Dec 21, 2009

APEX 4.0 Early Adopter

Joyeux Noël !

La version "Early Adopter" 4.0 de APEX est présentement disponible sur le Amazon Cloud.

Pour y avoir accès allez a :

Vous pouvez donc tout de suite avoir un avant gout de la version finale et essayer les nouvelles fonctionalités telle que les Tabular Forms , les items plug-in, les actions dynamiques (Mise en place de javascript sans avoir a coder).

Attention, certaines restrictions s'appliquent. Voir le blog de Joel Kallman.

Dec 1, 2009

Oracle OpenWorld 09 Pictures

Here are some pictures from Oracle Openworld 09.

I had a great time.

You can see some pictures about :

- San Francisco
- APEX 4.0
- Larry Ellison Keynote (With Arnold)
- Alcatraz in the cloud
- Golden Gate Bridge in the cloud
- Appreciation Event with Aerosmith

Apexposed 2009

Here are some pictures taken at APEXPOSED 09 .

We (Insum) were attending as an exhibitor and I also did two presentations:

One about APEX deployment strategies and the other one abour Software As A Service with APEX.

The nice thing about APEXPosed is that there were 3 tracks : Beginner, Advanced and Web 2.0. So I attended some sessions about web 2.0. Tim St-Hilaire and Doug Gault sessions were good sessions . They both explained step by step implementation of web 2.0 functionalities.

There was also a keynote from Mike Hichwa about the usage of APEX at Oracle and APEX 4.0. I learned that APEX was created on April 8 1999 :).

Nov 9, 2009


Ok, I know, I didn't had time to finish my posts about Openworld 09.

But , time goes so fast ...

Now I am at ODTUG Apexposed in Atlanta and I will be presenting tomorrow and wednesday.

I will "try" to keep my posts short but informative.

And don't worry, I will someday, soon, find some time to finish my posts about OOW 09 with some pictures...

Oct 12, 2009

OOW09 - Day1

I arrived in San Francisco on Saturday night. The night was short and as always , it is hard to get some good sleep when you are not home.

Anyway, on Sunday, despite the small jet lag and ther fact that I had almost no sleep, I attended some interesting sessions.

I attended Tom Kyte's keynote. As usual, very good presentation. He talked about what sometimes seemed as a small change resquest could be very complex. All the different teams (UI, DBA, Developers, etc) have to work together and be involved when new changes have to be done.

After that I had to run to Moscone West (15 minute walk) to attend the APEX ODTUG symposium. It was great to meet and see everyone from the comunity again.

I attended also a presentation on converting ACCESS to APEX.

I find that there are more and more people interested in APEX. I mean, after more then 5 years, the product is gaining some real maturity and keeps improving.

I ran back to the Hilton to the APEX 4.0 Session. It is the third time that I see a presentation on 4.0 and everytime, there are new nie features added. Now, in addition to tabular forms, websheets, declarative ajax and item plugins, there is a new team development section. You can now follow bugs, todo's etc. You can eve ask for feedback from your users directly from your application. Very nice new feature.

I will post some pictures of the slide later.

David did a quick demo of 4.0 and it looks like we are getting closer to a beta version. I just can't wait to get my hands on it :)

Ran back to Moscone to the APEX ask the expert panel. Again, some interesting discussions with the APEX team.

Today, more apex sessions and some hands on sessions.

As for the temperature in SFO, well, this year is colder than last year and I heard something about a storm tomorrow. We'll see. Hopefully, the sun should be back on wednesday in time for the appreciation event and the Aerosmith show.

Oct 8, 2009

OOW 09

Time goes fast ... Already Openworld 09.

Just a quick post to say that I will be there again this year and I will attend most of the APEX presentations.

I also plan to give a presentation at the UnConference on wednesday morning about SAAS with APEX.

Like I usually do, I will keep this blog updated during the week with APEX and other Oracle related stuff that I will have the chance to see during my visit in San Francisco.

Sep 28, 2009

Michael Hichwa nominated for the Innovation Showcase

I would like to congratulate Michael Hichwa for being nominated for the Innovation Showcase because of Application Express !

I am sure that he will win since APEX is really an innovation. You have my vote.

