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ODTUG Webinar: APEX Team Development & Agile PM

Patrick Cimolini will be conducting a FREE webinar on Tuesday, November 16th at 3:00PM EST entitled "APEX Team Development and Agile Project Management" sponsored by ODTUG.Here's the abstract for the session:The release of Oracle Application Express (APEX) version 4.0 has brought the product to a high level of maturity. This maturity is clearly demonstrated by the addition of the Team Development module. Team Development captures features, to dos, milestones, and bugs. Feedback from all hands-on stakeholders (including end users) is captured by the Feedback feature that can be installed declaratively in one or two minutes. This Webinar briefly describes Team Development and shows how it can be configured to work successfully with an Agile Project Management methodology.If you haven't seen Patrick present at ODTUG before, then you can't miss this!  His knowledge of APEX is only surpassed by the wisdom that he has about project management in general.You can sign up…

New Oracle APEX Hashtag: #orclapex

I saw a Twittersation - or however you say Twitter + Conversation - between Martin D'Souza & Dan Mcghan about a potential new hashtag for Oracle APEX. This, in my opinion, has been a long time coming, since #apex will bring back anything from Oracle APEX to the upcoming APEX show in Las Vegas to Apex, NC to even a tattoo shop.Martin suggested #orapex, which could likely get spelled #oraapex or #orapex, and thus added to the confusion.  Dan then chimed in with #oralcle_apex, which I thought was a spot long and replied with #orclapex.I guess I won, because in the time it took to get my kids to bed, there was a blog post as well as other Tweetsin in multiple language, thus further justifying its logic!  And if it's on the Internet in not just one, but TWO places, then is HAS to be true!Thus, while the iron is hot, might I be so bold to propose a new hashtag for Oracle Aces: #orclace.  The current one - #aced - pulls back more high school kids proclaiming victory over a challe…

APEXposed 2010 Dallas Discounts

The APEXposed conferences are almost here!  Brussels will kick off first on October 28th and Dallas will follow shortly after that on November 10th & 11th.If you're on the fence about attending, then perhaps this will push you over:  If you sign up with the code APEX, you will get $150 off of the registration fee!  And one of the first ten people to use the code APEX will get a completely free registration!That's only $450 for ODTUG members and $500 for non-members.  Remember - not only will you get to see some of the top APEX experts in the industry, but you can also attend any session in the PL/SQL track - all for one price!  Hope to see you there.

Comment Moderation Enabled

Hate to do this, but I have to turn on comment moderation.  Too many spammers out there, trying to convince me that my blog is the best blog in the world!I'll still approve anything that's legitimate; just want to see if I can get a handle on the noise...

SQL Developer 3.0 EA Released

On the heels of the Oracle Data Modeler tool, SQL Developer 3.0 EA 1 was just released to the wild.  There's quite a number of new and/or enhanced features - most of which seem to be quite useful.  A complete list of the new features can be found here.My favorite thing so far?  It uses a fixed-width font in the data grids. It's the little things...However - a feature that is noticeably absent is the ability to automatically apply the APEX refactoring results.  It would be nice if that after it generated the corresponding packages, it could replace all of the PL/SQL with the stubs to call each procedure.  That would make refactoring truly useful, especially in environments with a lot of APEX applications that need to be better managed.

SQL Developer Data Modeler 3.0 EA

Oracle just announced the Early Adopter release of SQL Developer Data Modeler.  You can download it from here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/developer-tools/datamodeler/overview/index.htmlIn case you missed it, Oracle is now offering SQL Developer Data Modeler for free, which is a tremendous savings from the original price tag and great for the database developer community.As an added bonus, this release actually comes with an actual icon that when double-clicked, launches the application.  A far cry from having to hand-code your own script. :)

Ready for OpenWorld 2010

I can't believe that another year has gone by already!  It's time to head out to San Francisco and spend a week with 40,000 other Oracle developers, DBA, managers, vendors and all of the people who work hard behind the scenes to make it all happen!All of the Sumneva folks will be busy this year, too, as we have quite an aggressive presentation schedule.  You can have a look at it here - we did update some of the Unconference times & locations.From the sounds of all of the Oracle Ace Directors, it seems like there will be many interesting announcements over the next few days.And if you will be in San Francisco, don't forget about the APEX meetup on Tuesday evening.

