From August 28th till September 1st one of my colleagues and I have taken the opportunity to attend the Oracle Partner Oracle Partner PaaS Summer Camps (no. 7). This post summarizes my experience about that week in Lisbon covering both the official agenda and topics as well as noteworthy tips and pictures about the event and event location.

Hands-On Trainings

The 5-days trainings are the core component of the event. Each training features hands-on sessions and is held by members of the Oracle product management team. In general, the event is hosted by the SOA and BPM and the WebLogic & Developer Partner Communities. See the list of this year’s trainings below to get an idea about topics you can expect from the PaaS Summer Camps:

  • Process Cloud Service & Application Builder Cloud Service
  • API Cloud Platform Service & Integration Cloud Service
  • Cloud Application Development: JET + DevCS, ACCS, Stacks + CCS, Wercker as Docker centric DevOps tool & Management Cloud Service
  • Chatbots, Mobile Cloud Service & JET
  • Enrich SaaS with PaaS (CX and ERP Cloud)
  • Content & Experience Cloud & Chatbots

I personally chose and attended the Chatbots, Mobile Cloud Service & JET track hosted by Frank Nimphius, Mireille Duroussaud and Geertjan Wielenga. All of them have a profound knowledge regarding their products and did an amazing job presenting those products. Besides that, you could learn a lot from the provided hands-on labs and hands-on challenge.

Oracle Intelligent Bots Platform

Chatbots are not yet available on Oracle Cloud Platform. Instead, the training was based on a preview release. That means parts of the platform I experienced might change until the final release. As shown in the image linked above, it is possible to expose Chatbots to different channels, for example Facebook and WeChat. Connecting a Chatbot to Facebook was actually part of the training.

The Chatbot itself is built based on intent, utterance, entity and dialog flow definitions. As far as I can see, that terminology is similar to what Amazon is offering with Amazon Lex. People that worked with Amazon Lex before will probably get used to the Oracle Bot Platform quickly.

The dialog flow i.e. the definition of your bots conversation flow, states and context is defined using OBotML. That is some kind of YAML. So far the platform did not provide a visual designer to build the dialog flow. This will hopefully be improved until the public release.

Last but not least, it is possible to build and invoke custom components in case some functionality that you require is missing. During the lab we used Oracle Mobile Cloud to deploy our custom component service but it can basically be deployed anywhere else as well. In general, custom components enable you to add business logic to your chatbot as well as to query or update for remote systems.

Overall the training was a good introduction to Oracle Intelligent Bots and chatbots in general. Register for this webcast to learn more about Oracle’s new Intelligent Bots Platform.

Chat, Network and Explore Lisbon & Surroundings

Although trainings take up most of your time (daily from 9 am to 5 pm) there is still enough time left to chat and network or to visit Lisbon city and its surroundings. Lagoas Park Hotel, where Summer Camps took place, is about 17 km away from Lisbon city, but offers a free shuttle service to the beach and the train station. Speaking of Lisbon and its surroundings: look at some pictures from last week. Or see even more pictures on Twitter #PaaSSummerCamp.

To sum up, it was a pleasure to be there. I experienced a proficient training, nice people, time to network and interesting showcases. Besides that: Lisbon city and the surround area is great which contributes to the overall Summer Camps experience.