Thursday, February 19, 2009

European APEX Training Days - April

After our highly successful Utrecht and London Oracle APEX Training Days (not to mention our original Brussels Training), Apex Evangelists have just opened registration for our 4th Oracle Application Express 3-Day training course. This time it will be held in the nice Midland Hotel in Manchester, UK, from the 20th-22nd of April.

So, what are these training days? Well, we host a lot of on-site training for clients, however we also hold ‘open training’ days, where anyone can sign up, come along and get training by people who know the product inside-out. We believe that our training provides the highest quality training for superb value for money.

The current agenda (subject to change) covers a variety of topics, but it doesn’t just stop there. We don’t believe in just a 9-5 training schedule and one of our core beliefs with these training events is to provide an open format where you can also raise any other (APEX related!) problems/questions you might have, particularly during some of our ‘out of hours’ relaxed sessions.

If you have been on one of our previous training events then you’ll notice the agenda has changed and even if the topic description might look the same the contents may have been modified, so if you’ve been to a previous event there is still value in attending this one (we’re proud to say that on every course so far we have always had someone who attended a previous event!).

Following the previous training, we expect interest to be high (and places are strictly limited, so please don’t delay to register).

You can find more information on exact location, pricing and signing up at

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My schedule and conferences

In the next months there are some nice Oracle and APEX conferences. It looks like APEX is getting more interest every year...

Some people asked when I would be in a particular part of the world, so here is my schedule till July:

- March 11th: APEX presentation and meet-up at Ordina, Utrecht, Netherlands
- April 20th-22th: European APEX Training Days, Manchester, UK
- May 3rd-7th: APEX sessions at IOUG Collaborate 2009, Orlando, Florida
- May 11th-12th: Oracle Education Application Express Advanced, Paris, France
- June 21th-25th: APEX sessions at ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2009, Monterey, CA

I'll blog more about the events in the next weeks.

There are some more trips planned to other parts of the world, but these dates are not fixed yet.

Although it's sometimes hard to be away from family (and for my family it's also not easy), I got a nice surprise from British Airways: I got upgraded to Silver Member, so my flights will be a bit nicer ;-)

Look forward to see you at one of the events.

Monday, February 16, 2009

UKOUG APEX SIG - the day after

On Friday I was in the UK for the first UKOUG APEX SIG. More than 50 people attended (the event was fully booked), more than 20 people were on the waiting list... just to show APEX is getting more and more attention.

Justin Hudd, the organizer of the event, gave an introduction and asked the people in the room about their experience in APEX. As usual we had a very mixed public: people just starting with APEX, people starting to do projects in it and then people with already a couple of years experience. But I was surprised, when the question came who's using APEX in his company (in production), 2/3 of the people raised their hand. That must have been the biggest difference with previous years, where people were looking at it and used it on the side. Now it seems to be used in production very much.

David Peake, product manager of Oracle Application Express, started with the first real presentation. He talked about the "Latest & Greatest from Development" where he gave an update on APEX 3.2 and 4.0. He talked about the APEX Listener, updateable tabular forms etc. (see SOD), but ofcourse the demos where the nicest. He did a migration of Forms to APEX (you can try that on too) and showed the new security features in APEX 3.2. For APEX 4.0 he showed Websheets and Dynamic Actions. I was in the back of the room and saw people looking at eachother with a face of "Oh my God" ;-)

In the next presentation of David (he was on all morning) he showed where APEX is used internally at Oracle, and which products Oracle brought out build in APEX. That presentation showed once more that APEX is not there for a short time, but will be a crucial option of the Oracle database.

In the afternoon I talked about Charts in APEX and beyond. The reason I changed the title of my presentation at the last moment was because Anychart brought out version 5.1.2 on the same day. The 5.1.2 release is really, really nice and I wanted to show a part of the new features as well. I'll do another blog post about the new version in the next days. Our APEX-Anychart integration site got already updated, but we're in the progress to extend it with some new examples and to provide you with a new download.

