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Logging APEX Report Downloads

A customer recently asked how APEX could track who clicked “download” from an Interactive Grid.  After some quick searching of the logs, I realized that APEX simply does not record this type of activity, aside from a simple page view type of “AJAX” entry.  This was not specific enough, and of course, led to the next question - can we prevent users from downloading data from a grid entirely?

I knew that any Javascript-based solution would fall short of their security requirements, since it is trivial to reconstruct the URL pattern required to initiate a download, even if the Javascript had removed the option from the menu.  Thus, I had to consider a PL/SQL-based approach - one that could not be bypassed by a malicious end user.

To solve this problem, I turned to APEX’s Initialization PL/SQL Code parameter.  Any PL/SQL code entered in this region will be executed before any other APEX-related process.  Thus, it is literally the first place that a developer can interact with an APEX page…
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Thanks, ODC (Oracle Developer Community)!

I owe a lot of thanks to the ODC - which stands for Oracle Developer Community.  What is ODC?  You may remember it as OTN, or the Oracle Technology Network.  Same people, different name.  Why they changed it I can't say.  People just liked it better that way... (love that song)

In any case, what am I thankful for?  A lot.  To start, the tools that I use day in and day out: SQL Developer, ORDS, Oracle Data Modeler, SQLcl and - of course - APEX.  Without these tools, I'm likely on a completely different career path, perhaps even one that aligns more closely with my degree in television management.

While the tools are great, it's really the people that make up the community that make ODC stand out. From the folks who run ODC and the Oracle ACE program to the developers and product managers who are behind the awesome tools, the ODC community is one of, if not the greatest asset of being involved with Oracle's products.

If you have yet to get more involved with this communi…

Spaced Out

A while back, I wrote about how to give the Universal Theme a face lift.  If you follow the steps in that post, the base font for an APEX application with the Universal Theme can easily be changed.

While that's all well and good, sometimes you only want to change the font for a report, not the entire page.  One of the applications that I'm building contains a number of IRs based mostly on log data.  Thus, having that data in a monospaced font would make it a whole lot easier to read.

You can search Google Fonts for monospaced fonts by selecting only that option on the right-side menubar.  You can also opt for the standard yet kinda boring Courier and achieve the same thing.

To implement this in your application, follow the steps in my other post, but stop shy of the final step.  Instead of pasting in the text that I specify, paste in the following to the Custom CSS field in Theme Roller, using the name of the font you selected for the font-family:

.a-IRR-table tr td { font-fam…

Whose Deck is it Anyways?

This year at KScope, we're going to try something new.  And fun.  And funny to watch - we hope.  It's called "Whose Deck is it Anyways?", and will occur on Sunday at 8:30pm.  It's only 30 minutes, but it will likely be the best 30 minutes of the conference.  Or at least the most embarrassing.

Here's what we're going to do: the will be four 5-minute presentations - one on each of the following: BI, EPM, Database & APEX.

Sound interesting?  Probably not.  We get that, too.  So here's what we did.

Each 5-minute session will be presented by a non-expert.  For example, it's highly likely that I'll be presenting on BI or EPM.

To make it even better, each slide deck will be prepared by the corresponding expert.  So again, it's highly likely that my slide deck's creator will be either Stewart Bryson or Edward Roske.  If nothing else, this session will be a crash course in how not to make cohesive, easy to read slides.

Interested now?  Ya,…

#fakecode

Unless you've managed to somehow filter out everything about US politics over the last few months (and if you have, please let me know your secret), then you've likely heard about "fake news".  From a high level, my basic understanding of "fake news" is that it refers to stories or websites that are fabricated to advance the political beliefs and/or ideologies of one site or the other.  Your definition may differ.

So what is fake code?  That, I can at least try to explain in a bit more detail.

The other day, I saw this image posted on Kris Rice's twitter feed:



I thought it was a joke, but it's actually a real book. That made me laugh.  Then cry.  Then I read the book, mainly since it's only 4 pages.  Believe it or not,  there's actually some really good content packed in there.  Let me summarize:

If you choose to copy code from Stack Overflow, the OTN forum, or anywhere, really, there's a few things to keep in mind:


Who owns the code.  It…

Iceland, Iceland, Baby

Alright, stop!  Collaborate and listen!  Ok, I’ll be the one to take my own advice here and stop...Later this month, I’ll be heading to Reykjav√≠k, Iceland to deliver our 3-day training class “Developing Desktop APEX Applications”.  This class will be open to the public and costs about $2500 per student, so anyone is welcome to sign up. You’ll have to make your way to Iceland, of course.Here’s a brief overview of what we’re going to cover:This 3-day course is an introduction to developing web applications using Oracle Application Express, or simply APEX. The course starts out with an overview of data model of the application that student will build. It then transitions to the SQL Workshop portion of APEX, where basic database object management concepts are addressed.The bulk of the remainder of the class focuses on building an APEX application, starting with the core components that make up the foundation of the application. Students will then build several forms and reports, which all…

Taste of KScope 2017 Webinars

This Thursday, I’ll be participating in the Taste of KScope 2017 webinar series by presenting GET POST ORDS JSON: Web Services for APEX Decoded.  The webinar will begin at noon EDT on Thursday, March 16th.  The webinar is completely free, and you don’t need to be an ODTUG member to attend.Here’s a summary of the abstract:Web Services in the APEX world are becoming more and more popular.  However, there is still a lot of confusion as to what they are and how they could benefit the APEX developer.  After a review of the syntax and jargon associated with web services, this session will review and boil down web services to their basic components.  It will then demonstrate how APEX developers can start to use these powerful components - both to send and receive data from other sites.  Not only will I be presenting this session at KScope later this year, but I’ve also done it a few times already, so most of the kinks are (hopefully) worked out.You can register for the webinar here: https://…

Low

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about "low code" development platforms.  Even the Oracle APEX team has embraced this term (see https://apex.oracle.com/lowcode/ for details). This approach allows the "citizen developer" - someone without a traditional IT background - to build basic applications with little to no code. Platforms such as QuickBase, Appian, Mendix and even SalesForce.com have popup up, offering the promise to quickly build applications with little to no code.  Users from all walks of life can now build and deploy applications to some sort of cloud in just minutes!

But is it possible to build a truly useful application with little to no code?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  I suppose that all depends on what you want the application to do and what data it will use.  It probably also depends on the security of the application, and how easy it will be to integrate into a corporate identity management system behind a firewall.  It also probably depends on…