Oracle JD Edwards Mobile Strategy

Earlier this year the JD Edwards team announced the new mobile strategy will be around adopting Low Code solutions connected through the Orchestrator. This is a logical next step in positioning JD Edwards Orchestrator as the enabler for JD Edwards to become a Digital platform.

The Orchestrator was initially developed to enable IoT with JD Edwards but over time it evolved in a complete generic integration solution. You can see the overview here.

Of course, Orchestrator is not the holy grail completely, but it has improved a lot since its inception in 2016. A famous quote of the famous Dutch soccer player Johan Cruijff is: ‘for every disadvantage, there is an advantage’, which also is applicable to Orchestrator. The advantage is it emulates user sessions which is also the disadvantage when it comes to scalability and speed compared to API solutions directly calling APIs from the kernel like Rinami Cantara.

Orchestrator is now the link into JD Edwards for all modern technology such as Mobile, Cloud Integration (PaaS, SaaS), RPA, IoT, Low Code /No Code applications, Digital Assistants etc.

Low Code Strategy

With the Orchestrator in place as your enabler, it is now easier to link different platforms to JD Edwards resulting in adopting the Low Code strategy.

With adopting the Low Code strategy to extend JD Edwards it was a logical step to stop supporting the 80+ mobile applications in the Apple and Google stores. The uptake of the Applications was not high and maintenance of keeping them up to date was expensive. Furthermore, the architecture of the mobile applications was outdated and needed a replacement soon. See the details of the retirement here.

It is a logical decision to take the next step in the development and move to Low Code Platforms. Instead of developing applications, the JD Edwards team is now delivering examples and ‘how to’s ’, to enable the customer, completely in line with the Citizen Development and Maker approach.

Oracle delivers examples based on Oracle’s Visual Builder Cloud Service, the Low Code platform of Oracle.

Partner Community

For other solutions, Oracle JD Edwards team is leaning on the partner community. Something we already saw happening over the last years when various partners developed propriety solutions for mobile applications. Most of these platforms are great initiatives but also create a partner lock-in since they are not based on publicly available platforms but on own created propriety platforms.

Within Quistor we were already a strong believer of Low Code since 2016 when we started our first Low Code experiences with Mendix. At that moment it was more about evangelizing the Low Code philosophy and creating awareness, only a few customers already understood the potential of Low Code at that time (the early adopters). Currently, Low Code is getting a broader understanding and customers see the need for change since IT resources are more and more scares.

Added Value of Mobile

So looking at Mobile and JD Edwards we know have various options so there will always be a solution fitting in your JD Edwards strategy and roadmap. Overall mobile applications are more seen as part of the standard processes and are an ideal way to bring data to the point of the process. In combination with further automating various processes, the approval process or exception handling process is getting more time-critical. This is the area where mobile can be of added value. Also, the recent Covid-19 pandemic is generating demand for more contactless data exchange. So we want to get rid of paper forms exchange and handling. All good candidates for mobile applications.

As Quistor we currently see two streams of mobile application development. One is based on native development and the other is based on Low Code development.

On Native development we are still developing software using traditional coding, whether it is Android, React, Swift, Xamarin or other tools, it needs traditional development skills. Luckily more and more development is done based on Agile so we don’t use the traditional Waterfall methods anymore which reduces the risk of misinterpretations of requirements.

Quistor Mobile Applications

As Quistor we deliver a few native mobile applications build in Android for free. You can download them in the Google Play store. A good way to explore mobile technology for small and easy applications. We have applications available for:

If you want to use native applications but require more complex applications, we can offer the Rinami Cantara Integration Platform and Mobile SDK. A comprehensive solution offering applications for Field Service, Shop floor or Warehouse management. A solution which replaces the traditional players in this field. Rinami uses standard technologies so no need for specific vendor related development knowledge anymore.

On Low Code, the market evolved a lot over the last years. As Quistor we are not considering No Code solutions since we know, based on experience, with the complexity of JD Edwards in the background some coding is always required. With Low Code, this coding can be done easily if needed and it is managed as part of the solution.

Mendix

Since 2016 Quistor works with Mendix. At that time Oracle didn’t have a proper Low Code platform available and Mendix was, and still is, one of the leading platforms. From the moment it became clear Oracle JD Edwards team would potentially start promoting the Oracle Low Code Solution Visual Builder Cloud Services we started to investigate that solution too.

Oracle VBCS is a good solution for building apps and logic in portals. It is part of the Oracle OCI offering in two ways, as part of Oracle Integration Cloud or as a separate product. The license model allows you to build and scale gradually since it is a processor-based (when it is a separate product) or API calls based license (when it is part of OIC). Although it is Low Code it still has a more technical driven character, a lot can be done with coding. Coding extension is based on standard JavaScript. Oracle is extending VBCS with new functionalities every few months to grow the solution to a more complete platform. It already integrates well with other Oracle offerings such as SaaS applications, Content and Experience Cloud and Oracle Process Cloud.

As mentioned, we work with Mendix for a couple of years now, building portals, mobile apps etc. If you compare Mendix with VBCS it is a more complete platform supporting the whole application life cycle from Idea to Application Retirement. The platform integrates Agile working and is very business-oriented. It has a web development client (Studio) and a desktop IDE (Studio Pro). The Studio is more focused on citizen developer/ business user and the Studio Pro is a complete toolset to create your Mendix flows and extend them with some coding if needed. Moving projects between the different development environments work seamlessly.

But with all these options, what is the best choice?

As always there is no clear rule on this. It really depends on various criteria. Are you looking to build a single app or do you want to deploy more apps? Is it really complex (offline, device integration, etc.) or is just a ‘simple’ process to be supported? How will deployment and security be arranged? Etc.

In the below graph we tried to plot the solutions we implement.

Since we have experiences with several tools and know the market well you can count on our advice if you are considering deploying mobile applications.

So if you are considering implementing mobile applications feel free to contact us.

Jack van den Brink

Do you have any questions or doubts? Please let us know.

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