1 The Basics

Learn about Oracle Visual Builder Studio, its projects, components, roles, and how to access the service.

What Is Oracle Visual Builder Studio?

Oracle Visual Builder Studio (VB Studio) is a robust application development platform that helps your team effectively plan and manage your work throughout all stages of the app dev lifecycle: design, build, test, and deploy.

In addition, VB Studio makes it easy for your entire team to develop the artifacts they need, including:

  • Oracle Cloud Applications developers, who need to extend their Apps with business-specific customizations;
  • Low-code developers, who want to create web or mobile apps using a visual designer;
  • Experienced programmers, who want to modify the source code for web and mobile apps created by others, or to develop bespoke apps using the web programming language of their choice.

With VB Studio you get:

  • Built-in repositories for hosting code in Git and for hosting binaries, such as Maven dependencies
  • A continuous integration service so you can automate your build and test systems
  • A continuous delivery service that tightly integrates with Oracle Cloud Applications
  • A rich visual designer integrated with source control (Git) so that developers can manage changes, apply version control best practices, and collaborate with their teammates to develop applications
  • The ability to build and display different flavors of the UI to meet the needs of discrete users of certain Oracle Cloud Applications (those built with VB Studio and Oracle Java Extension Toolkit (Oracle JET)), also within a Git framework
  • Agile boards and an issue tracking system for tracking sprints, tasks, defects, and features

VB Studio enables developers to easily deploy their applications to their preferred target, whether it’s a staging or production instance of Oracle Cloud Applications or an Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) service instance.

What's an Application Extension?

The changes you make to your Oracle Cloud Application in VB Studio are stored in an artifact called an application extension. Physically, the source files associated with the app extension are stored in a Git repository. When working on an app extension, the best practice is to have only one app extension for the base app ( the Oracle Cloud Application you're extending) in the project, and to store the source files for the app extension in the same Git repository in the project. Multiple developers can work together to develop the app extension, but they should all be working from the same repository. (Your individual work in VB Studio is also referred to as an application extension.)



Here are the key components of the VB Studio ecosystem as it pertains to application extensions:

  • Within a single VB Studio instance, you and your team members who use that instance are considered an organization. Within your organization, you will likely belong to one or more projects, each of which is devoted to a discrete software effort. For example, you might have a project for building an application extension for an Oracle Cloud Application, and another project for building a bespoke web or mobile application for use by your own department. A project brings together all the tools you need to create those artifacts, such as a Git repository for storing your source code, a pipeline to provide continuous integration and delivery, an issue tracking system, team wikis, and more.
  • The best practice is for each base app to have only one app extension, and all work on the app extension is stored in the same Git repository. When setting up a workspace, developers working on the app extension should clone the project's Git repository and begin working from there.
  • When you work on an application extension, you do so within the editors provided in the VB Studio Designer. Depending on which aspect of the page you're customizing, VB Studio invokes the proper editor to provide the experience you need.
  • All of your work in VB Studio is done in the context of a workspace, a completely private area where you can work on your application extension.

Build Web and Mobile Applications with VB Studio

VB Studio provides a visual environment to develop, test, and deploy mobile and web applications.

It provides easy access to data from any REST-based service, and enables you to create reusable business objects for storing and managing data. Using the cloud-based visual development tools, you can create and test responsive web applications, progressive web apps, and native mobile applications without the need to install any additional software. The Designer enables you to lay out pages in your applications by dragging and dropping UI components, customizing their attributes, and defining their behavior.

VB Studio uses Oracle JET to create web and mobile interfaces. Reusable JET Web Components, built using the Web Component standard, can be added to the application to further enhance the user experience.

VB Studio also provides the following tools for building and publishing applications:

  • Robust tools to describe requests and responses to Oracle Cloud Application services in the integrated catalog
  • Data management tools for managing business objects and importing and exporting data
  • Tools to configure role-based security and user access management
  • Tools to access Git repositories so you can share application resources with team members

If you previously developed visual applications in Visual Builder and now work with VB Studio, you’ll see that some things have changed. For details about tasks that you now do differently in VB Studio, see For Visual Builder Users.

