APIs and OMESA video

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If you like seeing or hearing people like Arturo Viveros, Luis Weir and myself (not for me  :-0 ) discussing OMESA.io (Open Modern Enterprise Software Architecture) and APIs then you’ll like the following video, recorded with Bob Rhubart of Oracle Developer Community ArchBeat fame at Oracle Open World 2017.

ODC Appreciation Day : Apiary Editor

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This post is my contribution to the Oracle Developer Community (ODC) Appreciation Day. The idea of the event is best explained by Oracle Base – go here.

The Apiary Editor has to count as a pretty new entry into the possible features that could be considered with Apiary only coming into the Oracle family in the last year. Apiary as a solution provides a platform by which modern REST based APIs can be designed, documented and simulated. Apiary supports the API First design philosophy (more here) using API Blueprint notation or Swagger (now known as Open API).

The feature I want to focus on is the Apiary Editor itself (shown below), particularly when working with the API Blueprint.  The beauty of the solution is that as the documentation or API syntax is edited in the editing side (left)  the API definition/documentation immediately appears on the presentation side of the editor  (right) making it easy both see the technical specificastion and how the information is initially presented to a potential API user. This makes it really easy to understand the clarity of what is being communicated which is one of the important aspects of an API definition and API first.

Whilst Agile development states ‘prefer working code over documentation’ this provides agility as you can develop the API definition and allow people to develop against the contract we can still easily deliver quality API descriptions with sufficient information to make it understandable to a 3rd party.

Becoming an Oracle Ace

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On Friday 29th September, 2 days before the commencement of Oracle’s most important event of the year – OpenWorld whilst attending the Oracle Partner Advisory Council I received word that I had been promoted to a full Oracle Ace.

For those not working in the Oracle ecosystem this is comparable to being confirmed as a Microsoft MVP, a SAP Mentor or Java Champion. These schemes recognize contributions made by non employees to the community and the parent company itself. These contributions range across public speaking, articles for journals, helping through the various community sites and blogging among others. Hoist the accreditation is based on contribution, to be a successful contributor you need to be deeply knowledgable in your specialisms.

The importance of the Ace recognition is important for my employer (Capgemini) and for myself for different reasons. For an employer the association of expertise can be a key value propositions, and some Oracle partners actually use the number of Aces they employee as a key part of their differentiator and market proposition. Secondly, being out communicating with the community raises brand awareness increasing the chances of both sales but also make the company more attractive as a potential employer. Finally, through participating with in events you get to know product managers and other scenario Oracle people. As a result, when additional support and engagement is needed you have the contacts to draw on. But is not just help, the opportunity to contribute to product development exists. In many respects this can become a virtuous circle – the more you do the more opportunities open up, the more you can do.

For me personally the Ace programme is a very friendly embracing community that whilst can be commercially competitive is very mutually supportive. This combined with the fact that the culture of sharing knowledge is actively encouraged, supported and acknowledgement of those efforts is always satisfying.

In the middleware space there are less than 50 active Oracle Aces of all grades globally. Four of those are in the UK  Luis Weir (Ace Director – Capgemini), Simon Haslam (Ace Director – eProseed), Mark Simpson (Ace Director – Griffiths Waite) and myself. I am also fortunate enough to count all three as friends.

Presentations from Oracle Open World

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With Oracle Open World 2017 over the ICS presentation is available at – Oracle integration cloud service (ICS) best practices learned from the field (OOW17)

We saw a lot of exciting new features and capabilities coming from Oracle in the ICS space. So keep an eye on the site as we publish new articles.

The API Platform presentation that was co-presented with Luis Weir is here…

Build up to Oracle Open World 17

With Oracle Open World 2017 only a few weeks away we are in overdrive in terms of preparation. The first couple of chapters of our next book are heading to Packt so will be available through Alpha schema by the time of OOW. You can see the book at Packt (here) or on Amazon (here – note cover is wrong here).

8683The book now has its own domain at apiplatform.cloud which we’re quickly putting together. As the book progresses we will be making supporting content available.

With Open world there are the commercial activities of creating some fresh brochures. Not only important generally, but to help as Capgemini will have a large stand and will be sponsoring some activities.

Open world itself will be a busy week with two presentations (one each on ICS and API Platform), and three video casts pencilled in with Dev Archbeat from the developer lounge.

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

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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

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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

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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.