Friday, April 27, 2007

APEX Forum - Week 17

As I already told in my previous post, I registered again in the APEX forum. After one week and having posted 60 answers it's time for my first "wrap-up".

My goal is to put some links to the forum that took my attention. Sometimes these posts made me laugh, sometimes they made me cry and some of them I found really interesting.

The most funny posts:
- Deploying APEX through an .exe/.bat file: When you don't know Oracle, this is a normal question I think... Some people start using Oracle XE and make some APEX applications. Then they want to give it to their customers/friends/... In VB for ex. you would make an exe file, but APEX is different. How do you get your app via a cd to somebody else? Not easy... that would be an enhancements request. "Oracle XE 11g-to-go"?
It would be cool to have: Unzip, make your app, rezip - done with packaging!
- Urgent! Please help ...: (especially during the weekends) always funny to see these kind of questions! They can give Apex Evangelists a call when it's really urgent ;-)

The most interesting topics I participated in (top 5):
- DBMS_SQL_INJECTION_ANALYZER: It's not released (yet) and I couldn't find anything relevant on google, but it would be a nice to have; checking if your App is secure.
- Save page when clicking on another tab: Some users forget to click the Update or Apply Changes button, but they changed something in the form. With javascript you can ask the user if he wants to save it or not.
- APEX 3.1 Enhancements: you can use this thread to ask for enhancements request in the next version of APEX
- Better export to Excel: Denes Kubicek made a direct export from APEX to Excel available some time ago
- SSO and LDAP: different authentication methods... also smartcard!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The OTN (APEX) Forum

I decided to start posting in the forums more often again. As I didn't want to loose all my posts for the "X-ed" time, I created a new login with an email I'll normally never loose (my Apex Evangelists one).

Did you know you can't change your email address in the OTN forums? Maybe that's not a real problem, as you can still login into the forums, even when you don't have the email address anymore. The only thing you lose is getting a message when somebody replies to your thread. But even for that a workaround is available (watch user). Nevertheless, I decided to start from scratch, as I found it more clean.

I searched for my other logins and decided to put them in this post, for myself and for others, if they would be interested in my earlier posts:

Jan 10, 2001
: My first (?I thought of having another account from the year 2000, but couldn't find it?) login in the OTN Forums, at that time I was working at Oracle as a consultant. I posted 33 messages with the user dgielis.
Oct 1, 2003: My first APEX question in the forums, at that time I used HTML DB 1.4 on an 9iR2 DB.
Feb 14, 2005: My second user dgielis_ in the OTN forums. I posted 78 messages with this user.
Nov 13, 2006: My third user dgielis__ in the OTN forums. I posted 17 messages with this user.
April 21, 2007: My (hopefully) last user in the OTN forums: Dimitri Gielis@AE

With the APEX SIG we talked about mining the forum... To get it started, I'll try to do every week a post with the funniest/most interesting topics of the APEX forum in which I participated.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bye Bye Las Vegas

After a great week with a lot of highlights, I'm heading back to Belgium.

I like being at Oracle conferences; I like to learn (following sessions), meeting and talking to other Oracle lovers, seeing another part of the world, ...
But this conference was extra special for me, as I did my first presentation at such a big event. I have already been in the APEX round table panel at Oracle Open World, but presenting alone is different. I must say I really enjoyed it, one of the highlights in my life. At this conference I also participated in three other sessions: the APEX SIG meeting, the round table conversation and the APEX hands-on lab.

Las Vegas is also special; it's all very impressive, but for me it was sometimes a bit too much. Living in casino's is nice for a week, but you don't see a lot of sunlight, these casino's are all connected and finding an exit isn't that easy ;-)
Of course you can also go to the pool or walk down the strip, but last week the weather wasn't that good to really enjoy it. I definitely want to go back at a time, but not yet in the coming years.

Next year, Collaborate 08 will be in Denver. I've never been there, so I look forward to see that place, but first Daytona Beach!

Thank you Collaborate 07 and Las Vegas! I found it a really interesting and great experience.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Collab07 - Day 4 - My presentation + APEX hands-on

I didn't sleep that well Wednesday night... I kept thinking about the presentation I had to do... I suppose doing your first presentation in the States or on a big conference makes it special.

