The limitations and quirks of Siebel Tools continue to drain my will to live the life of Siebel. I recently had the joys of debugging a Siebel Workflow process that was generating a SQL error – don’t you love that the Workflow Simulator ignores the /S switch on the debugger command line options? Setting the SIEBEL_LOG_LEVEL environment variable will over come that but doing so requires restarting Siebel Tools AND the Web Client as well as generating huge log files for both siebel.exe and siebdev.exe.
I wrote a small C# tool years ago to interactively enable (and disable) SQL debugging on a running Siebel Developer Web Client instance. I’ve updated it with some small UI changes and made it available on the Siebel Store.
I eagerly await the arrival of Siebel CRM Composer, which will probably be the IDE of our dreams… Until then, I continue to work around the limitations of the aging, decrepit Siebel Tools.
I just had to share this with you as it made me laugh out loud – and weep just a little, inside.
We’ve been having countless issues with Siebel Tools since 22.214.171.124 – it just seems to have been steadily broken over the years by careless modifications and a lack of QA. However, this bug in Siebel 15 takes the biscuit:
Doc ID 2040738.1 Siebel Tools 15.2 and 126.96.36.199.8 crashes when attempting to open the Script Editor
Yup, editing script is not possible in the latest Patch Sets, without Tools crashing into a heap. How in the name of all things did this get through QA? I despair sometimes, I really do!
What’s so funny about that, though? Well, have a look at the “workaround”. Now, I’m not going to reproduce the text in full, as I suspect that’s against MOS policy, but let me summarize how Oracle suggest you get around Siebel crashing whenever you try to edit code.
Notepad – The NEW future of Siebel Tools
First up, the reader is gently lulled with the statement: “It appears that a quite straightforward workaround is available“. This is in bold, so I’m even more re-assured that Oracle have got this issue nailed. The article goes on to make the following three, mind boggling recommendations:
Set a non-scripted object to “Scripted=TRUE” and edit the non-existent scripts. Tools might then work for the duration of the session, but probably not and definitely not in 15.2
Do not install 15.2 or 188.8.131.52.8 Patchsets. Genius!
This is the highlight though:
For the object you wish to update, expand in the object explorer and select the “Server Scripts” or “Browser Scripts” child objects. From there copy and paste the script text into a text editor. Edit the script then copy and paste it back into the list applet in Tools.
To me, this is a stroke of pure genius and probably a great workaround to Siebel Tools in general – just use something else, even Notepad. It can’t be any worse than this!
And there you have it. Yet again, Siebel Tools gets no love. In fact, it’s getting abused, tortured and beaten into submission by uncaring and careless developers. And who suffers? Us – the faithful developers and customers. Again.
Time to give Siebel Tools some TLC, Oracle!
UPDATE: Just a quick update to advise readers to check the date of the post. Apologies to those readers not familiar with this cultural oddity!
There is much discussion and rumour abound around IP2015 and the new Siebel Composer functionality. There’s also some good news about a more straightforward versioning scheme for future Siebel releases.
A recent announcement from Oracle, however, got me really excited – Siebel Composer 15, as it’s to be named, will be delivered with both a Web Based front end and a Visual Studio plugin! And I’ve been privvy to a snapshot of how it’s going to look. This is obviously an early alpha and so is subject to significant change:
The face of Siebel CRM Composer 15
I’ve said before that Visual Studio is the perfect IDE and it’s so exciting to finally hear that Oracle is embracing this platform to deliver a better experience to the developer.
When IP 2015 hits the shelves, what are your plans for phasing out Siebel Tools? I’d be interested if you would like to record your thoughts via the poll below.
You will probably already know that Oracle have released their Statement of Direction (SoD), outlining the proposed content of Innovation Pack 2015. In keeping with previous IP releases, I would expect this to drop around November / December of this year.
The SoD document itself is pretty dry and some of the “innovations” aren’t as exciting as I might have liked (seriously, enhanced help text on installation wizard screens?). However, one item jumps out: Siebel CRM Composer (Developer Preview).
So long, Siebel Tools!
This item is begging for screenshots but instead we are given some high level statements about what CRM Composer might give us:
- Siebel CRM Composer allows multiple instances of application functionality to be created: Finally, versioning of configuration objects in the Siebel Repository
- [Ability for configuration to be] placed into production via the web based administrative user interface with no downtime: The end of the SRF? Here’s hoping!
- Obviates the need for proprietary web templates: Are we going to see the end of all external file based configuration?
This is fantastic news from Oracle and, given my well known and slightly irrational hatred of Siebel Tools, something I’m really excited about. Not only is this news exciting from a developer perspective, Siebel Composer could finally take full fat Siebel into the cloud. I doubt SalesForce.com are quaking in their boots, but this may well give them something to think about.