This diagram shows the main artifacts in a visual application project.
Description of project-diagram-visualapp.png follows
Description of the illustration project-diagram-visualapp.png

Here are the key components of the VB Studio ecosystem as it pertains to visual applications (that is, web and mobile applications):

  • Within a single VB Studio instance, you and your team members who use that instance are considered an organization. Within your organization, you will likely belong to one or more projects, each of which is devoted to a discrete software effort. For example, you might have a project for building a new Financial mobile app, and a different project for creating an HR web application. A project brings together all the tools you need to create those artifacts, such as a Git repository for storing your source code, a pipeline to provide continuous integration and delivery, an issue tracking system, team wikis, and more.
  • If you used Visual Builder Cloud Service in the past, you're familiar with the Designer, a declarative graphical user interface that helps you build visual applications. Specifically, you get a page editor, a Components palette, and a Page Structure view, for designing the layout of a page. The Designer remains a key component in VB Studio as well.
  • All of your work in VB Studio is done in the context of a workspace, a completely private area where you can work on your visual application. Your work is stored in your own clone of the project's Git repository, and is not visible to others until you push it to the project's Git repo, choose to Share it with others for testing, or publish it. A workspace also includes a pointer to the development or test environment where you plan to deploy your app, which must be a separate Visual Builder instance (also known as an environment). You can deploy your app manually, or wire it up to a pipeline to do it automatically, such as when a developer on your project publishes their changes.
  • The data for your visual applications can come from a database (in the form of business objects), Oracle REST services, or external REST services, just as in Visual Builder.

Use VB Studio to Manage Your Development Cycle

The VB Studio components shown in the diagram are used to manage the development process for applications other than visual applications or application extensions:

Description of project-diagram-generic.png follows
Description of the illustration project-diagram-generic.png

Though many users will rely on Visual Builder Studio to help them create visual applications or create application extensions for Oracle Cloud Applications, you can use VB Studio purely as a tool to help you manage your development processes:

  • Within a single Visual Builder Studio instance, you and your team members who use that instance are considered an organization. Within your organization, you will likely belong to one or more projects, each of which is devoted to a discrete software effort. A project brings together all the tools you need to create those artifacts, such as a Git repository for storing your source code, a pipeline to provide continuous integration and delivery to the Oracle Cloud, an issue tracking system, team wikis, and more.

  • Although VB Studio provides a Git repository for you, you can choose to use external repos, such as GitHub and BitBucket.

How Do I Set Up VB Studio?

Using VB Studio's hosted development and delivery platform, you and your team can develop software applications using any language you choose. You can also extend certain Oracle Cloud Applications by creating application extensions, which are managed just like any other VB Studio artifact.

Before your team can use VB Studio you, as the administrator, must set it up and configure it. You must also add your team members to Oracle Identity Cloud Service (IDCS) and assign them proper roles.

Setting Up for Application Extensions

If your team plans to develop app extensions to customize certain Oracle Cloud Applications, follow the steps shown here to set up VB Studio:

Here's a summary of how to set up VB Studio for developing app extensions:

To perform this action: See this: Why do I need to perform this action?
1. Get the required roles assigned to you Get the Required Roles To create and set up the VB Studio instance, you must be assigned some specific Oracle Cloud Applications roles.
2. Get access to Oracle Cloud Applications instances Get Access to Oracle Cloud Applications Instances To deploy your app extension to Oracle Cloud Applications instances, you'll need credentials users who can access them.
3. Grant Oracle Cloud Applications users access to VB Studio Set Up VB Studio Users Some Oracle Cloud Applications roles are configured to automatically assign VB Studio IDCS roles to the users. To allow access to VB Studio, assign any one of those roles to your Oracle Cloud Applications users.
4. Configure VB Studio to run build jobs and pipelines Configure VB Studio to Run CI/CD Pipelines To run build jobs and pipelines, you must configure VB Studio to connect to an OCI account or the built-in free account.
5. Create a project for app extensions Create a Project for Application Extensions To develop an app extension, you must create a VB Studio project based on the Application Extension template.
6. Set up the project for development Set Up the Project for Development When you create a project based on the Application Extension template, some artifacts are created by default. These artifacts require additional configuration before your team members can use them.
a) Configure the deployment job Configure the Deployment Job When you create an app extension project, the deployment job is missing the credentials to connect to the target development instance, so you must specify them manually.
b) Run the development build pipeline Run the Pipeline Test the default package and build jobs to make sure they generate a build artifact and deploy it to the Oracle Cloud Application's development instance.
c) View the deployed app extension View the Deployed Application Extension After you've deployed the app extension, you can view it's URL on the Environments page.
7. Add Oracle Cloud Applications users to the project Add Users to the Project To allow your team members to access the app extension project, invite them to join the project.
8. Optional configuration Optional Configuration After you've set up the project, if required, you can make some optional advanced configuration to it.
9. Add the Oracle Cloud Application's production instance to an environment Add the Oracle Cloud Application's Production Instance to an Environment First, create an environment and add the Oracle Cloud Application's production instance to it.
10. Create the packaging and deployment build jobs, and set up a build pipeline Create the Production Packaging Build Job, Create the Production Deployment Build Job, and Create and Configure the Production Pipeline Next, create and configure the packaging and deployment jobs to promote your app extensions to your Oracle Cloud Application's production instance.
11. (Optional) Restrict access to production build jobs Configure a Job's Privacy Setting To restrict who can view a production job's configuration, edit it, or run its build, you should mark it as private.

