Friday, March 25, 2011

OGh APEX Day 2011

Due to the overwhelming number of registrations (250+ participants, entirely sold-out) the OGh Apex Day 2011 “Mini” congress had to be relocated to a different, larger location. This states the enormous interest in APEX in the Netherlands. Oracle Application Express is hot in NL. Another reason for the large number of participants (mainly developers) must have been the subjects of the presentations and the lineup of well known and respected (international) speakers: Dimitri Gielis & John Scott, aka the APEX Evangelists, where scheduled for 3 (!) presentations; Hilary Farrel represented the Oracle APEX development team; Roel Hartman and Iloon Ellen Wolf, both known for their high quality APEX presentations; Peter Raganitsch, APEX expert from Vienna and developer of the OpenSource Framework ApexLib.


The OGh Apex Day 2011 was kicked off by Tony Andrews en Nigel Blair from Northgate (UK), presenting their experience with migrating a large Oracle Forms application to APEX. It was very interesting to hear, that moving from traditional Forms to browser-based increased customer satisfaction and actually earned Northgate new customers. 1500 forms+ thousands of users: who said APEX isn’t scalable?

Next Hilary Farrel from Oracle revealed some functionality planned (you probably know the usual Oracle disclaimer sheet) for release 4.1. Most of it you will find in Oracle’s SOD. I really liked the APEX & jQuery Mobile demo. Although Hillary mentioned, that jQuery Mobile will only be included with APEX 4.1 if the production release will be available by then. Maybe will hear a release date for jQuery Mobile production from the jQuery Conference in April. Maybe this could be an indication for a release date of APEX 4.1?!

Last session before lunch: the first ever duo-presentation of the two APEX Evangelists, John Scott and Dimitri Gielis, demonstrating the AE-way of handling an APEX project. Preconfigured plug-and-play installations, version control and an integrated custom issue tracking (APEX-) application: very impressive. The whole approach showed just how experienced AE is in executing APEX projects.
During the presentation Dimitri and Scott revealed the latest AE project : FoogleTwit.


After lunch I had to choose from 3 parallel tracks:

  • APEX Translation Mechanism (Peter Raganitsch)
  • Building APEX 4 Plugins (John Scott)
  • Customizing Apex Templates & Themes (Christian Rokitta; Yes, that’s me!)
APEX and “?”
  • APEX and Security (Iloon Ellen Wolf)
  • Charting and Dashboards (Roel Hartman)
  • APEX and Locator/Spacial – A Success Story (Dimitri Gielis)
APEX at Work
  • Eneco (Jasper Alblas)
  • Province of Zeeland (Hans Quist)
  • (Hans Wijnacker)


I decided to listen to Peter’s and John’s Core APEX presentations.

Peter Raganitsch demonstrated the possibilities of translating APEX applications into different languages. It became clear, translation mechanism in APEX is not trivial and does have some pitfalls.

John walked the audience through the process of developing Plugins for APEX. Some of the examples where extraordinary educational and useful (the “Hello World” Plugin was just amazing). In fact, John dit such a good job, he got an extra 15 min from his audience to teach and demo.

The last presentation of this OGh APEX Day 2011 was my personal highlight: Myself speaking about Templates and Themes. I’m not talking about the quality of the presentation - that’s for others to decide - but the experience to be allowed to speak to a large audience.

Many thanks to the OGh organization for this excellent congress and for the opportunity to present.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Book Review: Oracle APEX 4.0 Cookbook

masterchef cookbook




Title: Oracle APEX 4.0 Cookbook

Language : English
Paperback : 328 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : December 2010
ISBN : 1849681341
ISBN 13 : 978-1-84968-134-6
Author(s) :
Michel van Zoest, Marcel van der Plas




A cookbook is a book that contains information on cooking. It typically contains a collection of recipes, and may also include information on ingredient origin, freshness, selection and quality. - Wikipedia


The APEX 4 EA release got available almost exactly a year ago. What could be a more appropriate anniversary present than a book entirely dedicated to and based on APEX version 4? I was very much looking forward to this book release, as this is one of the first APEX 4 books and the title suggests that there will be some recipes with new feature as ingredients.

Main Course

In formal dining, a well-planned main course can function as a sort of gastronomic apex or climax. In such a scheme, the preceding courses are designed to prepare for and lead up to the main course in such a way that the main course is anticipated and, when the scheme is successful, increased in its ability to satisfy and delight the diner. - Wikipedia

The Oracle APEX 4.0 Cookbook combines the well known “Create my fist APEX Application” tutorials with detailed step-by-step guides through new APEX functionality. It makes this book suitable for beginning APEX developers. For more advanced developers it is a good reference while working with functionality, introduced in APEX 4.0.

If you are new to APEX, you can start learning APEX by working through the first chapter (Creating a Basic APEX Application). If you have read Oracle’s “2 Day + Application Express Developer’s Guide” (as a beginning APEX Developer you should have!), some of the recipes will look familiar. Both, the book and the 2+Day Guide will take you by the hand while making your first steps with APEX. The book’s introduction does cover more aspects but compared to the 2+Day Guide, the Guide offers more explanation and background. More advanced user’s developers will probably use the recipes when they need it, or browse the chapters instead of working through the whole book chapter by chapter, just as you would do with an actual cookbook.

Each chapter is organized like an OTN Oracle-by-Example articles and one can choose between try-to-understand or just get-it-done-by-following-the-instructions approach:

  • Getting ready - prerequisites
  • How to do it… - step-by-step instructions
  • How it works… - short explanation
  • There’s more – suggestions and explanation on extending or varying the recipes
  • See also – reference to related recipes or documentation

All together, this book contains 80+ APEX recipes, varying in complexity ranging from “Creating a simple report” to “Setting up version control with APEX and SVN”. The examples are well selection and cover most of the aspects one has to learn when developing with APEX.


This book is a great companion when developing applications with APEX. The recipe’s format helps you to take the necessary steps to get your job done. In some cases I would wish some more detailed information in the “How it works…” sections. Much of the recipes are not new. Lots of information and How-To’s have been published on blogs and downloadable documents on the internet since APEX 4.0 has been released, but it’s very convenient to have them in one place in a book, nicely arranged by subject.


Have a look at the Table of Contents on the publisher’s site, to see if it contains your favorite dishes.



Having written this “Oracle APEX 4.0 Cookbook
Marcel and Michel sure deserve the title of APEX M@sterchefs!