The sessions I did on Thursday...

Session 1 - APEX by Example: Shared Components - Dimitri Gielis

Finally it was my turn! My presentation, as it got announced on the IOUG website a long time ago, about APEX Shared Components.

History... If you're a regular reader of this blog you know the creation of the whitepaper and presentation took me a lot of energy and time... The whitepaper counts 56 pages, the initial presentation 116 pages, but I reduced it to 107 during this week.

Everybody who has already given a presentation know that to fit 107 pages in a one hour session is really hard! I suppose that was also why I couldn't sleep that well: timing...

Nevertheless I made it!! 107 slides and 5 live demo's in one hour! Unbelievable? Yes, I also don't know how I achieved that, but the people in that room can confirm it! ;-)

I started with presenting myself, knowing the audience and the goals of my presentation.
The rough lines of my presentation:

  • Quick overview of APEX Shared Components
  • Questions/Problems that rise when you're developing an APEX app
  • Why use a particular Shared Component
  • An example of that Shared Component in DG Tournament
  • And finally How to integrate that Shared Component
After a few slides I showed DG Tournament. In that application I used all Shared Components. By showing the application I told my audience which Shared Component I used. That went really well. I went back to the slides to give them first a bit of theory of a particular Shared Component I would demo later. The live demo's I did:After the demo's I did the remaining of the powerpoint presentation... 3 minutes before 9.30 I showed slide 107. During and after the presentation I even had the time to answer some questions. I made it! Don't ask me how ;-) I'm not sure I can finish on time again! (normally I'll give this presentation also at ODTUG)

Afterwards some people congratulated me, they said it was awesome (that was a word I often used during my presentation, as APEX is awesome ;-))... people saying that, gave me a warm feeling. I did my best... my English is not perfect, but I got the message to them. I hope they all enjoyed it.

I took the image on the right a few minutes before I started my presentation. When the door closed, I think there were around 50 people. Thank you all for rising up so early (my session was at 8:30).

Session 2 - APEX hands-on

At Collaborate there were also rooms with computers to have hands-on sessions. After my presentation the Oracle Application Express hands-on session was scheduled. I think there were around 30 people testing APEX. Carl, John, Tony, Steve and myself walked around to help them...
Some saw it for the first time, others wanted to try some of the APEX Shared Components I had demoed and others asked us questions about problems they had in their current application. APEX is great for that... some logged in from a Collab07 pc to their own environment at work! So I really saw what they tried to do. Sometimes it feels wonderful... after a couple of minutes a problem was solved and they were so happy ;-)

Closing Session - Great Tool Debate - Rich Niemiec, Dr. Paul Dorsey, George Trujillo, John Scott, Larry Grey, Chris Heller

The very last session of Collaborate was about the choice of (Oracle) tool for the future.
Rich N. was there as database specialist, Paul D. to represent the Java/JDeveloper area, George T. as Fusion Specialist, John S. for APEX and Larry and Chris for the "predefine apps" (Peoplesoft, Oracle CRM, ...)
It's an interesting debate... remember the debate with Chris Muir I blogged about a few weeks ago? Also in this debate there was no final decision which is best... They all agreed that the business logic should be in the database. APEX runs completely in the database ;-)

The end ...

Carl Backstrom, John Scott, Steve Howard and myself went for "the last drink". Carl talked about life in Vegas, Steve had a fantastic story about his experience in Russia and John and I were enjoying these stories ;-)
Apparently I should not have blogged. There's a sentence in Las Vegas that says: "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas"! They only told me on the last day...

Collab07 - Day 3 - Sessions + APEX SIG Roundtable

Below the sessions I did on Wednesday...