Setting Up for Visual Applications

If your team plans to develop visual applications, follow the steps shown here to set up VB Studio:

Here's a summary of how to set up VB Studio for developing visual applications:

To perform this action: See this: Why do I need to perform this action?
1. Get the required IDCS roles assigned to you Get the Required IDCS Roles To create and set up the VB Studio instance, you must be assigned some specific IDCS roles.
2. Get access to Visual Builder instances Get Access to Visual Builder Instances To deploy an app, you need a user's credentials who can deploy apps to the Visual Builder instance. If an instance isn't available, you must create it.
3. Create the VB Studio instance Create the VB Studio Instance To use any Oracle Cloud service, you must first create an instance of the service.
4. Configure VB Studio to run build jobs and pipelines. Configure VB Studio to Run CI/CD Pipelines To run build jobs and pipelines, you must configure VB Studio to connect to an OCI account or the built-in free account.
5. Create a project for visual applications Create a Project for Visual Applications To develop a visual application, you must create a VB Studio project based on the Visual Application template.
6. Set up the project for development Set Up the Project for Development When you create a project based on the Visual Application template, some artifacts are created by default. These artifacts require additional configuration before your team members can use them.
a) Configure the deployment job Configure the Deployment Job When you create a visual application project, the deployment job is missing the credentials to connect to the target development instance, so you must specify them manually.
b) Run the development build pipeline Run the Pipeline Test the default package and build jobs to make sure they generate a build artifact and deploy it to the Visual Builder's development instance.
c) View the deployed visual application View the Deployed Visual Application After you've deployed the visual application, you can view it's URL on the Environments page.
7. Add users to the project Add Users to the Project To allow your team members to access the visual application project, invite them to join the project.
8. Add the Visual Builder production instance to an environment Add the Visual Builder Production Instance to an Environment First, create an environment and add the Visual Builder production instance to it.
9. Create the packaging and deployment build jobs, and set up a build pipeline Create a Production Packaging Build Job, Create a Production Deployment Build Job, and Create and Configure a Pipeline Next, create and configure the packaging and deployment jobs so that your visual applications will be promoted to your Visual Builder production instance.
10. (Optional) Restrict access to the build jobs Configure a Job's Privacy Setting To restrict who can view the job's configuration, edit it, or run its build, you should mark both packaging and deployment jobs as private.

Setting Up for Other Types of Applications

If your team develops applications using popular build frameworks such as Maven, Gradle, Ant, and Node.js; or uses standard infrastructure interfaces such as Docker, Kubernetes, and Terraform, follow the steps shown here to set up VB Studio:

The diagram shows how to set up VB Studio to support your development process, regardless of the nature of those applications:

To perform this action: See this: Why do I need to perform this action?
1. Get the required IDCS roles assigned to you Get the Right IDCS Roles To create and set up the VB Studio instance, you must be assigned some specific IDCS roles.
2. Create the VB Studio service instance Create the VB Studio Instance To use any Oracle Cloud service, you must first create an instance of the service.
3. Add users to IDCS Add Users to IDCS To add your organization's members to Oracle Cloud, add them to IDCS and assign them proper roles.
4. Set up OCI connections Configure VB Studio to Connect to OCI You need a connection to OCI Compute VMs because this is where your VB Studio builds will run.
5. Create and manage Build VMs Set Up the Build System Builds in VB Studio run on Build VMs. Only VB Studio administrators can create and manage the Build VMs and Build VM templates.
6. (Optional) Set your user preferences Set Your User Preferences To change your display name, set an avatar image, change the email address, or set email notification preferences.