A Better Method

Just posted a new Tip over on sumneva.com that deals with quickly creating a package that can manage all DML transactions against a table or tables.I came across this feature in the days of APEX 4.0 EA1.  I immediately thought that it was a new APEX 4.0 feature - until I checked 3.2, and it was there too.  Basically, this allows you to easily create a table API which can be used to replace the built-in APEX DML processes.Why would you do this?If you wanted to create a more secure architecture, you may want to have a tableless schema - thus, the built in processes will do you little good.  This API can live in a separate schema, and facilitate all DML calls used to manage your data.Since it's in a PL/SQL package, you can easily add additional security or data integrity checks before performing any of the DML transactions - another major reason to consider this approach.

Software. Hardware. Complete.

Looks like Mark Hurd's unemployment stint is coming to a close, as it was announced that he would be joining Oracle this past weekend.  He will be replacing Charles Philips, who has since resigned his position.  It seems that Phillips had been looking to leave for some time, but had decided to stay through the Sun acquisition.Sure, there was a lot of controversy surrounding his departure, but even HP itself concluded that it could find no hard evidence of wrongdoing.  And as for the falsified expense reports, I think that Larry Ellison summed it up quite simply when he said that no CEO fills out his own expense reports, so if there was fraud, it was done by someone else.All issues aside, this move seems to put Oracle on a path to go squarely after IBM, as no doubt that Hurd won't be the last ex-HP employee making the switch to Oracle in the next few months.   Hurd's experience in hardware is something that Oracle needed in order to parlay the Sun hardware acquired in the m…

Anonymous Pro

Anonymous Pro is a fixed-width font developed specifically for developers by Mark Simonson. Best of all - it's free under the Open Font License.From it's home page:  "Characters that could be mistaken for one another (O, 0, I, l, 1, etc.) have distinct shapes to make them easier to tell apart in the context of source code."I installed it on my Mac and set SQL Developer's default font to it, and the text is a little crisper than Courier, my previous default.Anyone else have a favorite "coding" font?

Standard Screen Design Patterns

Very cool article, outlining some common & simple screen design patterns - for both web and desktop applications.  Be sure to check out the 2010 Update as well.

I always tell students in our training classes that they should not try to re-invent the design patterns used in most applications - especially since they are database developers and not graphic designers.  Users have come to expect specific things to be in specific places - login/logout in the upper left/right, a site map of sorts at the bottom of each page, tabs for navigation, etc.  Deviating from that expectation will likely create more confusion than anything else, and should be avoided at all costs.

OOW Advice

Jeff Smith offers up some excellent advice for those traveling to OOW 2010.As a more-than-I-can-count-time attendee of OOW, here's a few additions to his list:Don't eat dinner anywhere near Moscone.  
Sure, it's easy, especially after a long day or sessions, but most of San Francisco's best restaurants are not adjacent to Moscone.  Head to North Beach or the Marina instead.Attend a session or sessions on something that you have never heard of.
You don't know what you don't know...Talk to strangers.
As Jeff said, this is one of the best places to network.  If you don't talk, then you may as well catch the sessions online.  No where else will there be as many people with similar technical interests than OOW.Don't jaywalk.  Seriously.
The SFPD was giving out jaywalking tickets around Moscone the last couple of years, and I know a couple people who were "lucky" enough to get them.  Not fun.Come early or leave late.  
Take a day to explore not just San…

