Saturday, September 27, 2008

OOW08 - Last day

On the last day of Oracle Open World I followed one session.

At 9 AM John Scott presented Dispelling Myths About Oracle Application Express.
I really liked this session as it started differently, the topic is hot and he made use of some nice visual effects like a 3D Timeline and some nice videos.
The session answered the most common questions we get in the APEX community, especially from people who doubt the power of APEX. Is APEX new? Is APEX scalable? Is APEX web 2.0? etc.

I hope John will do this presentation again on some other events as I think it's a must seen presentation!

After having some Chinese food we went to the airport as our flight was already in the afternoon.

The flight went well, although it stays a long flight, but I could sleep a bit. Back home I'm recovering from a good Oracle Open World. It was especially nice to meet people in real life again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

OOW08 - XMLDB and APEX, keynote, Appreciation Event

After some nice breakfast with John I went to my first session of the day.

Mark Drake talked about "Oracle Application Express and Oracle XML Database: A Match Made in the Database". I really enjoyed the session as I think the possibilities of both technologies can work very nicely together. Mark and Carl made a document management system in APEX based on the XMLDB technology. I found it an awesome product. They will make it available in the next days/weeks. I'm using some of the functionalities of XMLDB in

Afterwards I had some lunch and prepared to go to the Keynote with Larry Ellison and Mark Hurd of HP. The queues were enormous! I already blogged about the keynote, so I'm not going to do that again.

This OOW is strange. Normally I bump up to the people I know and attend the other big Oracle conferences, but this time it didn't happen. Maybe because now there were sessions in a lot of different buildings (Marriott, Moscone South, West and North).

When I went to the OTN lounge I finally saw some people of the hard-core Oracle world ;-)
Tim Hall, Eddy Awad, Lewis Cunningham, Doug Burns etc.

Then it was time to fresh up for the Appreciation Event! Heading of to Treasure Island...
I'm still waiting for some pictures that John took as for once I left my camera in the hotel. The party was really nice and there were some fun things to do next to the concerts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

OOW08 - work, demo grounds, APEX Meetup

In the morning I had to do some work for our customers, so I missed the Benelux event at San Francisco. I guess I can go to Oracle HQ and do some sailing next time too. Client is king ;-)

I didn't go to that many sessions, instead I went to the demo grounds to talk to the APEX and SQL Developer developers. I was particular interested in seeing more new features of the upcoming APEX 4.0 release. I saw the dynamic components, which allow to declarative hide or show an item for ex. It means you don't need to write that much javascript anymore in APEX 4.0. Another nice upcoming feature is the APEX listener. I'll do a dedicated blog post about it once I'm back as it's something really new. The screenshot shows you the new login screen. You'll see the possibility to login to the Websheets part.

Another area I was interested in was the new SQL Developer Modeling tool. Apparently the tool will also be released as a seperate product. Basically Oracle bought Ikan's software, CWD4ALL. I know some people at Ikan as it's a Belgian company. It was always nice to see them on events, so now some of them work for Oracle was a nice surprise. The romours are that the modeling tool will be a paid option for SQL Developer or you can buy it as a seperate product. The demo I saw was quite impressive. Thanks Rene!

In the afternoon I saw a presentation of Patrick Wolf, The Power of the Oracle Application Express Repository. I really liked this presentation as he touched different areas of the APEX repository. Patrick compared the APEX repository with the Garden of Eden and played some nice relaxing music with that thought.

Tuesday evening was fairly busy as I had two parties at the same time. I first went to the Benelux evening, had some drinks, food and nice chats with people from Belgium and the Netherlands.

Then I had to run to the next event, the APEX Meetup. Around 30 people joined us during the evening and we had talks about APEX and other things. It's nice to also know more about their situation at home, family, region they live in etc.

Tough night, but worth it...

OOW08 - Larry announces Oracle hardware - APEX will run fast

The keynote just finished. Larry Ellison announced Oracle is also providing hardware together with HP. If you want the worlds fastest machine for the Oracle database you should buy Exadata!

If you think about it... some say that APEX can't scale (which is absolute rubbish), if you get Exadata, how fast will that be then? Every APEX page in less then 0.01 second ;-)

I got up to the stage and talked about it to Larry and he gave me one of these nice machines as a present! Thanks Larry!

For the people believing I got such a machine, it was a joke ;-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

OOW08 - APEX Charts, Meetings, Oracle Forms conversion, Dinner

On Monday at 11.30 I gave my presentation about Charting in Oracle Application Express.
I tried to build things up, so beginner and more advanced users would learn something. The room was pretty full, around 70 people I think. I talked why you would like to use charts, how to create and adapt them and how they work under the hood. Paulo already blogged about my presentation.

At the end of my presentation I talked about other charting possibilities if APEX doesn't fit all your needs. I was very proud to publicly announce the partnership between Apex Evangelists and Anychart. I'll do a proper blog post about it, once I'm back from OOW, but it comes down that we'll provide you with an upgrade for your APEX environment. It will allow you to profit from the nicer look and feel and more possibilities in Anychart 5.0. Next to that we'll provide consultancy to guide you to create even nicer charts like Interactive Dashboards, Gauges etc. More information about that will follow next week.

