Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SSH Tunnel in SQL Dev 4.0.3

Oracle SQL Developer and Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler got a new version (4.0.3).

You can now setup an SSH tunnel in your connection - it saves you to setup a tunnel first.



This new release also feels a lot faster to me.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

APEX 5.0: Bye bye Tabs, welcome to Navigation Lists

In previous versions of Oracle APEX (< 5.0) you could use Tabs for the navigation in your application.


Tabs were not that flexible, they were typical on top of your page in a specific look and feel. Since APEX 4.x I started to dismiss using Tabs in most of the cases, instead I would use a List with the "Page Tabs" template if people wanted that look and feel.

APEX 5.0 introduces the concept of a "Navigation List" that replaces the tabs. It's the same mechanism as before (a normal List which you find in Shared Components), but you can define in your User Interface which list to use as your Navigation List.

Go to Shared Components > User Interface Attributes:


Next in the User Interface section, click on Desktop (or the User Interface you want to adapt):


In the Attributes section you can define the List you want to use as "Navigation List"


Behind the scenes the Navigation List is put on the screen where the #NAVIGATION_LIST# token is specified in your Page Template.


The Navigation List is another example where APEX 5.0 makes common behaviour of developers more declarative and embedded in the product.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Interested in Oracle APEX in Belgium and around? - join ORCLAPEX-BE Meetup

Over the last months different Oracle Application Express (APEX) meetups were initiated around the world. You can read a bit of background on how the meetups started on Dan's blog.

I think it's a great idea to have local meetups to meet other people working or interesting in APEX too. When you just start with APEX it's interesting to talk to other people how they got started. But equally for more seasoned developers it's a great place to share ideas and have discussions about where the product and industry is going, all casual and in a relaxed environment.

That's why we started an APEX Belgium meetup group too. Our first meetup is planend on September 11th in the APEX R&D office in Leuven, Belgium.


Previously with the Oracle BeNeLux User Group (OBUG) we created one day APEX events, which were great, but had a fixed schedule. The APEX meetups we want to do more frequently and accessible to everybody - a very low entry. We'll try to make all those meetups free-of-charge and flexible in nature. We'll have a presentation about a specific topic, but equally important (or even more important) is that you can network, have a voice and get some help of peers.

I talked to the OBUG board too and they found it an interesting idea and are happy to sponsor the event. We can enjoy pizza thanks to OBUG :)

Every local meetup can decide how they organise their meetup.

Here are the details of the first ORCLAPEX-BE meetup on September 11th (2014):

The first Oracle APEX meetup will go over the concept of the meetups and as first topic APEX 5.0 will be covered.

We'll have an "Open Mic" too, so anybody can get on stage for 5-10 minutes and show what they did or share their ideas or ask for some ideas where they struggle with.

The meetup is completely free.

Agenda

  • 16.00  Registration
  • 16.30  Outline concept APEX Meet-up
  • 16.45  Presentation APEX 5.0
  • 18.00  Pizza break, Networking and "Open Mic"
  • 21.00  End


Interesting in Oracle APEX and in Belgium or around? Join the ORCLAPEX-BE meetup now!
Can't make the 11th? Make you a member of the meetup and receive updates when the next one is :)

Look forward seeing you.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

KScope14 (Sunday) - APEX Symposium - before noon

Sunday is typically the day where the Oracle development team is on stage to talk about what they do, give insight in the product etc. - for me personally one of the highlights of the conference.

The Awesome Evolution of Oracle Application Express 5.0 by Joel Kallman


Joel demoed HTML DB 1.6 again, the predecessor of APEX - went live in 2004, so 10 years ago (time goes fast!). Next he timed doing development in APEX 4.2 compared to APEX 5.0.  

Conclusion: APEX 5.0 is more productive, efficient, intuitive, modern and easy.

Joel highlighted the other new features in APEX 5.0, most of them I already blogged about or you find them here.


The Game Changed - APEX Designer by Patrick Wolf

Patrick showed the time it takes to build components and items in previous versions of APEX. Next he compared it to how you do things with the new Page Designer in APEX 5.0.

There're so many new features in the Page Designer, just give it a try to explore them. It will take a bit of time to get used to them, but it will be the future. 


Turbo Mobile Development by Marc Sewtz

APEX uses jQuery Mobile behind the scenes. APEX 5.0 includes the latest version (jQuery Mobile 1.4). The philosophy is to create "mobile first" applications.
APEX 5.0 will include a new mobile theme, which support the new jQuery Mobile swatches. It's very easy to use ThemeRoller to create your own swatch and upload the zip in Shared Components in APEX and add a style to the theme and make it active.

There are many more new features in APEX 5.0 for mobile development like for example a new region type called "Reflow table".

Friday, June 20, 2014

APEX 5.0 - Page Designer; immediate feedback and more

In APEX 5.0 you (can) develop in the new Page Designer.

The Page Designer makes you way more productive, less clicks and quicker results. You have to get used to it, and you probably want a big monitor (time to ask your boss!), but once all that is done - you will love it.

The Page Designer is so intuitive and attention was put in the details. When you make a mistake APEX gives you immediate feedback. Here's a screenshot:


The region where the error is, is highlighted.
You get a notification message top right in red with the error message and inside the property panel it's highlighted what you need to change. Once you click on the field it will give another text notification e.g. that it is required.

