Tuesday, November 25, 2008

UKOUG is right around the corner!

In a few days I will pack my bags and head off to Birmingham for the 2008 version of the UKOUG. I am looking forward in meeting old friends and making new ones. And of course - attend some of the most interesting sessions available in Europe!
While I was setting up my agenda for the week I noticed that on every day the first session starts at 9:25. That makes it a lot easier to network at night...
My agenda contains a mix of Fusion, DBA, Development sessions and of course APEX (all though there is not that many APEX sessions). It is gonna be a busy week!



MondayAdvanced SQL for PL/SQL Programmers

Oracle Application Express Now and in the Future

Oracle Forms: Features and Future

Building Your Business Services in Oracle ADF: A Case Study of Redeveloping an Oracle Forms Application

UKOUG 2008 Opening Party
TuesdayFollow up session to 'Oracle Exadata - Extreme Performance'

Beginners' Guide to Trouble-shooting

Extreme Reusability - New Features in Oracle ADF 11g (FTMS)

Designing and Building Security at the Data Layer

Community Focus Pubs
WednesdayChanging to the World with Oracle Web Services and the Service Oriented Architecture (FTGTS)

The Fusion Development Platform (FTMS)

Migrating Oracle Forms to SOA and J2EE (Oracle ADF)

Advanced Oracle Application Express Tips and Techniques

Performance Tuning Basics

Visual Data Modeling with Oracle SQL Developer

25th Year Celebration Party
ThursdayMaterialized Views Administration and Internals

Being Steven Feuerstein (IMHO wins the Best-Title-Award)

Designing PL/SQL applications

(Re)Developing a logistic application in APEX in the real world (that's mine)

Securing an APEX application on a Microsoft platform
FridayOracle Beehive - The only complete and open platform for integrated, secure collaboration

Advanced SQL Features

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Integrate Oracle Forms with APEX

APEX 3.2 will contain functionality to migrate Oracle Forms to APEX. I am one of the (about) 10 lucky people that take part in testing the Limited Early Adopter release, so I know what it can and cannot do (I will blog about that later).
In 2007 Wilfred van der Deijl did a presentation at ODTUG about the integration of Oracle Forms with JSF, JSP and ADF Faces. This eventually resulted in a product OraFormsFaces. The technique he used is elaboratly described in this Step-by-step guide.
So I thought: Why not try to copy this technique and do this also in APEX?

So first I created a simple form showing Orders (all is based on the HR scheme). The second step is to incorporate this Form in an APEX region. So I created a page and within that page a PL/SQL region. The region source is a call to a database procedure APEX$CALL_FORM. This procedure has a couple of arguments, like formname, username and password. This procedure simply uses htp.p to put out the same tags that are used to show a form the regular way (I used Firebug to grab that code) and uses the parameters to replace the formname etc.

The result is:

This is showing a Form within an APEX region. The form is embedded in two DIV's: An 'innerdiv' and an 'outerdiv'.
Next was to apply some style attributes to the div's and the applet itself to keep the menu, buttons and scrollbar out of sight. I used the width and height settings to eliminate the scrollbars and negative margin settings to clip all unwanted content.

The result of that excercise looks like this:
You can hardly tell that this is an Oracle Form (especially because I used similar visual attributes as the APEX theme).

The next step was to use this form as a master for a (detail) APEX region: Order Items. Just above the Order Items region I created a dummy region that contains the Order Id for which the Order Items should appear in the report. In the HTML Form Elements Attributes of the Order Id I entered a piece of javascript (onchange="javascript:refresh_region(this);") that would refresh the Order Item region on a change of the Order Id (therefore the function refresh_region does a call to html_PPR_Report_Page).

So far so good. When navigating through the form the Order Id should be updated (and automagically the Order Items get updated as well). So I added a WHEN-NEW-RECORD-INSTANCE to the Order Block in the form with just one simple call:
 web.show_document('javascript:$s("P1_ORDER_ID",'||:DEMO_ORDERS.ORDER_ID ||')', _self');
This sets the (APEX) P1_ORDER_ID to the current Order Id in the form. And this works magnificent!
The final step is to use the Oracle Form as a detail to an APEX region as well (so a master-detail-detail page). Therefore I copied the 'CommunicatorBean' java code from Wilfred's guide and deployed that on my Forms Server (it took somewhat longer than just these two lines, but I won't go in to that ;-) ). I also added a CommunicatorBean-item to my form and added the following code in the WHEN-CUSTOM-ITEM-EVENT triger on that item.

declare
BeanEventDetails ParamList;
ParamType number := text_parameter;
Event varchar2(1000);
Payload varchar2(1000);
begin
BeanEventDetails := get_parameter_list(:system.custom_item_event_parameters);
get_parameter_attr(BeanEventDetails, 'Event', ParamType, Event);
get_parameter_attr(BeanEventDetails, 'Payload', ParamType, Payload);
if event='do_key'
then
message('About to '||payload);
do_key(payload);
end if;
if event='execute_query'
then
set_block_property('DEMO_ORDERS', DEFAULT_WHERE, 'WHERE CUSTOMER_ID = '||payload);
execute_query;
end if;
end;


Then I created a master region (Interactive Report on Customers) and on the column Customer ID a link:
javascript:setFormItem(#CUSTOMER_ID#);
and this function does nothing more than :
 document.formsapplet.raiseEvent('execute_query', pCustId ); 
And now, when I click on a Customer Id, the Form immediately shows the Orders for that customer and the Order Items are synchronized with the Order in the Form.
So it is possible to integrate your existing Forms with an APEX application, making a smooth transition possible.
I have submitted an abstract for ODTUG on this subject, so if it is selected I can show you this (and more!) live...
Last but certainly not least, many thanks to Wilfred for sharing his knowledge on the web!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I am officially an APEX Pro now....




Today I received the silver medal on the OTN APEX Forum!

500 more to become an Expert...

Or should I go for an Ace of Spades....

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tom Kyte's prequel to Guru4Pro

Yesterday over 100 Pro's attended Guru Tom's session on '11 Things about 11g'. But in the hours before that session a small number (about 18) of persons had the honor of listening and discussing with the master himself. As a guide he used an extensive version of his 'Worst Practices' presentation. During - and after - the presentation there was a lot more Q&A than I've experienced in regular sessions - of course due to the small scale of this session.
On a question about the new features and enhancements of 11gR2 Tom told that there will be no export functionality anymore in R2 (import will be available though). For moving data from one instance to another you should use datapump or SQL Developer or APEX. Also he explained a little more about the Online Application Upgrade. This feature will use invisible indexes, cross edition triggers and (a maximum of) two versions of PL/SQL programs and views (tables are not versionable). It sounds like it is not a black box feature, but needs some programming to get things working. By the way, in 11gR1 this functionality is already available and you can turn it on using some hidden initialization parameter (I don't know which). You can see the column edition_name is there in the all_objects view..... 11gR2 is expected to be available in 2009Q1!
For all APEX developers: Tom, as expected from a database man, is truly an APEX supporter - he mentions the power of APEX a lot during his presentations!