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.