Thursday, June 21, 2007

ODTUG Day 3: APEX + My presentation + Nascar

After a bad night, due to mosquitoes and forgetting to switch my mobile phone off, the third day started...

The first session I followed was APEX Lessons from the Trenches by Bill Holtzman.
Bill explained the lessons he learned after creating his application for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA).
He used for ex. different linking mechanisms: Automated report Links (in APEX), Manual report link (in SQL) and links from Javascript. Another thing he learned was how to use checkboxes, which I think was useful to explain, as a lot of people have problems with it. Other areas he covered where creating an upload process and validating the file name (can't be more than 78 characters), Session State Protection and the use of htmldb_activity_log (or apex_activity_log).
To conclude he believes that the APEX skill set is 60% PLSQL, 30% HTML and 10% Javascript.

My next session was Advanced Application Express Programming Techniques by Michael Hichwa.
The "father" of APEX explained his best practices and showed some sample (packaged) applications where it was used. The big topics where: database design, development guidelines and User Interfaces (user experience).
His presentation was based on his experience and the Best Practice whitepaper published on OTN by Sergio Leunissen.

On the same time as previous two sessions, there were two other sessions. One from Patrick Cimolini about APEX Validation and Error Handling and another one of Peter Lorenzen about How to make your APEX application secure. It's a pity they were at the same time...

During lunch I did my first Podcast! Lewis Cunningham interviewed me about Oracle Application Express, the Apex Evangelists and our European APEX Training Days.
I didn't hear the result yet, so I wonder what it will sounds like. I suppose you hear the ocean, as the interview was outside.
Such a live interview is very special... we didn't prepare anything, so after the talk I thought: "oh I could have said this or I could have added that" ;-)
Nevertheless, I was very honored Lewis asked me for that quick chat. Thanks Lewis!

My next session was Oracle Application Express 3.0, Introduction and New Features by David Peake. This was a more marketing kind of presentation about APEX and all the advantages of using it. Readers of this blog probably already know about this, so I won't go into more detail about this session. Only one thing... David mentioned and showed a screenshot of my application DG Tournament! Thank you David :-)

The first session in the afternoon was about creating an interface in APEX to organize Discoverer Workbooks by Jeff Hohman. Jeff showed his application, but on an APEX point of view it was a simple application. Basically what he did was creating a report and form which allowed to open Discoverer Workbooks with an url from APEX. If people are using Discoverer, this presentation can be useful. It explains how a Discoverer url looks like.
Jeff also mentioned that this application gets maybe integrated with a next version of Discoverer...

Then it was my turn! APEX by Example: Shared Components by Dimitri Gielis.
I'm not sure I should blog about my own session ;-)
This presentation was the same as the one I did at Collaborate in Las Vegas. As I already knew, doing this presentation is a challenge, as it's a bit too much for a one hour presentation.
107 slides (ppt) and 4 live demo's in one hour! I made it, but I won't try it again in the future. ;-)
My goal was to give an overview of all Shared Components and focus on some of them (demo), as I believed they aren't used/known that much. I think I achieved this goal, as even Patrick Wolf told me he had learned something new. I showed SSP, the Build Option, Shortcuts & Subscription and UI Defaults.
Some people liked it very much as I got some nice feedback, but I'm pretty sure some others found it too much information and a too quickly change of "topic". But I'm glad I did it this way, as I believe my paper/presentation is ideally to get people thinking and putting them in the right direction of more advanced APEX skills.

Sidemark: I think the audience at ODTUG is different then the one at Collab. I believe there're only (or the vast majority) technical people (developers) at ODTUG, where at IOUG Collaborate you've more a mix. For one or another reason I felt that during the presentation.

The last session of the day was one of Patrick Cimolini about APEX and Project Management. I found it an interesting presentation to know how others start, develop and deliver an application. APEX is a Rapid Application Development Tool, but some people sometimes forget that you should treat it as just another development project.
Even I must sometimes force myself not to start developing directly, but first make a project plan.

In the evening we went to Daytona USA to have an insight in the Nascar hype of Daytona.
I found it really interesting and had a terrific time. I raced against Patrick, which was really fun and we also saw an iMAX movie of Nascar.

Here're some pictures I got from Patrick's camera...

No comments: