Friday, December 18, 2009

APEX 4.0 Early Adopter now available!

The APEX Development Team is proud to present the Early Adopter for APEX 4.0.

Please fill out the survey and request a workspace on our hosted instance @

This Early Adopter is not production ready and some new features may contain bugs or incomplete functionality.

Websheets is not yet available in the Early Adopter. Our plan is to produce an updated release (Early Adopter Phase II) once Websheets is ready to be tested.

The new theme used throughout the Application Builder is still a work in progress, especially in respect to Internet Explorer. Therefore we have disabled access from IE at this stage.

Online Help has not yet been updated and does not include any new features. An application describing all the new features will be available shortly.

Please provide feedback directly from within the Application Builder.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

UKOUG Conference

I'm off to Birmingham for the UKOUG Conference.

I recently updated my APEX Conferences Application to include a page for printing out the Agenda:

This conference is growing in popularity for those in the APEX Community.
If possible you should try and attend.

Dimitri has organized an APEX meet-up on Monday Night see details here.

Look forward to getting back to England and meeting up with many of you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Travelling to Ora*GEC in Quebec & Montreal

For anyone in the Quebec (11/24) or Montreal (11/25) area you should try to attend the Ora*GEC 'Application Express for Mission Critical Applications' event. I will be there to give a presentation and a sneak peek of APEX 4.0. Unfortunately I don't speak French so you will have to listen to me in English. However, the other presentations will be in French.

I atteneded a similar event put on by Ora*GEC last year and it was well attended.

It is always good to catch up with Serge Tremblay from Oracle Sales who is a huge advocate of APEX, and of course the thriving APEX community in the area.
Hope to see you there,


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

APEX Demo Grounds - Moscone West

Traditionally the APEX team staffs the Demo Grounds with members of the development team and this year is no different. In recognition of how busy our demo pods are, the Oracle event organizers have given us 3 demo pods in a prime position right at the end so we have some room. So to see our latest development efforts, and get your questions answered directly by those who develop the features come to Moscone West.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Updated Statement of Direction

I have just updated the APEX Statement of Direction and refreshed the APEX 4.0 Presentation.

One of the big new additions is Team Development (as some caught onto with my last blog) including Built-In Feedback. This came out of our work with Teamspace - a stand alone packaged application with some of the same sorts of capabilities. Due to development constraints the Teamspace packaged application has been put on hold for a short while.

Check out the presentation for a few more details on many of the major 4.0 features.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Preparing for Oracle Openworld

San Francisco will once again turn red for Oracle Openworld (October 11 - 15).

As always the APEX Development team will be there in force manning our three booths in the Demo Grounds (Moscone West) and delivering Hands-On Labs and Sessions. For further details on the hands-on labs and sessions see the APEX Conference Sessions application. Be warned there is only limited space in the hands-on labs and some of them are already full - so act fast if you want to get in.

If you are attending Oracle Openworld then make sure you stop by the demo grounds where you can speak directly to our wonderful developers and see first hand demonstrations of both existing APEX functionality and features being developed for APEX 4.0. {Monday 10:30 - 6:30, Tuesday 10:30 - 6:30, Wednesday 9:15 - 5:15}

Before you ask - NO we can't tell you the dates when APEX 4.0 will be available other than calendar year 2010 and YES we are planning to have a public Early Adopter program that everyone can participate in.

As you will see there is a huge amount of new functionality in APEX 4.0 - and even those who saw our progress at ODTUG Kaleidoscope will see many changes. We were hoping to have an Early Adopter available around this time of year, but you will have to be patient with us while we finalize our development. Once ready we will announce the Early Adopter on the APEX OTN Forum and on the blogs.

Also don't forget about the APEX Meet-up Dimitri Gielis is organizing on Tuesday @ 7:30 pm at the Fourth Street Bar & Grill.

Look forward to seeing you there.

