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Showing posts from August, 2010

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, 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…