Out there Talking

headphones_150So we’ve got more talking going on than writing at present. With an appearance on another OTN Podcast about Microservices and their relationship to SOA (or not) which includes thought leaders such as Chris Richardson (http://microservices.io/).

Then we have in September presentations for the UKOUG Developer SIG and Middleware and Integration SIG.

All before Open World this year, where I am due to speak twice; once with my ICS co-author Robert van Mölken and once with Luis Weir on APIs.




Chatbot Blogs


, , , , , ,

I have been fortunate to be supporting and occasionally contributing to a series of blogs on Chatbots being written by Leon Smiers, Capgemini Oracle Chatbot SME (and also Oracle Ace).  The blog posts are:

I’ve been talking with Leon about what next in the blog series, and we can expect to see some more exciting blog posts in the series.

Chatbot Maturity Model

UKOUG Conference


, , , , , , ,

As part of the UKOUG SIG committee for middleware I have had the opportunity to contribute to the planning of the conference in December (Tech17). The agenda looks really exciting with a range a high class submissions covering on-premises to cloud, from micro to monolith, API to application, source to SOA.

Presenters go from newbies to world class names, not to mention key Oracle product managers.

Here are a couple of tweets from the planning day …



Keeping an Engaged Team – 15:5


, , ,

When working with a team that is made up of individuals often working on diverse activities, as often happens with an architecture practise keeping everyone feeling engaged, informed and connected can be challenging.

Several years ago I was introduced to the idea of a 15:5. The concept is incredibly simple, demands little of the individual but really help address these issues. The idea works like this …

Once a week – ideally mid-afternoon on the last day of the week. Each individual takes no more than 15 minutes to answer 5 questions and then emails it to the rest of the team.  The emails typically will take no more than 5 minutes to read. He questions are along the lines of:

  • What have I done this week,
  • What have I got planned for next week,
  • What are my successes,
  • Where do I need help,
  • How do I feel?

The last question all the simplest can be the trickiest. The goal of this question is to help the team leader and understand the mood of the team and individuals. Having this insight means underlying issues of ill feeling etc can be addressed. But answer this question directly, can result in very anodyne responses. This can be addressed by encouraging people to respond with a bit of humour. This can reveal a lot more indirectly. One of my former colleagues, who was working in very challenging conditions got finding funny ways to express his frustration. For example “Forest Gump said life is like a box of chocolates, fine but I keeping the box when everyone has eaten all this nice chocolates if I’m lucky”.

Where do I need help, can be a directed request for some assistance, or could be I’ve been asked to do something that isn’t my area of knowledge. This kind of sharing can mean another member of he team, who maybe be able to help can respond or the team lead can look to facilitate some support.

Typically reading these emails only takes a few minutes. A lot of people when I’ve introduced this idea have pushed back and said – those minutes add up when there are a lot of us. This maybe true, but you don’t have to read them all at once, and pausing for a couple of minutes here and there whilst you drink your coffee, waiting for a meeting to start is dead time well used.

The secret to making this work is everyone does it regardless of seniority every week (unless you’re on holiday). To illustrate the idea, here is an fictional example:

What have I done this week,

  • An RFI that was passed to us for input at the last minute for infrastructure consulting
  • Got to the bottom of customer’s process for requesting network changes
  • Submitted network change requests

What have I got planned for next week,

  • Get incoming devs into Active Directory and into the correct groups
  • Get load balancer policy updated for app x
  • Project handover and holiday

What are my successes,

  • Finally got to the bottom of customer process and accountabilities
  • RFI returned

Where do I need help,

  • Given the urgency of customer project that some with some pull keeps pressure on infrastructure
  • Input from Joe to configure load balancing in F5 appliance

How do I feel?

  • Shattered, RFI being last minute and people playing politics around it BUT some time out with the family next week.

More Articles Published Elsewhere


, , , , , , , , ,

So it has been a busy week in terms of seeing articles published that I’ve at least contributed to. It’s funny the gap between writing and publishing can be several weeks. So whilst we’re thinking about new things we see the twitter pickup etc or work several weeks old.

Anyway, first up was a contribution to Leon Smiers‘ blog on integrating chatbots. The latest in a series of excellent blog posts looking at  the capabilities a chatbot solution needs etc. The latest post is about integration, hence my contribution. My contributions to the blog series go back to the conversations Leon and I had whilst at the Oracle Partner event earlier this year. Since then, I have helped Leon by providing a critical eye and offering suggestions.

