Friday, November 30, 2007

Dimitri @ UKOUG + APEX Meetup

I would normally leave on Sunday for the UKOUG of next week, but at the last moment I had to change plans.

I'll arrive instead on Wednesday morning in Birmingham, just in time to prepare for the APEX Roundtable of 12.25pm in Hall 1 Foyer Level 5. I look forward doing the roundtable with Anthony Rayner and Jeremy Duggan (this time I'm in the panel). I wonder if this roundtable will be different from the one at the other events in the VS (OOW, ODTUG, IOUG).

I'm also giving a presentation about the integration of Oracle Application Express and BI Publisher on Wednesday at 4.35pm. This is the same presentation I did at Oracle Open World.

There're a lot more APEX sessions at the UKOUG, John Scott gives an overview here.

It's a pity I will miss the first two days and the special nights (Blogger Meetup etc), but that's live... you can't do everything or be everywhere at the same time ;-)

John and I are also organizing another APEX Meetup on Wednesday at 7pm. The venue still need to be decided. If you know some good places, shoot! I don't know that much in Birmingham. So, if you want to have some drinks with other APEX users, feel free to join us!

See you in the UK!

Thursday, November 29, 2007 - New APEX website of SF

I realized I didn't blog about Steven Feuerstein's new website yet.

The website was announced on Oracle Open World together with his new book "Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices 2nd Edition".

The website is completely build in Oracle Application Express (of course!).

It's a fairly simple website; there's a front end, which you see when going to the url. You'll see two pages; one where Steven gives you some nice excuses and the second page to download some addition things from his book. There's also a back end, which allows Steven to manage his excuses.

I suppose I don't need to say this is one of the best PL/SQL books out there?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


There's already a lot blogged about "when" to use "what" development tool. At almost all Oracle events there's also a discussion about APEX, ADF, Forms, ...

A few months ago I also had some mail exchange with Chris Muir about what I thought are the strengths of APEX, and he about ADF. Normally an article should be made available soon. There were some other people also involved in this discussion, the final outcome is managed by Chris.

Next on the agenda... a live confrontation between the two technologies!

Michiel Jonckers of AMIS Technology (he was one of our students at our European APEX Training Days) contacted me with the question if I was interested to go on stage together with Lucas Jellema, a known "ADF lover" and a recognized Oracle speaker, to discuss the weakness and strengths of both technologies. I happily accepted, of course!

The date and place: Monday, December 17th from 16:30 till 21:00 in Nieuwegein (NL).

If you want to see the fight between APEX and ADF, register here.

Of course it's not a real fight ;-) Lucas and I will try to guide you through both technologies, the goal is not to have one winner. I guess at the end of the evening we should know what to use when...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oracle Application Express (APEX) 3.1 ready for your testing

As some others already blogged... APEX 3.1 beta is public now.

If you've seen the demos of the "Interactive Report Regions" you know they are worth trying ;-) You can see here an interactive report on top of the Emp table!

Warning: Use Firefox... in IE7 I still have problems! (Carl Backstrom warned us at OOW, but I thought it was bluf ;-))

You may also have had this mail from the APEX Development team:

The Oracle Application Express Team is pleased to announce the debut of our 3.1 release for public evaluation. To access our hosted instance, please register. If you have participated in a previous evaluation, you will bypass the short survey. After registering, you will be provided with access to the evaluation instance from which new accounts can be requested.

You will need to request a workspace and then wait on the email notification.

The new feature that we would really like feedback on is our new region type - Interactive Report. This is a new SQL query based region type that lets end-users customize which columns they see as well as column order. End users can also, sort, filter, break, sum, highlight, and add computed columns using simple pull down menus.

