Sunday, January 4, 2015

Anybody else confused by Oracle WebCenter?


Let me be blunt. Oracle screwed up when it came up with the whole Oracle WebCenter idea. Oracle WebCenter Suite eventually became Oracle WebCenter with these interlocked products in some senseless jigsaw puzzle, as if they were interconnected or something.

Does this jigsaw puzzle make sense? Not to me!

It was initially touted as a user engagement platform. I'm not sure if it still is. But now WebCenter is comprised of 3 products.

Currently, the 3 primary products included in Oracle WebCenter are: WebCenter Portal, WebCenter Content, and WebCenter Sites. Each of these products has it's own set of features and functionality while still being under the WebCenter name. They are only related by name, though can be integrated together to provide more comprehensive functionality. (Technically, it can be integrated with so many other Oracle products as well.)


Oracle WebCenter Portal

Portlets, which are pluggable windows that are embedded into portals, are useful for users who require an initial dashboard into their numerous intranet applications.

Portals are mostly valuable in intranets, but also in extranets (think Yahoo! where you have access to all mail, financial, news, scores, weather all in a single page).

WebCenter Portal is intended to provide a central place to consume information and services distributed throughout your company's infrastructure. This helps simplify user productivity by providing them with a means to managing their tasks in a single place. Development is primarily is done with ADF and a number of reusable templates.

Oracle WebCenter Portal is not to be confused with Oracle Portal (old and discontinued), BEA WebLogic Portal (acquired from BEA and discontinued), Oracle Sun Portal (acquired from Sun and discontinued), or Oracle WebCenter Suite (the old name).

A screenshot of a portal created with Oracle WebCenter Portal

Some of the key strengths of WebCenter Portal:
  • Quickly create dynamic portals and websites - you can be up and running in 24 hours!
  • Easily expose data from WebCenter Content, which is a repository that hosts structured and unstructured data.
  • Supposedly incorporates the best features from the old Oracle, BEA, and Sun portals combined.


Oracle WebCenter Content

Oracle WebCenter Content provides ECM (Enterprise Content Management) functionality, allowing the storage and retrieval of structured and unstructured data and records management, combined with powerful search and accessibility features.

Formerly known as Oracle UCM (Universal Content Management) and originally acquired from Stellent, Oracle's WebCenter Content is a content management system. The extent of this product lies not simply in the managing of digital documents, but there are also features which allow for the tracking of related physical documents. It can act as a repository for your company's digital assets, create web friendly format for high resolution files and provide a central place for publishing digital assets. There is a supplementary product called WebCenter Imaging which allows for the capture of documents into WebCenter Content. It provides data capture from scanned documents and images, and markup on those documents.

Using Windows Explorer to access Oracle WebCenter Content documents

Some of the key strengths of WebCenter Content:
  • Incredibly powerful search capabilities.
  • Stores unstructured content of all types; documents, images, video, etc.
  • Mobile apps allow access through smartphones and tablets.
  • Desktop integration with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, and Windows Explorer.


Oracle WebCenter Sites

Business users can easily manage website content without the involvement of a developer, pulling data from any number of data sources.

WebCenter Sites is another acquisition, formerly called FatWire. WebCenter Sites is focused on the easy creation of websites for consumers using drag-and-drop functionality. Integration with WebCenter Content provides the ability to easily publish content that your company has accumulated; and websites can be easily optimized for mobile devices. WebCenter Sites Satellite Server (an additional license) can be used to establish a content delivery network (CDN) for your company.

Easily update website content with Oracle WebCenter Sites

Some of the key strengths of WebCenter Sites:
  • A web content management system designed for business users to easily add and update website content.
  • Mobile enable your website with no coding changes.
  • Provides features such as comments, ratings, reviews, polls, blogs, etc.
  • Segment-based and predictive targeting and analytics is provided.


Summary

The 3 products are unrelated no matter what Oracle says and the statement that "we are running WebCenter" doesn't make too much sense. I have no issues with any of the three WebCenter products. In fact, they are extremely powerful with WebCenter Content being the most mature of the group. My issue is purely with the naming and marketing.


 

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