Read more here :

Sep 18, 2009

APEX Web Conference - Converting Access to APEX - Take 2

The webconference has been moved to wednesday September 23rd.
So , you still have a chance to attend. To register, contact Marc Côté via e-mail at info @ insum . ca

The presentation is an overview of APEX and explains why and how to migrate an MS Access application to Oracle Application Express.

Sep 11, 2009

APEX Web Conference - Converting Access to APEX

Converting Ms Access Applications

To Oracle Application Express (Apex)


11 to noon ET
September 16, 2009

Microsoft Access might look suitable for a departmental application but for IT managers it is like a time bomb. Eventually, the super user that put it in place and manage it will leave your organization, or the data will suddenly be deemed sensitive, or a web interface will be needed or the application will need to grow to a larger number of users.

Oracle Application Express (APEX) presents an incredible alternative to MS Access with the added advantage of a 100% browser based environment where users are able to access their applications from any PC, and from any location together with the performance, security and scalability inherent to the Oracle database.



Insum Solutions is solely dedicated to Oracle Application Express. Since 2002, we are a one stop shop for customers across North America looking to create new applications or to migrate existing applications to APEX.

Building on real life customer applications, Insum Solutions has experienced the MS Access to APEX conversion process and is in a unique position to present and discuss the numerous benefits achieved by its customers who have gone that route and the best practices that help ensure a successful conversion project.

· Introduction to Oracle Application Express (APEX)


· The steps to a successful migration

· Questions and Answers

Target Audience
IT Executives, VP Application development, Corporate Architecture & Project manager
Across all spectrum of the industry

Dates and Location
Wednesday, September 16, 11am ET

Leverage Insum Solutions experts to ensure a successful Access to APEX migration on your first attempt!

Jul 20, 2009

Oracle Application Express 4.0

The presentation that Mike Hichwa gave at ODTUG Kaleidoscope 09 about APEX 4.0 is available here.

It explains all the nice new features of the next release of Oracle Application Express.

Jun 30, 2009

ODTUG 09 - Day 2,3,4

I had to wait to get back home to post about ODTUG Kaleidoscope. Network connections were kinda hard to get and I was so busy attending conferences and networking with everyone.

So Here is the resume of the rest of my week at Kaleidoscope ODTUG 09 :

Day 2 - Monday

I tried to attend Tom Kyte's session but , it was full. Tom is very popular.

I attented Scott Spadafore session on APEX security essantials. He explained in details how we can prevent cross site scripting and were APEX has built-in filtering. He also talked about Session State Protection, session state protection and non-persistent password item types. I will have to read my notes and implement some of those security features.

The same day, Mike Hichwa presented APEX 4.0. All I can say is, wow. Tons of new features. Some of them I heard for the first time like built-in feature for REST Web Services. Also, the item plugin feature looks very promising as the comunity will be able to create new item types and share them.

I think that 4.0 will be an important step especially for those who are migrating from forms. The client side will be more rich since you will be able do implement AJAX declaratively (Dynamic Actions).

The APEX Meet-up was on monday night. This meet-up was the biggest by far. I counted 40 people. It is always fun the meet with old and new APEXcionados. The discussions always comes back to how cool this tool is and how the APEX community is great.

Day 3 - Tuesday

Attended Tom Kyte's session Database worst practices. This time I was early. Like always, his presentation are very good and right to the point.

Dietmar Aust presented Jasper reports integration with APEX. He showed how we can design very nice reports using a WYSIWYG editor. You have to install an appserver like tomcat and you can create reports using iReport. This is another thing that I have to try. We are currently using PL/PDF which is very good, but if you want something were it is easier to design, Jasper seems like a good alternative.

Dietmar mentioned that he would offer the integration kit for jasper reports for free. So keep an eye on his blog.

Roel Hartman session on how to integrate APEX and Oracle Forms was also very interesting. Roel showed us how he integrated a real form in an APEX page using iframes. He also explained how he got APEX and forms to communicate together. I think that this method could be useful if you are partially converting a FORMS application to APEX and if you had shared canevas between the OLD application and the new APEX application.

Brian Spendolini explained how we can build an APEX application on the iphone. Again, another thing that I have to try. Very interesting.