The full list of 3.1 features available with this Early Adopters release is:

  • Application Builder
    • Interactive Report Regions *
    • Templates
      • Improve Searching of templates
      • Replace Templates
      • Publish Templates
      • Bulk Unsubscribe of templates
      • 2 New Themes
    • Wizards
      • Allow for early exit when creating HTML region
      • Create Interactive Report Wizard
      • Remove 32k limit on Create Application on a Spreadsheet
    • Addition of Application Groups
    • Simplification of Page Group pages
    • Addition of Application Date Format
    • Support for Declarative Media Type
    • Can view existence of run-only application (but cannot edit them)
    • Display Application Name in App Builder footer
  • Workspace Administration
    • Workspace-specific Builder Notifications
  • Runtime Installation
  • APIs
    • Augment APEX_MAIL API to support adding attachments to e-mails
Please remember, the success of this Application Express 3.1 evaluation depends on user feedback. All participants are strongly encouraged to provide feedback using the feedback application. The link is also available from within the hosted Application Express 3.1 evaluation instance Home page.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

OOW07: The day after + heading back to Belgium

After a long sleep Patrick Wolf, John Scott, Carl Backstrom and myself went for breakfast. It would be our last breakfast together. Patrick was leaving at noon, Carl in the evening and John and I on Saturday.

Carl lived in San Francisco a few years ago, so he knew the city. He showed us some nice places and had some nice stories about statues and buildings.

We also visited a really nice store called "Sharper Image". That shop had so many gadgets (robots, digital paintings, special heating, ...) and an unbelievable chair! I tried it out and got a wonderful massage. I didn't want to leave, but the guys wanted to go further ;-)

At noon we went for the best Chinese in town... I must admit, it was a heavenly experience. Carl warned us the service wasn't that good, but the food was delicious. He was completely right, although I even found the service not that bad. If you're in San Francisco you definitely need to have some food there. Apparently there's always a long queue of people waiting for a seat, but it's worth it. It was the best Chinese food I ever had. I don't really know how the place is called, but Carl knows all about that ;-)

In the afternoon John and I went for some shopping and had a lovely dessert in the Cheesecake Factory at the top floor at Macy's. Also a recommendation to go there not only for the famous cheesecake but also for the nice view.

In the evening I finished my blog posts and had a last drink in the bar of the hotel.

Now it's time to go home. The thought I'll see my family again will help me to survive the long flight.
Bye Bye San Francisco...

OOW07 Day 4: My presentation + Last day

The week went very fast... as the days passed by I became more tired. Good it's the last day (Thursday).

In the morning I went for breakfast with John Scott and Marc Sewtz. In the States the breakfasts are pretty heavy. With almost all dishes eggs are served. If you know it's the third day in a row you can imagine I don't need eggs when I'm back in Belgium ;-)

After breakfast I went back to my room to go once more over my presentation, making sure my pc was still alive and the demos worked.

I went to Moscone West were I followed Tony Jedlinski session about "Mastering Application Express E-Mail". I already saw that presentation before, but I wanted to support him. I know it's a challenge to present on the last day ;-)

Then it was time for my presentation: "Advanced PDF documents from Oracle Application Express using Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher".

I didn't like the schedule... I not only had to present on the last day, my presentation was also the same time John had his (APEX) presentation! Normally we follow each others presentation, take some pictures and support each other. This time Apex Evangelists went head to head!

We both asked if they could change the schedule, but they didn't. It's a pity as a lot of people told me they didn't like to have to make a choice between two APEX presentations as they preferred to see both of our presentations.

John was talking about "Delivering pages in 3 seconds or less", mine was about PDF printing. Of course the people being in my session made the right decision. Did you ever hear somebody getting a raise because his page loads in 0.8 seconds instead of 0.9 seconds? Who notice that? ;-) Instead printing a nice PDF with some nice graphics to show your boss... I'm sure he'll be pleased!

Oracle gave me a very big room (capacity of about 500 people). I really liked the room, but it would be a bit too big, especially when two APEX presentations were going on the same time. I think about 60 people followed my presentation. One part of the audience were more into BI, where the other part were all into APEX.

It's a pity there are no evaluation forms at OOW as I would love to know what people really thought about the presentation. Afterwards some people came to me to say they liked the presentation, which I really appreciated. In such a big room it's difficult to "feel" the audience. It's always difficult to pitch the content. Is it too basic? Is it too advanced? If you were in my session, feel free to put a comment what you thought about it or how I can improve the presentation.

After my presentation I was really hungry and needed a drink. Last year I had Nacho's and I really wanted to taste that again. So John and I went to the same bar we held the APEX Meetup last year (and this year). In the bar we saw Doug Burns and Chris Muir and joined them. A bit later other Oracle bloggers joined us.