APEX Conference Sessions Updated

Oracle Openworld is just around the corner. Then there is ODTUG APEXposed, in Atlanta (November 10 & 11), followed by UKOUG Technology & E-Business Suite (November 30 - December 2).

I have updated the APEX Conference Sessions application to include all the APEX sessions for these three events.

One of the reasons I built this application was for my personal use. I find the ability to customize the report and print it out is invaluable, especially for Oracle Openworld and UKOUG where there are sessions at all different times in different locations.

There is also a calendar view

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Winners of APEX Developer Competition 2009

It is with great pleasure that I announce the winners of the APEX Developer Competition 2009.

First Place: Eric Brandenburg (USA) IT Access

Second Place: Oscar Gordillo (Colombia) Bintech CRM

Third Place: Matt Nolan (UK) APEX Plugin Registry

Fourth through Twelfth Place are shown in Alphabetical order:

Kehinde Adeyemi (Nigeria) Drivers License and Vehicle Registration Application

Tobias Arnhold (Germany) APEX-AT-WORK

Martin Giffy D'Souza (Canada) APEX Rules & Guidelines

Niels De Brujin (Germany) Time Management System v1.2

Dorensys {Company} (India) Leave Management System

Kartik Patel (India) Documentation & Content Management System (DCMS)

Mohammed Tajuddin (Australia) ABC School Management System

Andrew Woodward (UK) Portal for a suite of Apex applications

Wei Zheng (USA) Tiny-ERP

A full description of each of the applications is also provided here.

A special thank-you to all the judges
* Matt Chivers - Oracle
* Dimitri Gielis - APEX Evangelists
* Thomas Marshall - Auburn University
* Anton Nielsen - C2 Consulting
* John Scott - APEX Evangelists
* Scott Spendolini- Sumner Technologies

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Customer Quotes

I regularly update our APEX OTN Home Page. You should notice we added additional icons at the top and removed their wordy equivalents that were below. Even I have trouble finding the right icon at present, but I'm sure in the long run it will be better.

My latest addition is a Customer Quotes section. Currently I have a few great quotes from APEX Customers AMGEN, Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation, and Brunswick. Thanks to Patrick Wolf for implementing the necessary javascript.

Do you want your company highlighted here also?
If so please send me an email [] ensuring you have relevant permission from your legal, marketing, ... departments.

Look forward to adding many more quotes!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Art of Presenting Publicly

Recently I was asked by Eric Brandenburg for tips/advice on giving a public presentation for the first time. Eric's initiation will be by fire at Oracle OpenWorld this year :)

There are many books written on how to do presentations, prepare slides, etc.
I haven't read any of them and have learn't by getting out there and giving sessions.
I give public presentations all over the world. The feedback I receive always varies from extremely positive to negative. I really enjoy giving presentations and try to have as much fun as possible. I have had my share of disasters, but rarely let them get me down.

So based on my experience I offer the following tips for 1st timers:
  • Know your content - Try and make the main emphasis of your talk something you have a lot of experience with. The more you know the less scary things like the Q&A will be. Don't be afraid to say you don't know the answer to a question.

  • Not too many bullets and words - Limiting the number of bullets and text on your slides makes it easier for participants to concentrate on what your saying rather than trying to speed read a slide full of text. Better to talk about the finer points than have very wordy slides - Think about using pictures and screen shots. Also remember that people at the back of the room may not be able to read the text very clearly.

  • Don't read your slides verbatim - The bullet points should only summarize what you want to talk about. The more you can expand on the bullets the better appreciation the participants will have for the information you're trying to convey.

  • Review your slides - Make sure you know what you want to talk about on each slide (I use the notes section extensively). If possible have someone else proof your slides

  • Be prepared - Practice your slides and ensure the timing is correct. Once you are happy with the content, flow, and timing do a dry run in front of colleagues

  • Be nervous - Everyone gets nervous before public presentations to varying degrees. The trick is to not get too anxious before hand and try to relax as much as possible once you start. For me doing sessions in foreign countries with translators and multiple slide decks gets the butterflies going until I start.