The big event, has been to have an article published on Oracle Technology Network(OTN). This is a bit of an honour as we where invited to write. My piece can be found at here. It is actually a part of a pair of articles written for OTN. With article was written by Luis Weir, and is the parent article about API management.

My article came about as a result several discussions with Luis whilst travelling to and from a client about the relationship between between microservice registries, load balancers and API Gateways. Particularly as API Gateways have a natural relationship with microservices. I’ll say no more, go read the article.

New book project


, , , , ,

Now the big news, we have just agreed with Packt Publishing to write a book around Oracle’s new API Platform Cloud Service (APIP CS). This is going to be more of a team effort with 4 of us working on the book. With all the authors working for Capgemini as well it should be a lot easier in terms of effort The book is being targeted for late this year to be published so that we can cover the major features being released this summer which will make the product a lot more rounded and complete.
The book will also bring in another initiative that has been running in a fairly low profile manner, but starting to shape up in the form of something called OMESA (OMESA.io). This initiative is a cross party approach to define a reusable reference architecture that engages both the legacy landscape along with API driven / microservices based contemporary solution delivery.

We will of course continue to blog about ICS at https://oracle-integration.cloud

Mindmaps Update


, , ,

mindmap-4I have relocated my mindmaps to a new location – WiseMapping which presents the maps in a far more consumable manner than XMind. I’ve setup the links to now bounce through bitly so if things move again the links wont break. The maps available can be found using the following links:

My company blog


, , , ,

businessinfo_icon_blue_0In addition to this personal site, and the Oracle ICS site we use to support the book,  I now also have a company blog at Capgemini as part of their Expert Community which can be found here, along with my Expert Connect profile here.

So far there are only a couple of posts:



OracleCode London 2017


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My colleague & boss Ace Director Luis Weir and I were invited to present at Thursday 20th’s Oracle Code London.

oracle_codeThe request to present came late as we where needed to cover someone who had to cancel (not that we aren’t grateful for the opportunity). This did mean getting the presentation together was a little bit of a scramble, unfortunately I missed a couple of sessions as I needed to assemble an environment, work out how I wanted to explain the point Luis’ slides where communicating as this was the first time presenting with Luis as a double act. Add to that address the day to day work demands.

Despite these challenges, I think the presentation went very smoothly (and we’re looking forward to receiving the feedback). The slides can be found here …

I did catch a few presentations, including the keynote by Adam Bien, Tim Hall‘s presentation on exposing databases using REST services, Lucas Jemella‘s microservices and eventing backbone and finally CQRS by Sebastian Daschner. All presentations  where all top notch, loaded with useful information.  I’ve been fortunate to see both Lucas and Tim presenting before so knew I would in for a really good presentations.  So if you ever want to know about Oracle DB stuff with practical honest insights I’d recommend looking Tim up.  Like wise in the middleware space for Lucas.

Seeing the presentations and different presenting styles was interesting. Those presenters with a Java Rockstar background vs those from an Oracle Ace background. The Java guys taking a very minimalist (if any) slides and all code / demo – but blink and you’ll miss it, where as the Ace community (of which I am fortunate enough to be a member) with slides that are often visually very strong and still supported by demos.

Whilst I’ve attended Oracle Open World, I’ve not yet seen the parrallel Java One conference in San Francisco. That said, the feel of the day’s event (and presumably the goal) is what I’d expect Java One to be like. I have in the past attended similar RedHat events, whilst the venue has a similar feel (not unsurprising as both have used SkillsMatter venues), what was different between the Oracle and RedHat events was that the atmosphere felt a lot friendlier and communial at Oracle Code. This maybe down in part to the fact that I know more of the people both Aces and Oracle employees, although that can’t be the only reason as when I was involved in the RedHat environment I had known senior people within the organisation and encountered presenters.

My last observation, more technical is the fact that JavaEE was mentioned a lot more than I’d expected, even those much maligned EJBs got a mention. Is JavaEE making a reassurgence?

So, if you get a chance to attend OracleCode – as an architect or developer I’d recommend that you take the opportunity. Whilst Devox maybe bigger with the really big name speakers, the day was both informative, engaging and rewarding.

25-04-17 UPDATE: Oracle have just made all the OracleCode London sessions available on YouTube here, and our session specifically here.