Session 1 - Application Express SIG Roundtable - Carl Backstrom, Dimitri Gielis, John Scott, Steve Howard, Tony Jedlinski

This was the second time we did a session with the APEX SIG. Where the first one was more about the APEX SIG itself, this session was very technical. Steve Howard was the moderator, John, Tony, Carl and myself were in the panel. We had around 25 people who participated in this Q&A / round table conversation.
We first got some questions from Steve...
The first one for Carl about the future of APEX, is APEX a "stayer" and what about APEX in Oracle DB 11g. Interesting to hear Carl talking about that. 11g will include a 3.0 patched APEX with the PLSQL gateway pre-configured, so Apache isn't necessary anymore to get up and running with APEX. The other part of the question got answered by stating the Metalink and asktom are written in APEX and that there's a multi-year plan for adding features to APEX. I can live with that answer ;-)
One of the questions Steve asked at the other members of the panel: "What are your best new features in APEX 3.0?"
In short, our answers: Tony likes the new charts and pdf possibilities, John likes, apart from the pdf and charts possibilities, the page and region caching and the improvements under the APEX hood. I went for the little Shared Components icon on the top right hand-side in Application Builder, improved Supporting Objects and the new drag and drop lay-out.
Then we did a round tour to know which people already had production APEX applications and what they are used for. It was really interesting to hear all these different usages of APEX. More about these "references" will be published on the APEX SIG website.
After that the people in the room started to shoot questions at us. One of the questions was about a problem with Flash Charts in APEX 3.0. I took my laptop and quickly tried to reproduce it, and indeed... printing (or print preview) a Pie Flash Chart in Firefox doesn't work! Definitely something we should investigate.
The feedback of the session was really good, people likes us to do these kind of round table conversations. We already saw it at Oracle Open World and it got confirmed again at Collaborate 07.

Session 2 - APEX Cheat Sheet - Karen Cannell

This was a really interesting session and pretty much with John Scott and I tried to make with our Apex Evangelists (AE) mouse mats! (off-topic: we couldn't get them printed before Collaborate, but they'll probably be available at the end of May)
You always forget the syntax of the APEX url, or you ask yourself: "What was it again... :APP_ITEM, &APP_ITEM., the v notation?". Karen did an overview when you should use what syntax. She also gave some APEX Tips and Tricks.

Session 3 - Cursor Packages and Other Database Services - John Flack

This session was all about PLSQL cursors, packages etc.
John Flack also talked about the PLSQL web toolkit (PLSQL Server Pages) he used. It's a pity that he doesn't know (or doesn't use) APEX, as a lot of the things he does manually, are already done for you in APEX. Nevertheless I think it was a good session for starting PLSQL developers as John gave some tips working with cursors/packages and also stressed the importance of using for ex. bind variables.

Session 4 - Mastering Application Express e-mail - Tony Jedlinski

I first saw Tony presenting at OOW 2006. Tony is a board member of IOUG and is involved in a lot of others. You see he presented before, he talks calm and easy and makes sure the people in the audience knew the topic. This session covered all the possibilities you have using the standard email functionality in APEX. He showed the apex_send (htmldb_send) package, how you could keep track of mails, when they exactly are sent and where you can find the logs of the sent messages.

Collaborate 07 Beach Party

What should have been a nice Beach Party with lots of cocktails, hot temperatures, nice food, good music and happy people, felt a bit in "cold wind". The setup was well done (except that we had to wait a long time to get to the pool area), but the weather was just to bad. The wind was so strong that it felt really cold. John and I had some food and a couple of drinks and decided not to stay that long. Heading to the exit we passed Mark Rittman and had a nice little chat with him (see also his blog, as he took a picture of us)

John and I had another drink in the bar of the Luxor which was a bit more comfortable (comfortable chairs and warmer). I didn't stay that long as I had to do my presentation on the next day...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Collab07 - Day 2 - Sessions + APEX SIG and Meetup

After having had a short night, the second day of sessions started.

Below the sessions I followed on Tuesday...

Session 1 - The Best 11g New Features - Rich Niemiec

I really like to see Rich presenting and again it was a really good session, although I have to say that I think this was one of his most challenging ones! He got a lot of questions and because he didn't investigate everything yet (the product is still in beta), he didn't know all the answers!
But hey, who knows everything?! But I had the impression that some people expect sometimes "everything" from somebody as famous as Rich Niemiec.
As the title says, this session covered some of the new features of 11g Rich found best. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post something about these new features here, so I won't go into much detail. Some of the things I saw were:
- a big "health" icon on the first page of Enterprise Manager (Grid Control)
- the invisible index
- virtual columns
- PLSQL enhancements as caching
- new ways of partitioning
- more automated features

Session 2 - Search, Protect or Disclose with APEX, Javascript, LDAP etc. - I. Persand

This session described a part of an APEX project she did. She explained some of the nicest features she had used to accomplish her goals.
She showed her search facility (a function in the where clause), some Javascript she used to hide/show certain items and how she integrated the LDAP server of her company and conditions in APEX.

