Oracle OpenWorld has been a cornucopia of announcements around every product/line of business in Oracle's portfolio. The one missing piece is the developer centric story. Oracle will argue that JavaOne, the Java specific sideshow to the main event covers everything a developer might need. That may be true as a technical position but it doesn't cover what happens in the new world of Oracle cloud applications.
Oracle is very clear: developers don't get to touch the cloud apps in the same way that they might cannibalize, contort or otherwise reconstruct the on-premises applications. As Steve Miranda, EVP product said:
You go into some companies and the applications are unrecognizable as anything Oracle have built.
The same is true in SAP landscapes.
Miranda was keen to emphasize that Oracle provides extensive configurability in its cloud offerings but also that there is a huge breadth of functionality. For my part, seeing the mind boggling array of upcoming manufacturing apps was enough to persuade me to at least short list Oracle the next time around. But ---- Oracle's lack of a dedicated developer program as I understand the term is a missed opportunity. I didn't once hear the expression 'devops' for example.
Oracle provides users with an apps marketplace which houses just shy of 1,000 apps. That's not a bad start. It is possible to build applications that retain the Oracle look and feel and, Oracle will certify applications for that purpose. Developers can plug into Oracle applications via REST APIs and, from what I understand, developers can knock themselves out in pretty much any language they want. All of that is good stuff.
But as I pointed out to Miranda, a developer ecosystem requires much more than a store front and a certification pathway. Oracle itself has to dedicate resource to encouraging the building of 'white space' applications that backfill in every vertical that Oracle chooses to play. It needs programs that actively support the small developer shops which I argue are the backbone for real innovation and not just the big brand ISV/SIs who have no or little interest in developing repeatable code.
To its credit, Miranda said that this is a topic the company would like to support and I get that since Oracle is still fleshing out its application portfolio, priorities may not be as well aligned as I would like to see. But I maintain that if Oracle wants to become the cloud apps powerhouse it claims, then an early start on an innovative developer program would go a long way to achieving that objective.
I'm not sure if Oracle understand this, but given that it is providing an all encompassing platform for infrastructure, PaaS and SaaS, the developer opportunity is much larger than it is for any other vendor in the enterprise space. If Oracle chooses to go the route I suggest, I can imagine millions of applications coming onto the market in much the same way we've seen for Salesforce but with the benefit of knowing there is a secure framework in place that will be very attractive to forward thinking shops, keen to make money off the back of a behemoth that is starting to look increasingly attractive.
Your move Oracle!
DisclosureL SAP and Oracle are premier partners at time of writing and Oracle covered most of the travel costs of my attending OpenWorld.