Tuesday evening , we had a great "Meet the Oracle Ace Reception". And also, I had a super great time playing Texas Hold'em with friends.

Day 4 - Wednesday (Quebec National Holiday june 24)

I attended the following sessions :

"Intelligent Data Exploration with APEX and OLAP" by Marty Gubar. He showed how to create drilled down reports on Oracle OLAP Cubes. Another good utility of APEX.

"Effectively Manageing an APEX instance using Resource Manager" by Joel Kallman. He explained how to create and maintain consumer groups to avoid having long running cpu intensive processes impacting the database. This is a very nice feature of the Enterprise Edition.

Then, it was my turn. gulp !
I talked about our Software As A Service and how we serve multiple companies with the exact same application. I showed some of the techniques that we use for having different looks and menus. So hopefully people learned something.

Day 5 - Thursday

Well, this was the last day. I was surprised to see how many people attended the last sessions.

I saw Patrick Cimolini "Developing a Rules and Guidelines document for APEX" session. For people like me that are more involved on the administrative side, this session was very interesting. He explained how they created development guidelines, standards and rules to have a team of developpers working on projects and delivering these projects on time and on budget. Basically, sometimes, you have to let go some of the cool stuff to be able to deliver on time.

Josh Millinger session "10 Easy ways to develop faster and more professionnaly with APEX" was also very popular. Lot of great tips to be more productive while developing with APEX. On of my favorite is : Don't try to re-invent the wheel. There are so many built-in features, especially for AJAX and Javascript.

So this is it. Now I have to get back to work.

It was nice to meet with everyone again. I had a lot of fun with other Canadians (Canapeans) fellows from Cognera in Calgary and with people from all around the world. Hopefully, we will have the chance to meet again at Oracle OpenWorld.

Jun 22, 2009

ODTUG 09 - Day 1

On Sunday , it was the symposium Day !

It started with an APEX keynote from Joel Kallman. If you ever get the chance to see this presentation , don't miss it.

Joel was dead on with his talk about APEX being ahead of the curve. He showed some screenshots of FLOW (the ancester of Marvel, HTMLDB and finally APEX). In some degree , it was not so different than the current version. Sure, there are more features now but at that time you could already develop pages with wizards with only a browser and an Oracle database.

He made a parallel with the president Obama saying that like APEX , a couple of years ago, they both were
- Virtually Unknown
- Underestimated
- had "Grass root support"

He also talked about the SAAS (Software As A Service) and PAAS (Platform As A Service) approach of Oracle Application Express.

The community of APEX is also growing and growing. Here are some stats that Joel showed us :
  • Apex.Oracle.Com : 6.8M Pagesviews / week , 12k workspaces, 350/week
  • Apex Forum : 4.1M views, 45k threads, #3 on OTN
  • 55 Blogs, 5 Books, 12 Hosting Partners, 80 consulting companies


The rest of the day was mostly customer stories. It was very interesting. Here are some stuff that I remember in no particular order :

The LAMP acronym is oftenly used for : Linux Apache MySQL PHP
Now there is the LAOS acronym for : Linux APEX OracleXE SQLDeveloper

Here is a Quote that I liked : "Customers want Holes , Not Drills ! " i.e. give the customer what they want , they don't really care about the technology used to do it. For example, do you care what google use for Gmail ? As long as you have access to your mail.

One presenter explained that by switching to the web, they made significant cost saving because they saved on training, it was less complex, easier to upgrade or add features, there was less keys used by using more on-mouse stuff so the clerks were more effective in their work.

David Peake anounced an APEX development competition. The contest ends in August and the winners will win a free pass for Oracle Openworld or a copy of John Scott APEX Book.

Today, there us going to have some more interesting sessions and one that is really expected is the APEX 4.0 session from Mike Hichwa. I will keep you posted.

Jun 21, 2009

ODTUG 09 - Day 0

We arrived on Friday evening after a long day of waiting and flying.

On Saturday, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was very nice. We saw otters, sea horses and of course a lot of different kinf of fishes.

We saw the feeding show that you can also see on a web cam from home.

It was fun to see Roel , John and Monty again. I am looking forward to meet old friends and make some new friends this week at ODTUG Kaleidoscope. I heard that there will be about 700 people coming to the conference.