Less is More

Spent a few minutes yesterday building my schedule for OOW.  Lots of sessions, and unfortunately, some of the good ones are already booked.  That didn't matter, as there were plenty more to choose from.There's not a whole lot of APEX sessions this year - or at least ones that I have not already seen.  Thus, I'm going to focus more on other database technologies, such as security & performance.  Lots of sessions under that category.My only gripe is that the Schedule Builder UI needs a major overhaul.  First off, you need a 30" monitor just to view all of the content on one screen - especially when you have the Advanced Search option enabled.   Also, I kept getting a "Search Timeout" error when I tried to search for sessions.  The only way to resolve this is to log out and log back in again.  Such basic functionality for a database conference should NEVER break, at least in my opinion...The Schedule Builder also tries to use a lot of Ajax-type controls; lo…

Programmatically Reset Interactive Reports

This one may be review - and is definitely not a new feature of APEX 4.0 - but it's something that I just stumbled upon.  If you pass in "RIR" to the Clear Cache parameter of an APEX page that contains an Interactive Report, it will programmatically reset the Interactive Report on that page - the same way as if the user selected the Reset option from the IR's menu.

Best of all, you can pass both a page and the RIR directive simply by separating them with a comma.  For example, to clear the cache and reset the Interactive Report on page 10, you would pass 10,RIR to the clear cache parameter.

APEX Discussed on Reddit

This thread (language NSFW) on Reddit discusses Oracle's decision to sue Google - and APEX gets some discussion about 2-3 pages down!
Unfortunately, most of the comments are just plain wrong.  I understand that people are entitled to their opinions, but when things are misstated, that's another issue entirely.  I think this is proof that most developers - Oracle and non-Oracle - simply don't know what APEX is and what it can & can't do.

Safari Extensions

For all of you Mac users out there, have a look at Safari Extensions.  I initially thought that these would be akin to Firefox Add-Ons.  However, they are a lot less and more at the same time.  Translation: they add bits & pieces of functionality that make your browsing experience better.

I started with the Google Reader extension.  Google does a lot of things well - UI, however, has not traditionally been one of them.  Apple is great at UI, but has no RSS reader aside from Mail - which doesn't sync with Google Reader.  The Google Reader extension marries the best of both worlds and provides an Apple-like UI right on top of Google Reader.

What was confusing to me at first was how to use this extension.  I struggled to look for a toolbar or menu entry.  Finally, I just navigated to reader.google.com, and there it was - a stunning new interface on top of Google's excellent RSS reader site.

Here's the before image:



And the after:


It's not a dramatic difference, but en…

Scott Spadafore

The Oracle community lost a good friend & colleague this past weekend.
Scott Spadafore was one of the most intelligent developers that I have ever met. I had the pleasure of working with him on the APEX team during my tenure at Oracle. His thoroughness and ability to see a problem from all angles was simply amazing.
He also liked to help people. A lot. Scott had 16,582 posts on the OTN Forum. That's one post a day EVERY day for almost 45 1/2 years. I'll say it again: 1 post a day for almost 45 1/2 years. Simply amazing!
I was often confused with Scott, only because the first 7 letters of our full names are the same. I'd always joke with him about how many e-mails that I'd have to forward to him, as someone thought that I was the one who helped them on the OTN Forums. He'd joke back that he never had to return the favor.
Scott will be missed dearly, and my thoughts are with his friend & family during this difficult time.
In an effort to consolidate com…

Get a Suite Deal at ODTUG

As Dimitri mentioned, one way to get a Suite at this year's ODTUG is to mention his (or my) name when you register.  Now, there's another way:  just create a 3-minute video on "Why You Need to Attend ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010".

Here's the details via the folks at ODTUG:

Make it funny…or Make it musical…or Make it informational…or Make it Rhyme…or…???. Use your imagination to create the catchiest video possible. Make sure to include the ODTUG Kaleidoscope logo.

