Using Cloud OER to Find Fusion Applications On-Premise Service Concrete WSDL URL

In my previous post on Fusion Applications Integration, the Fusion Applications OER white paper explains Oracle Enterprise Repository (OER) usage in the applications context, assuming a dedicated OER for your Fusion Applications instance (whether cloud/SaaS or on-premise). Having a dedicated OER instance is recommended as it can provide customized service metadata and can be used for overall SOA governance in addition to simple service discovery.

One of the common queries I get is how on-premise customers without a dedicated OER can find a concrete service WSDL URL for their specific environment using the cloud hosted OER instance.

To answer this, let’s understand the two attributes on the OER service details screen.

In the Cloud OER instance, the Abstract WSDL URL link points to the Oracle-shipped non-customized service definition, which can be used by partners/ISVs for developing tenant-agnostic apps (more on that in future posts).

The concrete WSDL URL can be found in the Service WSDL URL link (highlighted in the screenshot above). In an on-premise deployment, this link points to the runtime WebLogic Server where the service has been deployed. Since the cloud OER instance is not linked with on-premise customer-specific runtime environments, the link does not work (as expected). However, you can still derive the on-premise environment-specific concrete Service WSDL URL via a simple substitution.

Replace

rep://FUSIONAPPS_HCM/

with

https://host:port/ for the specific Fusion Applications environment.

The Fusion Apps repository team is working on making usability improvements to document this in-place, along with adding additional service metadata that you are sure to find very handy when consuming the services. Stay tuned!

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The World of SOA: Laundries, Legos, and Home Construction

As an architect explaining SOA concepts to developers of traditional enterprise applications, I encountered various analogies comparing the concepts of SOA to LegoTM blocks, which are actually considered by some experts as being misleading and superficial. Therefore, recent analogies by Antony Reynolds and Richard Veryard comparing services to a laundry, brought back memories of yet another analogy I used a couple of years ago – comparing business process driven SOA to home construction.

Let’s pretend you want to build a house from the ground up. You hire a general contractor, who is responsible for the overall execution of the project. The contractor locates a provider of concrete and makes a phone call to ask for estimates and the schedule for pouring the foundation slab. Next, the contractor will call and coordinate the lumber delivery, following which the framers can come out to do their job. In parallel, the contractor gets estimates from electricians and has to decide on the one that not only has the best rates, but also someone who is certified as per city code and who can meet the schedule. And finally, the roofers, plumbers and painters are arranged to complete the job.

Let’s put this in the perspective of SOA technologies.

SOA Orchestration Analogy

SOA Orchestration Explained

The general contractor is a BPEL Process, whose purpose is to orchestrate all the Services from disparate heterogeneous systems. The services in this example are the different actors – the concrete provider, foundation company, lumber company, framers, electricians, roofers, plumbers and painters. The contractor found the providers by searching the Yellow Pages (UDDI) and found the phone listing (WSDL); communicated by voice (XML) over the phone (standards based Web Service) in English (Standardized Semantics). He got quote and availability information, without having to really understand much about the inner workings of the concrete business (Service Abstraction), and as long as the provider abides by the contract, the contractor does not care who the actual electrician is (Service Virtualization).

I found that this metaphor helped many a legacy developer understand the complex SOA technologies better than the overly simplistic LegoTM blocks analogy. However, as recommended in the other blogs too, it is best to not push the metaphor too far. Once the SOA basics have been understood, its purpose is served; and no other simplistic metaphor can then explain every one of the prolific WS-<insert your favorite noun here> specifications.

UPDATE 07/30/2008: Richard points out a sequel to his laundry post: Services Not All Like Laundry. And just when we thought we had it all sorted out 🙂