There is a twitter account for ODTUG if you want to follow what is going on. You can also filter on the #ODTUG tag. I think that this is a good idea for an event like this one.

I will try to post during the week. Especially after my session on wednesday (13:30 S243).

So, now, time for breakfast and the APEX Symposium.

Jun 5, 2009

ORA*GEC golf tournament

Ok for those of you that thought we were always all about bits and bytes and APEX geeks, well you were wrong and here is to prove it.

On june 2nd it was the ORA*GEC golf tournament in Montreal and our team shined (more than the sun itself on that windy day !!!).

On this picture from left to right: Michel St-Amour Insum President, Patrick Bonneville VP Development, Patrick Bélanger Product Development Manager and crouched on her putter, Brigitte Lafond Senior consultant (and the best golfer of the four !!!).

We didn’t only register a competitive team we also sponsored a hole for the benefit of the ORA*GEC community (90 players).

On the 17th hole each participant received a travel bag embroiled with the Insum logo. They also were invited to participate in a contest. In order to register for the draw of a 1TB external hard drive each foursome needed to beat our Business Development Manager (Marc Cote on the picture with Brigitte) by placing one of their 4 balls closer to the pin than Marc’s ball.

Not too many did !!! Which prompted some good laughs about such a marketing scheme where the objective is to beat your customer or prospect on the golf course !!

All our happy golfers are now back to work as June is warming up for us in more ways than none.

Thanks to Marc Côté, director business development, for this resume.

May 28, 2009

Forms to APEX Workshop follow-up

On May 20th Insum Solutions hosted an APEX seminar followed by a workshop on How to migrate Oracle Forms to Oracle APEX using the migration engine. The session took place in Oracle’s office in Montreal (participants were spoiled with a great breakfast and lunch generously offered by Oracle).

For the most part, participants (15) were business analysts and DBA from the public/parapublic sector. Some of them were coming from organizations where APEX was actively used to develop new applications. Some were new to APEX altogether.

Serge Tremblay, Oracle Solutions Specialist for Oracle Technologies kickoff the session and delivered a strong presentation on the positioning of APEX within the overall offering of Oracle development platform. In short he insisted that APEX had all the horsepower required to deliver enterprise scale applications. Also along this line Serge explained how an APEX application could be deployed in a fail proof environment . Insisting on the fact that APEX cost efficient deployment option is not a limitation and should not be marked as a disadvantage. If more robustness is required than all the options are there to put in place a application that could provide high availability in a 24/7 capability.

Michel St-amour, Insum president, followed Serge on the podium and provide answers to : Why migrate, How to evaluate and manage a migration project. Insisting on this last concept – Migrating from Oracle Forms to APEX must be considered a project and managed as such (although there is a migration engine).

After a networking lunch, we changed gears and started the workshop session. Participants were instructed to log on our server to download the required files and to connect to Insum APEX training application. The whole afternoon went very smoothly. The session was led by Brigitte Lafond, Senior consultant at Insum. Brigitte is also the one who had crafted an exhaustive document (65 pages !) to help guide the users step by step on how to proceed. To ensure everyone had the proper attention on this first delivery of our migration workshop, we also had Eric Boissonnault, another consultant at Insum, in the room to help Brigitte answer participants questions.

At 3:30 we wrapped things up with the participants. General comments were that the session was quite helpful, instructive and provided a good eye opener on the possibilities of both APEX and the migration engine. Also re-confirmed by all was that migrating from Oracle Forms to APEX must be managed as a project (no magic button) and a first project should always be led by experienced consultant ( which was music to our hears)

To make sure Oracle Enterprise customers could have a chance to participate in a similar session, we have agreed with Oracle Montreal office representatives to hold a similar session in the September timeframe.

Thanks to Marc Côté, director business development, for this resume.

May 11, 2009

Collaborate 09 - Wrap up

Here is a resume of the rest of my week at Collaborate 09 in Orlando :

On wednesday, I attended a session on new 11g Features by Rich Niemic of TUSC.

When we were waiting for people to come in , he showed us this clip from youtube that I think is very funny :

He talked about some new features of 11G that can help reduce your work and give better services to your customers. (Everything is Amazing and nobody is Happy). It is surprising how many new features there are in 11G. I realized that I should read more about them and experiment to see how I could use them.

