Sunday, May 20, 2007

Was following thru some of the post at Paul's blog and came to know of Looks like a cool conecpt to link all your online activities (blogs, forums, bookmarkts, photos) to one-stop page which your friends can follow to know what you upto. To top this you can put quick notes (mini blog entries) directly into the Jaiku (similar to It took me time to digout the link 5 mins ;). You kindda forget the names of cool new webservices you read about and tried a bit but don't use it then on.). I have put up my jaiku page here linked to my blog and Forums, guess I need to use the nifty script from Paul to pull my forum posts on OTN if I do some. I hardly manage to go thru the feeds of OWB and OLAP forum's and post some replies.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Ran in to Laurent Schneider's blog at and found tons of nifty neat tricks. One of this using dbms_xml package neatly to achive things like getting the number of rows in all the tables in a schema. And this which neatly throws out a table in a csv file without needing much due.. Just a sql, xmlsequence (a table function) and reg exp. Quite neat. There were few more good post of what I scanned thru, like this one talking about a modelling technique of abstracting all the common attributes across the entities under one table/view and this which has a neat way to extract the sql with the values for bind variables. Its always great to pick up good handy tricks from the folks around and apply them in the day-to-day work. And there are many which are becoming accessible thru things like blogs, forums and all this web 2.0 phenomenon.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hard-coding vs Soft-coding and Misc

Stumble up on this. Talks about hard-coding vs soft-ccoding, rules engines, config files and all that. Even I have got into few of the assignments which leads to similar decisions. It does stimulate ones software engineering senses. Are Enterprise Rule Engines (aka Business Rule Engines) really have a fit in every enterprise applications. Or Languages like Java, C++ are the Business rules languages and their compilers are the very engines we are talking about.

Agile software and likes are mantra of the day. Everything needs to be decoupled. SOA (Service Oriented Architectures) is driving it in some form. But whats' the optima? Where's the nirvana? Does too much of agility leads to fragility? Too much of integration points makes it slow or increases the chances of failures? Does all this still needs time to get mature enough and weed out hype and husk? Business is changing in the lightning speed and so should the IT systems. And what makes it happen is IN.

All the above and the ones following are some of my random thoughts. Some think-food. I dont' advocate anything. There are some architectures which fits better than other in particular situation. Everything has a reference, everything has a context. This post does not have one though ;).

Configuration files vs UI's to configures business rules/parameters vs Hard Coding in the source code vs Rule Engines vs.. Ain't hardcoding same as config files.. just the protocol changes or the environment where you plumb them changes or DEPLOYMENT changes. And ain't config files are nightmare to maintain as article says when you have piles of such kind. Isn't it better to keep them in the source code? Probably its not. High time to bring in Open source here... You get the source of MySql..change it to suit your needs.. you don't need my.cfg file to change the MySQL engine. Get into code.. and change. Grueling ?.. Works? You need the whole set of libraries, compilers at your disposal and sound knowledge of the source tree to do that. This I guess is the other extreme. We don't want that.. We want other wise.. Everything decoupled.. all the parameters are open for one to configure ..and in very friendly manner.. With out much effort.. without much implications.. Easy to maintain..Easy to Extend..

I am mixing system parameters with business rules/business logic (which the original post talks about). But to some extent they are part of same breed.. We have gone through many iterations of software development methodologies.. we talked about OOP, then AOP .. Component Oriented programming, Container Programming and what not. The mantra that time was "Just focus on business logic..". Now even that we are moving out to rule engines which business Analysts or Users can modify and maintain.. So what will be there for developer? Just to dvelop the glue between DAO (Data Acess Objects), Rule engines, other or even that would come from Application containers. A couple of years back there was talks about modeling the software rather than coding. Specially the Business Apps.. It seems that we have climbed the ladder from Assembly programming, C, Java, Workflow, business process management and modelling tools, etc. Isn't this the high time to sit down and think about all this and really decide on what fits for what needs?

All these configs, system parameters, rules are at different level in the software. If we ramify them in proper way the better of we are in taking a decision on where they should go. Some are meant to control the system parameters (server IP, memory parameters etc.) Typically all this goes to a config file or System Config UI. There are things which are to do with Applications. Good example of this is the tons of setups which goes in implementing ERP modules like GL, Inventory etc. Things like Currency Type, Conversion rules in GL and Costing Type (Average or Standard) in Inventory are very application specific. On top of systems and application configs are the Rules which should govern business process or some decision in the business process flows. Probably all this needs to go into Rule engines. Is it so trivial to decide all this?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Random thoughts and some Oracle E-Business suite learnings

Chilling out on this Friday afternoon of Singapore. A bright sunny day. Weather has been so for last few weeks with some shower now and then. Guess the Easter long weekend has come at the right time for me. Its been long I have catch up with whats happening around and the feeds from my favorite blogs. Its even longer I have posted last on this space.

Last few months were busy at social front. At work its usual stuff. Though I have started with new project since last few weeks and things are getting busier.

Off late I have been doing assignments in Oracle Applications aka E-Business Suite(mainly in the capacity of technical consultant) and it has been a rich experience. Though I have been working with Oracle Apps for some time, it was more with the perspective of extracting data for reporting and data warehouse applications. But This time it involved working head on with some of the core modules of E-Business suite including OM, Inventory, Financials etc. Technology has always fascinated me and tech stack of Oracle Apps was no exception. Lot of interesting learnings.

ERP are huge apps with so much to explore in terms of functionality, business process, technology components, software architecture and organization dynamics. Working in implementation project Oracle Apps really brings you close to all this aspects. I do prepare some random notes of the interesting things I come across about any software product. Some of the key things I discovered/learned about E-Business suite in the last few months of engagements:

  • Ad-Utilities for managing middle tier components.

