Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ODTUG 2009 Sneak Preview

Just like previous years, AMIS organizes a Sneak Preview of the ODTUG presentations by the Dutch speaking 'crowd' - for those who can not make it to Monterey next month (budget- or otherwise). This little ODTUG is on Monday June 15th, from 16:30 to .. the end. For an overview of the sessions and a subscription link, click here.
The attendees will get more than available at ODTUG, because even Dimitri will do a presentation!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Article Forms to APEX Conversion in Oracle Scene

Last week I received an e-mail from the editor of Oracle Scene - the magazine of the UK Oracle User Group - that my article on Forms to APEX Conversion will be published in the next issue (due for publication in July). So, right after my first article, the second one will be published!
And indeed, I am very excited about that!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More on AnyCharts 4 & APEX

As a follow up on my previous post I created a more elaborate example of the Anycharts 4 features. Take a look on this site and play around with the settings. Just click on the Horizontal/Vertical, 2D/3D settings or Bar Shapes: The chart will refresh automagically. You can easily achieve the same results - replacing your AnyCharts 3 with AnyCharts 4 - in your current APEX application (and - quote from Dimitri - nicer charts = more money ;-) ). Just edit the Chart Region Source as described in the previous post and cut-and-past the XML from the demo site into your Custom XML and you're done.

The good news is, is that my colleague Rutger is working on a package that even generates that AnyCharts 4 XML, using the definitions in the APEX Repository! So you even don't have to get your hands dirty editing Custom XML... I expect that he will publish that piece of work 'soon' (i.e. in the next two weeks), so keep a close watch on his blog!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Replacing Anychart 3 with Anychart 4 Charts

With the current APEX version you can create nice looking Charts using Anycharts 3. The charts you create with Interactive Reports use Anycharts 4. These charts look better than the regular ones, and we - my colleague Rutger and I - started to investigate the options for enhancing the regular charts. Of course we could wait for APEX 4.0 or go for Anycharts 5, using the Anychart Integration Kit, but we love a quick and more cost neutral (as in 'free') solution...

So let's go:
Create a simple chart using the "SELECT NULL LINK, ENAME LABEL, SAL VALUE FROM EMP ORDER BY ENAME" query. Now make let's make some changes in the generated Region Source to use Anychart 4:
Change
<param name="movie" value="#IMAGE_PREFIX#flashchart/#CHART_TYPE#.swf?XMLFile=#HOST#apex_util.flash?p=&APP_ID.:&FLOW_PAGE_ID.:&APP_SESSION.:FLOW_FLASH_CHART_R#REGION_ID#">
to
<param name="movie" value="#IMAGE_PREFIX#flashchart/swf/AnyChart.swf">
and
<param name="FlashVars" value="waiting=#FLASH_WAITING#&loading=#FLASH_LOADING#">
to
<param name="FlashVars" value="XMLFile=#HOST#apex_util.flash2?p=&APP_ID.:&APP_PAGE_ID.:&APP_SESSION.:FLOW_FLASH_CHART_R#REGION_ID#">
twice - once in the <object> section and once in the <embed> section.

Now replace the standard Chart XML with the very minimal setting of:

<anychart>
<settings>
<animation enabled="True"/>
</settings>
<charts>
<chart use_anychart3_data_model="true" >
#DATA#
</chart>
</charts>
</anychart>

Especially the use_anychart3_data_model="true" is important - as APEX generates Anychart 3 type XML. This setting tells Anychart 4 to "understand" that XML. And you're done. Almost...

Update (20/5): The #1085 Error was caused by a wrong "FlashVars" parameter. &APP_ID.:1: should be replaced by &APP_ID.:&APP_PAGE_ID.: Now it works perfect - no need for refreshing the chart anymore!
BTW I am working on a more extensive example on apex.oracle.com, showing more types of charts. I'll do another post when that goes public...

I guess you can't create all the Charts you want, but you can get some nice things like the picture to the left - without any extra costs...

You can see an example here. I wouldn't advice to immediately change all your Charts to Anychart 4, but it is nice to play with!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Call for Papers UKOUG 2009 is open

It's still a long time to go, but the Call for Papers for the next UKOUG conference (30/11 - 2/12 in Birmingham) just opened. You can submit an abstract before June 5 (look here). I have been there twice and I can recommend this conference!