Afterwards we went to the OOW Wrap-Up, basically the last closing party of Oracle Open World. We had some more drinks and food. Doug, Tim, Chris walked to the Irish pub close to the Hilton hotel, but as I was so tired and wanted to drop my bag (with my laptop) I took the bus to my hotel and would join them later. In my room I dropped my bag and wanted to quickly check my mail, but I literally "crashed". I fell a sleep and before I knew a few hours passed by.
Sorry guys I didn't make it to the Irish pub anymore!

I enjoyed Oracle Open World a lot but it was also very tiring.

Friday, November 16, 2007

OOW07 Day 3: Keynote + Party

After a good night, my first session of the day (Wednesday) was "Consolidate Your Third-Party Databases with Oracle Database 11g, Using Oracle's New Migration Tools" by Barry McGillin of Oracle. This session was about the new features of SQL Developer for accessing other databases like MS Access, MySQL and SQL Server and migrating them to Oracle. SQL Developer now has almost everything what the Migration Workbench had before. Barry showed how a migration works and what we can expect in the future for ex. support for Sybase.

At noon there was the big keynote with Michael Dell and Larry Ellison. I thought there would be a big announcement, but no... earlier at OOW there was already the announcement of Oracle VM (Virtual Machine). Michael Dell showed some new nice products they released or are going to release, but some of the audience didn't like all that "Dell publicity".

There was a nice "coming" product, sort of tablet pc with touchable screen like in an iPhone.

Larry gave an update about linux, with the new VM software they brought out and an update on Fusion Applications. Normally I don't read that much about the Fusion applications as I'm more interested in the technology under need it. Nevertheless I found it nice to listen to and I was impressed by the Fusion demo they gave. A sort of Sales forecasting system which could search all files and for ex. take one slide from one file another slide from another ppt etc. so you basically could create your own ppt from within the Fusion app. The sales forecast app was a "complete" system for sales people, the developers thought at almost anything. Also the visuals were really impressive! (see screenshot)

In the afternoon I had a chat with some other people and then went back to the hotel to fresh up for the big party.

The party is always impressive... San Francisco is colored in red, a lot of buses are going to Cow Palace, which Oracle booked for the "Appreciation Party".
I'm not sure you know Cow Palace, but it's a *big* place. At the opening speech they said this party is the biggest company party in the world, which I'm happy to believe. The "names" Oracle announced were again impressive: Billy Joel, Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Nicks!

We went in with a group of people, but after a while we lost each other. Everybody was searching for food and drinks, going from left to right (there are so many places in Cow place)...

Billy, Lenny and Stevie were all playing at the same time, so I decided to start with Billy and after 30 minutes I left to have a look at Lenny, to finish with Stevie. I liked Billy Joel the most. He's a real entertainer! The food and drinks we got were good, but last year I found it better. There was no chocolate tower, which I really liked last year. At the end it was a nice night.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

OOW07 Day 2: Sessions + Benelux Party + Blogger Meetup

Update: The last days the tiredness got over me, that's why my blog posts had a bit of a delay.

On Tuesday John and I went for a coffee in the morning, I finished my blog post from Monday, read a bit the online newspapers and talk with the home front in Belgium. Apparently it's cold in my home country, only 5 degrees. Am I glad I'm in San Francisco where it's not really warm, but it's still a nice temperature (around 17°).

Before noon I went to the Hilton hotel where most of the Oracle Develop sessions are held. Some people recognized me... It's sometimes scary (but nice) when you're sitting in the lobby and people say "Hi Dimitri, how are you doing?".

After having a chat with them I went to Tom Kyte's keynote "How do you know what you know". His talk was about the changes in live... things (smart) people said a few years ago and where true at that moment, but aren't anymore. He had a series of nice examples that proved his statement. It's always nice to hear and see Tom speaking, so natural. It was also the first time I saw Tom with a beard!

In the next session Carl Backstrom was talking about "Advanced Oracle Application Express: Building Web 2.0 Applications". It was his first presentation on such a big event and he did well. He's working with Ubuntu linux and had some problems to get his laptop working with the projector and finally had to use another laptop. He couldn't do all demos, that's why he decided to do his talk again on the next day in the Unconference zone. It's nice to directly hear the person speaking who actually build a lot of the AJAX/web 2.0 things in APEX. He talked about debugging, the APEX api's and some of the new features of APEX 3.1.
I'm not going to list everything in detail in this blog post as Carl will make a video/viewlet about his presentation and put it on his blog.