To submit your video for consideration, send an e-mail to ODTUG with your name and YouTube video link.
Video Contest Guidelines: Video must be three minutes or less, contain no inappropriate content, and be posted publicly to YouTube by March 31, midnightEST. All videos must remain in public domain until after July 1st, 2010.  The winning video will be selected from among all the entries.  The judges’ decision will be final.  Judges may include members of the ODTUG Kaleidoscope Conference Committee and others. …

RMOUG & MAOP 2010

Talk about a busy week ahead... I'm about to head to the airport and hop a flight to Denver, CO, where I will be presenting Troubleshooting Oracle APEX at the RMOUG 2010 Training Days. If you're in the Denver area, it's not too late to register, but you have to do it on-site at the Colorado Convention Center.
Later this week on Friday, I will be presenting at MAOP 2010, which will be held in the Oracle Reston office. There, I will be presenting a shorter version of Troubleshooting Oracle APEX as well as Extreme Makeover: APEX Edition. MAOP only has a few slots left, so be sure to register soon to reserve yours soon.
Be sure to say hello if you're at either event.

Uploading XLS Files with APEX Listener EA2

Kris Rice just posted that the APEX Listener EA2 is available for download.

Quoting Kris on the new features:

New /listenerAdmin with real-time statisticsMechanism for logging DB RequestsCapability to upload .xls files into an APEX Collection
The last of these features interests me the most, as we get that request all of the time.  The de facto solution is to save your Excel data as CSV, then upload that.  Not very elegant.

So before even completing my first cup of coffee this morning, I decided to try it out.

Downloading the new listener was as snap, as was re-deploying the .war file.  Took no time at all, and I was up and running.

Next, I created a quick little application that simply had a File Browse item on the page and a button whose request value is set to 'XLS2COLLECTION', as per Kris's instructions.  I ran the application, located an XLS file, and clicked "Go".  Upon checking the session state for collections, the results were a little different than Kris…

Look, But Don't Touch

Joel Kallman had an interesting post about a customer who broke all of the rules and modified some constraints in the APEX_030200 schema.  In this case, there was a happy ending, as Joel went the extra mile to craft a custom patch to remedy the issue.  However, things don't always end up this way.

This reminds me of my early days with Oracle, when I used to work with the eBusiness Suite.  The first page of any documentation of the suite said something like this: "WARNING: Do not use SQL*Plus to modify any database object directly".  We used to laugh at this, as we used SQL*Plus & TOAD to modify these database objects several times a day, if not more frequently.

However, this was done on internal systems used to build demos.  If we messed something up - and boy did we ever - we could easily refresh the instance with little effort.

Fast-forward a few years to today:  FND & APPLSYS have been replaced by a single, much smaller schema called APEX_030200.  Despite thi…

Introducing Sumneva

Early this morning (and well before the iPad), we launched a new company called Sumneva.

Sumneva (sum-NEE-va) is the collaborative effort between Sumner Technologies and APEX Evangelists. Since we were basically doing the same things in different parts of the world, we unanimously agreed that we would be able to cover more ground together. Thus, Sumneva was formed!

We have a lot of exciting plans that we're going to be implementing - starting with the best kind - FREE! We're hosting APEX 4.0 preview web seminars, where we can show you what to expect in the much-anticipated APEX 4.0. We're also planning to have monthly "Ask the Experts" web seminars, where you'll get to interact with all four us of over a live conference call.

In addition to the new services we're offering, we've also combined our training curriculum and have a number of new additions in our course catalog to offer both publicly and privately.

Now that the iPad announcement is done, co…

ODTUG 2010 Registration Open

ODTUG 2010 promises to be the best ever, with close to 40 APEX sessions - many of which will focus on APEX 4.0!

There's also a lot of new & innovative ideas this year that have not been done in the past:
APEX Sunday Symposium
In the past, the Sunday Symposiums have been less technical and more business and case study focused.  Well, that all changes this year, as we have a lineup that can't be matched!  This year, we have invited some of the top names in the APEX community to team up and show you how to design, develop, deploy, tune, secure, beautify and translate an application - right before your eyes!  Also, for the first time, you can sign up just for the Sunday Session - which makes it nice if you're local to DC and can't get the full time off for the bulk of the conference.

APEX Plugin Workshop
Since APEX Plugins will dramatically change the way in which we build APEX Applications, we've decided to have a 1 1/2 hr session that focuses on this new amazing fe…