Home Blog Enterprise 2.0: First look: WCI 10gR4 from the Function1 garage
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The next version of WebCenter Interaction, dubbed WCI 10gR4 as opposed to WCI 11g, has been a long time coming. Function1 has gone back and forth with Oracle Product Management for a good year and a half about changes and bug fixes we can expect in the next release of the product. As of this post (Sep 15, 2011), we still haven’t been able to pin down a release date but we expect to see the product this calendar year. While we wait, Oracle was kind enough to send a release candidate to us and we wasted no time in installing and tearing apart the application in the Function1 garage so we could give you some insight into what we’ve found so far.

Windows 2008 64Bit, SQL Server 2008 64Bit

Probably the biggest need with our enterprise clients is the ability to move off an ailing Windows 2003 platform to the new versions of Microsoft server products. With Windows 2003 end-of-support back in 2010, Microsoft-centric clients have been eager to move off the platform. The good news is, our installation was smooth on Windows 2008 64bit with no need for tweeks. The base portal, image server, api service, search, and, automation all installed without a problem. We additionally assigned the 64bit .NET 2.0 binary to the ISAPI library to force 64bit execution of the portal.

By default, WCI 10gR4 ships with both 32bit and 64bit versions of the 1.6.0 JRE, confirming Oracle’s intentions to support 64bit servers and memory addressing.

We also installed on SQL Server 2008 64bit without using SQL 2000 compatibility mode. A number of changes to the installation SQL scripts indicate that we will be able to run in SQL Server native mode for the next release. This is a huge improvement for clients running on the legacy SQL 2000 compatibility mode. One note we did find was that the configuration.xml file did not allow us to use SQL 2008 instance names for the database connection.

Not everything is Windows 64Bit

Tomcat 6.0.26 ships with the product as opposed to Tomcat 7.0. We could not confirm if Tomcat 6.0.26 was the 64bit version, but the documentation lead us to believe that it is not. We also could not confirm if Search (specifically queryd.exe) was running in a 64bit memory space despite it’s ability to run in the Windows 2008 64bit environment. The core reason to confirm this is to allow for 100GB index size for search partitions.

The release notes and documentation are still in the works and we haven’t seen the official certification matrix for the product. Looking under the hood, WCI 10gR4 has a lot of newer components pointing to the fact that 64bit Microsoft platforms will be supported.

IIS 7.5

Server administrators who work with IIS know that the latest iteration that ships with Windows 2008 server is quite a bit different from previous versions. The WCI installer did not automatically create an application pool and website for us, so we had to add these items manually. It was straight forward enough to add an application pool, and two applications (one for the image server and one for the base portal). Aside from the initial tweeks, WebCenter Interaction had no problem running in IIS 7.5.

Notable file changes

We did a binary comparison of a few core files in the WCI stack and found a number of updates that we can only assume are a host of bug fixes from the previous version and an upgrade to the legacy dlls. Notably, DDTek.Oracle.dll, DDTek.SQLServer.dll, and openfoundation.dll have been updated.

A few new versions of 3rd party applications were also found. The outsidein component, primarily used for reading and categorizing files for search, has been upgraded to 8.3.5. This version includes support for over 400 file types including Office 2010 documents, and a host of PDF versions. This is exciting news for users who have struggled with getting Office 2010 documents to work, however we would have liked to see the latest version 8.3.7.

Uncovering new features

One of the exciting new features of WCI 10gR4 is in the area of password management. The upgrade SQL, only available to upgrade 10gR3 to 10gR4, has a number of additional properties and tables that relate to the following new features:

  • Password expiration
  • Password rules (strong password enforcement)
  • Password history (further password enforcement)
  • Password validation

The installation also presented XML feeds for the search results page and knowledge directory by leveraging new experience definitions for both. Advanced search also joins the adaptive layouts list.

Cosmetic Changes

Continuing the acquisition from BEA, Oracle has renamed a few more pieces of the installation. The default directory for installation is now c:\oracle\middleware\wci and service names are labelled “Oracle WCI [service name]“. Version numbers have also changed for most of the installation directories with files being placed in the [home]\[component]\10.3.3\ folder.