Next we saw a case study "Using Apex to Expose your Business to the Web" by Matt Nolan and Vincent Migue from e-DBA. They showed their own site and a project they did where they used a lot of web 2.0 features (scriptaculus, jquery etc.). You couldn't see the site was build in APEX as it had a complete different look and feel.

The final presentation of the event was by John Scott about "Dispelling Myths about Application Express". If your customers of your company is still not convinced of the power of APEX, you should definitely have a look at John's presentation! Most of the critics on APEX he proofs it's untrue with real numbers.

Before going to the bar we had a Q&A where people could ask anything they liked. We got questions about the integration of Oracle Apps and APEX (white paper to come soon), performance in APEX etc. One of the people in the audience was Jonathan Lewis. I found it very special to talk to an audience when such a respectful and knowledgeable person is in front of you.

I believe it was a very positive first APEX SIG in the UK and I guess something that won't end after this first one.

And finally some pictures from the bar...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

test APEX 3.2 for everybody

Today Joel Kallman updated to APEX 3.2.0.

This means that after a period where only a few people had access to a beta version, you can test it out yourself!

In December I gave a demo of APEX 3.2 to a customer and they were pretty impressed with the product. It's definitely not a silver bullet, but it can be a good starting point and a great tool to manage your migration from Forms to APEX.

Next to the Forms Migration tool, APEX 3.2 brings some important security updates.

It won't take long before we can actually download the new version of APEX now...

Being in the UK

This morning I took the plane to the UK and instead of flying to Heathrow, I flew to Gatwick.

The flight was pretty good. I was impressed the stewardess new my name! I booked the flight through BA, but the flight was operated by SN Brussels Airlines and it happened that the BA standards correspond to the highest standard of SN. I had seat 1F, so not bad ;-)

Gatwick is a lot bigger than I thought and it's pretty good arranged: no queu to enter the UK, good trains... I was pleasantly surprised.

Tomorrow I'm traveling further to London and on Friday I'll be at the UKOUG APEX SIG.

I asked to change my presentation "What happens on an APEX page" by "Charts in APEX and beyond" as I really believe charts are so cool and Anychart 5.1.2 (due very very soon) even cooler.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some date related tips to remember

The function INTERVAL DAY TO SECOND already exists from 9i, but I didn't use it that much before.

An Oracle By Example goes into more detail.

In APEX I created a quick example to show you how you can calculate the difference for dates. Behind the Calculate button I call a Process with this logic:


If you are looking for recurrent events (repeating intervals) you can use dbms_scheduler. In the early years of HTMLDB I created an APEX app called Agendimi which was basically an "online Outlook" for teachers. I wish I had the dbms_scheduler package to my disposal at that time!

Here's an example (found here, but adapted for APEX) to get the next 7 days (a plsql region in Apex on the same example page as above:
start_date TIMESTAMP;
return_date_after TIMESTAMP;
next_run_date TIMESTAMP;
start_date := CAST ( TO_DATE(:P28_start_date,'DD-MON-YYYY HH24:MI') AS TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE );
htp.p('Next 7 days (only weekdays)');
return_date_after := start_date;
FOR i IN 1..7
'FREQ=DAILY;BYHOUR=9;BYMINUTE=0;BYDAY=MON,TUE,WED,THU,FRI', start_date, return_date_after, next_run_date);

htp.p(TO_CHAR(next_run_date,'DD-MON-YYYY HH24:MI Day'));
return_date_after := next_run_date;

Another nice one FM... I needed a date format like 1.1.2009, so I thought d.m.yyyy, but I couldn't put that into Oracle. Try: select to_char(sysdate,'d.m.yyyy') from dual; You'll get a nice ORA-01821 date format not recognised. So how do you get that format then?

You need to put FM in front of your date format:
select to_char(sysdate,'') from dual;

Monday, February 02, 2009

new ODTUG blog

Mike Riley, President of ODTUG, started a new blog yesterday.

If you want to know more about him, the working behind the scenes of ODTUG or other news about the ODTUG conference, keep an eye on his blog.

I also want to congratulate Mike to become President for 2009. I know him as a very motivated person with a great personality. I'm sure he'll be doing great...

Welcome to cyberspace Mike!