  • Look around the room - Once you get started, try and look up at the audience regularly and focus on different areas of the room. For example, having friends and colleagues in the front row can be a distraction so look at other people in the room.

  • Be active but not too active - If you stand completely still and don't so much as move your arms then it is difficult for people to maintain focus on you. By the same token, moving around excessively and in an exaggerated fashion can be distracting. Wearing clothes that are too tight or too loose can also inhibit your movements.

  • Know you will make mistakes - We all say something wrong (or say it the wrong way), have demos fail, forget to say something pertinent, etc. When this does happen try not to get too flustered or loose your way. I love giving demos (not necessarily advisable for the 1st timer - maybe use screen shots and viewlets) but they are fraught with danger. When it doesn't go as planned I've learnt to just move on and not spend copious amounts of time trying to correct the issue at the expense of finishing the session.

  • Do your best - At the end of each session there are invariably things that you wish you had said or done differently - you can't generally use a 'Do-over'. So whatever hurdles get thrown at you just try and do your best to overcome them and keep moving. As long as you walk off the stage with the knowledge you did your best then hold your head high.

At the end of the day you should be congratulated for putting yourself out there and trying to impart your knowledge - ENJOY :)

Welcome feedback from others on tips for public presentations.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Latest APEX Book - Forms Converter

A new book has just hit Amazon, Douwe Pieter van den Bos' Oracle Application Express Forms Converter (Packt Publishing).

I had the pleasure of being one of the reviewers of this book.
I know there are many legacy Oracle Forms applications out there that people are looking to modernize. If you decide to convert to APEX then this book will help you gain a better understanding of how to successfully undertake such a project. It not only covers how to operate the tool but also includes Douwe Pieter's real world experience in an easy to follow hands-on approach covering the possibilities and challenges of a Forms to APEX conversion project.

Hope you find the book useful!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2009 Presentations

All the presentations given by the APEX Development team are now available for download from the APEX Conference Session Application. Once the other presentations are loaded I will update those as well.

Joel Kallman's keynote is also available from our OTN Presentations page together with the APEX 4.0 Overview presentation (in Powerpoint format)

I don't generally load my presentations as they are just combinations of the decks given on the OTN Presentations page.

Indiana OUG - Technology Day July 30

For all of those in the Indianapolis area I will be conducting a full day of APEX sessions on Thursday, 30 July.

Please go to the INOUG Site for registration

Event Information:

When: Thursday, July 30th, 2009
Where: Eli Lilly, Building 98 - Auditorium (downtown)
Topic: Oracle Application Express (APEX)
Trainer: David Peake, Product Manager, Oracle Corporation
Cost: FREE for INOUG Members - for INOUG Members only!
(can become an INOUG Member the day of the event, fee for membership is $20 please bring cash or check)

Meeting Agenda:

* Overview
* SQL Developer (Data Modeling / Remote Debugging)
* Forms Conversion or Access Migration
* Advanced UI Techniques (Interactive Reports / Charts / BI Publisher)
* Security
* Managing Developement / Administration
* APEX 4.0 Features

Hope to see lots of people out there!


Friday, July 17, 2009

APEX 4.0 Webcast

ODTUG have just released the recording taken from Kaleidoscope.

Click here to see their news article.

We will be releasing a new APEX 4.0 slide deck very shortly.

If you want to see a repeat of this presentation then you have a few opportunities coming up:


Sunday, June 28, 2009

It was meant to be ...

Well after an exceedingly great ODTUG Kaleidoscope conference that hopefully surpassed everyones expectations, it was time to head home. I didn't actually want to head directly home as my best mate from high school was over from Australia for a short visit with his wife, and was in San Francisco over the weekend before heading to Las Vegas, New York, LA and then back home.

I rang up our travel people and asked how much it would cost to change my ticket so I could have a night in San Francisco and on hearing it would cost $1,000 decided I would have to try my luck at the airport or fly to meet him in Las Vegas or New York.