After lunch I did the hands-on lab "Advanced PDF Printing" by Marc Sewtz and Marco Adelfio of the APEX development team. I already knew this material, but I wanted to see what the people had to do as my talk on Thursday was in the same area (integration of APEX and BI Publisher). The hands-on you can download from OTN here.

In the afternoon I went to the "No Slide Zone" (a place where powerpoint is prohibited) for Tom Kyte's talk about "The Top 10 --No, 11-- New features of Oracle Database 11g". It was an amazing experience! Tom just had eleven flash cards with the new feature on. He looked at it and talked about why he liked that new feature. When he finished that feature he threw the card away. Nice, but most of all, very impressive!I was a bit late as I had to come from the Hilton and this session was in the Yebuena theater, but these are the new features I picked up:

  1. Real Application Testing: record the workload of your current database and replay it on your new 11g database
  2. Stand-by database: improvements in logical and physical standby databases.
  3. Caching: more things can be cached in 11gEncrypted tablespace: speaks for itself
  4. Flashback Data Archive (Oracle Total Recall): see here.
  5. Better Compression
  6. Finer Grained Dependencies: objects become less invalidate when other objects change
  7. Virtual Columns

Afterwards I went to the Exhibitions and demo grounds to look at the companies exposing their product and see some other Oracle products in action. In the linux boot I met Sergio Leunissen again. It was a long time I've seen him, so it was nice to have a talk with him. He's such a nice person. I also had a chat with some people of the BI Publisher development team.

In the evening I had two parties: the "Benelux Cocktail Party" and the "Blogger Meetup".

I first went to the "Benelux Cocktail Party" where I met other people from Belgium and the Netherlands. As Oracle Open World is so big, you don't popup against other people that frequently. I had some chats with customers, people of Oracle, Accenture and a lot others. On the picture I'm having fun with my colleagues of Ordina Nederland. We had some champagne and "caviar" (shrimps, tuna fish, ...). Really nice, but when a lot people where leaving I decided to go to the next party...

At the "Blogger Meetup" I met my Oracle blogger colleagues. It's always nice to meet the people whose blog you're reading. Just as last year it was again fun. Talking with Mark Rittman, Eddy Awad, Chris Muir, Laurent Snyder, Andrew Clark, Tim Hall... is always enriching. Thanks for the great night my friends!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quick Message from OOW: Carl Backstroms Advanced Oracle APEX - Building Web 2.0 presentation on Wednesday

Carl Backstrom is doing his "Advanced Oracle APEX: Building Web 2.0" presentation again tomorrow (Wed, Nov 14) as part of the Unconference track.
He had problems with his notebook today and couldn't show any of the demos he prepared during his scheduled presentation. But he really wants to show you all the "cool" things, so that's your chance to see the presentation again.
The presentation will be held at Moscone West, 3rd floor, Overlook 2 (next to the OTN lounge) at 02:00 PM.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

OOW07 Day 1: Sessions + APEX Meetup

Monday is traditional the big start of Oracle Open World, all 44.000 people are there, queues are getting bigger, sessions going on in all rooms ...

I was awake quite early, so I thought to go downstairs to sit in the lobby, looking who would pass by. In the King George Hotel a lot other Oracle bloggers are staying, so I thought there might be a change of recognizing someone. Andrew Clarke (APC) and Wilfred van der Deijl were already in the lobby and a bit later Doug Burns joined us. I already met Andrew and Wilfred at previous events, but it was my first time to meet Doug. They are all such nice people to be with, they have so much Oracle knowledge and even more important they are some great personalities. Andrew, Doug and me went a bit later for breakfast where we had some great chats. Thanks guys! Really enjoyed it.

My first session was "Creating Dynamite Applications That Deliver" from Kathy Hunsicker, Washington Mutual. This wasn't a technical session, but the experience of a Financial Institution started with Oracle Application Express. Kathy did well, in 30 mins she talked about the struggles they have with Excel and Access and their search for something else. Finally they chose for APEX. Where in the beginning they mainly used to replace the desktop tools, APEX became the development environment for the bank. She had a lot of questions afterwards (+30 mins) so there were a lot of people interested in what she was saying.

