Wednesday, December 01, 2010

APEXBlogs v2 - APEX Usage

This post is part of the 10 days of APEXBlogs. This series of blog posts highlight the features of the new version (APEXBlogs v2) of APEXBlogs.info which will be released shortly.

So far I blogged about
  1. Backend changes
  2. Showing the blog posts APEX 4.0 style
  3. Twitter sync for #apexblogs and #orclapex
  4. Plugins section
  5. Links
  6. APEX Usage (this post)
As I travel quite a lot and speak to different people, I get the impression that APEX is more and more used in all parts of the world. So I would find it very interesting which part of the world is using Oracle Application Express a lot and which parts of the world are just adopting it.

It's very hard to get these numbers, maybe Oracle themselves have an idea if they look at the statistics of apex.oracle.com.
I thought a long time about a way to get to that info, but there is no easy answer really:
  • I could look at the IP's that hit my sites and by that I can figure out from which country they are (e.g. by using IP2Location website)
  • I could ask people to create a profile/login on the APEXBlogs v2 site, but why would they do that?
  • I could mine other sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Blogs, Google, the APEX Forum etc. to see which people are talking about APEX or asking questions about it, but that would be technically the hardest job to do and I wouldn't find everybody that way either
  • I could manually enter numbers, based on my talks at conferences and other persons feedback
  • I could use Google Analytics (which is actually using the IP based solution) to see from which countries people come
My absolute dream would be that I would get APEXBlogs v2 in such a state that it's worthwhile for everybody dealing with APEX wanting to go to that site. We'll see in the future how that turns out, but you could definitely help me with that. I see APEXBlogs v2 evolving to more a portal page for the APEX Community... v2 is not anymore about just aggregating the blogs, it's doing a lot more as you could read before and will read in the next couple of posts.

Once we are online with APEXBlogs v2, the way you could help is talking about the site and tell everybody it would be fantastic to get the APEX adoption in card. You are probably as much a fan of APEX as me, but you might find it difficult to convince others to go with APEX and do more APEX projects. By showing that APEX is used all over the place, it might help to convince your client(s) and/or boss.

The other way you could help is to give me feedback about what would be useful for you and the people you know, so they have a reason to come to the site.

So back to the APEX Usage and how it will be shown in APEXBlogs v2.

I wanted to use a combination of two methods. My first routine looks at the people who are registered and plots that on a World Map (implemented and works great). In APEX 4.0 there's a wizard to create these maps. The second routine will look at the IP addresses that hit the site and verify if the numbers are aligned from the first routine. But I've an issue here... if I'm with a client and hit the site I've a certain IP address, when I'm at home I've another IP address, but I'm the same person. Or behind one IP address (e.g. a government) there might be 100 people using APEX.

I doubted to use a Google Map and show the points where people exactly are, but that would probably have the reverse affect and people don't want (or are not allowed) to share that information (privacy reasons).

4 comments:

Johannes said...

Dimitri,

How about the following. When someone goes to you site for the 1st time, a pop-up comes up. Showing their location based on their ip.

You ask them to confirm or change to they really are from. Save it in a cookie so you won't bug them the next time the visit.

Johannes

Stew said...

Dimitri,

I can't think of a way to help you with identifying a visitor consistently beyond what Johannes suggested. However, I doubt they'd change countries all that often. Or maybe I can't being as big a world-traveler as you are? ;-)

To the other point of this site becoming a central hub for Apex enthusiasts, the best way I can think of is to have the best information about how to use Apex. For me, that means having the best tips and techniques, including extracts from Apex Forum posts, ideas from blogs, etc. I've got my own repository for these sort of things that I've picked up around the net, which I keep in a public EverNote folder (http://www.evernote.com/pub/sstryker58/Stews_Apex_tips). I've collected 368 notes so far, mostly because Evernote makes it easy for me to dump something that looks interesting or useful, then edit it as I need to explain, correct or clarify the note. The great thing about Evernote is you can easily search it by text or tag, so finding that Javascript snippet you saw a month ago in some blog is a snap.

I know someone tried creating a Wiki for Apex and there have been communities, but these have languished, I think because they require a structure to be useful and searching doesn't always work. I know there are text snippet sites, but the quality of the contents varies greatly.

I think if you could provide a site that's easy to post and search good-quality tips and solutions about Apex, you'd draw a crowd.

Dimitri Gielis said...

Stew and Johannes,

Thanks for your time to provide me with some feedback.

Johannes; my first reaction was, hmm popups people might just click away and what about security. But let me think this through for some time and I'll come back to that after the 10 posts so you see all the other new features that are in and you probably understand more why I consider the security aspect.

Stew, you saw my next posts? :-) APEXBlogs v1 already allowed you to add posts yourselves, in v2 I take it to the next extend with Quick Tips, Forum mining and a global search ;-) but you'll read on the details how I implemented it in the next posts.
So I 100% agree with your thoughts! So by all means if you read the next posts and have other ideas or like things implemented differently, don't hesitate to comment again.

Thanks again for the feedback,
Dimitri

Gary Myers said...

I'd like to see some facility for Open Source co-op work. I've done a couple of small Apex projects, but only working by myself. I'd like the chance to work with someone else so they can point out any really bad habits or mis-understandings I have.