Well I jumped on my scheduled flight from Monterrey to San Francisco on Friday morning (after checking they couldn't help me) and landed in SFO with only 45 minutes before my Chicago flight was due to take off. I thought I had no chance but decided to stand in line to ask the people at the counter. As I was standing there I watched the United message boards and saw they had 58 people on stand-by which gave me a chance.

I was sixth in line and then the second United person at the counter asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to take a later flight. I leaped to the counter and asked if I could be bounced to Saturday. The United representative was ecstatic I didn't want to get on a later flight that day as they were all full. He offered me a 2:00 pm flight, which was great but my mate was flying out at 4:00 pm to Las Vegas so I asked for a later flight. He then asked if I would mind going via Vegas which was perfect as I could fly to Vegas with my mate and then fly on to Chicago. Just to top off being bounced off a flight when you really wanted to be and placed on the perfect flight(s) he then proceeded to give me a voucher for a free return airfare.

Couldn't get any better one would think as I got to spend time with my mate and his wife, and rather than paying money was given a free ticket. But wait there's more - On getting the perfect bounce I jumped on the BART to downtown SF and called a good friend who lives in the city. This friend doesn't have a car and is always very busy at work, but I caught him at a bit of a lull on the work front. What's more he was baby sitting a car for a friend of his due to the issues with parking downtown SF. So not only was I able to meet up with two good mates at once but had a very knowledgeable local tour guide (with car no less) to show us all places we wouldn't have otherwise seen.

Ok at the risk of sounding like one of those TV Commercials ("If you buy within the next 10 minutes you will also get ...") Wait there's still more - As we were driving through Little Italy my Aussie friends said they had heard about this Italian restaurant (don't ask me the name I've forgotten, but it begins with 'T'). SF friend then proceeds to say that it is his favorite Italian restaurant so we decide we will eat there. Now this place is so popular that people stand outside for over 1 hour waiting for their table, unless you have a seasoned local who knows the inside track to reserving a table at a restaurant that doesn't take reservations. So we went and had cocktails for an hour and then walked back and sat down within minutes. Brilliant food, great company - what more could you ask for.

We then topped the night off with a "few" drinks at a place called "Gold Dust" (or something like that very near Union Square) where these three guys would play almost any song imaginable for a dollar. Even caught up with a couple of fellow Aussies from QANTAS in the bar. We stayed till closing - tortuous night - and then very wearily went out to the airport on Saturday to continue our travels.

A special thank-you to my friend in SF for making it such a memorable time for my Aussie friends and I - we all had an absolute blast.

All I can say is -- It was SO meant to be ...

Safe and happy travels to all :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

ODTUG APEX Symposium

The APEX Symposium at ODTUG Kaleidoscope was very successful again this year with 200 people in attendance (the biggest of all the symposiums). Scott Spendolini hosted a great day with lots of interesting speakers and a lively APEX Panel session.

We had a little extra surprise today as we handed out the first ever Oracle Application Express t-shirts. Hope to post some pictures from our APEX meetup on Monday night where we have encouraged everyone to wear their new t-shirts.

ODTUG Kaleidoscope is the most important APEX Conference of the year and we try and send as many APEX Development Team members as possible. This year Mike Hichwa, Joel Kallman, Marc Sewtz, Patrick Wolf, Scott Spadafore, Jason Straub, and myself are presenting sessions and conducting Hands-on Labs. We have also pulled out all the stops to prepare a comprehensive demonstration of some of the latest APEX 4.0 features we are busy developing {Finally relax and enjoy the rest of the week once we have delivered that one}.

Looking forward to a very busy week meeting lots of old friends and making lots of new ones.

Application Express Developer Competition 2009

Oracle Technology Network (OTN) are conducting the Oracle Application Express Developer Competition 2009. Click here to register and submit an APEX application for your chance to win FREE tickets to Oracle Openworld 2009 in San Francisco, October 11- 15, and APEX books.