After lunch we had a meeting with a customer and talked with Rich Niemec, Tim Hall and some other less "known" people. Time flies when you're talking so I missed some sessions I had in my schedule.

I did see Brad Brown's Advanced APEX presentation in the "UnConference" space. That's something new from this Open World. There's a whiteboard and everybody can put a post-it note on it with a presentation they want to give. The presentations were not scheduled before, so this presentation wasn't that well attended. I already saw that presentation at a previous event, but it was good to catch up with Brad afterwards.

At the APEX demo grounds I met Scott Spadafore for the first time. "He's the man!" some say, and I must confirm. Such a nice person, a great guy! Scott makes also part of the APEX development team. He's specialized in security and a frequent poster in the APEX forum.

Together with Scott and Marco on the picture:
In the evening we had the APEX Meetup where we had around 30 people who joined us. We had a couple of drinks in the Fourth Street Bar & Deli and would go to the OTN Night, when Mike Hitchwa invited us all for dinner (Thanks Mike!). It was a nice evening and good to meet other APEX lovers in a more relaxing environment. Below some pictures of the evening.

The jetlag took over later that night, so I went to bed right after the Meetup.

Monday, November 12, 2007

OOW07 Day 0: Apex Roundtable and first sessions

Sunday morning started great... My wife and I agreed some predefined times to talk to each other with a webcam and Sunday morning was such a time. As my son is only 7 weeks old, he can't say that much yet, so seeing him through the webcam was so nice, it really cheered me up.

John and I arranged to meetup at 9.30 am to go to Moscone. Almost there, Dietmar Aust popped against us. OOW is such a place you meet all the guys you know from the internet (blogs, forums, mails, ...).
As I live in Belgium, John in the UK, Dietmar in Germany, Patrick in Austria, Carl in Las Vegas, ... it's nice to meet them in real life some times.

Sunday was also the starting day of the first sessions at Oracle Open World 2007.

I had the privilege to do the first APEX session, which was the "Oracle Application Express Roundtable". I wasn't alone on stage, I was really pleased that the "Application Developers of the Years" 2005 till 2007 and some of the APEX Development team accepted to be in the panel.
Before I opened the floor for questions from the public, I asked following questions to my panel:

  • Tony Jedlenski: What’s your TOP coding technique?
  • John Scott: What’s your TOP security feature?
  • Patrick Wolf: What’s your TOP improvement?
  • Carl Backstrom: What’s your TOP web 2.0 feature?
  • David Peake: What’s the most impressive app?
There were more than 100 people participating in the APEX Roundtable. Every year APEX is getting more known...

After quickly having some lunch I raised back for John Scott's session about "Debugging in APEX". He did a terriffic job as people after the training stept up to him to congratulate.

John explained some different possibilities you can use for debugging. The natural things most of the Apex Developers are using like the developer toolbar or the debug mode of your page... But did you know you can debug your APEX application with SQL Developer? John showed from all possibilities a nice demo. I think people appreciated that.

Afterwards I followed two other sessions: Tony Jedlinski talked about portable themes and templates and how he made such an application. And Raj Mattamal was talking about security. I already saw that presentation before (at ODTUG), so I already know a lot of it. But Raj is enjoyable to listen to and nice to look at.

In the evening there was a keynote speech of Larry Ellison, mainly about the history of Oracle and what had happened in the last 30 years. I found it a really enjoyable presentation. Unbelievable how it all started! I sometimes recognized my life in some of his stories. Working during the nights, start very small, building up money... There was also a lot of humor in the show which I really liked ;-)

After the keynote, John and I went to the Welcome reception. We had some food and drinks and there was a nice picture taken of us. I'm sure John will put that picture on his blog, so I'll only show you a dancer at the event.

There was a band playing music such as a song I really like "Ice Ice Baby" from Vanilla Ice. We didn't stay that long as we were both tired... so time for bed now!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

OOW07 Day -1: Registration

Like planned the day before, Saturday was a "relaxing" day.

I had quite a good sleep. I only woke up at 1am, 4am to finally rise up at 7am. Not bad if you know, literally, for me day became night and night became day (9h difference with Belgium).

