Well within a couple hours why to do an early beta ,at least to me, is apparent, obviously I left something in that makes the javascript fail , in some cases, in Internet Explorer, no I didn't do it on purpose , though given my well known annoyance of all things IE maybe I did it subconsciously.

Have no fear this will be fixed, in fact it's not to far a stretch to say that it will be my #1 priority for the next build.

Another thing that came up was the new themes, just so you do know I/we do much of theme development after main APEX development is done because themes have don't have a translation or functional impact.

Theme 20 is fairly complete and please test, but as people have rightfully pointed out it is theme 19 is just a copy of theme 17. When done theme 19 will be a generic (very lightweight) mobile theme , we did bounce around building a iPhone theme but the design requirements for that are very specific to the iPhone so wouldn't be as useful for people with other mobile devices, like me.

Not to say you won't see a iPhone theme, I happen to know a guy that has one almost done and will make available to download, after 3.1 is released, but we won't ship it in 3.1.

Anyway keep testing and commenting the more things you can find and/or ask for the more things we can fix and/or enhance.

APEX 3.1 evaluation is live!

It's that time again, we need your help to make APEX the best possible product it can be. You can register here to get your own brand new shiny workspace with that new version smell.

Please make sure to enter any issues you find in the feedback application, this is a very early beta so make sure to read through the known issues there before posting. I personally know I have features I am responsible for, that while stable are not done yet.

But what we really want for people to focus on, at least till the next build is the new Interactive Reports. We'd like suggestions , wishlists , bug reports, and feedback both good and bad so we can get this feature working the best it can.

I personally would like some feedback on theme 20 as it is made to mimic the look and feel of some of the new Fusion Applications.

Anyway have at it and and let us know what you think.

Killing the APEX myth!

So as soon as I got home from OOW I saw Beowulf in 3D IMAX and it was amazing! Don't take the kids because it's not a kid movie. If you have the chance see it, see it on the biggest screen you can in 3D, it will never look the same even in the biggest home theater.

So what does this have to do with APEX?

Well it was a good hook for this posting, which it is time to kill a certain myth about Application Express once and for all.

What is that?

It is the myth that APEX cannot scale to support large number of users and/or large applications. It always seems to come up and people seem to ignore that sites like metalink.oracle.com , asktom.oracle.com , Oracle's internal employee directory, and apex.oracle.com (with thousands of workspaces and who knows how many users/developers) , among others support huge numbers of people everyday without a hitch.

Why is that?

Maybe it's the fact that there isn't performance problems that make it easy to disregard how well it does perform. Or maybe it's because with APEX you don't have to throw a bunch of hardware at your performance problem you usually just have to tune your SQL or make use of database features a bit better, who knows.

How can I help do this?

Well you contact david.peake@oracle.com http://dpeake.blogspot.com/ our PM and give him your story about your awesome APEX application that supports large numbers of people. He is putting together some collateral that will definitively (hopefully) inform people once and for all about this.

You can work out with David exactly how you want to be mentioned, it can be in a generic form or you can be specific about your application and your company it's up to you, but please help out if possible , this has been brought up for years and it's just plain misinformation at this point and very annoying.

Oh and see that movie it is really good.

EDIT: David just blogged about the stats for apex.oracle.com as you can see those aren't small numbers.

Programmer Type's



An Expert's Guide to Oracle Technology

EDIT : I was just told by a reliable source that I am a Ninja Cowboy Paratrooper that goes to battle clutching a favorite giant robot toy.

OOW Recap (part 2)

This is a very long post but I just wanted to get it out of the way, so enjoy, there isn't much technical here so if that's what you want you can probably skip this posting.


Demo Floor time!

This by far is my favorite part of the OOW. Some people like the sessions, some people like the keynotes, I like working the demo booth, not only do I get to meet people that are already using the APEX but I also get to try and sell interested people on it as well, it's a bit easier than some other Oracle products since the price (free) fits any budget.

So how can I tell that a person might be interested in APEX?

Well there is two ways

  1. The person is clustered around one of the two pods waiting for a demo.

  2. Or if there isn't crowd around one of the demo pods and you slow down by my booth and you look at the sign, even with that confused look of "Oh this isn't what I'm looking for". Yup that's it that's all it takes, your mine. I'll grab you and give you at least the 30 second demo, which leads into a 5 minute demo, and then to a years and years of APEX development.

Truthfully usually though I only had to go with option 1 as there was almost always a crowd.

Past the regular demo booth salesman role, it was really nice meeting the people that read my blog, or I've helped from the forums or have used my sample application. I even had some people want to take their picture with me, I don't take a good picture my smile is always messed up, but I'll tell you this it sure is good for the ego, like I need help with that.

So after a full day at the demo booth I head back to the hotel to work on my session a bit and then go out for the APEX meetup at 4th Street Bar and Grill. Long story short on that it was very cool, the place was crowded and in the beginning it was tough finding a place to stand and talk but after awhile it all came together and we took over the back area and made it ours till we left for dinner. Not everybody went to the dinner but most of our team was there with some of our foremost APEX developers/users/cheerleaders and had a pretty good Mediterranean meal, the dessert and after meal coffee left a little to be desired , well actually they weren't there as I think they wanted us to leave.

At that point I left to work on my session since the nervousness was finally kicking in.


Session day! That's right I finally get to show the stuff I've rewritten 5-6 times and went through different practice runs with various people (thanks sis).

Now here's the big secret. I've never done this before, not just I have never done a session at OOW I have never done a session anywhere, it's just never been in my job description, and I wanted to do something different for a change which is why I signed up.

So full of youthful energy and vigour I marched right up to the speaker lounge with it's well stocked coffee stand and computers for emailing and tables for sitting and ask the person running it ...

Where the test projector was so I can test my laptop out?
We don't have a test projector here.
Uhhh do one of the other speaker lounges have a test projector?
Uh ok, I guess I should be fine.

As a side note I am going to be sending some emails to the people that run these things because there needs to be at least one test projector at this event, or any event like this, and truthfully there should be one in every speaker lounge, it just makes sense, per the fact that I just expected it to be there.

So with slightly less youthful energy and vigour I march right up to the where I'm going to be giving my presentation wait for my turn and then go to the front plug in my computer and watch as my computer and the projector have a slow fight to the death.

I posted about the result here and don't need to revisit, suffice to say I'm not very nervous about doing session's anymore since there is 'almost' no way anything else could have gone wrong.


Morning = demo grounds (see above)

And my Unconference at 2pm, it seemed kinda easy getting my 2pm timeslot, in fact most of the 2pms timeslots were empty when I signed up because I guess I was running up against some tough competition

But it was really well attended I think every seat was full since there was people standing up and I was able to give my Debugging Apex + AJAX with Firebug and some advanced AJAX usage and finally some 3.1 previews both the fancy prebuilt stuff and the building blocks of that.

I will be doing a vidcast/viewlet of the debugging part since I really feel that it was the most important thing I showed and it will be very useful for everybody.

After that I sat around with Joel , Patrick and Dietmar and watched them demo their stuff.

Patrick demoed his APEX builder plugin and has now officially caused me and the rest of the team more work as we want to build some of those features into the product, thanks man ;).

And then Dietmar went through the demo of what he is showing at DOAG and all I can say is do yourself a favour and if you can check it out it was absolutely one of the most impressive things I've seen especially when given the time constraints he was under.

Finished up the at the demo grounds, then went and saw some random bands with about 25,000 other people and had alot of fun.


Woke up to a surprise, I lost my voice the night before and had to demo for a bit without being able to talk.

After about 10 throat lozenges and some water it did come back enough that I wasn't totally mute but it hurt and people were very understanding so it all worked out. I finally made a session and was able to see Dimitri's Advanced PDF with BI Publisher session and it was very cool, I usually render my PDF with handbuilt XSLT but after watching how easy it is to do it using BI Publisher I definitely need to give it a second look.


I decided to stay in the the city for one more day just to walk around and see how things have changed. I was supposed to meet up with some friends but that fell through so I ended up being tour guide for John and Dimitri which was fun, I went to San Francisco State University and at one time took a "Walking San Francisco" class and have all sorts of random knowledge , you do not want to play me Trivia Pursuit trust me, on the city plus what my years there have taught me so I was able to give a different type of tour.

We ended up at Vesuvio for awhile to have a couple beers and then when the time was right to my favorite restaurant in the world House of Nanking.

All I can say is you need to know what your getting into when you go there, there are rules you have to follow or things can quickly spiral out of control, but if you follow those rules, "Don't move the table Dimitri!!!" everything flows smoothly and you have the best meal ever.

During the meal I felt the need to send some family and friends pictures of the food I was eating and within a minute getting replies. I don't think even one of them can be reprinted in the family friendly blog. But it puts a smile on my face knowing that I had Nanking and they didn't that's right I said it I don't even feel bad.

After that it was back to the hotel to the airport and back home to lay low for a couple days.