This is your chance to not only win some great prizes but also the bragging rights that goes with it. There is also a chance that the 1st prize winner will get an "Unconference" session at Oracle Openworld and even a write-up in Oracle Magazine by Justin Kestelyn.

A special thank-you to our wonderful judges:
  • Matt Chivers - Oracle

  • Dimitri Gielis - APEX Evangelists

  • Justin Kestelyn - Oracle

  • Thomas Marshall - Auburn University

  • Anton Nielsen - C2 Consulting

  • John Scott - APEX Evangelists

  • Scott Spendolini- Sumner Technologies

Get cracking writing your 'killer' application as the deadline for submission is 24 August 2009.

Good Luck!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pensonalizing your ODTUG Agenda

For all of you attending ODTUG Kaleidoscope in Monterrey then take a few minutes to get your personalized APEX agenda.

Crystal Walton has been kind enough to send me the late breaking changes to the agenda.
  • Consumer Reports can't make it to the APEX Symposium but Jan Navratil from CampusIT and BT Global Services is flying in from the UK at very short notice to talk at 1:00 pm on Sunday.

  • Anton Nielsen will not be able to attend so Doug Gault is doing a session on performance 10:00 am Monday.

  • Kathy Hunsicker is also unavailable so John Scott's session 'Dispelling Myths about APEX' originally scheduled for 3:45 pm Monday has been moved to 1:30 pm Wednesday. This allows everyone to attend Mike Hichwa's session 'Oracle Application Express 4.0' on Monday at 3:45 pm. Kathy's other slot at 8:00 am on Thursday will be filled so keep an eye on the daily updates.

Simply use this link to go to the APEX Conference Sessions application. Once there simply add the following columns - Date, Start Time, and Room, then download to CSV or PDF.

I urge everyone to try and get to the APEX Sysmposium on Sunday for a great lineup of speakers, rounded off with an APEX Panel session. There is also a surprise or two in store for all of those in attendance on the Sunday :)

Look forward to catching up with all of you.


Monday, May 18, 2009

OTN Developer Day - Database in Reston

I will be traveling to Reston, Virginia this week for the second time we have run this FREE Database OTN Develop Day on Thursday, May 21. Registration numbers are very high so hope to see a lot of people turn out.

Registration is required from the Event Details page.

We have an interesting agenda designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of IT Professionals.

If we are lucky, I may be able to persuade Mike Hichwa to come along to the event as an added bonus for all of you that attend the SQL Developer / APEX Track. Mike is based in Reston but is also exceedingly busy, as always, so no promises.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oracle Openworld 2009 - Call for Papers Extended

As Justin Kestelyn posts, this is the first time in his tenure that a public call-for-papers has been issued for Oracle Openworld.

The deadline has recently been extended until April 26. So if you were thinking about writing an abstract but figured you were going to run out of time, you now have an extra week. Oracle employees aren't allowed to submit abstracts :( as we are given an allocation.

If you are from a consulting company you may want to consider doing a joint presentation with one of your clients as these are always appealing. Are you running on an 11g Database and can talk to the advantages of 11g, experiences upgrading, etc. - then include details in your abstract. Competition for sessions is always intense so your abstract needs to interest (sell) those doing the reviewing - Good luck!

For all of you submitting an APEX abstract please forward me your entry (with speakers). Last year I was very lucky to secure a few sessions outside of the normal channels. I have no idea whether I will have any opportunities this year - every year the rules change.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Upcoming Conferences: Oracle Openworld Japan & Collaborate

I will be attending Oracle Openworld in Tokyo, April 22 - 24.
I have a number of presentations and hands-on-labs, plus will be Mark Townsend's official "demo bunny" for the Database keynote. Given that Mark is a Kiwi (friendly term for someone from New Zealand) and I'm an Aussie, the first time we did this in Moscow, our esteemed colleagues (other US based PMs) in the audience even had trouble following us as we slipped into colloquialisms (try saying that 3 times really quickly) - I did feel for the poor old translators after that one. We repeated the same keynote in Prague without as many local terms and it went very well, so hopefully the translators have an easier time in Japan.

