OOW2011 : OBIEE 11g and ADF Integration using the Action Framework

The third of my presentation at this year's Oracle Openworld in San Francisco was in fact a collaboration with Andrejus Baranovskis, fellow ACE Director and specialist in Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF). The idea for this presentation came to us a while ago, when the 11g release of Oracle Business Intelligence provided a framework for embedding analyses, dashboards and other BI objects within ADF applications, and the ability to pass context (parameters) between these components.

The slides for this presentation are available for download here : OBIEE / ADF Integration using the Action Framework

This feature is best illustrated by the Oracle Fusion Applications, which bring together ADF, SOA and OBIEE to create composite, hybrid applications that have business intelligence weaved all through them.

So the thinking behind this session was to take the components and technologies that Oracle used for the Fusion applications, and use them to build something ourselves along these lines. If you're an OBIEE customer, using ADF and JDeveloper to extend your BI solution has a number of advantages, including:

  • Being able to extend your BI system to include transactional elements such as forms, data input and so on
  • Ability to add collaboration, forums, communications, annotations to your system
  • The ability to make use of ADF visualizations such as gantt charts, organizational charts and so on that haven't yet made their way into OBIEE 11g proper

For ADF customers, adding BI into their project gives a number of advantages beyond the basic ADF DVT visualizations that you get with JDeveloper 11g:

  • You get access to a proper metadata layer, and the ability to create calculations, hierarchies, and combine data across multiple data sources including files, applications, OLAP and relational
  • You get a catalog to put the reports in, plus full security and permissioning to control what users can do with the reports
  • You also get access to BI features such as the Action Framework, KPIs and Scorecard, BI Publisher, caching and so on

In the end we put a sample application together which showed off some of the main integration points, including passing parameters between the components, having OBIEE access JDeveloper-built web services, and accessing ADF data through the OBIEE metadata layer as a data source.

The main user of this feature up until now has been the Fusion Applications developers themselves, so some of the features are a bit "alpha" and the documentation is a bit sketchy at various points. You can see the slides for full details, but for example a key integration point is between BI analyses and ADF, where we want to pass context (referred to as a Qualified Data Reference, or QDR) between the components, but this is only possible through a new type of action that's not actually documented, the ADF Contextual Event action.

Anyway, if you came to the session, thanks for that, and the slides are available for download as detailed above. Andrejus and I are also about to start documenting this process in full for a future article for the Oracle Technology Network, so keep an eye on the blog for a link to it when it gets published.