Session 3 - APEX: Delivering Pages in 3 seconds or Less - John Scott

The first public AE presentation at Collaborate 07. I liked Johns session. It was an advanced session with in debt knowledge how you can achieve better performance in APEX applications by using two different methods: Caching and Compression.

For the caching he showed an application which handles an upload of a picture. The first application shows the image without Expiry date, the other one, with an Expiry header. The performance gain is enormous. I suppose John will blog about it himself, or you can have a look at his whitepaper how you can do and test it yourself. That was also something I liked in his presentation, everything he did you can do it yourself. All steps were clear and well detailed (especially in the whitepaper).
I also use Image Caching in DG Tournament (and previous WC 2006). Remember when my app first got announced on Tom Kytes Blog? That time we got 10.000 hits an hour and saw the bandwidth increasing enormously, then I implemented this caching and saw the difference!

The compression can be done trough mod_gzip (or others). In the presentation he explained the mod_gzip implementation and what you would gain when using it. Impressive really, and I'm happy that Shellprompt/APEX Evangelists is using this technique for all the hosted applications.

Session 4 - APEX SIG - Steve Howard (& J. Scott, T. Jedlinski, D. Gielis)

Steve Howard, President of the IOUG APEX SIG, presented the direction we will take with the APEX SIG. You can expect some new things in the near future: a new website, blog mining, newsletter, .... More will be announced on the IOUG APEX SIG website.
We also discussed what our SIG should be doing and one of the things from the public was that we should consolidate the "new feature request" or "most annoying things" or "bugs list" etc. So you may expect something in that direction too.
We also need all APEX developers (you!) to help us out with this SIG, as at the end it's each of us (or the members of the SIG) who makes it happen.

After the session I had a chat (and some pictures) with other APEX developers. On the left a picture together with Michael Smith (aka "Spatial Developer of the Year 2006") and on the right a picture together with Justin Patterson (a frequent APEX forum user)

Session 5 - Introducing BI/XML Publisher - John King

This session was a brief intro into BI Publisher. He showed some basic functions of BI Pub and what his experiences were when he first implemented it.

APEX Meet-up

After OOW APEX Meet-up, we held our second APEX Meet-up, and again I found it really enjoying meeting some other APEX lovers away of the session rooms. We had some nice chats about APEX, live and Las Vegas. Thanks guys for the lovely evening!

As I got a lot of reactions on a picture I took at OOW (me and a nice looking lady), I thought to do it again... the result... this is how you get served when you order something in the Luxor hotel!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Collab07 - Day 1 - Keynote and Sessions

On Monday a lot others arrived and the queues were a lot longer. The number of people at Mandalay Bay are impressive, especially for the keynote speeches! The halls were too small!

The sessions I followed...

Session 1 - Keynote Speach - Ari Kaplan (IOUG President), Ken Jacobs and Andy Mendelsohn

This Collaborate is in memory of Stan Yellot, one of the first members of IOUG and the driving power behind this Oracle User Group.
Ari also said IOUG is all about collaborating (participating / knowledge sharing / ...). We all participate and help each other (for free) as we are all passionate about our work.
I also like these seminars because it's a great place to meet the people you never see, but talk a lot to on the internet.
Another big part of the keynote was about thirty years of the Oracle database, which was presented by Ken Jacobs. It was my first time to see Ken Jacobs (aka Dr. DBA) presenting and I liked it a lot. He showed a bit of the history were Oracle came from and were it goes to. Together with some other Oracle people he also showed some new features in 11g.
I can still remember they talked and demoed about Data Vault, Audit Vault, Information Lifecycle Management (made in APEX!), new partitioning methods, ... This keynote was recorded, so it should be available soon.