Collaborate 2009 in Orlando Florida is up next, May 3 - 7. There are 16 APEX Sessions from many speakers. John Scott will even be signing his book after his session. To see all the Collaborate sessions, complete with dates and times, click here.

Hope to see you at the conferences,

Get the 'Latest' from APEX OTN Site

We have been freshening up our APEX OTN Home Page with lots of new content. These include 'Latest Highlights', 'Latest Collateral', and 'Latest Books'.

Today for example we put out a new white paper 'Integrating APEX with BI Publisher' thanks to Jason Straub. Read his posting here for more details.

Another new addition today, under 'Latest Highlights' is the new Oracle Store developed in Application Express. Our development team in conjunction with other teams have been rebuilding the old Oracle Store in APEX. This is the first release featuring Enterprise Linux and Virtualization (VM). This multi-lingual / multi-currency application is another nice example of an Internet facing Oracle APEX application.

Latest Collateral & Highlights also include a podcast with Mike Riley, President of ODTUG, and an interesting article from Profit Magazine on a very successful modernization project in Florida.

The Community & Partners pages continue to swell across all categories including some interesting new Internet Applications many of which look nothing at all like regular APEX screens - Check all the community pages out for yourself here.

So I strongly recommend you check in on the APEX OTN Pages regularly to keep tabs on all the latest offerings.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Doing More with Less with Oracle Application Express

I will be participating in a webcast hosted by Redmond Magazine.
The webcast is on April 28 at 11:00 PST / 14:00 GST / 19:00 GMT.
The format will be a discussion / interview type format with moderator, Peter Varhol, asking me lots of questions.

The objective of this webcast is to discuss how APEX can be used to "streamline processes and lower operational expenses".

To register for the webcast simply click on the Title!
You could even win an iPod Nano simply by registering and listening to the webcast.

Speak to you soon,

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Presenting APEX

We have just updated the APEX OTN Home Page with a few new sections: Latest Collateral and Latest Books. Under Latest Collateral you can access a PDF which gives a comprehensive overview of APEX together with a short video which is reportedly the most viewed video on OTN.

The Presentations page has also been revamped with the latest and greatest slides we have developed for presenting on APEX. One of the key additions is the seven new powerpoint decks at the top, broken into categories. They are designed to allow people to build their own presentation using slides from each deck based on their audience, how much time they have and what they want to concentrate on.

One of the other key additions is the APEX Conference Sessions application. This application lists all of the APEX sessions at major Oracle conferences since 2007. Where possible there are also links to the associated presentations or a link to the Conference site.

For upcoming conferences the addition of dates, times, and rooms will allow you to create your own agenda.

What started out as a post from Dimtiri Gielis: Is APEX still worth looking at? and was followed by John Scott: Charting the Rise of Application Express, led me to dust off the application I built to list all the Oracle Openworld Sessions last year {Thanks guys for the inspiration!}. I then added all the presentations available from Oracle conferences or those where the presentations are publicly available. For conferences such as Kaleidoscope I have added links to their site for the given presentation, unless they were given by Oracle. The Hands-On Labs have links to the actual Oracle By Examples that are used. Finally I have updated all the agenda details for Collaborate and Kaleidoscope 2009.

Please drop me a line with any missing / incorrect information.

Hope you find this collateral useful and informative.


Friday, February 27, 2009

APEX 3.2 available for Download

APEX 3.2 has just been released and you can now download it from OTN here.

As previously noted, there is new documentation, Oracle by Examples and other updated content on the APEX OTN Page.

With every new release there are a number of additional security enhancements the development team adds. However, this release introduces a significant number of new security capabilities. So even if you aren't interested in converting Oracle Forms to APEX it is still strongly recommended that you upgrade to this release as soon as possible.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Additional resources for APEX 3.2

For those of you wishing to try out APEX 3.2 and not quite sure where to start we have just released a new Oracle By Example (OBE): Converting Your Oracle Forms Application to Oracle Application Express. This OBE was created by Marcie Young from curriculum development and includes the necessary XML files and tables to be able to perform a Forms conversion on our hosted site. We hope to have another new OBE on Security available very shortly as well.

