Monday, February 25, 2008

Oracle Fusion or Adobe Flex or ... ?

I wanted to blog about this already a long time. Especially when I was at Oracle Open World last year where they showed the new Oracle Fusion Applications, more particular, the Sales Forecasting app (see my blog post here).

I'm confused, I've always believed the future will have four big development areas: .NET, Java, Flex and APEX (not ordered in a particular way).

Oracle can work with all four of them, some better than others. Oracle is writing their new Application Suites in "Oracle Fusion", I thought that was Java / ADF, but at OOW 2007 the front-end of the Sales Forecasting application looked like Adobe Flex.

As you all know, I'm in big favor for Oracle Application Express (APEX) and when I'm talking or giving presentation about it, I often mention Oracle Metalink. "The support system of Oracle is written entirely in APEX", I often say.
When I was in Metalink today I saw there's also a part that's not APEX! The Software Configuration Manager brings you to another url and application. Although the page is a jsp page, I believe the front-end is written in Flex.

In the beginning of 2007 I've been looking into Adobe Flex too. I got it working with Oracle (see blog post) and even tested how to integrate it with APEX a long time ago here.

I must admit the front-end of Adobe Flex looks very good and I had some discussions about it in the Apex Forum and with Carl Backstrom. He convinced me you can do the same with AJAX, css and javascript, which is true if you look at the Interactive Reports of APEX 3.1.

Nevertheless I'm confused about the strategy of Oracle, particular about their Fusion Applications. Will the front-end be completely Flex? Or will it be partially ADF JSF? Or will they do a part in APEX? ;-) And what will be the future way to go in development?

As I already said at "APEX vs. ADF" talk last year: the Java arena is changing so quickly, it looks like they never "finish" something and that there'll be always something new and more sexy...

I believe we'll have a mixture of all development environments. People use whatever they want, we just need to be sure it integrates nicely. I"ll keep focusing on APEX as I really believe in the product and I enjoy working with it.

But what do you think is the future? What direction is Oracle going to follow for their applications? Do you have some comments?


Carl Backstrom said...


This has come up a couple times before. And I've made some comments in some other blogs.

While I can't speak for Oracle's overall plan I can speak for the investigation the APEX team has done with FLEX and while it is very nice tool in the toolset I doubt we will every integrate it in APEX as part as core product. We could change our minds at anypoint though ;).

When dealing with FLEX you quickly come up on a point where if you are trying to do custom functionality you have to write alot of Actionscript , sure it's like Javascript but it's not Javascript. And if you want to do something really nice you have to do real Flash development, and I loath Flash development , and this loathing comes from years of doing Flash development.

I know there are people that will disagree, I've been having this same Flash VS HTML fight for 10-11 years now and I will assume I will be having it for 10 more.

Just like our philosophy on using third party Javascript libraries. APEX will aim to allow for the end developer the greatest amount of leeway when using FLEX / Flash / Silverlight / SVG / XUL or good ol HTML and Javascript or anything else that comes up in the future


Dimitri Gielis said...

Thanks for links and the comment Carl.

Really appreciated,

MIke said...

For public websites, I still wouldn't choose Adobe Flex just for the sake of SEO. But I almost hate to say it, Adobe is doing great things on the front-end. Have you tried any AIR apps yet? They seem to deliver what Java promised us in the early nineties, true portability ànd sexy ;-)

Carl Backstrom said...


Yeah Air is nice, I've actually been able to hook it directly into an APEX application for offline data capture, using an APEX page as the UI src, HOWTO to come shortly. But there is still not an Air runtime for Linux and until there is I'm still a bit uneasy of jumping headfirst into Air development.

Adobe / Macromedia also doesn't have the best track record for product support , IMHO, can anyone say Generator and/or SVG Plugin ?