consume third-party APIs and to be able to get the right set of data to shrink down the payload so it works for mobile apps. It’s all about making the right choices for your mobile app. It’s also about making it more personalized, and you also have to worry about the security. All of these are topics that every single architect and mobile developer needs to worry about.” Parvez shares insight into meeting addressing those concerns in this interview recorded at Oracle Code Toronto, April 18, 2017.

 

Additional Resources

 

 

 

23rd June 2017 |

Video: 2 Minute Integration with Oracle Integration Cloud Service

More than just a tip, this video from Oracle ACE Robert van Molken and ACE Associate Phil Wilkins, actually demonstrates that you can set up an integration in Oracle Integration Cloud Service in under two minutes.  The video walks you step-by-step through a simple integration that uses REST and SOAP connections integrated using basic map data.

And these guys should know. Robert and Phil are the co-authors of Implementing Oracle Integration Cloud Service (2017, Packt Publishing). Robert also has a new book coming out next year, Blockchain Across Oracle, also from Packt.

Additional Resources

 

21st June 2017 |

Podcast Show Notes: Zombie Devices and the Moons of Jupiter

Click to listenOver the past several weeks I’ve had the good fortune to conduct video interviews with various session presenters at the Oracle Code events in New York City, Washington DC, Toronto, and Atlanta, GA. Those interviews, as well as interviews conducted by my OTN colleagues at other Oracle Code events around the globe, are available on the Oracle Developer YouTube channel.

Among the interviews I conducted, two stood out for me because the topics covered, while rooted in the real world, looked forward into a world that borders on science fiction.

So this program will depart from the usual panel discussion format to bring you audio excerpts from those two interviews, in a format that allows you to consume the content while driving, walking, or doing other activities that require your eyes to be on the road rather than staring at a screen. Listen!

Maurice NaftalinUp first is a bit of my March 21st conversation in NYC with Maurice Naftalin. Maurice is a developer, researcher, and trainer with forty years experience in computing. He is the author of Mastering Lambdas: Java Programming in a Multicore World  (2014, Oracle Press), and co-author of Java Generics and Collections: Speed Up the Java Development Process (2006, O’Reilly). Maurice is a Java Champion, and a three-time JavaOne Rock Star award winner.

Maurice presented the session Open Sesame! Conversations With My Front Door at the Oracle Code event in New York City on March 21, 2017. In this segment of the podcast Maurice talks about the Raspberry Pi experiment that was the basis for his session, and shares his thoughts on the how the Internet of Things, chatbots, and other technologies are invading our homes.

Up next is Sean Phillips. Sean is a Principal Software Engineer with a.i. Solutions in Washington DC, where he specializes in Java and JavaFX development and rich-client programming using the NetBeans Platform. Sean currently serves as the lead software engineer for the NASA James Webb Space Telescope Flight Dynamics Ground System.

If you are reading this after 10:00am Eastern Daylight Time on June 22, 2017, Sean will have presented his keynote session, Deep Space Trajectory Design Software For Ocean World Orbiters and Human Space Flight, at the Oracle Code event in Atlanta, GA. However, I recorded my conversation with Sean at the Oracle Code event in Washington DC on March 27, 2017. In this segment of the podcast Sean talks about his work with JavaFX and the development of the Deep Space Trajectory Explorer (DSTE) software designed for NASA.

Additional Resources

 

16th June 2017 |

Video: Chatbot Challenges - A Human Conversation

Chatbots won't make you rich, according to Frank Nimphius, Senior Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Mobile Platform Group. That takes a good business model. "But once you have a good business model, a chatbot can really help you to reach out to an audience that otherwise might not be interested in doing business with you," Frank says. Like millenials.

But as Frank explains, developing chatbots is not without its challenges. One such challenge is identifying design patterns that work with chatbots, just as there are design patterns for web applications and mobile applications. 

Another challenge Frank identifies is getting all of the artificial intelligence and machine learning that is required to understand natural language to work in the context of the application you're building. Will you have to get several technologies and put them together? Will you have to learn a lot of APIs?

Frank explores those issues and more in this interview recorded at the Oracle Code event in Toronto on April 18, 2017. Watch!

Additional Resources