  • Integrated data model. Example: there’s one entity hosting customer data which is referred by all the module ranging from Customer Management, Order Management, Advance Shipping

  • Open Interface tables to flow in or out the transactions from one module to other. The same interfaced tables could be used to bring the data from other not E-Business suite systems

  • APIs corresponding to virtually all the online functionality. The is key for any ERP application. Integration needs always requires creating master data and transactions from the scripts or programs. APIs make this simpler to approach since it will be impossible for any way to go and update all the underlying base entities without breaking the integrity. APIs have always been powerful since they centralize the business logic and all sort of integrity checks at one place. I will stop on API here. Every one knows about the advantage reusability, modularity, refactoring, OO and other core aspects of software designing.

  • Approaching integration with third party applications. This really requires proper planning for developing the custom scripts, testing and rolling out the customization.

  • Consistent UI. Consistent usability and user interactivity.

  • Power of Concurrent request manager.

  • I came to learn about CUSTOM.pll, which allows in non-invasive manner you put the custom hooks in the standard forms.

  • There were lots of learning on how to go abound customizing E-Business suite apps. CUSTOM.pll, database triggers, modifying standard reports (though not recommended), defining custom Application, DFF and KFF, lookups etc.

  • Coding standards. E-Business suite taught me some of the nifty coding practices.

  • One of the big learning was the philosophy and thinking that goes behind designing and developing packaged applications. The E-Business suite apps are perfect for business needs across industries and wide range of business requirements from different organization. This is achieved by the flexibility, setups and configurations provided by E-Business suite applications. On top of theses, there are avenues to do additional customization to achieve very specific business need. Sometime back I did post on how the development of software product differs from the custom solution, but Oracle E-Business Suite holds a special place. Lot of expertise, effort, planning and experience goes in developing products like E-Business suite.

There were many more though. E-Business Suite is huge and the above list in no way wants to undermine the complete set of functionality that it offers. These are just my personal learnings. One should check out E-Business suite Documentation to appreciate the sheer size and richness of E-Business suite applications at In process I also came across few of the blogs on E-Business suite including Oracle’s Steven Chan’s blog on E-Business suite technology, Chris Muir’s One Size doesn’t fit all and many more.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Good Blogs on Oracle technologies

Came across a very good weblog on Oracle and Java technologies at The blog entries are contributed by the consultants of IT-eye, an IT services company based out of Netherlands.

They seem to be covering quite a number of Oracle technologies ranging from BI, SOA Suite, JDeveloper, Database, and others. Some of the posts on OWB had really good practical insights and this one gives a handy OMB script for creating tables in target module corresponding to every source tables. Probably the script could be extended to create a default mapping to load the data from source to target tables.

One more blog, again from the Netherlands, which I have been following for quite some time now is The folks here share great project experiences on using Oracle technology and Applications offerings. Apart from Oracle technologies, there are often posts on projects executed using Oracle and open source technologies specially those related to Java.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Good One..

Stumble upon this while browsing through the feeds from Tom Kyte’s blog. The post presents a very good principle of 90-10, on why we just have 10 percent control on our life and 90 percent is just the reaction of what’s happening to us. Depending on how we react on a situation decides how the 90 percent of our days going to be. I have tried to practice restraint while reacting on a situation, all that consciously for last many years. One needs to be restraint before reacting or over reacting on any situation. If something has happened, it has happened. You don’t have any control on reversing it or undoing it. All you can control is how you are going to react on it. If you’re fired, you missed a whole big scenario while programming some module and realized it only after the system is closing to UAT completion, you went overboard criticizing a proposal put forward by your colleague in a team meeting without thinking through all the benefits it might have, and accidentally a coffee cup knocked off on your new cloths by your colleague or even an oversight from you self. All this is bound to happen however careful you are. All you have control on is how you react and move forward from there. Just take things at ease and think in lines of how to mend what has happened without bothering yourself much on what has already happened. For those who find it difficult at first, things do get easy and into your sub-conscious as you move along. Like all the things you want to achieve, even this requires commitment and a streak of conscious attempts to practice this for some time before it gets in your blood.

I value the thoughts put forward by the author. Who does not know that over reacting or being short tampered is bad? However at times we loose our head and end up inflicting worst to ourselves. The post in some sense also touches the very old thought of “being positive”. As some one has said, “B+ is not just a blood group”.  How true. What ever situation you are in, contemplate it properly before reacting on it. Showering anger on your family members, friends or colleagues or stressing up one self would ultimately affect your own physical, spiritual and social wellbeing.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Practice makes a man Great

Practice makes man perfect.  Quite true. But does practice makes a man successful. Or to that matter, does practice makes someone “Great”. I ran into this article on Fortune. According to the article, researches have shown that natural gifts or natural talents are irrelevant to great success. What is important is the intense and deliberate practice of ones job. As it mentions:
“The evidence, scientific as well as anecdotal, seems overwhelmingly in favor of deliberate practice as the source of great performance.”

The arguments in the article are quite true. In retrospect, if I look back to the days in school, university and last few years as Software professional, I have developed certain strong skills in programming and software development. And all the credit goes to diligent practice, lateral thinking, open to different ideas and ability to relate various topics to core fundamentals.

As article mentions “The good news is that your lack of a natural gift is irrelevant - talent has little or nothing to do with greatness.” I do quite agree with it. There are some things which one person does better than other. And if he goes on improvising them, he achieves emphatic success in that field. Elements like passion and strong interest are vital for any successful individual or business. However just having strong passion and lack of practice does not lead you to anywhere and everyone knows that. All in all the article gives insight on what is the simple formula of being successful.