Also the APEX 3.2 Documentation has just been released on OTN. Terri Jennings and Drue Baker from our documentation team have expanded the documentation to include more on what the new features are about on top of the usual detail on how to use all the features.

For Forms Conversion check out the following Migration Guide chapters - Chapter 2 - Overview of the Migration Process and Appendix A - Oracle Forms Generation Capabilities and Workarounds.

In respect of all the security enhancements we have completely revamped the Application Builder User's Guide - Chapter 13 Managing Application Security to make it easier for developers and administrators to learn how to harden the security of their applications and the development environment.

Marc Sewtz has even created a new graphic which outlines the APEX Forms Conversion Project:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

APEX in the Cloud?

There has been a lot of talk about running applications in the cloud.
Oracle is certainly a player in this new paradigm and is partnering with Amazon to offer deployment of Oracle software in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) environment.
{See Oracle Cloud Computing Center}

So my question is - Has anyone deployed any APEX applications in the cloud?
If so I would love to get as much detail as possible.
If you prefer email me directly on


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

APEX 3.2 now available on

For all those people who have been itching to try out Forms Conversion for yourself now is your chance.

Joel Kallman has updated the free hosted "development" environment on to APEX 3.2.

A special thank-you to all those that participated in the "limited" Early Adopter program. Regrettably we couldn't conduct our usual open EA program. I had literally hundreds of requests, as recently as in the last few days, which we couldn't accommodate. To all those people who have been waiting please try out the hosted site and let us know of any issues via the OTN Forum.

The 3.2 New Features page gives an overview of the new functionality available.

Getting Started

You will need to have at least one installation of Oracle Forms 9i or 10g. These two versions include the Forms2XML utility required to create XML files from Forms source files (fmb's, mmb's, etc.).

We have done very limited testing with Forms 4.5 and 6i fmb files and successfully run them through the Forms2XML utility without needing to upgrade the Forms to 9i or 10g prior to the conversion. However, we can not guarantee that the utility will always work for these older Forms modules. If it fails you will need to upgrade your Forms 4.5 and/or 6i source to Forms 9i or 10g and then run them through the utility.

Once you have created the XML files you will need to go to Application Migration from the APEX Builder Home page and create a project. You will also need to build the referenced tables and views within your workspace. After loading up the XML files you can start conversion and the manual post-generation enhancements required.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Conferences for February

In February I will be presenting at the following conferences:

Oracle Develop - Moscow, Russia 4 - 5 February
Oracle Develop - Prague, Czech Republic 10 -11 February
UKOUG APEX SIG - London, UK 13 February
South-Eastern Oracle User Conference (SEOUC) - Charlotte, North Carolina 25 - 26 February

Each of these are quite different events and I always love getting out and meeting people. I also love to talk, so if you're able to get to any of these don't hesitate to come up to me for a chat.


Preserving User Saved Interactive Reports

There have been several posts on the APEX Forum relating to issues with saving User's Interactive Reports (IRs).

A few examples are:

Background on how IRs are saved:
There are two distinct means of saving IRs - As "Default" reports performed by developers when running the application from the Application Builder and users saving reports at runtime.

When a developer saves a default report then that report definition is used to render the report in the runtime environment. When a user saves an IR it is saved into the APEX meta-data tables using the unique id for the report against that user. The unique id is based on the specific region id of the IR. This is critical when discussing issues being faced and their solutions below.

If the application is a PUBLIC application then Users will not be given the option to save IRs as there is no user details to associate that report with so every user would then see everyone's saved reports.