And that's it for OOW till next year.

Sorry about the long post I can it won't happen for another year at least ;)

OOW Recap (part 1)

Well here we go one of a couple posts describing my OOW experience, I apologize if I miss anyone or anything or get the times mixed up but it was a hectic week.

I flew into Oakland airport and take the BART over to San Francisco, I'm always amazed at how smoothly BART usually runs and this time was no exception. So I march up to the King George Hotel (why is everything in SF always uphill?) and proceed to checkin. Feeling a tap on my shoulder I turn around and it's Dimitri Gielis APEX SIG vice president and co founder of Apex Evangelists and we decide to meetup for a couple early night drinks. Now at this point I need to apologize to Dimitri for 2 things.

1. When I say couple it's not a couple as in two. It is a couple as in more than one and less than a dozen.
2. Being from Las Vegas early night means something slightly different than people from other places.

Suffice to say I think we both slept very well.


So Oracle World for me started with the APEX SIG meeting, so I got up early got my coffee and proceed to get registered and find where the SIG meeting was, after a bit of detective work I meet up with David Peake (APEX PM) and head out for the meeting. The other panel members where Dimitri , John Scott , Tony Jedlinski and Patrick Wolf. I have meet Dimitri, John and Tony before but was the first time I've meet Patrick in person so it was really nice.
One of the coolest things about OOW is being able to finally put names to faces.

Now I work from home and while I absolutely can talk with the best of them , it is usually to a few people at most and over the phone. Sitting up there in front of a ton people is fairly intimidating, but I was using it as practice for my session on Tuesday.
Of course the first question directed at me was from Dietmar Aust and was a stumper, it's one of those things that sure you can build around it but it really calls for a new feature to be added, which it will be.

So we were answering questions, it all kind've blurs together what was asked but I do have lots of notes to go through this week, but a question about SQL Developer comes up and some guy in the corner yells out "I'll take that one" and it's Kris Rice who leads the SQL Dev team. If you didn't know our teams are closely tied together which both products having features to take advantage of the other product , and Kris used to be my boss. So it was nice to catch up with him and to have him sit in on the session.

Then I sat in some APEX sessions.

John's Debugging APEX session which was very good and I learned some stuff I didn't know.

Tony's APEX and Mobile Application session which was an eyeopener of where we are causing people some pain in the mobile application development and I have copious notes on this and am implementing some features right now that will greatly help with creating these types of applications.

And the final APEX session of the day which I now term 'The Raj Show!'

Raj Mattamal used to be one of our product managers but he's now out in the world using APEX to make money and he had a session on APEX Security, which is usually a pretty dry subject, but not when Raj does it!

Jumping/running around on stage, waving his hands around, talking a mile a minute and absolutely making sure that everybody knows, everything they can about security given an hour, and you know what, it worked and worked well. I learned a ton about APEX security, I usually don't have to deal with it but I now know easily 500% more about security than I did before, and I know other people in the audience did as well, there is just no way you could have been in that room and not learned something.

So then Raj, Patrick and I went off to Larry's keynote and where soon joined by Sergio Leunissen, another former PM now doing a ton of cool Linux stuff and Joel Kallman director of APEX development and more importantly my boss.

What can I say about Larry's keynote that other people can't say better, it is just an absolute event, and the story of Oracle's beginning's till now was awesome, as with most stories it's not what the story is about but how you tell it, and it was told masterfully.

Other parts of the keynote where a little less impressive, but hey at least they tried, Saturday Night Live folks were as funny as they always are, and that's not a compliment, and there was a band to tell everybody to get out which I hope was what was intended because that's what happened.

So after that I took of with Raj for a couple drinks , see description above, and was soon joined by Scott Spadafore at which point we took over the end of a nice Irish Bar and proceeded with the business at hand, until the lights came on and we had to leave.

The next day was when the demo grounds opened which at least for me is where I have the most fun at OOW.

Next post ( the demo grounds and my session)

Last Day OOW (with a catch)

So it's right before the demo grounds open at the last day at Oracle Open World, and I'm sure everybody is very tired.

I'm signed up to help at the demo booths for most of the day, which I really like doing, but of course as it seems is standard for me at this OOW there is a catch.

I have lost my voice!!!

But that's not going to stop me. I've written up a Word document I can point at with some standard phrases so I can at least be useful.

Hello, my name is Carl Backstrom , I apologize but I have lost my voice, fun huh?

But I can run you through some standard demos.

Have you used Application Express before?

I can show a very cool feature from the next version.