I also attended John Scott's presentation on Dispelling Myths about APEX. I already saw this presentation at Open World '08 and it is a good one. John talked about all the famous myths that we keep earing on APEX and explains why they are Myths. The one that I ear quite often is that APEX was build from WEBDB. Wich is not true at all. APEX is not WEBDB and does not even share code. And there are a lot of myths. This is a must see APEX presentation.

On wednesday night, we had (IOUG Attendees) exclusive access to Universal Island of Adventure. It was cool. Plenty of food and access to all the rides. I did the "Dueling Dragons" and I think that it is the best roller coaster I ever been on.

On thursday morning it was my turn. On the last day , the morning after the big Party. Still, I got a good audience and I think that it went great. At least, nobody fell asleep or left the room in the middle of my presentation :) I talked about building one application for multiple customers. I show how we dynamically generate different looks and menus at each page views. I got some good questions from the audience. You can see Dimitri's review of my presentation on his blog.
I think that I show a new way on how APEX can be used. The fact that APEX generates every pages at each pageviews makes APEX a perfect choice for a multi-tenant SAAS.

Right after my presentation, there was Dimitri's What happens on an APEX Page?. He showed the options available from the selectlist "View" on an APEX page. Sometimes, it is worth the time exploring those "not so obvious" options. They can be very useful. Again, very good presentation from Dimitri.

Well, that was it for Orlando and Collaborate 09.

Next conference : ODTUG Kaleidoscope in june.

Oracle Application Express Master

Just saw this video from Jeff Erikson on his Tech Spectator blog.

It is about APEX. Very funny.

Also check out his blog , you will find another good video about Oracle Application Express

Have fun !

May 6, 2009

Collaborate 09 - Peabody Ducks

You probably are asking yourself why I am talking about Ducks in the title of this post. Well, you'll see.

During the last two days, I attended some interesting sessions at Orlando for IOUG Collaborate 09.

There was one session by Tony Jedlinsky about Amazon EC2 Cloud computing. His presentation was well done and showed a step by step setup of an APEX installation on the Amazon Cloud. Very interesting and good pointers.

I also saw David Peake's Forms to APEX conversion. I already saw this presentation a couple of times but now that APEX 3.2 is available, there was a bit more details than the last one I saw. You can see an overview of the Forms conversion on OTN.

Another good presentation was the overview of the SQLDeveloper datamodeling tool by Sue Harper.

But one of the most intriguing one was the APEX Architechture Review by Paul Dorsey. Intriguing in the sense that it was kind of hard to understand the overall message that he was trying to pass to the audience. Was it that there was some flaws to APEX or that APEX was a good tool or that ADF was too complex ?

But, however, I think that it was an interesting presentation in the sense that it added new arguments to debate about. From my opinion, it showed a perspective from the type of APEX user that does not have the time , or the chance, to go in more depth with APEX and base their evaluation of the product on what they first see. I find that this is the beauty of the tool in a way. You can quickly create functional applications but after you can customize about almost anything. And this takes a bit of time and programming efforts.

You can find more details and more discussions about Paul Dorsey's presentation on Dimitri's Blog.

One thing that disapointed me at Collaborate is that there was at least three APEX sessions that were canceled. I hope that these presentations will be at ODTUG Kaleidoscope.

Now about the Ducks :

I am staying at the Peabody hotel, and beleive it or not, there is a Duck parade every day.

It was very funny to see this ritual with the music and the Crimson-and-gold- braid-jacketed Duck Master...

This made my day ! :)

May 1, 2009

New Blog for Insum Solutions.

I would like to welcome Michel St-Amour to the blogging community.

This is our new corporate blog.

Michel will talk about Insum and the Oracle Application Express market in general.
It will be interesting to have a view on APEX other than technical.

Since his blog is targeted to our local community in Montreal, it will be in French.
If I see something that will be of interest to others, I will be more than happy to translate it and post it here.

Apr 27, 2009

IOUG - Collaborate 09

This week , I am in preparation of the IOUG Collaborate 09 in Orlando.

I will be presenting on how to build a SAAS (Software As A Service) with APEX.

