Thursday, November 23, 2006

You shall NOT use Oracle

Did I change opinion? No way! I'm still an "Oracle brainwashed person"!
But I like the humor of Mogens and I found the title shocking! ;-)

David Litchfield published a (shocking) white paper about database security here (pdf here). Apparently M$ SQL Server beats Oracle on security?! I'm not the right guy to discuss this, as I'm too Oracle minded and I'm not a real security man. Pete Finnigan is more the appropriate guy to comment on this article.

Do I believe the article? No. But as I can't proof anything, I keep my mouth shut...

I hope some of you comment on this!

Teaching Oracle (Part 2)

The last two days I teached "Oracle Database 10g: Administration Workshop I" to another class.

I like to teach, I like to share my knowledge and help people... it gives me a warm feeling ;-) Maybe another reason why I like to give Oracle courses is because I can "preach" Oracle and tell the world about a wonderful thing! Sounds like Jesus, isn't it? ;-)

At the right, a picture of the students... When I first talked to them, I had the impression they weren't that interested in Oracle. I can understand them (although I've always been interested into Oracle!) when I heard they saw a lot of the Oracle theory for creating statements, procedures etc. The FUN part was a bit missing! I think I'm a bit different than a normal teacher. I try to show the students what they already "know" and make then the connection to the database. How does that look like into an Oracle database? Afterwards quickly explaining the slides (theory), to spent most of the time on hands-on exercises. I always learned quicker when I really saw what happened, so I try to teach like that. (But I also know not all people are the same, some need to read about, some need to hear about it, some need to see it working...)

I hope the students now know that Oracle can be FUN too!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

APEX 2.2 - Manage Supporting Object

I downloaded some Packaged Application from the Application Express OTN homepage.

What are these Packaged Application?
Packaged Applications are fully functional (example) applications that you can view, use and customize. They can only be installed in APEX 2.2 or higher. If you know how it worked before (pre-APEX 2.2); this file contains everything needed to create a working application: from sql to create the tables till the actual data, files and the installation script to create the application in APEX.

What happens when importing a Packaged Application?
When you're in Application Builder - Click the Import button - Select the packaged application file and follow the wizard...
- Part 1: APEX will install the "Application" - screens etc. you see in your APEX - and
- Part 2: APEX will install the "Supporting Objects" - creation of tables, indexes, ... and the load of the data
- Part 3 and further: APEX will install css, images etc. (optional)

An example with the Aria application:
Download and install the Aria application ( import the file (application), follow the wizard and install the application. I was surprised I got a message that not everything was installed successfully for this Aria application...
The application is created successfully, so part 1 went fine.
So the error must be somewhere in part 2 or further. Looking at the logs, you do this by clicking the "View Install Summary" in the "Supporting Objects" page. I saw that the load of "Seed HR Data" wasn't successful. This is the error I got: "ORA-01858: a non-numeric character was found where a numeric was expected".
This is what Joel of the APEX Dev team said when I posted my error on the APEX forum: "There is an updated version of this coming. Temporarily change your browser language to 'en' and run the installation, and it should work just fine."
So lets give it a try... you have two options:
1. to reinstall the Aria application: delete the full application with supporting objects and start over again
2. as I know the supporting objects part failed, I only want to reinstall this part.
Go to your application (Aria people) - on the right hand click on "Manage Supporting Object Definitions" - Deinstall - and finally click the Install button. This will install only the supporting objects part. I tried it and yes it worked! Thanks Joel!

These Packaged Applications are really nice... Maybe some things aren't fully developed yet (it's still version 0.9), but it's nice to see some working applications.
I really look forward to the "AskTom" packaged application!

You can also make from your application a "Packaged Application"!

Monday, November 20, 2006

UEFA Champions League - Betting next round

Tomorrow there's a new match day in the UEFA Champions League (football)!
So, don't forget to bet!! The url is still the same

Even if you're not a member yet, you can still register and play with us! (free of charge)

If you forgot your username/password (login info), there's a link on the login page where you can provide your username or e-mail address and you'll get a mail with a new password. The new password can be changed to the password of your choice in "Your profile" in DG Tournament.

Good luck with the betting ;-)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Teaching Oracle

Where can I find the Oracle Home?
... type in linux: echo $ORACLE_HOME
How can I get my sql statement again in SQL*Plus?
... type in SQL> ed (but make sure that you did in linux for ex.: export EDITOR=vi)...
I can't see the employees table when I'm logged in as SYSMAN?
... did you put hr.employees in the select or do you have a public synonym...
Why doesn't Enterprise Manager/iSQL*Plus work?
... did you start the services/processes (emctl)...
I can't login into the database and I'm sure I started it!
... is your listener running...
What's a public synonym?

