Jul 8, 2010

My week at ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010

During the week of June 27 2010, I went to ODTUG Kaleidoscope in Washington DC.

This conference is THE conference to be at if you want to meet with technical people and get involved in the Oracle community, and more especially with the APEX community.

It was a pleasure to meet everyone again.

On Sunday, I was part of the APEX track during the Symposium. The whole day was about building an APEX application from A to Z.

Here is what we did :

  • Data Model - John Scott
  • Application Development - Dimitri Gielis
  • Dynamic Actions/Plug-ins - Dan McGhan
  • Tuning - Doug Gault
  • User Interface - Scott Spendolini
  • Printing - Dietmar Aust
  • Security - Anton Nielsen
  • Globalization - Francis Mignault  (Me)

I think that the prensentations went pretty well. We had a nice crowd of about 250 people. I got only good comments. I hope that we we were able to demonstrate that you can easily create applications collectively and that APEX covers all the aspects of web development.

For the rest of the week I attended many session on Oracle Application Express.

As you probably already know, Oracle Application Expres 4.0 is now officially released. So the week was mostly about new features in APEX 4.0 

I even did my first APEX Plug-in (more on that in another blog post).

Here are some of the things that I learned :

  • You can integrate Jasper reports with APEX.More on Dietmar Blog.
  • To Design you applications and do the functional specifications with the user, you can use Balsamiq instead of building a real application. This way, the user will concentrate on his requirements and not on APEX functionalities.

  • Attending Jonathan Lewis presentation about How to write efficient SQL, I learned a new way of tuning a SQL. You basically draw the tables and analyse the data, the indexes, the volume and the relation between the tables. Very interesting. I kinda already do it that way but this was a well defined and documented approach.

  • I saw the APEX Websheets in a different angle during the keynote by Joel Kallman and Mike Hichwa . I now see it more as a collaborative tool (like a Wiki) than an Easy Apex application builder for super users.

  • Martin D'Souza showed a new way of doing VPN without having to install VPN by using views and using USER_CONTEXT.
  • Patrick Wolf talked about Plug-ins and Dynamic Actions. Those two new features of APEX 4 are really impressive. With Plug-ins you can now build new items and new regions and reuse them in all you applications and even share them with the community. Dynamic Actions, are built-in AJAX controls that you can easily use in your application and there is even advanced dynamic actions !

  • Dan McGhan did a presentation on javascript for PL/SQL Developers. This presentation was very good and explained very clearly how we can "Query" the content of an HTML page.

  • Jason Straub talked about Restful webservices in APEX 4.0 and did a demo using APEX accessing AMAZON S3. 
  • I also attended a presentation on FORMS to APEX conversion. At the end of the day, if you want to convert from Forms to APEX, there is no magic solution. APEX has a tool that help you with the migration process but there is a lot of manual work to convert a Client Server application to a web application. Luckily APEX 4.0 have a lot of new features that will make APEX applications closer to Forms Applications. For example new tabular forms with in-line validations , Plug-ins and Dynamic Actions.
And so many other presentations about security, tuning, plug-ins, Application Lifecycles, JQuery, Google Visualizations plug-ins etc...

Overall , it was a great week and a very well Organized conference. I did learned a lot and had the chance to meet with the APEX community. We even had our second ODTUG Kaleidoscope Texas Hold'em Tournament , Thanks to Ron and Rick. ;) Before leaving, I also had the chance to visit the Smithsonian Zoo that was at a walking distance from the Hotel and saw two great Pandas.