Welcome Finland

I don’t personally know any finnish people, but the country will be happy to know that Oracle has added their language to the list of locales in WCI 10gR4.

Despite rumors that WCI 10gR4 is the last release of the WebCenter Interaction, we see promising results for the sustainability of the product through it’s planned end-of-life in 2017. Next from the Function1 garage, we’ll be pulling apart WebCenter Interaction Collaboration then Analytics 10gR4, so subscribe to the blog so you can get the word on the street from our team.

 

Note: Comments based on WCI version 10.3.3.377808

  1. avatar
    September 20, 2011

    This really is exciting news. My business owners were scared with the bug list that came with our installation of WCI 10gR3 and were sceptical with 11g as it was entirely different…. Now we can think of upgrading to 10gR4… :)

    Thank you for the info :)

    • avatar
      September 20, 2011

      We had our fair share of issues with 10gR3 when it was first released, but there have been a number of patches (namely 10.3.0.1) that have resolved some major bugs. We also understand the WebCenter 11g is an entirely different product from WCI 10gR3 and that has caused a lot of confusion for clients. Good luck with the upgrade planning and feel free to contact us if you would like to know more about our upgrade services.

  2. avatar
    November 4, 2011

    Still would wait for 11g. This product has a lot of potential but is being killed by rebranding to WebCenter 11g which is entirely different and ADF based. Not that WebCenter 11g is not good but WCI is too good in exposing APIs and controls . You have IDk, Server APIs, PEIs cutom tags and what not. Would be best to see a direct integration with ADF JSR portlets (without ensemble ofcourse) to leverage future technologies towards which world is moving to keep this product alive. It has become Oracle’s neglected child.

  3. avatar
    December 7, 2011

    Hello,
    Any updates for functionality for Collaboration?
    Publisher 6.5 is dead, but will 10gR4 pick up where it left off?
    UCM isn’t included..is it (I know the answer).
    I am constantly getting bombarded with people wanting Sharepoint – it does offer some more functionality.

    • avatar
      December 13, 2011

      Vee,
      There are updates to Collaboration functionality. Most noteably, a new explorer like interface for projects and an option to publish to Oracle UCM. There are a few other tweeks, but we are still pulling the hood off Collab in our development environment to see what neat features and bug fixes were included. As for Publisher 6.5, it is certified with WCI 10gR4 and the expectation is that customers will continue using this ailing product. UCM is not included and does not contain very good integration with WCI. Karl, one of our senior consultants, took the time to build the entire “solution” that Oracle presented for replacing Publisher only to find that there is still a ton of custom work required to integrate. On the bright side, a few of our customers were eligible for the UCM Web Content limited license. It gives you access to UCM under the current Publisher 6.5 license so long as you switch to the new processor based licensing model. To your final point, we have some customers who have transitioned to SharePoint and I am actively working on a project that includes SharePoint 2010 Enterprise and all its bells and whistles. If you’d ever like more information, feel free to contact us and we can discuss the comparisons. We also work with WebCenter, WebCenter Sites, Drupal, and Alfresco to name a few alternatives.

  4. avatar
    December 8, 2011

    At our company we were initially using WCI but evaluated WebCenter 11g and after looking at the number of issues that we saw and how unstable WebCenter 11g was we concluded to stick with WCI. Good to know there will be new release and looking forward for WCI 10gR4. I just don’t understand why Oracle is neglecting superior product like WCI?

  5. avatar
    January 25, 2012

    Can any one provide some more information on the WCI 10gR4 stack.Is publisher supported on windows 2008 64 bit? Is Analytics Supported as well? If not then is the Collector component of Analytics supported on either 32 bit or 64 bit of 2008? Wonder why Oracle has not provided all this information.

    • avatar
      March 7, 2012

      Publisher has reached the end of the line. Supported platforms are left to whatever existed before the Oracle merger and excludes Windows in a 64bit architecture. We’ve had some successful migration efforts with Publisher clients and will be happy to talk to you further about these services. As for Analytics, the component has been updated to 10gR4 with support for Windows 2008. http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E23010_01/wci.1034/e22882/toc.htm#BAJDCHJG

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