I can run you through the demo of creating an application from an existing database table.

I can run you through a demo of creating an application based off spreadsheet data.

Next version?
Calendar 2008

I have about a half hour before this all starts so if you can think of anything else you think people might ask that I should have prewritten throw in a comment and I'll add it in the Word doc.

Basically I'm going to see if APEX can just sell itself ;) which I think it can.

Wednesday on Overlook II at 2pm

So unless you were there or heard about it, my presentation at Oracle World blew up in my face. It seems that Ubuntu and the projectors provided don't mix well. While it wasn't a complete crash and burn, it was definetly a emergency landing.

I had to fall back on my slides , and my whole presentation was supposed to be very slide light and demo heavy, and try to describe to people what the demo was supposed to do. I spent more times on product direction / higher level functions and I still filled the hour and not to many people left so I must have been able to pass along some good info, none the less it wasn't what it should have been.

I worked real hard on my presentation so I was pretty mad at myself/ubuntu/the projector/the world.

But this conference has given me a second chance with the Unconference event. Patrick Wolf mentioned maybe I should do it agian at an Unconference which made alot of sense to me.

So I marched up to the signup board put myself in a slot to present.

I worked way too hard way to hard on this presentation for people not to see it..

So Wednesday on Overlook II at 2pm come by and I'll give it a try again, plus I'll be showing 3.1 features on a huuuuuge projector.

I'm leavin on a jet plane

Im leavin on a jet plane
Don't know when Ill be back again

Well I'm all packed up and ready to go! Just killing some time waiting for my ride.

I used to live in San Francisco before I moved to Las Vegas so besides being excited about Oracle OpenWorld I'm excited to see how The City has changed and to meet up with some old friends during the week.

At the last second I was able to change my plans so I will be attending most of the APEX SIG meetings on Sunday, I might have to skip out on some of later ones. I'll also be working the demo booth for most the day on monday, and through out the week, unless I can sneak off and see some sessions, and I'll be putting finishing touches for my session on Tuesday.

As Eddie Awad and the AppsLab guys have blogged there will be plenty of ways to keep track of things at Oracle OpenWorld and I hope to add to one or two of those feeds.

Here's my connect card one more time.

Join Me at Oracle OpenWorld Connect!

So drop by the demo booth to say hi, or come to my session to drill me with really hard questions I can't answer on the fly.

And the original for you purists

RAD Race (now with video)

A couple weeks ago the iAdvise guys won a RAD race using Application Express.

The iAdivce blog has been updated with some nice video of the application they built. Head over and take a look.


Heads up!!

Just a quick heads up per this OTN thread the Oracle DBA Toolbar for Firefox seems to break sections of Application Express , most noticeably sections of the SQL Workshop. It also breaks Firebug ,and a couple other random addons, so it looks like it is just some javascript or chrome overlap issues.

If your doing Application Express development or just wanting to use Firebug I recommend disabling it or uninstalling it until it can be updated, I'm sure it's not a huge thing or the breaking would be much more spectacular, but considering how busy everybody at at Oracle is going to be very busy for next 9 days it might not get looked at immediately. I'll make to update this post with a big red it's fixed! once it's fixed.

I dropped a couple emails to track down who wrote this but if your the person/group that wrote that toolbar, please contact me I'd like to help out and make sure that it works correctly with APEX.........in about 9 days of course ;)

PS. looks like it breaks blogger as well as I had to uninstall it just to make this post. At least APEX is getting affected along with good company ;)

I'm a huge fan of SVG, the main problem of course that it doesn't run in natively in a certain browser that has a large market share, so much for web standards.

But look at what the SVG can do in this patched version of Firefox that supports the SVG video element.

via : http://www.bluishcoder.co.nz/2007/08/svg-video-demo.html


Sure Flash can do the same thing but it's not a web standard.

Well something somewhere froze over because I found enough time to get an updated version of my sample application zipped up and upload.

There are some of the new examples in this export.
  • Minimal tagging functionality , along with an xml file to populate the tags table.
  • Examples on how to use $x_Toggle $x_Hide $x_Show on Regions.
  • Javascript code to enable/disable a shuttle item.
  • Example of a function to quickly check a series of values html_CheckSome(pThis,pValues,pArray)
Plus much much more!

You can download it here http://apex.oracle.com/pls/otn/f?p=11933:22.

If you like the theme , and with my visual design skills who doesn't, make sure to grab it because this will be the last export that has that particular one.

As usual make sure to read the disclaimer because I 100% stand by it.