Thursday, June 22, 2006

ODTUG - P5: APEX, SQL Developer, Winning presentations

I regret it's already Wednesday! The last day at ODTUG!
It was my first time I visited the US and also my first time at this conference. I must say I really liked to be in the States. If I describe my first impressions of the US; nice and friendly people, everything is thought in *big* terms, 1/2l drinks refillable, too good and too big portions of food, I love DC.

I also want to make my complements to the board of ODTUG! This seminar was excellent; a lot of high level presentations, friendly and helpful people, a conference for "the best" of the world...

Here're the latest seminars I followed:

1. Use Google Maps in APEX by Michael Snyder
We got a detailed explanation how you can integrate Google Maps with APEX. I found it a good and clear presentation. You can find more information (whitepaper, example) about the application here.

2. SQL Developer by Sue Harper
Sue gave us a quick overview of SQL Developer and also showed the new features. She also told that Oracle will keep investing in this product and that they really listen to us. The more we say we would like to have in SQL Developer, the more it will be likely this feature will become available. Especially the plugins are useful, as this means that you can do almost everything with the product, just add another plugin with the feature you want. The only problem today is that there'ren't a lot of plugins (yet).
A next release of SQL Developer (1.1) will become available last half of CY 2006. Version 1.2 is foreseen for first half of CY 2007.
These're the features we may expect in v1.1:
- Increase basic functionality
- Update object browsing and navigation
- Increase search capabilities
- Increase SQL and PL/SQL editing support
- Add file based PL/SQL support
Features for later versions:
- Visual Query builder
- Version Control support
- Increased Explain plan support
- Developer related tuning capabilities
- Visual Data modeling

3. Giving winning presentations by Rich Niemiec
This was the second presentation I followed of Rich and it was for the second time excellent!
Here're some of the things he said:
- Great presentations are painful to build
- Care about your audience
- Use visuals to get them to remember
- Teach to multiple levels and repeat things
- You'll do great things if you care!

4. You can't do THAT with a browser! by Scott Spendolini
Scott gave us some demo's of following cool things you can add to your APEX application:
- Ajax Select List
- Ajax Memory List
- Enhanced HTML Editor; integrating the FCK Editor
- PDF Report
Ajax is really cool, it gives you a better UI experience and extend the HTML language greatly, but there're also some drawbacks: the development time is higher, more code, so more bugs and compatibility issues with different browsers and more security issues.
How you can integrate the FCK Editor can be found in the APEX forum, Guido Zeelen created a step-for-step guide.
The PDF Report that Scott showed us, was made with PL/PDF. He also told us that XML Publisher can be a good choice too. More information about both methods to generate PDF documents can you easily find on the net.

5. Integrating Oracle APEX with eBusiness Suite by Scott Spendolini
For this session I was the ambassador. This means that you introduce the speaker, supply the hands-outs, get the feedback forms and see that everything runs smooth.
I was proud I could introduce Scott. I was lucky to follow his presentations and had several chats with him, so I could know him a bit better. He's a great guy!

6. An extra session - Panel to discuss APEX by Michael Hichwa, Oracle APEX VP and Scott Spendolini
The Vice President of Oracle, Michael Hichwa, gave us more information about the new features in v2.2 and v3.0 which would normally become available in Feb. 2007.
Some of the features we may expect:
- a page export functionality (cross workspace)
- possibility to cach pages
- integration with XML Publisher
- drag-and-drop feature
- better clientside validations
- more integration with AJAX.

I suppose I don't need to tell you anymore I really adore APEX. Although I work already for several years with APEX, I hope I can spend more time with the tool. I didn't have any professional project so far which was *pure* APEX. I use APEX a lot in my freetime and I promote it with every client I come with.

I also hope to share more of my knowledge in the APEX community. Currently I'm speaking with the APEX development team to improve the WC 2006 application and put it as a sample application on Source Forge. The board of ODTUG also asked me if I was interested to give a presentation next year and write something for the ODTUG magazine. Next year is still far away, but I'll do my best to create something and hopefully it will be good enough to be accepted!

I'm happy I followed ODTUG. I knew a lot people from the internet (forums, blog, mail). When you've the chance to meet them in real life is great! Our (IT) world is really small, so you should cherish your network!

So, back to that day. After saying everybody goodbye we went to ChinaTown, but it wasn't that impressive as I imagined... we also had some food and drinks in an English pub. There I saw a parasol of Belgium, even stronger, from Leuven, the place where I live! The world is small...

The pictures of the day you can find here.

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