Session 2 - All the Free Stuff from Oracle Corp - Dan Hotka

This session was about some of the features in the database you get free of charge, like for ex. DMBS_XPLAN, tkprof, SQL Trace, Trace Analyser etc. Dan also made some tools around these Oracle tools to get a better visual (UI in Java).
At the end he also demonstrated some basics of SQL Developer. I would have thought he would have spent some time on APEX, as that's free too, but he didn't. So after all I was a bit disappointed.

Session 3 - Advanced Application Express Tips and Techniques - Bradly Brown

This was a pretty good session, but he had to go quickly over his presentation as it was a bit too much to cover indebt. Bradly is also one of the autors of the HTMLDB-book.
He showed some tips for different areas. To name some:
- HTML: pop-ups, tool tips, anchors
- APEX: use of Page 0, Outlook Integration, Scrolling text
- PLSQL: function based queries, background jobs
- Javascript: Setting focus, AJAX, Google Maps
He referenced a lot to the forum, so this session gave you an overview, but the actual code you should look for further down (in your own time).
I can understand him, I've also a lot of material to cover in my presentation, so fitting everything into a one hour presentation is not that easy. Also the mix of the public makes it hard as some are starters where as others are very experienced.

Lunch time...

already seen 7.000 people grabbing some food? Here's the pic! (and that hall is four times the size of the picture)

Session 4 - Dynamic SQL in a Dynamic World - Michael Rosenblum

This session was al about Dynamic SQL: Execute immediate, Dynamic Cursors, DBMS_SQL, bulk operations, functions returning collections etc.
There were a lot of good insights in dynamic sql. Michael also mentioned the pitfalls, which I found really good. Not everybody goes and look at asktom how to do something in the best way possible, so mentioning to use bind variables for ex. is really important!
Also when using dynamic sql, be careful with bad implementation so that "Sql injection" doesn't become possible. Michael gave some of his techniques to overcome this.

Session 5 - Keynote Speech - Charles Philips

This was a bit like some of the rumours predicted on certain blogs. Charles Philips also came back on 30 years Oracle and announced something new called "Project X" - "an important development initiative that has been underway to unify our broad portfolio of applications and help customers close the gap between evolving business needs and IT's ability to execute."
I'm more into Oracle technology, not that much in "Oracle Applications", although I recently looked into Oracle Siebel CRM which I find really nice. Nevertheless this Project X is into that direction, letting all those Oracle apps or the apps Oracle bought over the last years, work together and integrated (hey BPEL!).
I think this was the "logic" step that Oracle announced. I found Charles presenting very well (although he moved a lot on the stage, apparently he can't stand still ;-)).

Welcome drink

In the evening the exhibition hall opened. A lot of companies have a stand over there. They look all very nice. Most of them offer you something to drink or a gadget. As we're an Vegas, you can also win something by playing with them (Everything is allowed to attract the attention of the people I suppose).
Oracle also has an APEX boot over there. John and I went to have a look there and finally ended up having a chat with Carl Backstrom, one of the APEX developers. He's the guy behind all the AJAX and javascript in APEX. It was my first time seeing him in real life, he's a really nice guy, as are all of the APEX developers.

APEX SIG preparation
After the Welcome drink, Steve Howard, John Scott and myself went to a bar and discussed about the APEX SIG. On Tuesday we have our first APEX SIG meeting at Collaborate...

Later that night I arrived back in my hotel room and started answering mails and did some other urgent things from clients. I find it really hard... Collab can be really intense, because following these sessions and meeting all these nice people is awesome, but it also makes you tired. But if I finally want to go to bed, in Belgium they start working again (Belgium is 9h ahead compared to Las Vegas). So I don't sleep that much at the moment.

Collab07 - APEX-meetup update

We will hold our APEX-meetup on Tuesday at 19h30 in the bar of the Luxor hotel in front of the registration desk.

Hope to see you there my fellow Collaborate attendees!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Collab07 - Day 0 - Registration and Welcome

There were some sessions of Oracle Education on Sunday, but I didn't follow them. It were 8h presentations and hands-on on specific topics.

In the morning I did my registration. I was lucky as there wasn't a queu to register yet. I also heard that there wouldn't come 6.000 people to this conference... but 7.000! It's not yet comparable to OOW, but it's getting nevertheless a big event.

We got a badge and a bag with some papers (schedules and ads) in. As a speaker I also got a special blue/white t-shirt.

