Monday, November 5, 2007

Eliminating paperwork by combining digital imaging tools, content management systems and SOA

It was once said that the advance of ICT technologies such as e-mail would reduce the cost of handling documents and be beneficial for the environment. It would result in less printed paper, right? Everything would be done digitally, right? Well, it doesn’t seem to work that way. Even while technology exists to store most information digitally, lots of organizations still have an archive filled with all kinds of printed documents (invoices, orders, etc.). This is costly (you have to build, rent and/or buy archive space) and not really ‘CO2-neutral’. Especially in case documents are delivered electronically.

One of the related problems is that the process of electronically storing documents has to be compliant with a growing number of standards and laws. ‘Just’ storing documents manually on a file system won’t do.
In a customer case the following technologies are/will be combined to accomplish certified electronic storage of documents:

  • Scanners with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software
  • Process orchestration using services
  • CMS (Content Management System)

How are these technologies combined?
Once documents arrive they are scanned. The OCR software outputs an image of the document and extracts metadata into an XML file. An automated process picks up the XML file, transforms its contents to a canonical data model and invokes a custom SOAP service, also passing the file location of the associated image. The invoked service then uses a Web Service API to store the image into a CMS database and uses the XML data to create and store metadata/attributes for the document.

Why are these technologies complementary?
While a CMS provides reliable and robust storage of electronic documents and provides multiple interfaces (both programmatic and UI-based), process orchestration and SOA implement traceable, auditable and robust processes governing the retrieval and storage of electronic documents. This in turn enables official certification in which stored documents are also ‘legal’ documents.

In this particular case Oracle products are used: the SOA Suite and Content Services (part of Oracle Collaboration Suite). But the same principal can of course be implemented using other technologies available on the market.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Using TopLink native sequencing in an ESB/BPEL project

In ESB and BPEL projects you can use and configure a database adapter to, among others, insert data into a database. TopLink is used to implement this. In the generated TopLink mappings you can specify if you want to use sequencing, either native sequencing or a sequence table. If you want to use Oracle database sequences you need to:
  • Create the database sequence(s) in the Oracle database.
  • Select “Use Native Sequencing” in the “Database Info” tab of the TopLink map.
  • For each entity for which you want a field to be generated using sequences: configure the database sequence name and the entity fields which need to be populated. This can be done in the “Use Sequencing” tab of the Toplink mapping for that entity.
Finally, make sure that:
  • The preallocation size in the TopLink map is equal to the increment by value of the Oracle database sequence.
  • The TopLink sequencing settings match those of the Database Adapter Connection Factory settings configured in the OC4J container. This one can be tricky, since for “normal” Java/JEE projects you probably do not need to configure this.

Friday, September 7, 2007

How to enable the Enterprise Manager for SOA Suite

I found out that for some reason, on Linux the EM is not configured to start after installation of SOA Suite on Oracle Application Server For those of you who want to use the Enterprise Manager, follow the following steps to get the EM started:

Be careful when editing files, make sure you have made a backup of the files.

  1. Edit the file: default-web-site.xml in the $OC4J home/config folder
    Search for the following line and change ohs-routing from false to true
    application="ascontrol" name="ascontrol" load-on-startup="true" root="/em" ohs-routing="true"
  2. Edit the file: server.xml in the $OC4J/home config folder
    Search for the following line and change start van false in true
    application name="ascontrol" path="../../home/applications/ascontrol.ear" parent="system" start="true"
  3. That’s all. Just restart your Oracle Application Server:
    $ORACLE_HOME/opmn/bin/opmnctl stopall
    $ORACLE_HOME/opmn/bin/opmnctl startall
  4. Now you should be able to browse to the Enterprise Manager.
If you for some reason forgot the http port, just look at the file:

Saturday, September 1, 2007

How to get the password of ORASSO

If you need a password of some exotic user you never heard of before, like ORASSO, chances are you are configuring Oracle Single Sign On of some Application Server release.

About five years ago I found out this trick the hard way. I say the hard way because there are similar users like ORASSO. The first time I needed the user orasso. I got on the internet and found out where to look, as you can read here. Then I needed the user orasso_[xyz] again. So I looked again. But the password didn’t work. Ok, there are more users here and some times you need a similar one like I did that day. The user orasso_[xyz] looked to me the same but it isn’t.

But now here’s the way to find out the user passwords which Oracle uses to log in to the Repository.

  1. Start the tool OIDADMIN.
    On Linux:
    - be sure you have a X-Server application (eg. Kea!X, Exceed etc.) running on you’re pc.
    - log on to the Linux box (I mostly use the program putty.exe for this)
    - export DISPLAY=[i .p. address of XP machine]:0 (syntax varies for other shells)
    - $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oidadmin
  2. Log on with cn=orcladmin
  3. In the left frame you need to click trough the following following entries:
    Entry Management
    cn=IAS Infrastructure Databases

The orclpasswordattribute text box on the OrclResourceName=ORASSO tab contains the schema password.

You can also use ldapsearch to get the password. For more info, you can check the Oracle Application Server Single Sign-On Administrator’s Guideracle site.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Working with Oracle Enterprise Linux

Today I installed Oracle Linux 4 Update 5 Media Pack for x86 (32 bit) on VMWare Server Console 1.0.2 and found my way through the following issues:

Downloading the software
It is available from the Oracle web site:
  • Enterprise-R4-U5-i386-disc1.iso
  • Enterprise-R4-U5-i386-disc2.iso
  • Enterprise-R4-U5-i386-disc3.iso
  • Enterprise-R4-U5-i386-disc4.iso

For a default installation I needed only the first two discs.

Installation on VMWare
For the installation you can either burn cd’s from the iso or you can mount the iso in VMWare. I tried mounting it in VMWare.

In the Virtual Machine Settings… view, select CD-Rom. Use ISO image and browse to the downloaded iso.

When I started installing Oracle Linux on VMWare I got the following Linux Warning:

'No hard drives have been found.'

And indeed Linux could not find the harddisk.

Include the following line in your VMware config file \your project.vmx>:
scsi0.virtualDev = "lsilogic"

When starting your VMWare session confirm the question 'Change the adapter?' with yes.

Now finally we are getting somewhere. But then the questions pops up: 'Insert next disk'.

Ok I found out that’s pretty simple. Just go to the Virtual Machine settings hit CD-Rom and browse at Use ISO image to the next image on your harddisk. Now the installation can continue,….. and finish successfully!

More usefull information and common issues like: 'Cannot activate Ethernet devices' when copying the VMWare set to another computer.
can be found in:

Install Oracle RAC 10g on Oracle Enterprise Linux Using VMWare Server