Key Concepts, Components, and Terms

Before you use VB Studio, it helps to become familiar with these key concepts, components, and terms. If you're new to OCI, see Key Concepts and Terminology to understand OCI concepts and terminologies.

Term Description
Oracle Cloud Applications Oracle Cloud Applications are a set of modular Cloud-ready enterprise applications. To learn more, see https://www.oracle.com/applications/.
Application extension An artifact that allows you to extend certain Oracle Cloud Applications to meet your business needs.

You deploy an application extension to an Oracle Cloud Application's instance.

Visual Builder A Visual Builder instance that provides the server for delivering pages in web applications, and services your web and mobile apps might use to access data, including the database used to store data and the proxy server for managing connections to REST services.
Visual application A responsive web or native mobile application developed using VB Studio's browser-based development environment.

You deploy a visual application to a Visual Builder instance.

Project A project is a collection of VB Studio features.

You can use a project to host source code files, track issues, collaborate on code, build, and deploy your applications. A project can host multiple Git repositories. Each Git repository can have multiple branches and hundreds of code files. You can create a merge request for each branch of the Git repository and ask reviewers to review the code. You can create and configure multiple build jobs to generate different project artifacts that you can deploy to Oracle Cloud or your on-premise web server.

Organization

The top-most entity in the project structure of VB Studio. Think of an organization as the umbrella for all the projects in a given identity domain.

VB Studio Designer VB Studio's browser-based development environment.

Git repository

A Source Code Management (SCM) and distributed version control tool to host source code files.

Maven repository

A hosted binary repository to store build artifacts, library files, and dependencies for Maven applications.

Issue tracker

A built-in issue management system to create and track tasks, defects, and features.

Environment

Defines the target Oracle Cloud Applications, Visual Builder, Oracle Cloud SaaS, or Oracle Cloud Infrastructure service instance as a single entity. You'll define an an environment to deploy an application to a service instance or to get information from a service instance.

Merge request and code review

A method to merge a Git repository branch with another branch. Before merging the branches, team members can review differences between files of both branches and provide their feedback.

Build system

A built-in system to define and automate builds of your applications.

Build VM

A Virtual Machine (VM) in OCI Compute, which runs project builds. Only one build can run on a Build VM at a time.

Build VM template

A template that defines the operating system and the software installed on the Build VM.

Job A configuration that defines your application's builds.

You can create a job to perform various actions, such as package artifacts, run shell commands, run unit test scripts, and deploy application artifacts.

Build The result from a job’s run.
Pipeline A path or a chain of builds. A pipeline helps you run continuous integration jobs and reduce network traffic.

Wiki

Built-in wiki system to help your team author and manage wiki pages.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is a set of cloud services that enable you to build and run a wide range of applications and services in a highly available hosted environment. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers high-performance compute capabilities (as physical hardware instances) and storage capacity in a flexible overlay virtual network that is securely accessible from your on-premise network.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Compute (OCI Compute)

Service that hosts virtual machines (VMs) on Oracle Cloud with all the necessary storage and networking resources. VB Studio uses the VMs to run project builds.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Object Storage (OCI Object Storage)

Oracle Cloud service that hosts containers on Oracle Cloud to store project data. VB Studio uses the buckets to archive build artifacts and Maven artifacts, and export project data.

Oracle Java Cloud Service

Oracle Cloud service to deploy web applications to a public Oracle WebLogic Server domain on Oracle Cloud.

For more information about the service, see About Oracle Java Cloud Service in Administering Oracle Java Cloud Service.

Oracle Application Container Cloud Service

Oracle Cloud service to deploy Java SE, Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby, Go, Java EE 7 (or later), and .NET applications to Oracle Cloud.

For more information about the service, see About Oracle Application Container Cloud Service in Using Oracle Application Container Cloud Service and About Your Application and Oracle Application Container Cloud Service in Developing for Oracle Application Container Cloud Service.