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Get on Board the ARC

Yesterday, we launched the new APEX Resource Center - or ARC - on enkitec.com.  The ARC was designed to provide the APEX experts at Enkitec with an easy way to share all things APEX with the community.  It’s split up into a number of different sections, each of which I’ll describe here:What's New
The first page of the ARC will display content from all other sections, sorted by date from newest to oldest.  Thus, if you want to see what’s new, simply visit this page and have a look.  In the future, we’ll provide a way to be notified anytime anything new is added to any section.
Demonstrations
The Demonstrations section is perhaps the most interesting.  Here, our consultants have put together a number of mini-demonstrations using APEX and a number of other associated technologies.  Each demonstration has a working demo, as well as the steps used to create it.  Our plan is to keep adding new demonstrations on a weekly basis.
Events
The Events section is a copy of the Events calendar, but w…

Abstract Sumission Advice

Yesterday, I was part of the KScope 14 APEX Abstract Review call.  This call is used to discuss the rankings that the Abstract Review Committee has previously given each session.  Naturally, we use APEX to help with this process - specifically WebSheets.  The call allows us to ensure that the selections are as fair as possible.  We make sure that no single presenter has too many slots, ensure that there are enough first-timers vs. veteran presenters and keep the topics of the accepted abstracts balanced.  This process has been extremely useful in the past, and really makes for a much better conference.

In reviewing the abstracts, I could not help but keep mentally creating a do's and don't list when it comes time to submit an abstract.  While most of them were fairly decent, there were a few that were sub-par in relation to the others, and there were a couple that stood out.

Based on this, I've come up with an ad-hoc list of things to consider when submitting an abstract …

Multi-Colored SQL

My OCD was delighted this morning when I came across a new feature of SQL Developer: Connection Color.  Brace yourselves, as this feature ain't much, but could have a huge impact on reducing accidental commands in the wrong schema or server.

To use it, simply create or edit a database connection, and set the Connection Color to whichever color you choose:


Once set, any and all windows associated with that connection will be outlined in that color.  That's it!  I already gleefully went through my connection list and associated different colors with different types of connections.  For example, our development schemas got green:


While our production schemas got red:


Now, no matter what type of object I am editing, I will instantly know which schema it belongs to based on the color of the border.  Simple AND effective!

New APEX 4.2.3 Packaged Applications: Sample Reporting & Data Reporter

APEX 4.2.3 seems to be largely a maintenance release, with few new features added.  (Full details of what is included can be read here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/developer-tools/apex/application-express/apex-423-patch-set-notes-2015119.html)

Despite this fact, there are a couple of new "features" that were added by way of a new packaged applications called Sample Reporting and Data Reporter.  Let's take a look at Sample Reporting first.  Upon initial inspection, this application seems quite unremarkable and basic, as it simply contains a few IRs and standard reports.  However, after a closer look, it is obvious that there is more to this than what is on the surface.

Upon running the Sample Reporting application, you'll see the following main five options:


The first two - Interactive Report & Standard Report are nothing more than their titles imply, and I won't spend any more time discussing them in this post.  The last three, however, do merit some ad…

Working with the APEX Tree

I found a great blog post by Tom Petrus that summarizes the power of the APEX tree here: http://tpetrus.blogspot.be/2013/01/working-with-tree-in-apex.html

The post details a number of different attributes of the tree and how to interact with it.  It starts simple and shows how to get a tree reference and gradually gets more and more detailed, including how to search the tree and how to handle when a node is selected or even double clicked.

There's a working demonstration that goes with the post here: http://apex.oracle.com/pls/apex/f?p=54687:LOGIN

Many of the techniques and tips here have been invaluable to me in recent days as I work on a new project that heavily involves using trees.  Thanks, Tom!

Oracle APEX @ OOW

Looks like the Oracle APEX team's annual OOW site is live here:  http://apex.oracle.com/pls/apex/f?p=67165:1  This site provides a list of APEX-related sessions at OOW in both a calendar and list view. It is also mobile friendly, which will make it nice to have while at the conference itself.

But the big news is spelled out right on the home page:

The Oracle Technology Network (OTN) Application Express Developer Challenge Oracle Open World 2013 is designed to highlight how quick and easy it is to build a "mobile" solution using Oracle Application Express.
Prizes include Amazon Gift Cards for first, second, and third.  Participants will be required to build mobile pages (an application) utilizing Oracle Application Express in a free hosted development environment, http://apex.oracle.com.
When entering the challenge participants must provide a workspace on http://apex.oracle.com. At the completion of the challenge period, the participants will be locked out of the workspace …

New Book: Expert Oracle Application Express Security

I remember vividly meeting with Jonathan Gennick at RMOUG 2012 at the Apress booth.  As always, he asked if I was up for writing something APEX-related.  And as always, I politely declined, as I just had too much going on at the time.  However, before he let me leave the booth, he pledged that I didn't have to write something that was 800+ pages, and that a niche topic book that was "only" a couple hundred pages would work.  Time to reconsider.
Fast forward a year and change later, and finally, I'm happy to announce that Expert Oracle Application Express Security is now available for purchase (well, it has been for a while, and I'm just now getting around to posting this).  The book really did not take an entire year to write, but there were a couple of challenges that were thrown in along the way.  First of all, that night, we sat down with Enkitec and began discussion the acquisition plans.  So that was a bit of a distraction.  Also, I knew that at the time, A…

APEX 5.0 Impressions

I had the opportunity to sit through two APEX 5.0 presentations yesterday at APEXposed in Montreal - one by Joel Kallman, and the other by David Peake.

By far, the most anticipated feature is the new page layout UI.  This interface is designed to do two things: make arranging regions and items easier, and allowing for batch updating of common item attributes.  While the demonstrations were a bit rough and the UI is clearly not finished, this direction represents a lot of promise for APEX developers, as it is the one area that APEX has been lacking since day one.

Speaking of interfaces, there will be a new User Interface - Tablet - added to all applications.  This will help bridge the gap between Desktop and Phone-based browsers, should a developer feel the need to do so.

One of the smaller yet more impressive features was the ability to add CSS/JS files as a ZIP files.  The APEX listener will automatically unzip those files and even cooler - preserve the paths.  This way, you can ea…

ODTUG Sunday Symposium @ OpenWorld

Wow, it's been almost a year since I've blogged.  Guess that's what happens when you get busy!

In any case, if you're going to be at OpenWorld and use APEX, be sure to stop by and see the ODTUG APEX Symposium.  This year, we're going to focus on printing with APEX.  We have four different solutions lined up: PL/PDF, BI Publisher, Jasper Reports and the APEX Listener w/FOP.  Each presenter will be discussing the benefits of each solution from a cost, ease of use, integration and security perspective.  This will give the attendees an objective review of these printing solutions.  We'll conclude with a panel discussion summarizing all of the solutions together.

Here's the session details so that you can add it to your OpenWorld agendas:


Printing Options for Oracle Application Express: Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher [UGF10238] Sunday, Sep 22, 9:15 AM - 10:15 AM - Moscone West - 2005

Printing Options for Oracle Application Express: Jasper Reports [UGF10240…