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Logger: A new PL/SQL Logging & Debugging Tool

I just found out from a client that Tyler Muth, ex-APEX developer and current Oracle SC, has just released a new utility aptly called "Logger".  Logger, well, does what you think it would: logs stuff.
What strikes me as innovative about Logger is not what's there, but what's not there: complexity.  It's just plain easy to use.  Easier than creating table t (col1 varchar2(4000)) and throwing insert statements all around your code.
You simply call it like this:  logger.log('something to log');  That's all you need to get it to work.
Sure, there are a number of great features as you peel back the covers, such as a configurable auto-deletion of logs parameter, timings, and of course, my favorite:  APEX item name & value logging.
You can download Logger here: http://logger.samplecode.oracle.com  All you need is a free OTN account.

APEX Certification On The Way

At Oracle Open World, I spoke with the APEX Development Team about a number of things, including a new pilot program to become APEX Certified.  The program is open to anyone with "at least 6 months of APEX development experience", according to Joel Kallman's post about it.

I think that this is a good step on Oracle's part, as it shows more and more commitment to APEX as a platform.  It also creates a career milestone that APEX developers can strive for that is similar to what is available with other technologies.

To sign up for the pilot, visit: http://www.oracle.com/goto/apexpilot

Presenting at GROUG in Richmond Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

I'll be presenting Many to One: Managing Multiple APEX Applications as One on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 6:30 PM. The presentation is sponsored by the Greater Richmond Oracle Users Group (GROUG) and will be held at Markel, which is located in Glenn Allen, VA. There is no charge to attend!

Details, directions & registration for the event can be found on GROUG's web site here: http://ioug.itconvergence.com/pls/apex/f?p=210:29

If you're in the Richmond area, I hope to see you Wednesday evening!

Blogging is Dead

Maybe I'm in the minority, but it seems that blogging has taken a sharp nose dive in terms of frequency. I monitor a bunch of Oracle-related and other blogs, and the traffic is definitely down. There were also few blog re-caps of ODTUG - which is in stark contrast to years past, where the coverage has been extensive. The few blogs that were updated were brief and light on real content.
So, the question must be asked: is blogging a thing of the past?

First of all, maintaining a blog is not easy. You have to select a topic that you want to blog about, hoping that it is of interest to not just you but your readers. Then, you may have to do some research on that topic, maybe create an example if its a technical blog, and then find the time to actually compose your thoughts. Sounds too much like school to me!
Using Twitter is easy. Many of the people that I follow "re-tweet" other people's Tweets that they find interesting. To translate for the non-Tweeters out ther…

This Revolution will be Digital

It's truly amazing what is going on in Iran. In the span of a little less than a week, our public perception of the Iranians has done one huge 180. No longer do we think that they all hunkered down in some mosque planning the next attack on America or hacking into our computers trying to steal nuclear secrets of burning American flags and effigies of our leaders.

All of a sudden, they look very different to us. We can relate to them better today that we could last week. They are simply standing up for themselves, trying to point out to the world that, "Hey, we're not all bad people - there's just a few at the top that are making things, well, difficult for us."
And during this crisis, a seemingly unlikely ally has rushed to their side - the global digital community. Since their government has imposed a virtual media and Internet blackout, the only way to get news out is via the Internet, specifically social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
What wa…

OfficeDepot Recycles Ink Cartridges and Gives you $3 each!

If you purchase a fair amount of office supplies, then make sure that you sign up for the Worklife Rewards program at Office Depot.  You get a quarterly gift card based on the amount that you spend, among other benefits - one of which I just found out about this weekend:  If you bring back a spent ink cartridge, you will get a $3 bonus reward added to your account.  Details are here:  http://www.myworkliferewards.com/loyalty/smartView.do?code=InkDepot
Not only is it good for the environment - especially since HP stopped putting the free recycle envelopes in their packaging in favor of their useless promotions - but it can put some cash back in your pocket, which you'll likely just spend on more ink anyways...

Lots of New Stuff

The last few weeks have been quite hectic indeed!

In addition to my day job, I've been busy working with Doug Gault - Sumner's newest member - in re-structuring a number of our services and training classes.  I'm also happy to announce a couple of new products that we will be launching soon.

SumnerPrint is a PL/SQL-based solution that allows you to easily print APEX reports to PDF, HTML and XLS.  Built on top of PL/PDF, SumnerPrint easily integrates into any APEX application and allows your end users to print high fidelity reports with the click of the mouse.  Since it's built on PL/PDF, there is no middle tier to configure or extra servers to purchase.  You can be up and running with it in just a few minutes!

SumnerFramework is a set of APEX applications and tables that allow you to manage who has access to which APEX application.  It also provides a single point of management, so that you can centralize your role management for easier access and better reporting.

You…

Last Chance for ODTUG Early Bird Registration

Notice: June 2nd is the last day that you'll save $200 on the ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2009 registration.

With over 50 APEX presentations and 2 full APEX tracks this year, there has never been a single conference that has encompassed so much APEX content! And since ODTUG is a fraction of the size of other conferences, you always get the opportunity to meet with the presenters later on to ask follow up questions or just to comment on their presentations. This is probably one of the largest benefits that ODTUG offers over other conferences, in my opinion.

So if you're already signed up, I'll see you there. If you're still considering, make sure to book your trip before June 2nd to save an additional $200!

