Monday, December 10, 2007

UKOUG Day 4

The last day of the conference already...

The day started with a presentation on Datamodelling using JDev. The presenter showed how JDev could replace Designer for modelling. Imho JDev doesn't support logical modelling at all (he misused Java class models to represent a logical model), there is no repository and no relation between a logical and physical model. For just physical modelling JDev is fine, because all 11g database options are included. This modelling option will become available in SQL Dev also....

''After that I went to see my esteemed colleague Peter Lorentzen's talk on How to make your APEX Application Secure. He stated that APEX is secure, but developers make it unsecure. Nice statement Peter! One of his (many) good advices was not to use XE for an APEX (open) production environment as XE is not patched and you will be vulnerable to all kinds of attacks. He also showed a script attack by adding a small "Hello World" script as a value for a database varchar2 column - if you don't check the input and escape the output more dangerous scripts can be executed than just a small pop up box saying Hello. Even with Pete Finnigan on the front row making him kinda nervous, Peter did a good job!

My last session of the day - and the conference - was a two hour Masterclass on ADF by Duncan Mills. He showed us how all the XML files in JDev are created, what the connection was between all these XML files and how to tweak it. For instance how to change (as an example : change the backgroud color) the drag and drop feature in the faces_creator_configuration file. Great session, although he couldn't get through all his 72 (!) slides and tons of examples - have to buy the book (as I didn't win the signed copy).

After that the trip home. Doug Burns made the waiting at the airport more pleasant (and/or the Guinness) , but it still was a long trip. Thanks for the organisation for this great event, I hope to get back next year!

UKOUG Day 3

The (rather ambitious) schedule for today was :

Lost in JDeveloper by Sten Vesterli : Sten guided the (Forms experienced) audience in creating an ADF Swing Client App ofcourse declaratively (next to AJAX this is the buzzword of the conference : everything should be declarative, you can be a programmer when you' re able in controlling your mouse ;-) ).
'Christmas
Programming Real Applications with APEX by Andrew Woodward : Again everything declarative but now using APEX instead of JDev. The point was: you can create simple applications faster than using Oracle Forms but when you need more advanced features you'll need to program Javascript and AJAX. But that's only temporarily, because in the next version(s) you also will be able to create AJAX components declaratively.

Modelling on the cheap by Andrew Clarke (I chaired this one) : Andrew sketched out the pros and cons of different modelling tools - from whiteboards to (free) datamodelling tools. As far as he knows the best free datamodelling tool on the market today is Schemester.

Oracle SQL Developer Advanced Features by Sue Harper : Sue pointed out how to make our own extensions - as extra tabs and right-mouse-options - on SQL Dev and demonstrated the power of the Migration Workbench. Also APEX content in your database is visible throug SQL Dev and a nice new feature (in the next version) will be to possibility to view trace files as a very flexible TKProf like output!

Oracle Forms Roundtable by Grant Ronald : In this round table all attendees could present their views on Oracle Forms and what features should be added in subsequent releases. Alas not much came out - I think we are so "comfortable" with the imperfections of Form... Grant suggested a couple of enhancements like a kind of JTable option (where you can click on the header for automated sorting etc) and a new look-and-feel / color scheme. Ofcourse no fixed promises where made...

Integration of BI Publisher and APEX by Dimitri Gielis : Dimitri, enthousiastic as ever, showed the possibilities of using BI Publisher for creating very good looking reports. The integration between the two products is very good. But a great disadvantage is that BI Publisher is not as free-of-charge as APEX is (maybe this is Oracle's way to earn some money out of APEX - apart from the database licenses?).

Special : Trevor Baylis - a World Famous British Inventor : Trevor, a 72 years old 'world famous' inventor (I never heard about him, but he is the inventor of, amongst a lot of other stuff, the wind-up radio - now I understand why we've got one from the organisation) presented his views on " invention". In his opinion you can learn to invent and, just like there is a School of Arts, there also should be a School of Inventions. The presentation was very amusing.

Event Dinner : One hall was transformed into a ' Christmas Eve' kind of room and we all enjoyed the drinks, food and (more or less) the DJ...

