Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Back from PaaSForum

So, and now we're back in business after a splendid week in Split, Croatia, to meet with about 200 great, enthusiastic con-colleagues from the fields of SOA and Weblogic. It was the yearly OPN Partner Community Forum, ran by the great Jürgen Kress. He did a formidable job to collect many informatic sessions on the latest news and products from Oracle. We could meet with product managers, eat  and drink with them. To my surprise I could shake hands with a Product Manager of PCS, with whom I worked closely on a try-out project at the end of last year.

It was at a great venu, Le Meridien, a short drive out side of Split. A nice hotel with fantastic views on the Adriatic Sea.

Last year on the 'OFM Forum' in Valencia, PaaS (Platform as a Service) as a 'MiddleWare Cloud' was an important subject. Oracle was heavily promoting  Cloud. This is why you could expect that this years forum was named 'PaaSForum'. And thus in one of the keynotes this was stressed by stating:

Now, our Dutch comedian Arjan Lubach made a video to introduce our country to president Trump:

So that made me introducing the statement:
Fun aside, I heard many nice things. To sum up a view:

  • On ICS side, there would be a REPL CLI script to move iar's (ICS Archives) between environments, created by the A-Team. I should look it up, but don't know if it already released it.
  • There was an introduction of the API platform, with also a workshop on it.
  • PCS and ICS are suggested to be combined into the Integration Cloud. Which would be a very logical idea, bringing much better, uniformed user experience. Because, at my latest cloud project, last year, we actually defined the practice to always integrate via ICS not directly from PCS.
  • There would also be a script, created by a Product Manager, to 'massage' BPM projects to transform them into a PCS compliant project. Hope to get my hands on that too, that could certainly be helpful. The otherway around would be not so bad either.
  • Then there was the mention of AI Apps, or Application Intelligent apps. Intelligence from verticals. This could drive PCS in a more intelligent way, based on knowledge from different verticals. 
But most interesting I found was the introduction of CMMN in PCS. Or otherwise put: Dynamic Processes in PCS. Where conventional BPMN processes in PCS run in a strict predefined way, with Dynamic Processes Case Management capabilities are introduced in PCS. Much like Adaptive Case Management in BPM Suite. However, build in a new way with a graphical modeller in the composer:

So here you see vertical lanes that represent phases in the process. In each phase you can define activities that can represent a Human Task, or for instance, a (sub-)process:
Activities can be repeatable, required or Manually Activated. Much like we can do in ACM.

Then using Decision rules you can decide under which condition the case is transferred to another phase, activities are activated or deactivated, etc. Or this can be done by the knowledge-worker self.

So I'm very much looking forward to get my fingers on this new functionality.

Another interesting new development is the introduction of Chat bots. They were so heavily mentioned and demoed, there hardly weren't any presentations without mentioning them. I almost felt I was one of the few that liked them, although the heavily relying on Facebook messenger. Even the, in my perception, breeding ground of chat bots, Twitter, wasn't free of criticism on the usecase of chatbots. I, on the other hand found a great non-functional use of chatbots: a text based adventure:

If we could combine PCS's dynamic processes with the Oracle Chat bot cloud service, we could develop a nice text adventure where you could chase beacons with in the process. Each phase in the process could represent a location, different processes can represent several areas on the map. But if we can have the process instances interact with eachother, for instance by registering their locations in a DBCS, or sending correlated signals (much nicer), then you could make it into a multiplayer text adventure. My colleague Rob introduced the idea to be able to upload pictures, of real-life locations. You could readout the Exif-data to check if the foto really represent a GPS-location.

So, that might be the next rolling-gag or app on the next forum in 2018, for which I already introduced the hash-tag: #ChatBotForum. In the aftermath of the week, at Jürgens afterparty, one of the others also mentioned text adventures. So, apparently, it wasn't such a far-fetched idea.

There's so much to think about, have it land, and much is already said. I'm looking forward to see how it all works out in the next year. The sun died on the #PaaSForum'17:

Working up to #ChatBotForum'18...

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