Working with proprietary technologies is supposed to be simple. Theoretically speaking, you get a robust solution, dedicated support, and terms and conditions to back you when required. However, the speed at which business needs have been evolving, have made it impossible for any one vendor or solution platform, to ‘do the job’, so to say.

Today, businesses use a medley of big vendor platforms, custom legacy applications, and top solutions. In 2011 a Gartner survey revealed that over half of the respondents surveyed had adopted open source solutions as a part of their IT strategy. Fast forward six years, and Gartner states: “Open-source software (OSS) industry saturation is complete: Today, 95% of mainstream IT organizations leverage nontrivial open-source software assets within their mission-critical IT portfolios — whether they know it or not.”

So if you are using a proprietary technology such as Oracle APEX or ADF, and are wondering whether you should take the plunge into open source technology, I’d say go ahead. Here are the reasons why.

Challenges with proprietary technology

Today’s business environment is characterized by the mostly unpredictable growth of digital channels and customer touchpoints. The front-end and the back-end of any business must be highly integrated to accommodate new demands and respond to them real quick. The problem with proprietary technology is that its code is secret. You can neither see how it works, nor customize it to suit your requirements.

The cost for licensing and maintaining the software is also usually high. If the vendor gives you permission to customize the solution, by default, you forgo the benefits of company updates. The maintenance and support cost is also directly proportional to the extent to which you customize the product. Another potential performance bottleneck is difficulty finding developers with product experience. Jaqui Greenlees describes the situation in words that seem harsh, but are true: “Proprietary software is based on the communist style of one-size-fits all rather than the capitalist free market. They don’t want to have to fix anything; they want you to be ignorant of the options, if you have any. They will make you “jump through hoops” to get support, and only offer support during limited hours of the day and on certain days of the week.”

Being subject to ‘vendor lock-in’ exacerbates the problems because you can’t simply leave when the rest of the world is migrating to modern technologies. All you can do is try to keep up within the options provided by your vendor. You not only incur greater cost, but miss out on the innovations sweeping the world.

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Advantages of open source technology

Organizations around the world are trading off people skills against expensive tools by utilizing open source tools. The benefits include rapid fixes for bugs and security issues, fast upgrades for new releases, multiple support streams, multiple options for software, much more flexibility with integrations, and faster feature implementation. Organizations get all this for lower (or nil) cost!

This may be hard to believe, but makes business sense. You see, open source technologies are very popular with developers because it gives them the freedom to choose, build, and refine their tools. The process is organic and voluntary. Everybody benefits.

For instance, most of the companies I work with use Spring for backend. Open competition reveals which software is better. Developers are naturally keen to hone their skills, and welcome opportunities to solve problems. Fast upgrades are beneficial for the community as a whole. People don’t make money by selling tools. They make money by selling products made using these tools.

Keep Moving Forward with Aptude

Aptude is your own personal IT professional services firm. We provide our clients with first class resources in a continuous, cost-containment fashion.

Our support services will free your senior IT staff from the overwhelming burden of day-to-day maintenance issues. They’ll have time to launch those new projects and applications you’ve been waiting for. Simply put, we can free up your resources and contain your costs. Let’s have a quick chat to discuss our exclusive services.

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Moving on from Oracle ADF/APEX

If you are using Oracle ADF or APEX, chances are that you are probably satisfied, but not thrilled with what you have. The bugs do get fixed, but slowly. Security updates and version updates may be aplenty, but tedious. Support is expensive and limited. Optimization may be an issue because you are not allowed to customize the solution to a high degree. You are probably not sure if you’ve got the best deal available in the market. That is why you should consider migrating to a modern architecture using open source technologies. Here is a quick breakup:

Front End

Oracle ADF is tightly knit with ADF Faces. In contrast, modern front ends such as such as Reactjs, AngularJS, or VueJS offer much more flexibility. They’re also not so tightly coupled with the Oracle technology stacks, and have excellent performance and toolkits available for quickly building user interfaces. More importantly, as compared to Oracle Faces, these are much more popular with the developer community. If you stick to Oracle ADF, your developers will probably need a lot of time to have to learn this.

However, if you do use modern front ends, you can generate a wonderful user experience and give your front-end team flexibility. Also, in this setup you don’t need to work with Java EE container.

Middleware

Oracle ADF must be used with Oracle middleware like Weblogic. Moving away from Oracle ADF opens up alternatives like Apache Tomcat or NGINX, which are open source, very commonly used, and very performance focused. Both solutions can manage diverse workloads and are integrable with other software to provide highly customized web stacks.

Additionally, you have other options such as running a MEAN stack, which is a collection of JavaScript based technologies such as Express.js, AngularJS, and MongoDB. Basically, you have loads of options to choose from to address your unique business requirements.

Backend

All of these are going to be Java based solutions, and Spring is the most popular for backend. It has many different frameworks available that speed up development . One such framework is Spring Boot, which is very commonly used amongst developers. Spring also offers training for a fee, if required. Most importantly it is free. It can also be deployed on any web container or application server.

It provides modules for integration, batch processing, and security. It integrates well with other frameworks and technologies including Struts and Hibernate. Several Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) recognize Spring. This also provides complete flexibility by offering Spring Python and Spring.net.

Additional Advantages – Microservices

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When you move to open source technologies, you will also benefit from microservice architecture – an approach that supports scalable and agile delivery while building distributed applications. This will ease all transitions since the new services can be built out and attach themselves to the new APIs while the old ones can still hit the legacy services until time allows them to be updated to use the new structure.

Contrary to appearance, this approach is not complicated, as Ashan Fernando, in a post on Medium states: “One of the clear benefits I have seen with Microservices is that, although the overall architecture is complex considering overall services and interactions which requires expert design skills, implementing individual services becomes simpler with their own lifecycle, improving developer productivity in long-term.”

Conclusion? If you want to adopt open source technologies but are worried about the process, don’t be. It is easy, flexible, and inexpensive. Most importantly, it might be beneficial in the long run.

Keep Moving Forward with Aptude

Aptude is your own personal IT professional services firm. We provide our clients with first class resources in a continuous, cost-containment fashion.

Our support services will free up your senior IT staff from the overwhelming burden of day-to-day maintenance issues. Now they’ll have time to launch those new projects and applications you’ve been waiting for. Simply put, we can free up your resources and contain your costs. Let’s have a quick chat to discuss our exclusive services.

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