Sunday, November 15, 2009

In support of My Oracle Support? - Part 1

I have previously written about issues with My Oracle Support. I still have issues and will probably always have issues, with the new system.

However, there is another side to the same story. It's a tool. It's a tool that has been made available to me. I strongly believe that a professional (counting myself in that set) I need to understand when, where and why the tools might benefit me.

So here starts my process of discovering the tool and understanding where it might help.

(Note to self - Next parts: MOS is a Portal but do we need portals?; MOS has a lot of functionality and is based on user feedback; MOS provides automation & who benefits?)


In support for MOS - part #1 of the learning process

I suspect the reason for Flash is similar to the JInitiator in the early Forms days.

We wanted rich functionality that was provided by Java in the client but no client (browser) consistently supported the JVM requirements. The first few iterations of JInitiator included complete (and excruciatingly slow) downloads and many many concerns about automatically downloaded software. Indeed, Oracle lost some Forms customers as a result of that.

As time went on the JInitiator download was split to download only the functionality required to accomplish the next task, if it was not there yet.

I see that Richard Miller's blog and Chris Wartiki's blog indicate they are looking at that change using Flash. (Having learned from history :-) the MOS team starts this after production.)

Back in the JInitiator hey-day, Oracle was constantly hammered by customers and competition as imposing non-standard, proprietary, software on the users. I often heard "it isn't Microsoft", "it is non-standard" as the reason for not allowing JInitiator. So people moved to Visual Basic, or some competitors, many of which have now disappeared. (Although underneath is was frequently "if it's Oracle we have this convenient excuse".)

So Flash is a non-proprietary (read non-Oracle) pseudo standard that should be acceptable to many users.

The next generation (HTML 5) is not available universally yet. (Hopefully the MOS Team will have designed to support the transition in the future.)

Indeed, one excuse for selecting Flash was to support the IE 6 users out there. (Better to support the rather large community that is stuck with non-compliant environments than to have a well-designed ADF environment for the future? It's about the numbers!)

The security issues that are found nearly daily are probably not as worrisome to many users as the benefit in user experience. Users seem to be complacent about security anyway, and there is a non-Flash alternative (http://supporthtml.oracle.com) for those of us who are squeamish.



In support of MOS, I think Flash addresses a significant part of the user community and probably addresses it well. I will be looking at that seriously, when I have lots of time.

And they have provided me an HTML alternative which limps along to satisfy my needs.

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