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Best Practices from Oracle Development's A‑Team

What you should know when extending SaaS with VBCS - Introduction

Angelo Santagata
Architect

Introduction

This article is a high level “architect” style series of 6 themes where we expose and discuss some of the best practices one should adopt when extending Oracle SaaS with Oracle VBCS. The article is rich with links to other Oracle blog articles and will be followed by a number of shorter and more detailed focused articles on technicalities of using VBCS for extending Oracle SaaS.

When choosing a technology to implement UI extensions for SaaS we are blessed with a number of options ranging from ADF Faces, a custom HTML5 framework, a toolkit like Oracle JET, and finally products like Oracle VBCS.

Oracle VBCS is the accumulation of a number of years effort by Oracle where we wanted to give our  application developers the ability to quickly build high performance HTML5 user interfaces without having to write lots of code yet still have the flexibility to write code where needed.

VBCS helps bridge this gap by accelerating the building of the application’s infrastructure code, e.g. handling REST calls, page flows, etc, and letting the developer focus on what data is needed on the screen and the UI logic. At the same time VBCS is quite unique in that it allows you to dive into the [javascript] code itself so that we have the “If the tool can’t do it then click the <code> button and do it yourself in javascript” mantra.

VBCS is also Oracle Fusion SaaS aware so that it can “automagically” discover the business objects in your SaaS instance, display them, allow you to select and create VBCS artefacts based on SaaS objects. VBCS also optimizes the REST calls themselves at runtime and be pre-configured to do “single sign” on with minimal setup, this with many other features means VBSC is a natural choice for extending Oracle SaaS.

Sample Mobile App

So that’s all good and it’s all done for you right?

Yes and No, whilst VBCS helps you build user interfaces that extend Oracle Fusion SaaS there are a number of things we, Oracle’s ATeam (people like myself and Tim Bennett) and product management (people like John Ceccarelli) have discovered whilst helping customers with their projects that may help you when building VBCS based UI extensions for Oracle SaaS.

This series of articles aims to give the reader a relatively high-level (architects) overview of the various “things” you need to be aware of when designing VBCS based UI Extensions for Oracle Fusion SaaS and whilst this article focuses on VBCS many of the comments are identical for any UI technology you decide to leverage  (e.g. Oracle ADF, Oracle JET, AngularJS, ReactJS, Prime Faces, etc.)

This blog post is the introduction to 6 part series of blog posts covering the following topics :

 

Part 1: VBCS User Interface Design Guidelines

It's commonly underestimated how much a good UI design affects performance and usability of the application. Often by simply changing the way the UI works, either by splitting it up into “steps” or designing the API to match the UI, can make a huge difference in the performance of the application. This section of the series discusses various UI design patterns which can help the reader develop an efficient UI based and offers some tips which may help the reader out.

Part 2: Getting Data In/Out of Oracle Fusion for VBCS

When building any application knowing how to get your data in/out of the service is probably the most important, and sometimes complex, part of the application design. Oracle Fusion is no different and perhaps more complicated because each pillar offers a native solution for data transfer and nuances on how this can be managed.  This section describes the various options available and how to choose between them.

Part 3: Exposing data in the database for VBCS to consume

A common pattern with VBCS is to stage the data from SaaS in a temporary database. This is often done because there are no REST APIs for the data or simply to offload the queries to a database and reduce load on the SaaS Service. This section discusses this approach with some useful hints and tips.

Part 4: To middle tier or not to use a middle tier with VBCS, that is the question

A very (very) common discussion we have with customers, and partners, is around choosing a middle tier, or even if they need one at all, for their VBCS application. I personally am particular fond of middle tiers for backing a VBCS application and this section discusses the various middle-tiers we have available, from declarative options like OCI to 3GL options like WebLogic and Helidon with JAX-RS, and how to choose between them. This specific topic will be explored in much more depth in a future article with sample code, examples and extensive guidelines.

Part 5: Performance Tips for VBCS

Finally, no discussion about developing an app on a platform would be complete if we didn’t discuss performance and how we can get the best performance out of Oracle VBCS with SaaS. This section discusses some of the more common performance improving techniques down to how to optimize the REST APIs when connecting to Oracle Fusion.

It is also worth noting that as time moves on we’ll discover new hints and tips so these blog posts are liable to be changed and updated – so keep tuned and subscribe to the website!

Next Steps

Click here to proceed to the next article in this series, What you should know when extending SaaS with VBCS - User Interface

 

 

 

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