Kevin Kempf's Blog

February 12, 2013

Running the Oracle Mobile Supply Chain (MSCA) GUI on Ubuntu 12.1

Filed under: 11i, Ubuntu — kkempf @ 1:34 pm

MSCA Overview

Oracle’s 11i Mobile Supply Chain (which is itself a small piece of their warehouse application) is essentially a telnet version of the forms relevant to certain business areas.  Why, you might ask?  As a manufacturer, we find it rather convenient to be able to perform Work in Process and Shipping transactions from a hand-held wireless device, instead of being tied down to a PC with a browser logged into Oracle professional forms.  In short, it’s a small footprint, narrowed-down version of 11i forms.  My original post is here, but it’s a bit dated.

Patches

What would an Oracle product implementation be without a bunch of patches?  To get this product cooking right, you need to put in 5712178 (allows you to start/stop the applications tier telnet server via adstrtal.sh/adstpall.sh) and 8305261 (fixes a bug which didn’t allow you to actually stop the telnet server via adstrtal.sh/adstpall.sh).

Why Ubuntu?

You can find plenty of articles about how to install the MSCA client on Windows.  But I don’t like to run Windows; it’s clumsy and tries too hard to out-think me (not hard to do).  Ubuntu is a nice compromise, because it is still linux, but has good desktop support (drivers for wifi and displays come to mind).  I especially like being able to right click and open a terminal (sudo apt install nautilus-open-terminal) and type sqlplus apps@prod and be able to connect to my database directly.  More on installing the Oracle 11g client in the next post.

Oracle’s GUI

It’s not pretty.  It’s basically a java GUI to wrap around a telnet session.  But it is much nicer than telnet.  Incidentally, don’t hit the tab key, ever, when you’re using it.  Despite the fact that it’s almost second nature to do so, it’s not supported unless you’re using java 1.1.8 (yep, the one from 1999) and if you do hit tab, the GUI gets totally hosed.  I don’t know how to explain it better.  Oracle is aware of the bug, but since they haven’t solved it since 1.3 came out, I don’t have a lot of faith a patch is eminent.

Download the MSCA patch

Basically, to use this GUI you need to pull patch 4205328.  There is an updated version of this patch which I could not get to work (more on that later).  Extract the zip file and get the j4205328.zip file, that’s all you need.

Setup your environment

Create an MWA install directory.  In my case, I made /usr/local/oracle/msca/lib and /usr/local/oracle/msca/log.  Then I created a runMSCA.sh script which looks like this (you may need to tweak the JAVA_HOME to match your settings):

JAVA_HOME=/opt/java/jre1.6.0_38
#JAVA_HOME=/opt/java/jdk1.6.0_38
MWA_GUI_TOP=/usr/local/oracle/msca
$JAVA_HOME/bin/java -classpath $MWA_GUI_TOP/lib/j4205328.zip oracle.apps.mwa.awt.client.StartGUI

Note that you can point to either a JRE or JDK top; either work.  chmod +x your script and you’re basically done.

Launch it

In my case, runMSCA.sh is on my Ubuntu Desktop.   So I double clicked it

runMSCA.sh

Click Run

Now you get to the host screen

host login

Specify the Site Name, Host name and port

This can be defaulted through MSCA configuration

This can be defaulted through MSCA configuration

Login with your normal apps 11i credentials

Login with your normal apps 11i credentials

Select an MSCA responsibility

Select an MSCA responsibility

menu items

Ready for business!

Updated GUI versions

While I know we got the newer version of the GUI to run on Windows, it wouldn’t cooperate with me on Ubuntu.  The newer patch is 12780257 which supposedly fixed some bugs (curiously, though, not the tabbing issue!).  When I tried to put my launcher together, it crashed and burned

msca2.sh

Seems straight forward

 

msca2.sh_error

Conclusion

You can run the GUI from Ubuntu (or any Linux version which has a JDK/JRE available) with a little improvisation.  Perhaps I made a simple mistake on the newer version, if so I’d love to hear about it.  In the meantime, I can at least regression test mobile apps from my preferred desktop!

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. I would like to run it on linux but most of the users have windows. I got it to come up on windows 7, 64 bit but it acts strange on the log on screen and does not star out my password, and moves my password to the user field and such, and then *’s out the password. Once I get past the logon screen, it brings up a window to select an organization, and there are none in the list of values. So, I am stuck there… I do have the newer patch, and got it working just fine as soon as I put all the zip files in the lib directory.
    Any thoughts on the stuck organization field?
    Also, how do you gracefully end the connection?
    Cindi

    Comment by cindi — April 25, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

    • Welcome to the quirky world of MSCA GUI client. The weirdness at login with the password, tab, etc, is a result of your JRE/Java version and your exact patch which provided the jar files for MSCA. You literally have to play with them. In my experience, the most stable combination was patch 4941477 with JRE 1.3.1_20. Yep, it’s far from idea from a recency standpoint on both fronts, but it’s the one that works best. Oracle is aware of all the problems but doesn’t seem too worried about it. You can reference bug 16231495 though I’m not even sure it’s public. As to lack of functional values, you have to give a valid MSCA responsibility; not all are available. I didn’t do the functional setup, but my understanding is that you need to enable the orgs in some way. You can use a few default responsibilities to get some out of the box functionality. Try from my previous post (search my blog for MSCA) these responsibilities:

      MWA Administrator
      MWA Server Manager (needed to stop the telnet server!)
      Mobile Quality User
      Materials Management
      Materials & Mfg
      MWA WAP
      Mobile Field Sales User
      Mobile_Client_User

      Also read carefully about the autoconfig settings, they’re a pain. You should, in the end, be able to point at the MSCA dispatcher port and it will round robin your connection between however many telnet ports you specify.

      As to Ubuntu or Windows, know that in the end, you’re just writing a batch file (Windows) or a shell script (Linux) which invokes java against the jar file from the patch. There’s nothing more complicated than that, though it does break on Ubuntu after you get too recent on the patch (the above one does work).

      Hope this helps.

      Afterthought: MSCA is nearly useless out of the box. We found a gem of a partner for helping with implementation. If you are interested send me a private email.

      Comment by kkempf — April 25, 2013 @ 7:57 pm


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