Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Review: Quick Start Guide to Oracle Fusion Development

A couple of weeks ago yet another ADF book was released. This time it was Grant Ronald’s turn. He managed to write a “Quick Start Guide to Oracle Fusion Development”. I was somewhat worried because it is seemingly impossible to write a Quick Start Guide to Fusion Development. However after reading the book I was very surprised of what the book has to offer to people starting with fusion development. In this post I share my findings with you...

A look at the content immediately learns that this book covers the whole development process. The “Quick Start Guide” provides the essential information you need to build applications. Nothing more and, more important, nothing less. The book really is an introduction to the most important building blocks and functionality that you’ll use while starting ADF development.

Part I : Introductions and Overviews.
1. Introduction to Fusion and the Fusion Technologies.
2. Introduction to JDeveloper and Oracle ADF.
3. Finding your Way Around JDeveloper.
Part II : Building Business Services.
4. Building ADF Business Components.
5. The Role of the Entity.
6. View Object: A window to your data.
7. The Application Module.
8. More View Object Features.
9. Implementing Business Service Validation.
Part III : Building the User Interface.
10. Introducing ADF Faces Rich Client.
11. Introducing ADF Model.
12. Building Typical ADF Faces Pages.
13. Building Application Flow.
14. Buttons and Menus.
15. Advanced UI Techniques.
16. Data Visualization Components.
17. Building a Reusable UI.
Part IV : Common Coding Patterns.
18. Common Business Service Coding Examples.
19. Common View Coding Examples.

Part I introduces Oracle Fusion and the techniques and programming languages you need to know to a certain extend when developing Fusion Applications. Not that these are really explained, but just telling you very briefly what they are all about. This is very handy when you start with Fusion development. You know what people around you are talking about when they mention for instance Model-View-Controller. Also the ADF Framework Components and the JDeveloper IDE are explained briefly.

The second Part helps you understanding business services.
What immediately struck me was the fact that here is finally a book that does not use the HR schema. Instead of that, the OE schema is used in all examples in the book. This forced me to read a bit more carefully. 99.8% of all ADF examples are based on the HR schema or the FOD (Fusion Order Demo), and most of these I know by heart. All techniques you need for developing business services are covered. Chapter 5 of the book mentions some re-factor techniques. Re-factoring is a technique to reorganize your ADF project. Experience learns that re-factoring in JDeveloper works very well, but there are some cases where you have to be careful. There is one tip in this part of the book (the tip on page 56) that I don’t agree with. Using system.out.println() is one way to debug your code, but a better way is using log4j. However in the stage of your learning curve, for now system.out.println() is just fine.

The third part is all about User Interface and the components and techniques involved. After introducing ADF visual components and ADF layout components, you learn (at lightning speed) how to build your first page. After that, ADF model is introduced. ADF model is the framework part that enables you to expose your business services (Part II of the book) to the User Interface. The concepts of data control and data binding are explained. Next, you read all about building a typical ADF Faces page and how to use table layout, form layout and master detail layout and how to use ADF Query components. In this context you will learn ‘on the fly’ how to use the JDeveloper IDE for building ADF Pages.

Also one of the core concepts of Fusion Development, the task flow, is mentioned in chapter 13. This is a somewhat advanced concept, so as a beginner you would only have to know the basics of the taskflow. Some taskflow related and navigation concepts will do for now. The author manages to provide you with only the necessary info. In the advanced UI Techniques chapter, you should read the part about PPR with care. This will be one of the things that you are going to use extensively. The concept is easy to understand. The techniques in the rest of this chapter (except popups and validation) are the ones that you will probably use less. However, even these are explained very well. Buidling Reusable UI’s is about page templates and declarative components. You will learn just that tiny bit to get you up to speed.

Finally common coding techniques are described in the fourth part. You will see that it is very easy to override DML operations and how to set view criteria dynamically. Believe me, these are the things that you want to know they exist. You will use them a lot. The same applies to programmatic access to bindings and programmatic PPR which are indeed VERY common UI coding techniques.


In short, a great book for starting with Fusion Development. The book is written in clear and easy to understand language. It takes you trough all stages and helps you to get a quick start. Throughout the whole book, the author is honest and clear about the knowledge you need at this stage of your learning curve. For instance the use of managed beans is mentioned but just to let the reader know that these exist. You do not yet need to know how to use these. And there are more of these examples. After reading this book, you are up and running. Maybe you need some more reading on specific topics, but core concepts should be familiar after reading. This book could be an addition to training material for students that take the ADF course at AMIS. The training is an in depth ADF course, but the book can really help them to understand core concepts of ADF. It uses the same order of subjects as our training. Even after the training, this book can be used as a Quick Reference Guide, to refresh your knowledge.

Ordering the book.

The book can be ordered here at amazon or at other (online) bookstores. The ISBN for this book is: 9780071744287.

This post was initially published at the AMIS Technology Blog.