Basically there are three main issues being raised:
  1. Preserving user saved IRs when rebuilding environments
  2. Preserving user saved IRs when updating application
  3. Sharing user saved IRs between different users
1. Preserving user saved IRs when rebuilding environments
This issue relates to the ability to backup user saved IRs so that should you need to migrate your applications from one server to another or restore from backups then users will not lose their saved reports.

In APEX 3.2 we have resolved this issue by allowing you to save these reports as part of the Application Export. We have included a new select list option on the Export screen within the Application Builder - Export Saved Reports
Specify whether to include Saved Interactive Reports in the application export. This will enable you to export the customized settings of users for all Interactive Reports in the application. Options include:

  • Yes includes Saved Reports in the application export.
  • No does not include Saved Reports in the application export.
We have also updated the command-line export utility to include a new switch - expSavedReports: Export all user saved interactive reports. Updating the command-line utility was imperative given that we strongly recommend that "production" environments be configured as run-time only. Therefore, once you have installed APEX 3.2 (Once available) then you should modify your command-line batch program to also include exporting the IRs.

You may well ask why we implemented it as part of the export rather than as a stand-alone utility. The answer is related to the way the IRs are saved and the fact they are tied to the Region_Id for the IR. When an application is imported it retains the same Region_Ids providing the Application ID is the same as when it was exported. If the imported application is given a new Application ID then all the Region_Ids are changed and the saved IRs will not link to the region.

2. Preserving user saved IRs when updating application
This is direclty related to how IRs are saved against a specific Region_Id and how the Region_Id is determined when importing an application. If the Application ID on export and import are the same then the Region_ID will be preserved and any saved IRs will be available. To ensure this select "Install As Application:" option of 'Reuse Application ID xxx From Export File', not 'Auto Assign New Application ID' or 'Change Application ID'.

If the Application ID is changed during the import then new Region_Ids will be defined and none of the previous saved IRs will be shown for the users. To avoid this it is essential that the application id is not changed between environments. The best practice to avoid these sorts of issues is to develop your applications in DEV - Export the application and put into source control. Then only ever build from source control into every other environment and not from exports taken from staging / test / UAT etc. When installing into environments where you want the saved IRs preserved never assign a new Application ID during Import.

3. Sharing user saved IRs between different users
This is a very common request and one which there is no supported solution for.
We plan to investigate this issue as part of our APEX 4.0 development.

The best solution currently is to have the developer create a "default" report layout.

Hope this helps answer most questions on saving IRs


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Books, Books, Books + Authors wanted

Well it is the start of a new year so what better time to take the time to read some books.
No matter what your preferred genre, it is also important to keep up with reading new technical books. Unfortunately, I am a very poor reader when it comes to books - technical or otherwise.

There is a new APEX book which has just hit Amazon - Rick Greenwald's Beginning Oracle Application Express (WROX Publishing). I am expecting a shipment any day of a box full of these books that I will be giving away at various events. I had the pleasure of working closely with Rick on this book, which is aimed at new developers to APEX and power business users. I think this book is excellent for anyone when they are first getting into APEX.

As most of you are probably already aware John Scott's Pro Oracle Application Express (Apres Publishing), with contributions from Scott Spendolini, book is also available. I bought a copy from the Oracle Store at Oracle Openworld. I must confess I haven't read it yet (only scanned through) but plan on taking it with me on some long flights I have coming up.

There is also a new book being written by Douwe Pieter van den Bos on Forms Conversion to APEX for Pakt Publishing. According to Douwe Pieter he is progressing well and has delivered the first chapters to the editor. Can't wait for this book to get published as there will hopefully be a lot of Oracle Forms Developers queuing up to buy this book.

Finally, Pakt Publishing also has another book in the pipeline which is an introdcution to Oracle Application Express. They are currently seeking authors to help contribute. If you have ever wanted to be part of writing a book then here is your big chance. Pakt want to get this book out in the summer.

So for all you budding authors who want to see your name on the cover of a book, and also have some free bandwidth, contact James Lumsden [] from Pakt Publishing.

Happy reading,