I can't wait to share some of our technical tips on generating web pages dynamically wit Oracle Application Express.

I will be showing how we manage to have more than 20 differents companies using the exact same application and having different looks and contents.

There will be other APEX conferences and I hope that I will be able to attend all of them.

It will be fun to meet with everyone from the APEX community again.

It is my first time at Collaborate, so I don't know what it is going to be like. It is a big convention with over 7000 people attending. It should be fun and a good networking event.

My presentation is on thursday , may 7 at 8:30.

I will keep you posted on how it went and I am also planning on blogging in more details on some of my presentation content.

So, See you in Florida, Oralando !

Apr 20, 2009

Forms to APEX Conversion Workshop

Insum will be hosting a Forms to APEX conversion workshop on May 20th in Montreal.

This session will be in French, so the rest of this post will be in French.

Le mercredi 20 mai prochain, en collaboration avec Oracle, nous allons tenir un atelier sur la conversion d'applications Oracle Forms vers Oracle Application Express.

L’objectif de cet atelier est de démontrer comment fonctionne la migration d’un écran d’Oracle Forms vers APEX. On y soulignera les différences entre les deux technologies et on démontrera les avantages de choisir APEX comme outil de développement.

Voici les détails :

Mercredi 20 mai 2009

De 8 h 30 à 16 h 00

600 boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest Suite 1910 , Montréal (Québec) H3A 3J2 - Oracle Montréal.

Pour réserver, veuillez envoyer un courriel à Nina Di Nunzio à l’adresse

Vous trouverez plus d'information sur notre site web :

Mar 13, 2009

ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2009 - APEX

This year , I will be presenting at ODTUG Kaleidoscope. I will be talking about : How to Build a Multi-tenant SaaS Application with Oracle Application Express.

It's my third ODTUG (First time as a speaker), and all I can say is that if you are looking for technical information about APEX and if you want to meet with the Oracle APEX community, this IS THE place.

There are 33 sessions on Oracle Application Express.

There are also other interesting sessions on different Oracle technologies.


42 hours of technical education
38 technical sessions
33 APEX sessions
31 technical experts presenting
6 hands on training classes
1 full-day in-depth Symposium

Visit for more registration and more information

If you have the choice of only one conference to attend this year, I would recommend this one.

Mar 2, 2009

New release of Oracle Application Express - Apex 3.2

The new release of Oracle Application Express 3.2 is now available for download on

This new release includes the Oracle Forms to Apex conversion tool but also new security features.

There is also a new look to the page.

Congrats to the Apex Team ! I just can't wait for Apex 4.0 ;)
Keep up the good work.

Feb 19, 2009

Forms Conversion

I tought that I should blog about what is going on since I did not had time to blog since the beginning of the year.

In January, we started a Forms Conversion to Apex proof of concept project. One of our customer is looking for an alternative to forms 4.5 and gave us the opportunity to produce some metrics on converting to Apex.

Luckily, we were also part of the Apex 3.2 Beta testing.

Our customer gave us a sample of forms modules and we converted them in APEX.

Here is a resume of our approach :

1- convert form module to 10g
2- convert the module to XML
3- Load the XML in APEX
4- Use the Apex Migration utility to identify and analyze the modules (especially the triggers)
5- manually convert the triggers in PL/SQL and Javascript

In a period of one to two weeks, we were able to convert most of the forms including security and menus.

There are some things that you should be aware of when converting to Apex from forms :

1- It is not an automated process i.e. the conversion is not done automatically for you
2- You have to know Forms to be able to read and analyze the code
3- Triggers can be hard to convert especially when it is old sql coding.
4- Some forms fonctionality have to be reproduced differently in a web environment. EX: Master/detail/detail , key-dup-rec, when-validate-item etc...

So, we think that Apex can be used to replace Forms without any problems. For sure, end users have to be trained to learn the new ways of using their system. But , all in all, using a web system these days is more intuitive than understanding Enter-Query and Execute-Query :)

I think that Apex 4.0 will also help for converting since Apex tabular forms and client side validations (Javascript/Ajax) will be part of this release and those two things are widely used in Forms.

If you want to try the Apex3.2 Migration tool, you can on Apex.Oracle.Com