Oracle is continuing to fill gaps in its SOA-based Fusion middleware by adding fresh governance capabilities and pushing a new enterprise application front end.
The vendor has released Oracle SOA Suite 10g Release 3, which includes a browser-based console to administer policies across distributed enforcement points in its own and third-party middleware. It has also enhanced its Web services registry and management offering, enabled users to identify and publish services to that registry and centralised the management of service level agreements.
A more radical departure, however, is its new WebCenter Suite, which will become the default user environment for its forthcoming Oracle Fusion applications. The goal is to provide a customisable role and task-oriented user interface, which is based on context-sensitive work processes and is intended to deliver enterprise services to the desktop.
But the bundle will also enable users to create their own Web 2.0-style composite applications and integrate into Java-based portals to provide content management and content integration services.
Oracle claimed that the offering would form the basis of a new breed of context-centric applications that are aware of each other and no longer require users to switch between packages with both different functionality and look-and-feel to undertake different tasks.
An alert by AMR Research explained the significance of the product set: “WebCenter is the first peep into how Oracle Fusion applications will look and behave. Details on the functionality planned for the initial Fusion Application releases are non-existent to date, but now we can at least see how Oracle thinks users will interact with the future suite.”
The interface will combine transactional, collaborative and analytical modes of working into a single interface, which can be personalised by business users at the individual, group and organisational level. It will also provide developers with control over which components to combine when building their interfaces, regardless of source.
While the move will bring Oracle up against rivals such as IBM with its Workplace Client, SAP’s Project Muse and Microsoft’s revamped Office, which are similar in intent, AMR believes that Oracle could be in a good position to make its offering work.
“That WebCenter will ultimately provide the user interface and tools for Fusion may have the biggest impact. If Oracle can execute on the plans and truly bring together the expertise derived from PeopleSoft, which was known for usability, then WebCenter could drive adoption and create a problem for SAO and Microsoft applications,” the analyst company said.