I also searched for the "Speakers Ready Room", a room where all speakers can (need to) go to, to test the beamer (and connection with laptop) and sign up for presence. It's my first time as a speaker on a conference, so it's all a bit new to me. I also met some other speakers, had a chat with some of them and walked around to get to know the locations of the different rooms. The Mandalay Bay hotel is so big! The Collaborate event covers two floors with rooms and an exhibition hall.

In the late afternoon I had two sessions for speakers. One because I'm new: some tips and techniques to present, the other one with some practical info.

If you're new into presenting here were some tips they gave:

  • speak slowly and clear
  • repeat the question (as some others may not have heard it)
  • tell the audience what your session will give back for their time
  • relax
  • ...
  • and Have Fun!
After these sessions there was a special SIG drink. Every SIG had 5 minutes to present themselves. Steve Howard, President of the APEX SIG, spoke for our SIG.

In the evenings there were some other welcome receptions with food and drinks... I didn't stay that long as I became tired. So that ended my Sunday.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Arrived in Las Vegas (Collab07 - Day -1)

On Thursday night I arrived in the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. The hotels in Las Vegas are so big and all with different themes! Impressive, as also the sound of the gambling machines ;-)

I didn't gamble yet, but before I leave I must have tried it! The weather is fine, but I thought it would be better. A week ago it was over 30 degrees, where it's now only 24 with a lot of wind.
Yesterday I met up with John. We had a lovely evening with some nice food in the hotel.

Today I'll register for Collaborate, a day before the 6000 others.

During the last week I did a little trip through Nevada, Arizona and Utah. I saw Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, Glenn Canyon Dam, the Grand Canyon, Route 66 and Hoverdam. I was really impressed by all that!

Here you see some of my pictures:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Heading off to Las Vegas (Collab)

Tomorrow morning I'll leave for Collaborate 07 in Las Vegas.

The first days I won't be online so often, but as soon as the conference starts, you may expect daily reports!

I already blogged about the APEX presentations at Collab and the APEX meet-up we're organizing. Here're the sessions where I'm on stage:

Doing my presentation about Shared Components will be a challenge! There are so many different Shared Components in APEX! To fit all that in one hour, will be impossible, but I'll try. Some of them are already well known, so I'll go really fast on these ones, as for others I'll do real demos.
And it won't only be a challenge for me! Also for the ones following it, as they should raise early on the last day! I'll try to make it fun, so you don't fall asleep again ;-)

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Reset INTERNAL password in APEX 3.0

Well, it can happen... You use so many different passwords that you forget one of them.
If you forget your APEX password of the INTERNAL workspace, here's what you can do:

  1. Connect to your database AS SYS DBA (or a user with high privileges): sqlplus sys as sysdba
  2. SQL> alter user FLOWS_030000 account unlock;
  3. Connect to your database as FLOWS_030000: sqlplus flows_030000/password@your_db
  4. Run following procedure from SQL>
    www.flow_api.set_security_group_id (p_security_group_id => 10);
    p_user_name => 'admin1',
    p_email_address => '',
    p_web_password => 'admin1');
  5. Connect again AS SYS DBA
  6. SQL> alter user FLOWS_030000 account lock;
That should have fixed your problem. Try again to login into APEX.

APEX Evangelist meets PL/SQL Evangelist

Yesterday evening I went to the Steven Feuerstein (aka PL/SQL Evangelist) event, organized by Ordina and Quest Software, in the Netherlands. It took me a while to get there (as I come from Belgium), but it was worth it!

I've already seen Steven presenting a few times and I always liked it soooo much! The energy, the flair, the jokes, the charisma, really nice!

I'll start with some feedback about the presentation itself, titled: "Best Practice PL/SQL - Ideas for writing the best PL/SQL code of your life".

Stevens 4 top tips for development:

  1. Drink lots of water
  2. Write tiny chunks of code
  3. Stop writing so much SQL
  4. Start testing your code - for real
As an "APEX Evangelist", I can agree with almost all of them! But I don't really agree with statement 3. If I can write something with SQL I'll do it, I don't use PL/SQL until I really need to... but I don't think that was really his point.

He gave some arguments to stop writing so much SQL, as he states: "SQL are always hard-codings", so he prefers table APIs.

