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.