At lunch I had a meeting to discuss more things we could do for the APEX community and the upcoming events like Kaleidoscope.

In the afternoon I went to David Peake's session about converting Oracle Forms to APEX. The room was very full, lots of interest in this... Earlier I created a video about the migrations tool, but in the meanwhile the look and feel has changed. It's even easier to see and search how the migration went. The tool is not intended to give you a silver bullet to do a complete 100% migration from Forms to Application Express. Instead it's a conversion tool that allows you to give you a headstart and guide you through the complete process of the Forms convertion.

I got a lot of comments on my previous blog post about the tool, but I still believe it will a killer feature and the logic migration path if you're looking into something to replace your Oracle Forms because your business require it. If your Forms still fit your need, you don't need to convert of course, as the process you need to handle as a real project and it's not something you'll do in a day.

At the end of the day I went to Carl Backstrom's session about Web 2.0 Development with Oracle Application Express. Carl is the guy behind a lot of the ajax functionalities in APEX. He talked about $x, $s, $v, a lot of the javascript libraries that are in APEX and he told that jquery will be using in further releases of APEX. He also stressed you need to develop in Firefox and use Firebug, which I absolutely agree with.

In the evening I went to the Partner Executive Dinner organized by Oracle Benelux. It was nice to meet other people from Belgium, but even nicer was the ride to the restaurant. I was waiting for a cab together with some people of Oracle Belgium, but as it was rush hour, we had to wait a long time. After 45 minutes queuing we were tired of waiting and finally took a limo! That was awesome! Just like in the movies...

OOW08 - Waiting for Larry

I'm currently in the keynote session at Oracle Open World. 30 minutes to go before Larry Ellison will come and do a big announcement ;-)

This time I've a good seat... people are still coming in...

Didn't have the time yet to finish the blog posts of the other days, but hope to finish that later today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

OOW08 - APEX Ask the Experts, APEX Symposium, US Politics and Welcome Reception

On Sunday I started with the APEX - Ask the Experts panel.

Considering the time (Sunday morning) we got quiet some interest, over 100 people attended. I talked a bit about the APEX SIGs and started with one question to every member of the Panel. After that the people in the room could ask questions. The hour and a half flew bye. There were questions about the forms conversion to apex tool, printing, scalability etc. A very broad range of questions! I would like to thank Denes Kubicek, John Scott, Anton Nielsen, Scott Spendolini and David Peake to be in the panel and for nicely answering the questions. (picture taken 10 mins before)

Ohh and... David said that APEX 3.2 will come out "soon" and an Early adopter "sooner" ;-) APEX 4.0 is planned for somewhere in 2009.

I went to Tom Kyte's session about Schema Design and learned I should also look more into clustered tables. He didn't talk about ERD design, but more about which choices you have in Oracle design and why you should do certain things. I had the feeling he could talk a lot more about the topic and I also wanted to hear more about it, but time is limited at OOW.

In the afternoon I had another session together with Rich Mutell, one of our customers to talk about an APEX case study. I just had to introduce Rich. He did most of the talking, which was great for me ;-) It was a very different presentation from others as he talked about his experience with APEX, but he's not really a developer, but a business user.

Next there was a keynote session with Safra Catz, mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newson and an interesting talk from Washington's best-loved political couple Mary Matalin and James Carville. They entertain the crowd with a bitingly humorous look at the world of politics. Although I didn't get all the jokes and didn't understand everything it was quite nice to listen to them.

At the end of the day I had two parties: the Welcome Party and the Blogger Meetup. As I didn't sleep for over 30 hours the previous day I didn't get to them. I just took some food and went straight to bed...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

OOW08 - Registration, dinner and drinks

The weather on Saturday was good, not very warm, but not too cold either. I went down to Moscone to register. It was still quiet, which will be very different from the next days ;-)

As John didn't arrive yet (he drove from LA to San Francisco, a 10h drive!) I went for a small walk and recognized almost everything. It looks like I came too many times to the States (and San Francisco) now. At 7.30 PM I had a dinner with the people of the ODTUG Symposium. Scott Spendolini, John Scott and Mike Riley were also there.

Later that night I bumped up to Marc Sewtz, Joel Kallman, Ashish, Raj and Denes Kubicek and had one last drink with them.

Thanks guys for the nice evening.

OOW08 - Arrived in San Francisco

I just arrived in San Francisco.

The flights weren't that bad after all. Actually the local flight from LA to San Francisco was really good! There was a steward called Tim and he was really funny. With the safety procedure he put humor into it and with success! For the first time I saw people actually listening to the whole explanation. He got a nice applause at the end too. Flying with Southwest airlines was a bit special, as you can pick your seat. I had position 5, meaning I could get into the plane as one of the first and had plenty of choice. Next to that I got a drink of the house.