"Every Day" Applications

Lots of good insight in this short article: http://bokardo.com/archives/everyday-app/

It's interesting that across the world, the number of sites that we use on a daily basis is relatively small and consistent. I can attest to this, as I fit pretty much in the 7-8 range.

Quite often when designing a site for use on the public Internet, we obsess over all of the little details that take up the majority of the development cycle. This evidence suggests that we should do otherwise.

Think about the relationships we have with brick & mortar stores - we probably also have just a few that we frequent on a regular basis - grocery store, gas station, dry cleaners, bank, etc. All of these stores are designed with efficiency in mind. They want you - the customer - to get in, get what you need, and then get out as quickly as possible: grocery stores now have self checkouts; banks have drive-throughs and ATMs; gas stations let you pay at the pump, and so on.

Stores that we only visit on a …

Returning a Value from a Popup Page

I just ran into a situation where I needed to pass back a value from a pop-up page to a tabular form item in the calling page. While I've done this in the past ny manually writing all of the JavaScript, I thought that I'd take a look at the new documented APEX JavaScript APIs.

I came across this function in the APEX 3.2 API Reference Guide (Part #E13369-01):

$v_PopupReturn(pValue, pThat) Sets the value of the item in the parent window (pThat), with (pValue) and then closes the popup window. Return Value Not applicable. Parameters pValue (string) pThat (DOM node | string ID)
Looks perfect!  In addition to passing the value back, it will also close the pop-up page, even though that is not documented.

On the pop-up page, I created a link with an Optional Redirect to URL, and put the following in the link:

javascript:$v_PopupReturn(#EMPNO#, '&P3_NODE.')
P3_NODE is the DOM ID of the tabular form item that I wanted to return the value to.  You'll need to make sure that i…

APEX on Mac OS X - Update II

After two days of consistent use, APEX on OS X has performed flawlessly! And it's fast - REALLY fast! Sure, there's no network there to slow things down, but when using Safari 4, it's just as fast as static pages!

Now that Oracle runs natively on OS X, I can stop relying on VMs for that service, and use SQL Developer, Firefox and other Mac tools for 100% of my development.

I just hope that the folks at Oracle make this a supported configuration at some point so that we don't have to keep running in an unsupported fashion.

APEX on Mac OS X - Update

It seems as if the Embedded PL/SQL Gateway is a part of Oracle 10g for Mac OS X after all. Thus, if there's an EPG, then there's a way to get APEX up and running.

Alex Gorbachev has posted a step-by-step guide on how to do just this here. And if you missed his Installation Guide for Oracle 10g on Mac OS X, you can find that here.

As he stated, the workaround is not a very secure thing to do; however, if you're just using it for local development, there should be no major issues. You have been warned.

In any case, I did have an issue with the code that he had posted to disable the security on XDB. After some searching around, I used the following instead:

DECLARE
configxml SYS.XMLType;
configxml2 SYS.XMLType;
BEGIN
-- Get the current configuration
configxml := DBMS_XDB.cfg_get();

-- Modify the configuration
SELECT INSERTCHILDXML
(xdburitype(
'/xdbconfig.xml').getXML(),
'/xdbconfig/sysconfig/protocolconfig/httpconfig',
'allow-repository-anonymous-access',
XMLTyp…

New APEX "video"

The Oracle APEX team has released a new video that really does a good job covering how you can position APEX.  It's more of an animation than a video, but the visuals really do a nice job complementing the concepts that they are trying to get across.

Have a look at it on the APEX OTN Site.

RTFM

No, this is not another rant about just anyone who doesn't know how to read manuals.  It's about me.  And I don't know how to read manuals.

After downloading Oracle 10g for Mac OS X, I spent some time getting it installed.  After a false start (where I created the dba group with GUID 201 - the same as the Guest account on Mac OS X), I managed to get it up and running.  There's an excellent guide here, which walks you through just what you need to do and little more:  http://blog.rayapps.com/2009/04/12/how-to-install-oracle-database-10g-on-mac-os-x-intel

Once I could SQL*Plus into the database, I downloaded the Companion CD, and started to install that, thinking that the Oracle HTTP Server would be a part of it.  Well, much to my disappointment, it was nowhere to be found.  After some digging on the OTN Apple Forum, I came across this post:  http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=654233&tstart=0&start=15

The important line in that post points here:…

Oracle on Mac OS X Intel!

After many false starts, it looks like Oracle has finally released the Oracle Database 10g & the Companion CD for Mac OS X Intel!  Sure, it's not Oracle 11g, but I'll take what I can get...

Of course, I am going to get APEX up and running on it as soon as I can, and will report my findings. 

You can download it from OTN here:

http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/database/oracle10g/htdocs/10204macsoft_x86-64.html

Want $200?

No, I'm not writing stimulus checks, nor did I win the lottery. However, if you're going to ODTUG Kaleidoscope this year, you can save a quick $200 by registering before April 7th!

There's going to be two separate APEX tracks this year, in addition to the Sunday Symposium. There's just no other place that you can go to get this much APEX information for even close to the same price!

Have a look at the agenda and hope to see you in Monterey!

Oracle APEX 3.2 Released

Oracle has announced the general availability of Oracle APEX 3.2.  In addition, they have re-vamped the APEX home page (http://apex.oracle.com) with a cleaner look than the previous version.

There seems to be a number of security features in addition to the Forms Conversion features that have been discussed for some time.