Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Promoting APEX

Although my current mission has nothing to do with APEX (Application Express - old name is HTMLDB) I use it almost every day at the customer!

My current mission exists out of two parts: the first part is helping the DBA's with the support of the existing environments, the second part exists out of doing upgrades (8i to 9i), migrations and reorganization/clean-up of most of their databases (for DEV, TEST and LIVE). You may see it as a "typical" (long term) DBA mission.

This customer is using a lot of Excel files for the overview of the environment and especially for the planning of the database upgrades. Although they've today mainly 8.1.7 databases I saw the opportunity to promote APEX.

I started with the creation of four new development databases, as all the old "database per application" will be merged into one of the four. On one of them I also installed APEX and I started creating a little application to replace all their Excel files and give them even more possibilities in a shorter time. As I also liked to do a clean-up of the databases I needed to ask the responsible persons what they still needed in the databases.

I created a dynamic script that searched all the info (which users, roles, tablespaces etc.) in the meta-data of the existing databases (via db-links) and stored it in some tables. Just with one click I had a complete overview of their environment! I could have used the Excel files they had, but where they up-to-date? Did they have all the information? Was it the latest version of the file? Who had which Excel file?

Afterwards I started building the little application. I even built some security in. I can see and update everything, they can't! ;-) Below some screenshots of this little app:

The advantages to use APEX instead of Excel were:
- Only ONE source of information
- Up-to-date all the time
- Available to all users immediate
- I can control what they can or can not change
- Easy for me to do queries to find the necessary information, I can use the "Oracle force" whenever needed
- The users and management have at any time an overview what is done

Next to the creation of this little application which is used by a lot of persons and management, I did some more to promote APEX.
I started to give a little demo of APEX to two users, after a day, there was already somebody else asking me to show "that magical application"! The next day there were again some others... The word was spread just like that! Today some people are even using APEX at home (together with Oracle XE)!

It gives me a lot of satisfaction to see that. I think it's easy for you to do it too, so I thought to share this experience with you.


Tom Scheirsen said...

We thank you for this promotion

Anonymous said...

Your app sounds very useful. How about sharing it? :)