The last two days I had to teach an Oracle DBA Workshop in the school I graduated 7 years ago.
In the beginning it felt strange to be there... but the "school-feeling" was quickly adopted again, although hearing "meneer" (sir) instead of "Dimitri" is funny in the beginning ;-)

I really liked to teach although it was different then I imagined. You must be well prepared and to serve these guys (and one girl) asks a lot of energy... I hope they learned something useful for their later career, but mostly I hope they enjoyed the lessons. At the end, doing "Oracle" must be fun!

Giving a course once and a while can be good! Everybody needs to learn how to work with something... in the beginning of this post I included some questions I got during the exercises. I forgot that some things are not that evident when you're new to Oracle. I do things just like that, because I'm used to do it, but having these questions obliged me to think again why you need to do it. When I was explaining the "why?" and "how?" I remembered that it's important to know what you're doing. And like Tom Kyte says so often, things change!
The practical side of the course was very Enterprise Manager oriented. I was really surprised that EM10gR2 is so much better than before (9i, 10gR1) and has so much possibilities! Almost all DBA things are now possible with EM. The only thing I didn't find directly, and I think that is not yet fully included, is the auditing part. You can do some standard auditing, but I didn't find the possibility to do in dept Fine Grained Auditing...
It would also be nice if you could make EM more your "own"; adapt standard reports, show/hide regions etc. I know that 11g has some more advanced things! I look forward to see it...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Vote for President!

Steve Howard opened the elections for the IOUG APEX Officers.

Voting will close November 23rd and the results will be one of the
considerations the officers will use as they determine the leadership

I am excited to announce that we have a great group of APEX people who
have stepped forward to offer their efforts as officers for the critical first
"term". Why do I say "critical"? Because right now we have a
structure, about 350 members and growing, but we haven't really done anything
visible to benefit the APEX community.

You find more information and the possibility to vote here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Recover password in Linux SuSE 10

After not using my root password for a long time, I needed it today.
But I couldn't remember it anymore! I could login with my regular user 'dgielis', but that was it... My user didn't have enough privileges to change system settings or do other "root" things. I was just a regular user.
I searched for changing my root password... and finally found it.
This is how I did it:
- On the boot screen (Gui Boot Loader of SuSE) type "init=/bin/bash"
- You get a terminal screen with almost nothing initialized or loaded (! attention keyboard lay-out can be different)
- Type at the bash prompt: mount -o remount,rw /
- To change the password, type: passwd (give a new password)
- This worked for me, if it doesn't work for you, this link can help you further.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

SuSE - Microsoft (Part 2)

On the site of Novell more information is published about their SuSE partnership with Microsoft. You'll find the press releases, the webcasts, FAQ etc.

As I understand, the most important points of interest for creating this partnership, is due to "virtualization" and "patents".

I found the image on the right on this website - great image isn't it? Maybe some day it's for real!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


From April 15-19, 2007 in Las Vegas, COLLABORATE '07 will take place.
The Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG) is still searching for speakers... you can submit an abstract till November 17.
People interested in presenting APEX related topics can have a look in the APEX forum (see also below).

The APEX community needs your insight and guidance. We would like to have a number of APEX presentations at COLLABORATE '07 (April 15-17 in Las Vegas...). Some of the topics coming out of a brainstorming session at OOW (John Scott - jes, Dimitri Gielis, Doug Gault, Tony Jedlinski, and me (or is it I?)):

APEX and email
o Novice
o Advanced
Using a custom CSS in your APEX application
o Novice (get into basic CSS, what it can do, how to do it)
o Advanced (special CSS tips and tricks)
o Novice (basics of AJAX, why Oracle uses it in APEX, what you can do with it, some sample simple examples)
o Advanced
APEX Dictionary
o Novice (the basic authentication methods, how they work, how to implement, basics on customization and LDAP/SSO/SSL)
o Advanced
Documentation best practices

The APEX SIG also made the roundtable questions available on their site.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Switched to Blogger beta

I moved my Blog site from Blogger to "Blogger beta".
Everything should remain the same, but I should now have some more features that I can use...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Oracle Linux against Microsoft Linux

I suppose everybody who read this blog knows that Oracle announced at OOW "Enterprise-Class support for linux"!
I found this article about Microsoft supporting (partnership) linux too! Oracle's choice was Redhat, Microsoft's choice is SuSE... or would you have expected something different? ;-)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

IE7, update APEX packaged applications

I just updated Internet Explorer to version 7.
Although I'm a Firefox fan, I must admit that this version of IE looks good too... Tabbed browsing, a faster engine (compared to IE6) and a better look and feel are the first things I noticed.
An other version to test your APEX applications with! I tried DG Tournament in this version of IE and it looks good ;-)

The Apex development team released some more packaged applications during my stay at OOW. Following packaged applications are available:

Packaged applications are interesting because they're fully functional applications that you can view (what technique did they use), use (see what you get) and customize (make it your own).