Jan Stafford

What OracleWorld/JavaOne 2011 product announcement will make a big difference in daily life of the majority of application developers and project managers in the Oracle Development Tools User Group (ODTUG)? It’s Oracle 11g R2 Forms, according to Mike Riley, ODTUG president. Not only will 11g R2 be useful, he said, but the announcement assures forms developers that Oracle will continue to support Oracle Forms in the Oracle Fusion Middleware application infrastructure stack.

During an interview with TheServerSide.com, Riley talked about Oracle’s new Oracle Forms release and Exalytics business intelligence appliance, as well as his experiences with ODTUG. He also explained why application requirements gathering, tracking and management has been and remains the biggest challenge he and other ODTUG members face each day.

While forms development doesn’t carry the cache of cloud or mobile development, it is the primary occupation of many ODTUG users. “Oracle Forms is key to our daily work and makes it easier because it’s part of an integrated middleware stack,” said Riley. He is currently project manager and DBA for Hortica Insurance and Employee Benefits, an insurance company focused on horticultural industry. Creating custom forms is the primary development work done at Hortica.

Riley also expects the new Oracle Exalytics Business Intelligence (BI) Machine, a software-hardware appliance now in beta, to make database and application analysis easier by “breaking down and integrating silos of information faster than ever before.”

Putting BI in an appliance that produces reports in visualizations should make BI more accessible to companies with smaller IT and development teams, he said. Other Exalytics Machine plusses include database optimization, integrated tools and visualized reports that are easy to understand.

Any tools that simplify creation of reports that can be understood across departments and specialties will help development organizations create and manage application requirements. These tools make it easier to get the business side involved in application development and management, something that isn’t easy to start with. “The business side people have their regular jobs to do, after all,” Riley said.

With his company’s backing Riley has worked hard to bring business and development teams together. The more business users have been involved in the development process, the fewer requirements changes have had to be made; thus speeding development.

“Keeping requirements up to date is our biggest challenge in the insurance industry, because regulatory compliance is so important and regulations change from month to month and state to state,” Riley said.