OOW recap (pt 2)

Better late than never on this one this job thing really gets in the way of blogging sometimes ;) .

I had two sessions this Oracle World , well I had a session and I helped out on another.

Sessions (Helper)

The session I helped out with a bit was Mark Drake's Oracle Application Express and Oracle XML Database: A Match Made in the Database. This session had it's beginning's way back at Web2.0 Expo where Mark and I shared a demo booth.  XMLDB has a standard sample/demo called XFILES which is a simple yet full featured file management system using all XMLDB features. But it requires using a java server and is kinda slow , well I think it's slow but I might be biased.

So I was like hey Mark! you should build this in APEX since we are both built in features of the database. And lo and behold the his session was born.  I helped on and off with building the demo application , and it was a big learning experience, both with the features XMLDB provides as well as were APEX does not leverage them well, something we will be working on improving.

Mark at OOW asked if I could sit in so if there was any specific APEX questions, and hey I'm a people person so of course I said yes.  The session was very well attended with many people in the audience already familiar with APEX and/or XMLDB.  Mark covered the basics of XMLDB and I quickly went over APEX basic's and then it was all demo. 

I really think the application demo and explanation of how things were created was a hit, it showed the power of XMLDB as well as how APEX can leverage it's features directly out of the databasey.  Just the number of hands that came up with people saying things like

  • Hey I just built that a month a go and yours is cooler.
  • Hey I need to build that in the near future and these are great ideas.
  • Hey can I have that application?

shows that this session hit a sweet spot. A couple things I got from this is that people like that APEX can directly leverage built in database features and want more of it easier, and secondly I need to really make time to clean up that XFILES application so it can be a packaged application.

Sessions (Mine)

My session was titled Web 2.0 using Oracle Application Express and was pretty well attended , especially since I was up against two other APEX sessions at the end of the day.  I like my sessions slide light , demo heavy and with audience participation . Luckily I didn't rewrite my whole demo and slides the day my session as I'm known to do though I was editing right up till the end. 

My presentation had two parts.

A technical part that expected people to know or at least have knowledge of APEX and it's built in javascript framework already.  During this part of the session I went over features in APEX that were used to build Interactive reports.  It goes something like this, in Interactive Reports we have this feature, and this is how it was built

...code ensues...

I like this format since it shows at a low level way how to build features but leaves it up to the developers how they want to leverage it. 

I also stress using the proper debugging tools when building client side features , specifically Firefox with Firebug , though I did point out that newer versions of other browsers are also getting these features.  Basically if your using a browser that doesn't give you proper error message IE 6/7 among others DO NOT use it for development, your making it harder on yourself and wasting time.

You download my application from here to mess around with.

The second part of my presentation is the real fun part where I get to talk about upcoming features in APEX.  So after showing my safe harbor slide , the one that keeps me out of trouble with the boss's , I was able to go over features that we are working on for future release's.

Improvements to the base functions $x() $v() $s() which are the base functions when dealing with page items.

Namespacing of our javascript libraries so that we play nice with other third party javascript libraries.

The use of chaining in our javascript library so that javascript is more compact and reusable.

And finally and my favorite!
Though I've hinted to people off and on for awhile we will  be including in the base jQuery library in our next release! It's all signed of and everything and I'm busy rewriting our code to leverage jQuery underneath, one of the reason's it's been tough for me to get these posts out.

In my next post I will go over how the inclusion of jQuery effect's APEX.  It's both a bigger and yet smaller change than you might think

OOW recap (pt 1)

Hi all it's been a week now since the end of Oracle World and finally have enough time to write up a brief recap of my experience of OOW.

HOL (Hands On Labs)
I helped out in a couple of the APEX Hands on Labs starting with the very first one at 10:30 am on Sunday and they seemed to run fairly smooth , some computer problems but were able to work through them, and were very well attended. Seeing some of the issues people ran into was very informative. Some are just places where we can improve the Hands on Labs themselves and others were where we can improve product, for that information alone I'm glad I volunteered to helped out.

Sessions (Not Mine)
I almost never have enough time for sessions at Oracle World , mainly because I like working the demo grounds, and usually completely ignore my scheduled demo ground times and just hang out what can I say I'm a people person :D , but I did make it to a few.

I was in Joel Kallman's APEX + Globalization session, which was very well attended, especially for a Sunday. Since globalization isn't something I usually have to deal with I always learn something new from these sessions. One thing I did learn about APEX is you don't have to take globalization into account from the very beginning of development comparative to some other development enrollments, though a bit of forethought helps, but can decide to translate and globalize your applications as needed.

The other session I was able to sit through in it's entirety was Raj Mattamal's Security: Writing Custom Authentication Schemes for Application Express session, and as always Raj put on a very enjoyable and informative session.

In fact if one thing ,at least for me, stands out about Joel's and Raj's sessions it's how well both of them communicate some complex very ideas and how easily some of these complex ideas can be implemented with APEX.

Demo Grounds
The demo grounds are my favorite part of Oracle World. Since I work from home usually most my communication , even with the APEX development team, is email / IM / phone calls. Oracle World not only allows me to remember what the people I work with look like but meet people I know from forums,blogs,etc face to face.

I also like demoing APEX, it's fun to show someone who's never seen APEX just how fast you can build and edit a complete working application , APEX pretty much sells itself in the 5 minute demo, and to see how they react when they hear they already own APEX with their current database license.

And for people that have seen or using APEX already I like demoing the new stuff. This OOW the new stuff was Websheets (interactive reports with built in edit and more) and Dynamic Actions (declarative javascript functionality).

As a developer's working on bugs and functionality on these features sometimes we lose track of how cool/useful/needed some of these things are. But to watch people reactions as we show them the stuff they can't play with yet ;) and to get comments and suggestions about the features (good or bad) really makes it worth it.

OOW recap (pt2) I'll go over the sessions I had a hand in , some miscellaneous events over the week.

The blog post after that will be about our plans with APEX + jQuery , it kinda deserves it's own post.