Friday, June 26, 2015

New PeopleTools Mobile Book

My wife and I have been writing another book. We are reviewing proofs now, which means we are getting close to publication. I did a quick search on Amazon and see that Amazon is taking pre-orders: PeopleSoft PeopleTools: Mobile Applications Development. Publication date is currently set for October 16, 2015, which means it will publish just before OpenWorld. Fluid and MAP have been out for about a year. If you guessed that a new PeopleTools mobile book would cover these mobile technologies, you guessed correctly. But I saw no reason to stop there. After describing how to use Fluid and MAP, the book moves on to building responsive mobile applications using standard HTML5 development tools and libraries including jQuery mobile and AngularJS. Just today I spoke with a customer still using PeopleTools 8.50. What are the odds that customer will be using PeopleTools 8.54 in the next year? The second section of this book, using HTML5 is perfect for a customer in this situation because it describes how to connect a modern single page application to a PeopleSoft back end using iScripts and REST services (one chapter for each back end solution). The book finishes with examples of building native and hybrid applications for PeopleSoft using the Android SDK, Apache Cordova (my personal favorite), and Oracle's Mobile Application Framework. Here is a rough outline:

Chapter 1 shows you how to prepare your workstation for mobile development. This includes configuring HTML5 browsers, developer tools, and emulators.

Chapter 2 digs into Fluid, showing two examples of creating Fluid pages. The first is a basic page whereas the second is a two-column responsive page. This chapter covers search pages; toolbar actions; and fluid field, page, and component features. The point of this chapter is to help the reader feel comfortable with Fluid. Fluid includes a lot of new features based on HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. I really want customers to understand, however, that they can build Fluid pages using core PeopleTools without any knowledge of the modern web concepts. Of course, you can build some really amazing solutions if you know HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

Chapter 3 explains the new Mobile Application Platform (MAP): what it is, when to use it, and how to use it. A chapter wouldn't be complete without examples, so there are plenty of examples to help you start your next MAP project.

Chapter 4 segues into modern mobile development. The rest of the book takes the user interface outside of PeopleTools. Before moving away from Application Designer, however, we need a data model and a scenario. This chapter presents the scenario and lays the foundation for the rest of the chapters. In this chapter you will work with SQL and the Documents module.

Chapter 5 shows us how to create our first HTML5 front end. I wanted to make this chapter as simple as possible so I used jQuery Mobile. In this chapter the reader will write very basic HTML and have the opportunity to see how jQuery Mobile progressively enhances simple markup to create impressive mobile solutions.

Chapter 6 is the exact opposite of chapter 5. Here I wanted to demonstrate flexibility and performance. This chapter is intentionally designed to provide a challenge for developers. Readers tell me it is a good chapter, perhaps a little intimidating, but very worthwhile. In this chapter you will work with AngularJS, Topcoat, and FontAwesome.

Chapter 7 shows the reader how to build back-end services for Chapters 5 and 6 using iScripts.

Chapter 8 is the same as Chapter 7 but uses REST services instead of iScripts. If you are new to PeopleSoft REST services and want to learn how to configure REST services as well as how to work with Documents to serve JSON from Integration Broker, then you will find this chapter very valuable.

Chapter 9 shifts from HTML5 to native. In this chapter the reader will learn how to use the Android SDK to consume the services built in chapter 8. The point of this chapter is not to teach Android development but rather how to consume PeopleSoft services from Android.

Chapter 10 turns to a native application category described as Hybrid applications. In this Chapter the reader will learn how to convert the Chapter 6 prototype into an on-device application that has access to device specific features such as the camera. In fact, the example shows how to use the Cordova API to take a selfie.

Chapter 11 brings us back to Oracle-specific technology by showing how to build a hybrid application using Oracle's Mobile Application Framework (MAF). I chose to spend a little more time in this chapter to teach some of the specifics of MAF. For example, I wasn't very excited about the default appearance of buttons on Android so I included steps showing how to extend the MAF skin.

Publication is still a few months away, but we are getting close. I'm really hoping to be able to give away copies during my OpenWorld session this year.