It looks like another exciting year for Siebel!
Okay, so Siebel Tools didn’t eat my hamster and I guess I don’t hate Siebel Tools – I’ve used it for over a decade now to design and develop thousands of customisation’s and solutions for customers.
What I really don’t like is it’s lack of progress and this was emphasised today when I read @lex’s post about a Siebel Tools “enhancement” to display line numbers in the eScript editor. If it’s headline news that the eScript editor can now tell you what line you’re on, it’s a sad day for Siebel Tools.
I started work with Siebel when the release version was 99.5 (Siebel 5, I guess). I’ve worked with every other version since then from 6.0, 6.3 to 7.0, 7.5, 7.8, 8.0 and 8.1. All these releases brought something new, especially the 6.3 to 7.0 and 7.8 to 8.1 releases. One thing has remained a constant: Siebel Tools.
Siebel 7 Tools – Look Familiar?
The version of Siebel Tools that shipped with 5.5, 6.0 and 6.3 is almost indistinguishable from the version shipped today. Sure, Oracle have wrapped it up in Oracle Universal Installer and added some tweaks but it’s almost identical. And it really hasn’t moved on in any useful way for the last 10 years.
I’m calling out to Oracle for the last time – give Siebel Tools some love! It’s an embarrassment – it’s a sad child locked in the cupboard since 1980 with no idea how the world looks or works now. It has a crap hair cut, is wearing a Red Dwarf T-shirt and can’t talk to girls. It needs revamping and here’s what I think we need:
- Cross Platform – effectively tying Siebel Tools to Windows XP is becoming a massive constraint. It doesn’t work well with 64-bit Windows and it does not work at all with any OS running anything other than Internet Explorer 8. Having to downgrade a Windows 7 IE installation makes other web development tasks a bore and means no developer can unit test and target IE10 or 11 for OpenUI. Not to mention a complete lack of Linux or Mac based support – IntelliJ (even JDeveloper) are laughing at you from above
- Version Control – do you remember Siebel 6.0? The check in / out process in those days was project level. That meant a single developer would have a whole raft of objects locked out while they tweaked an applet and it was a nightmare to run a large project with many developers. Later versions introduced object level locking but there is still no proper version control in place. Managing releases and multiple code streams is a nightmare in Siebel Tools. When will this nightmare end?
- Refactoring / Developer Tools – refactoring is such a fundamental tool in any IDE, to allow developers to tweak, tidy and optimise code and configuration with no functional effect. No wonder countless projects end up with unmanageable quantities of eScript and inconsistent configuration as Tools has no such function. There is very little in Siebel Tools to make the developers life better – look at Visual Studio 2013 for examples of how code completion, refactoring, optimisation hints, code checking, automatic comment header generation and so on, can make a developers life so much easier. Better yet, look at the ReSharper plugin for Visual Studio – brilliant tools to allow a developer to focus on a creative solution – not wrestling with the complexities of the development environment
- An Integrated Debugger – if Siebel is to offer cross functional solutions (eScript, custom class, configuration, Workflow) then a developer must be able to debug consistently across these technologies. If we’re to be encouraged to develop Workflow solutions, at least debug into sub-processes and eScript business services. It’s currently impossible to debug an entire functional area consistently and that is a massive drain on developer productivity.
- Ditch the SRF – a move to this has already been mentioned but this needs to happen sooner rather than later. Everything in the SRF is in the Repository, so this age old concept of “compiling” some binary representation of the database Repository seems archaic. I wince every time I have to tell the client that their production system is going to be down for 2 hours while I add a list column to an applet. Microsoft Dynamics and SalesForce have beautiful, Web Based IDEs with “Deploy to Live” functionality that I’d give my hind teeth for.
- Make Tools the IDE – the introduction of CSS, JS and other OpenUI technologies has opened up a world of customisation to Siebel. However, it’s all developed and managed outside of Siebel Tools. The disconnect between the IDE and code is a configuration and release management nightmare as well as a distraction to the developer. Everything needs to be brought back into the IDE with appropriate editors and debuggers. At the moment, it’s a hodgepodge of technologies where nothing is connected.
- Fix the Workflow Editor – have I mentioned before that I hate the Workflow Process Editor? I’m sure I have. If not, let me reiterate how much I hate the Siebel Workflow Process Editor: I really, really hate it. It’s buggy, old fashioned and no longer fit for purpose. There, I said it. Please fix it!
That’s just a small brain dump of what I think needs to happen to Siebel Tools and it’s the tip of the ice berg.
Come on Oracle, step up and sort Siebel Tools out!