After the presentation I had a quick chat about that with him, you'll see some more about that in the next weeks.

Another part of the presentation was about the Quest Code Tester for Oracle. I also find testing software really necessary (but also a pain in the a**) This tool should help you with it.

A last thing I wanted to say about the presentation, which he also mentioned a lot: "playing games improves your development skills"! Why didn't Steven tell this to my father when I was still studying?! ;-)

This event was also an opportunity to meet some of my Dutch colleagues. I not only met some nice Ordina NL people, but also some online (virtual) friends and bloggers.

I had my camera with me, so here are some pictures of the friends I met at the event.

On the picture you see Jornica (left), me (middle) and Patrick Barel (right). The right picture is of Alex Nuijten of AMIS and me. Nice to meet you guys! Thanks for the wonderful evening.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

DGT updated with QF

The UEFA Champions League starts again tonight!
There're some great matches...

I added the schedule of the Quarter final in DG Tournament.

So, you can start betting now!

Good luck to everyone and may the best win ;-)

Monday, April 02, 2007

We shall not use APEX!?

During the weekend John Scott and I were discussing an article on Chris Muir's blog. John commented on the article and posted his opinion on his blog (Carl Backstrom and Scott Spendolini posted also a very nice comment). I also added a comment to Chris' post and promised to go into more detail on my blog soon.

Chris' article "A career path for Oracle developers - consider JDeveloper!" is about the choice for JDeveloper as *the* tool for next generation Oracle development.

Do I share Chris' opinion? No. I believe in all Oracle tools but IF I had to go to a deserted island with only one Oracle tool, I would choose the Oracle Database (as I get APEX free of charge with it ;-))!

If one tool was best for everything, Oracle wouldn't have more tools... I strongly believe that APEX can do most of the development and is a true solution for most of the business problems of today. I also believe JDeveloper is a great tool and ADF has its place in this world too.
In my APEX projects I use also other tools like SQL Developer and JDeveloper! I really like the ERD, UML and PL/SQL-tools in JDeveloper.
Some years ago I made a production application in BC4J with JDeveloper. I liked this "new technology", but when I look back, BC4J is already "old" and today you should probably go for ADF or JSF (if you would like to stay in the JAVA arena). Just to say that the JAVA arena is changing quickly, as for APEX it's proven technology (SQL, PL/SQL, JavaScript, CSS, ...)

The comparison.

Last week I read this article (in Dutch). That company did an internal competition: 4 teams, each team uses his favourite technology. They got one day and a half to develop a business case with as much functionalities as possible (in the time frame of that 1,5 day).

The goal of the game

  • find the most suited tool to do RAD (Rapid Application Development).
The technology choices of the teams
  • Oracle Designer, Oracle JDeveloper (with ADF), Adobe Flex Builder and APEX.
Most important area's of the game
  • user friendliness and security.
How could a team score points
  • 80 business rules to implement from webservices, lovs, printing of pdf documents, authentication, calculation of positions etc.
The Game
  • Oracle Designer / Developer Suite
    They got the back-end nicely up and running, but at the front-end there was still some work to do
  • APEX
    The jury was impressed by their application, as they asked how much time they still need to make it a full application ;-) They got almost all back-end done and I can imagine that the front-end was nice and slick.
  • JDeveloper and ADF
    They needed a lot of time to make their data controls (webservices, java-beans, pl/sql functions etc.). They would use these data controls as components in their application (by drag-drop). They also needed a lot of time to make all pages individual, as also multi-record and master-detail screens. Their architecture was nice, but 1,5 day was a bit too short for these guys, I think ;-)
  • Flexbuilder
    This is a new tool of Adobe (I also did some testing with it, as you find in some other posts on this blog). It's a nice tool, but these guys made such a complex architecture that they couldn't get the prototype finished. So they retreated out of competition, but showed what it could do.
The Results
  • The jury was unanimous on this: APEX won the match, but the jury added that changing the templates to a custom lay-out would take some time, which would compensate some of the time they were ahead of the others.

So, shall we *not* use APEX? Hell no!!

The people reading this blog more often know I'm a big fan of Oracle and APEX.
That won't change that fast ;-)