There's also the Messages tab which gives you an explanation of what is wrong. Clicking on the link will bring you right where you need to go.

But just look at the Page Designer for a while; notice the small top left red triangles; it identifies it's a required field. The "Show Common" and "Show All" tabs are great too.

So many things, small, large, ... but so useful.

Here's another one - Developer Comments for the page. If there are comments you see a number in the comment icon. When clicking on the icon you can add more comments. I believe it would also be useful to see the existing comments, hopefully that will be in the final release.


This post is based on Oracle APEX 5.0 EA2, but there's more coming it looks like. Linked to the previous feature, I see a tighter integration with Team Development already too.

So many things to explore in the APEX 5.0 Page Designer... definitely worth your time.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

APEX 5.0 - Button Appearance (template options + Font Awesome)

With the new template, the new buttons for example are highly customisable in APEX 5.0
(icon on the left or right, spacing between, etc.)


In the Appearance section you find kinda the same options as in APEX 4.x, but when you look a bit further, there's so much more now.


You can declaratively change the way your button looks like, by clicking the Template Options:


The icons you can chose for your button are based on Font Awesome, a great scalable vector icons library.

I use Font Awesome in APEX 4.x too, but I had to create a new button template and put the name of the icon in the class section. This is now all integrated and declarative in APEX 5.0.

APEX 5.0 - Keyboard shortcuts

Develop even faster? use the keyboard shortcuts in Oracle Application Express (APEX) - you find them defined here:



Here's the list:
  • Display From HereCtrl+Option+D
  • Display From PageCtrl+Option+T
  • Go to Dynamic ActionsOption+2
  • Go to Gallery ButtonsOption+9
  • Go to Gallery ItemsOption+8
  • Go to Gallery RegionsOption+7
  • Go to Grid LayoutOption+5
  • Go to HelpOption+F1
  • Go to MessagesCtrl+F1
  • Go to Page Shared ComponentsOption+4
  • Go to ProcessingOption+3
  • Go to Property EditorOption+6
  • Go to RenderingOption+1
  • Keyboard ShortcutsOption+Shift+F1
  • Page SearchCtrl+Option+F
  • RedoCtrl+Y
  • Restore/ExpandOption+F11
  • SaveCtrl+Option+S
  • Save and Run PageCtrl+Option+R
  • Toggle Hide Empty PositionsCtrl+Option+E
  • UndoCtrl+Z

  • For Mac users like me; the Option key is "alt". For the F1 etc. use "fn".

Oracle APEX 5.0 EA2 - first impressions

You can now request a workspace in the brand-new version of Oracle APEX 5.0 (EA2).


Once requested a workspace you will get an email to activate it - and you're up-and-running!


The login screen looks awesome:


And then you see the new APEX Builder - new theme, with all new icons:


The Application Builder looks different now too - look at the nice icons and new style of Interactive Report:


Creating a new application - the wizard is more streamlined:


Creation of a new page is now with a modal window implementation:


When finished it opens the page in the new Page Designer:


It looks like all the components are now available in the Page Designer (Shared Components for ex. wasn't available in EA1 - but it is now)

Creating new pages work well and the new universal theme (theme 42) looks nice too.

Oracle APEX went flat design, with bright color blue and grey and nice icons (which are available as a font).

More to come in other blog posts... have fun! and thanks to the APEX Development team for another great release.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

APEX 5.0 EA2 available in the next days

Joel just blogged that the 2nd Early Adopter release of APEX 5.0 is around the corner.

Here are some screenshots posted on twitter:



I'm sure this new EA will carry many changes and looking at some screenshots it looks awesome.
I especially look forward to the new universal theme.

Here's what should be in - based on the statement of direction of APEX 5.0 :

Oracle Application Express 5.0

Oracle Application Express 5.0 will focus on both new features and enhancements to existing functionality to improve developer productivity and is planned to incorporate the following:
  • Page Designer - New page definition IDE which incoroporates tree controls, drag and drop layout editor, and a property editor.
  • Multiple Interactive Reports – Allow any number of Interactive Reports to be defined on a single page.
  • Modal Dialog - Enhance the ability to declaratively define modal dialogs.
  • Navigation Lists - Ability to define hierarchical lists for navigation, with pull-down menus and sub-menus, instead of being constrained by tabs.
  • Mobile - Enhanced responsive tables, including reflow tables and column toggles, and introduction of panels.
  • Calendar – New calendar region which allows duration based events, improved functionality, and better control over drag and drop operations.
  • Universal Theme – A new central theme which readily allows developers to customize simply using CSS.
  • HTML5 Capabilities – Improve native capabilities for handling HTML5 constructs.
  • Application Builder Security – Allow different authentication schemes to be used to control developer access to the Application Builder.
  • Numerous functional improvements.

Oracle APEX Cookbook: Second Edition

For the first Oracle APEX Cookbook I was involved as a reviewer.

Michel and Marcel updated their book end of last year, but I didn't take the time to blog about it yet - and months fly. The concept stayed the same as the first edition, but it got updated with the latest info for APEX 4.x.

"People who followed a beginner training or learned APEX at their own and they want to know how to do a specific thing which is covered in the book, it's great to have the book, as you can just follow what the authors wrote and you also have an idea why it's done like that."

If you need onsite Oracle APEX training, you can also contact my company APEX R&D :)