And for the first time I managed to pass customs in less than 30 minutes! But then I had to wait for my luggage for 15 minutes ;-)

I'm currently in my hotel room, same place as last year, the King George hotel. I didn't get that much sleep yet and am awake for over 20h. In the plane I saw some good movies, one called "in Bruges", which I was surprised to see on the list, as it's a town in Belgium.

Now I'm quickly freshing up and going to have something to eat and drink...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

OOW08 - Taking off

I'm currently in the UK waiting for my next flight.

It will be a long day as my first flight was at 7.25 AM from Brussels to London. My next flight is in 2 hours to LA. I first thought to drive together with John Scott from LA to San Francisco to see the nice scenery (coast drive). But at the last moment we buried that idea as people told us it would be a very long drive, especially at the time we would take off in LA.

I called BA to change my ticket, but it would cost more to change the ticket from London to LA then the whole ticket (BRU-LHR-LAX + SFO-LHR-BRU) had cost! So I now end up to fly to LA and take a local plane to San Francisco. I'll normally arrive in San Francisco around 6 PM (SF time).

Let's hope I don't get stuck in LA... especially when I read what happened to Tim!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

OOW08 - APEX Meetup

Some of you are maybe already on the way to San Francisco as Oracle Open World is just around the corner! San Francisco will look completely red and crowded with people affiliated with Oracle once more. I'll be one of them.

This time it promises to be a hectic one. The schedule is loaded with APEX sessions (overlapping even), parties are all over the place and I'm down for three presentations; two on Sunday and one on Monday. You find my schedule in a nice APEX app that works on my HTC Touch. (my presentations are marked in red)

But I look forward to OOW'08. Meeting all other Oracle and APEX minded people again is always fun!

As every year and on all big Oracle conferences, also this year we're organizing another APEX Meetup.

APEX lovers come together to chat about Application Express, work, the past and the future in a very relaxed atmosphere with some food and drinks.

Just like the previous times at OOW we choose for the Fourth Street Bar & Deli place. You're free to join us on Tuesday 7:30 PM.

Hope to see you all in a couple of days!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Preview Oracle APEX 4.0 - Websheets

Oracle Application Express 4.0 will include a lot of nice new features. You can read about these in the statement of direction.

A few months ago I put some screen shots of the Websheets functionality on my blog.

Now I'm happy to show you a video so you can see it working live! As like my previous post this presentation got recorded during Marc Sewtz's APEX presentation. Again I edited it and put some music to it. The music is carefully chosen of course, but if you don't like it, put the volume to mute. The preview takes just over 4 minutes. Here we go...

A better quality video can be downloaded in m4v format or swf format.

Preview Oracle APEX 3.2 - Forms Migration

APEX 3.2 won't include much changes in the development tool itself, but there will be a killer feature added: the Forms Migration tool.

A lot of people are looking into other directions to replace their Oracle Forms/Reports or Designer environment. Till a few months ago Oracle themselves pushed you towards JDeveloper. A lot of people I spoke to were not that java minded and even started to look after other solutions (non-Oracle). With a Forms to Apex migration possibility I think a real solution is waiting for you.

The main reasons I believe such a tool has a big change to succeed:

  • You want to keep your Oracle investments. APEX is living in the Oracle database so 100% ok.
  • You want to reuse your Oracle knowledge. Forms developers know SQL and PL/SQL very good, which is exactly the knowledge you need for APEX.
  • You want your migration be so streamlined as possible. Hopefully the Forms2APEX migration tool provides you with that. I don't believe a tool doing the migration for 100% automatically exists, but you should be able to reuse a lot and get a head start.
  • You want your Forms environment in a Web 2.0 way, which APEX is providing you.
As you could read on David Peake's blog, the limited Early adapter is not going to happen, instead a normal Early adapter is foreseen. I'm not sure how the final screens will look like, but here's alread a preview of the Forms to APEX migration tool! I recorded this video from Marc Sewtz presentation for the German APEX Community. I edited it and added some music. When putting the video on Youtube the quality dropped, better quality video can be downloaded in m4v format or swf format. You might want to turn the volume down or up ;-) Hope you like it!

You can see to the full presentation of Marc here (in German).

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Free Oracle BI Publisher with APEX?

If you login into the INTERNAL workspace in APEX and go to Manage Environment Settings - Instance Settings and go to the Report Printing section, you'll see following screen:

If you then click on the Print Server label, you'll see following text:
"Select the appropriate option:

  • Standard Support - Select this option if you are using the free version of Oracle BI Publisher. This option enables you to use the basic printing functionality, which includes creating report queries and printing report regions using the default templates provided in Application Express.
  • Advanced Support - Select this option if you are using the licensed version of Oracle BI Publisher. This option enables you to take report query results and convert them from XML to RTF format using Oracle BI Publisher. Select this option if you want to upload your own customized RTF or XSL-FO templates for printing reports within Application Express."
I didn't notice that before, but if you read it carefully it says "if you are using the free version of Oracle BI Publisher"!? I didn't know there was a free version? Is Oracle going to announce a free version or is it just a mistake in the documentation/help?

It would be really cool if they announced a free version of a fantastic tool as BIP on OOW ;-)