UKOUG Day 2

After yesterdays Blogger Meetup it was hard to start the day...
The first session of the day was Sue Harper's talk on SQL Developer Latest Features. She mainly focussed on the new / enhanced features of version 1.5, that will be production somewhere (early?) 2008. To name some new features : external authentication (OPS$ users), browsing queues and Java, schema differences and schema copy, recall filters and a flashback query tab, formatter enhancements, your own code templates and drill down reports. With very new version SQL Developer looks more like the current TOAD version ;-).

After that I visited a session about Building Rich UI with APEX and AJAX. It was pretty impressive what you can do with a combination of APEX and AJAX (look at ajaxpatterns.org. The presenter also showed the use of widgets of the jQuery UI library like an accordion and a fancy date picker (jquery.com).

The next session about the Roadmap for legacy system migration I chaired. A solution for the upgrade to Designer / Developer 10g was presented that can' t compete with our Famous solution! The most interesting part of this presentation was the use of Dataload Classic (dataload.net) for playback testing (recording actions in the old forms, playing it back in the new ones).

After that one I went to see Grant Ronald on AJAX UI Development with JSF and ADF Faces. The good news is that we don't have to worry about the (complicated) AJAX stuff, because it's all hidden after the new ADF Faces Rich Client UI objects. And they look really great : Accordions, drag and drop etc.

Next on the program was a session on Rules Manager and Expression Filter: a way to let Oracle watch for incoming data conforming a specific where clause. You can use this feature for information distribution or workflow. Sadly to say that it needs a lot of difficult steps to set up.

Last but not least was Steven Davelaar (again chaired by me) enthousiastic as ever telling en demoing JHeadstart. He showed the new (version 10.1.3) features on Security, Dynamic Menu's, Multi Language Support and Flexible Items. The most impressive news is that also for JHeadstart Oracle is working on a Release 11 version - with all the beautiful AJAX features.... As allways it was hard to keep him to the time schedule ;-).

And now off to the ' community focus pubs' .

UKOUG Day 1

After a rough flight yesterday I arrived in Birmingham. The city has a complete Christmans atmosphere, as you might expect at this time of year. There even is a 'real' Frankfurter Christmas market with 'Beer und Bratwurst' and hot wine - and lots and lots of other more or less Christmas related stuff. I made some pictures, but on my (new) laptop the drivers for the camera are not installed yet, so I'll add the pictures later on...

'MeThis morning the UKOUG started with two keynotes on '30 Years of Oracle'. The one of Tom Kyte was amusing as ever. At that moment I realised that I volunteered to introduce him this afternoon, probably for an audience of over 1,000 people. I'm more nervous about that than about my own presentation!
After that I went to an presentation on APEX 3.1 New Features. This version is already available on OTN (not for download, but to play with) and has a lot of interesting and nice looking features. For instance the end-user can dynamically change reports by adding sorts, filters, computations, charts and colors - and save these reports for later use. The 3.1 versions should be available for production around March 2008.

The second session was about Forms Upgrade, Integration and Lifecycle using PITSS.CON : A repository based addition for Forms and Reports Development. To me, the most interesting part is that PITSS is extending PITTS.CON to extract business rules and the data access layer form Forms and put it in the database. The main reason to do so is to 'service enable' the Forms-business-logic, in order to open it up for other applications. Another use can be : An easy change of the (Forms) UI to another UI - but that's just my addition. Btw : PITSS.CON has some overlap with the Designer functionality, so using both products at the same time may be challenging....
'Tom
Now I just finished my own presentation about the transformation of Oracle Forms to Java. It all went very well. The room was filled for 2/3 with about 75 people (including Grant Ronald and Duncan Mills), I finished right on schedule and even got time to answer some questions. Now waiting for the introduction of Tom Kyte - who happens to sit right behind me in the Speaker Lounge at this moment.

The introduction of Tom went rather well. Luckily you don't see that much of the audience at such a large stage and with all those lights. Marco (of AMIS) took some pictures, I'll post them later on. Tom's session on 11g New Features for DBA's was also very good - even for a non-DBA like me. Some slide pics are here, here and here.

Later that evening the Blogger Meetup was held at a pub close to the ICC. It was nice to meet a lot of those 'virtual' persons in real life (again).