After having a nice (cooked) breakfast in a typical American pub, John and I went for a walk.
We went to the Apple store and tried the iphone... I've an HTC, which I really like, but I must admit the iphone is really nice too! The only feature I miss on it is a GPS receiver.

Before noon the sun was still shining, but in the afternoon it started to rain. Not great, but some people said the rest of the week will be better. Let's hope!

From 1pm onwards you could register for OOW, so we walked down to Moscone to do that. It's good to register the first day as there're almost no queues. On Monday it's different ;-) More than 44.000 people needing to have a badge...

When registering you get some goodies like an umbrella (useful on that day!), a bag and some other things.
This year Oracle is going "green", which means you have the choice of getting the agenda on an usb key (preferred) or on recycled paper. I also got a new Alumni jacket, which you see on the picture.

In the evening I answered some mails and read some other blogs and did some last changes to a new site AE made, which will be announced at OOW...

When I was coming back from dinner, I popped against Carl Backstrom, who was just registering in the King George hotel. We went for a "quick" drink, although quick is different for people coming from Las Vegas ;-) It's always fun to talk to Carl. He has some great stories. It was the perfect thing to end Saturday evening.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

OOW07 - APEX Meetup on Monday

I posted a while ago that John and I would be trying to arrange an Apex Meetup at OpenWorld.

We created a simple Apex App for people to register which night was their preferred night and it was a close tie between Monday and Tuesday, so we flipped a coin and thought that monday was the best choice.

So, the ‘official Unofficial Apex Meetup’ is now Monday 12th November at the “4th Street Bar & Deli”, at 7pm. It’s on the same night as the OTN night, so you can come along, have a drink and a chat with some like-minded Apex people before heading to the OTN night.

See you there,

Friday, November 09, 2007

OOW07 Day -2: Flight to San Francisco

I didn't have much sleep tonight as I had to be at the airport at 5 am. The days before leaving for an event are always a bit hectic: clients want things finished before you leave, other meetings, finishing blog posts that are in your draft folder for weeks, packing ...

Once at the airport it's better, you just need to follow the crowd. Before I always flew from Brussels to Chicago, but this time my stop was in London Heathrow. John and I arranged so we could travel together. It's much more fun not having to travel alone.
The airport in San Francisco was again Oracle "colored" (see pic). SFO will be for one week "OracleFrisco".

My battery dried out quickly, so I couldn't do all the things I planned to do. But the good side was I could catch up with movies. I must say that British Airways pampered us a lot. We could select out of a large library of films (individually) and had as much food and snacks as we wanted. Although I'm not sure that's so good for my weight ;-)

This event will be special, not so much because I'm presenting at the biggest Oracle event, but more because it's the first time I must leave a little baby behind. Matthias described it nicely; daddy will miss him.

This time I'm staying in the King George hotel, the hotel where more known Oracle people are staying; Mark Rittman, Patrick Wolf, Carl Backstrom just to name some. I'm sure we'll have a great time!

Although I had to travel for more than 17 hours (which passed fairly fast) and left early on Friday in Belgium, I can still enjoy Friday evening in San Francisco (time difference of nine hours).

In the late afternoon John and I went for a little snack and a beer, in the place (Fourth Street Bar & Deli) we had a lot of fun last year. This evening we also had a couple of beers with Patrick Wolf in an Irish House which the concierge recommended us. It was good to catch-up and have some nice chats.

Tomorrow, Saturday, I'll probably relax a bit and try to rest as much as possible, because from Sunday onwards my agenda is filled for 150%... to start with the APEX Roundtable.

Bye, bye daddy

While my daddy is sleeping his last ours before he leaves to San Francisco, I thought to write you something again.

It's the first time I won't see my daddy for some days. I'll miss him so much. Daddy told me he'll miss me too. To ease the pain of not seeing eachother he installed a webcam and he told me he'll call me a lot. It will be strange if mummy needs to make my food all the time and I don't have my daddies breast to sleep on. If I've a bad dream my daddies shoulder is so comfortable and his breathing makes me calm. I hope his voice isn't to different over the phone.

