Thoughts on Oracle ADF versus Microsoft Business Framework
In many ways, Oracle ADF's prescriptive application building-blocks with ADF Business Components, ADF's flexible JSR-227-based data binding architecture, and Oracle's heavy internal "dog fooding" use by Oracle E-Business Suite development teams -- over 2000 internal developers are using ADF Business Components today -- already mirror the type of environment and internal usage that Microsoft has been trying for several years to achieve with their Microsoft Business Framework. A key difference is that BC4J and ADF have been shipping for the J2EE platform, and in steadily increasing internal use by Oracle Applications, since 1999 in one form or another, as well as already in use for years by tons of external customers, too.
The Microsoft MBF project is tied to the recently further-delayed WinFS technology which got pushed out of the Longhorn delivery train recently. So it will still be a while before their prescriptive application-building framework comes out, and likely a while longer before any internal applications built on top of MBF by the Microsoft Great Plains and Navision engineering teams emerges. Microsoft gave a presentation on MBF at last year's PDC 2003 conference in Los Angeles, and the similarities to ADF in terms of approach, ideal tools support, and runtime architecture were interesting to note. The presentation included some screen shots of their planned tools integration for MBF framework-based application-building, but at this point it would likely be Visual Studio 2007 or later before Longhorn + WinFS + MBF +those screen shots were something customers could start using to build production applications. Even then, they would be applications that run only on the Windows/.NET platform. We're literally years ahead of Microsoft in this space, and providing both prescriptive and non-prescriptive options and a unifying "Visual Studio for J2EE" toolset in JDeveloper 10g and ADF.
More MBF Info:
This April 25, 2005 EWeek article Microsoft Details Tools Delay reports:
MBF is a set of developer tools and software classes developed primarily by Great Plains Software, which Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., acquired in 2001. Microsoft is working to build a number of its products—including the Microsoft Business Portal, the next version of its Visual Studio .Net tool suite and its "Project Green" suite of shared components—all on top of the MBF layer.
and goes on to say at the end:
Laybourn said the closest competitor might be SAP AG. "I'd say they're going in the same general direction," he said.
It's likely quite consciously that they don't mention Oracle as a "closest competitor". We're already well along the way of delivering on this vision, with existing versions of our Oracle ADF framework already in use for years by Oracle Applications to build the Oracle e-Business suite. Enhancements that will come as part of our Project Fusion effort will keep us in the lead here again.
UPDATE (03-MAR-2006): Looks like a standalone Microsoft Business Framework got scrapped.