I'm catching weight and a lot of power... I wonder if after 9 days I will win the wrestling from my daddy ;-)

I know it's not easy for my mummy neither, but daddy don't worry, I'll give her all my love and I'll protect her. Although I'm still little and mummy needs to do everything alone now, I'm learning quickly. I'll be brave and support mummy.

I hope you will all support my daddy, as I feel it's not easy for him neither. On Sunday and Thursday my daddy is talking to some of you. He believes it's important to support the APEX community.

If he's silent for a moment, you can be sure he's thinking about me!
Just be nice to him so he gets back on track ;-)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quest Toad on Oracle 11g not supported

Are you already on Oracle Database 11g? If you're not, it's really cool ;-)

Nevertheless, this post is to warn all developers out there using Quest TOAD for Oracle.
The current release of TOAD is 9.1, this version is not supported with Oracle 11g (client). But even more important, the version that comes out half of November, TOAD 9.5 (see screenshot below which is a beta), isn't working with the Oracle 11g client neither!

I logged a support ticket at Quest. The support over there is really quick and helpful. In less than a day I got a message back that they were going to try it themselves, it went even to the technical people (development team) and after a few mails of back and for I got this final message: "Unfortunately, it was confirmed by our team's technical lead that Toad version 9.5 only support Oracle server 11g and not Oracle client 11g. My only suggestion for you is to install another client on your machine that is 10gR2 version or lower."

It's hard to believe that you need to install an Oracle Server just to get your development environment (TOAD) running ;-) Nevertheless, a workaround is to install Oracle 10g client, which I don't want to do as I'm connecting to 11g databases.
Or go for SQL Developer, a free alternative of Oracle.

A screenshot of the error "OCI version is not supported"

I'm using both SQL Developer and TOAD as I think both have strengths and points to improve.
This post isn't to favor for SQL Developer, it's just to warn you... on my Windows Vista pc I'm obliged to go for SQL Developer as TOAD is not working with my Oracle 11g client.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What should you say to students when teaching Oracle?

A few weeks ago I teached a group of students some parts of the Oracle Database.

When talking about new features and the things of Oracle I think are really good, I started to talk about Oracle Application Express. On the fly I did a demo of APEX and talked about Rapid Application Development. The students were really attentive and sometimes I heard an "ohhh" ;-)

The demo was the start of a very interesting discussion. The students have a course called "Rapid Application Development", it's not APEX, it's .NET. When I heard that, I thought "fine", how do they call APEX then: "High Speed Application Development", "Rapid Application Development times 10", "Application Development at Warp Speed", ... ?

But that wasn't the most interesting part yet! Apparently the students had to do a project: their development a part in Java and a part in .NET on an underlying Oracle database.
The students thought it a good idea to create packages and put the logic inside the database. They showed their teachers and they gave this feedback: "The database is for your data, the logic you put inside your application (middleware/java/.net)"... I'm not sure about you, but I disagree with that statement!

I prefer to have as much logic/validations/business rules etc as close to my data, in other words, if I can do it in the database, I will do it. For me it doesn't make sense to only use the database as a data store. What changes the most? I would think the front-end! Do I always need to recreate all the logic again? If today I use Java, at the same time I use APEX, C# and Flex on the same data, I need to write my logic four times? And will the implementation be exactly the same? I come from the DBA side and in general DBA's prefer to know what you're doing. If the same package/procedure/function in the database is called by all development environments we know exactly what's happening. It can be tuned appropriately, statistics can be kept, auditing etc. I even didn't talk about data consistency...

One of the arguments was "performance": if you always need to go back to your database server, too many round trips... Ha! What about the performance of putting everything in recordsets and treating these recordsets? Maybe I can do the same in one SQL statement by using analytical functions? Why not using materialized views? Who does best to handle the data in the most performant way?
Of course I also use some client side things to check if a field is filled in, so I avoid a server roundtrip, but it's not true for data/logic etc.

There're so many great features in the Oracle database that people using the Oracle database as just a data store are not knowing and not using. It's a pity.

Nevertheless, we had a lovely discussion about this topic, but afterwards I thought I was maybe too hard for the teachers. It's a fact there're two groups of people out there. In my experience a lot of JAVA developers are doing it the "put logic in your middleware/app" approach, where as people coming from the database prefer to have their logic as close to their data.

My question... What should you do when you get such a question (logic inside the database or not)?