Monday, November 22, 2010

SQL Developer 3.0 Early Adopter now available

Early Adopter (EA) releases of SQL Developer and SQL Developer Data Modeler EA 2 are now available for download from OTN.

SQL Developer new features are described here. The marque SQL Developer 3.0 is improved migrations. You can see an enhanced migration wizard in our EA release, however you should see more improvements in our production release. Our objective is to make it much quicker and easier to analyze the scope of a migration effort, as well as to simplify and streamline the actual migration work. Additional new features exposed in the 3.0 EA release include an all new and much improved query builder, DBA functionality, and an alternative object tree navigator.

SQL Developer Data Modeler EA 2 features integrated svn source code control as well as user defined design rules and transformations. It is not a user exposed feature but the biggest change with this release is a much tighter integration with the core SQL Developer framework. Basically the components and behavior is now all uses the same underlying infrastructure.

APEX 4.0.2 is here, and its got two new themes!

Oracle Application Express (APEX) 4.0.2 patch is now available on MySupport and a re-release is available on OTN as of last Friday November 19th, 2010. You can read all about Oracle APEX 4.0.2 here. In addition to fixing 111 bugs (thanks to all who made the time and effort to report these), APEX 4.0.2 also introduces two new themes, theme 21 and theme 22.

I have been using theme 21 to build a number of internal applications here at Oracle. I am a big fan of the new theme, for me it feels modern, renders fast, and has lots of nice templates. I like the button templates, specifically the opportunity to choose a "hot" button to highlight one button over others. I also like the new horizontal progress train (list template), which works very well for wizards. Interactive reports have also been attractively styled. Theme 21 is red (red tabs in gray top bar, red and gray buttons), and for those who don't want a red theme, theme 22 is the same but in blue (blue tabs in gray top bar with yellow and gray buttons). These new themes are xhtml1-strict so don't use them if you want any IE 6 compatibility.

A large number of improvements have also been made to existing themes. To take advantage of the improvements to themes 1-20 you will need to recreate your themes. If you have significantly customized your version of theme 1-20 you will want to reintegrate your customizations, or simply not upgrade your theme. To switch a theme, navigate to share components, then themes, renumber your theme (see task on right side bar), create a new theme, then switch your theme.

I hope everyone enjoys the new themes as much as I do.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

MAOP Event in Reston Friday November 5th 2010

If your in the washington DC or northern Virginia area you may want to attend the 2010 MAOP Training Conference. MOAP has a number of great speakers lined up, and it's a great opportunity to meet leading Oracle experts and even Oracle development staff. The event starts at 7:30 am for registration and breakfast. You can view the full agenda here. I will be giving the keynote, I will cover both database 11g topics as well as database tools including Oracle Application Express.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Profit Magazine Article

I recently had the opportunity to answer APEX questions for Oracle's Profit magazine. You can read the interview online here. Hopefully this exposure will introduce Oracle Application Express (APEX) to a broader community.

Monday, September 27, 2010

OTN interview of Oracle APEX PM David Peake

Oracle Application Express product manager David Peake takes questions from the Oracle Technology Network's Justin Kestelyn in archive of a live Oracle world video cast. See it here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

SQL Developer 3.0 demonstrated at OOW

The SQL Developer development team is at the demo pod in Moscone West and has been busy showing off the latest (yet to be released) version of SQL Developer. SQL Developer 3 features an all new graphical query builder, a scheduler interface, data import wizards, improved data grids, basic DBA functionality, improved migration capabilities, and an alternative to the tree based object navigator with a client side filter. If you are at Oracle World and want to meet the developers you should stop by the demo pods.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oracle BI Publisher 11g

Oracle open world (OOW) is great opportunity catch up on new database and database tools technologies. Yesterday, my highlight was seeing an in-depth presentation of Oracle BI Publisher 11g. I was blown away by the clean and remarkably advanced browser based user interface. The ability to define pixel perfect reports both for online viewing and PDF combining data from multiple queries was very impressive. When you view a BI publisher report online, its not just a static report with beautiful charts, end users can filter and drill down and interact with the report output with outstanding performance. Oracle BI publisher is a great complement to Oracle APEX, in that it can build any report you want, and like APEX it's 100% browser based; and yes it works on the iPad as well.

If you are at OOW you can checkout a presentation today Wednesday here:

11:30 am - 12:30 pm S317933: Introduction to Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher
Mike Donohue, Oracle & Klaus Fabian, Oracle
Moscone West L3 Room 3016

Read more on BI publisher blog

Monday, September 20, 2010

If your at OOW 2010 don't miss Tom Kyte on What's new in DB App Dev

Most know Tom Kyte from (, and from countless presentations he has delivered world wide. Many people may not know that Tom was also instrumental in both WebDB and Oracle Application Express coding parts of both products and mod_plsql. So if your in OOW in SF this week, and your into application development you should consider attending this session. Tom is presenting on other topics as well, you can see his OOW schedule here.

What's New in Oracle Database Application Development?
Tom Kyte takes a look at the new capabilities in the standard set of Oracle Database development tools, from Oracle SQL Developer to Oracle Application Express to Oracle Data Provider for .NET and PHP (among others). He also gives a general overview of what's been done in the last year of tools development.
Session ID: S319181
Tuesday, September 21
4:30 p.m.
Hilton San Francisco, Grand Ballroom A & B

Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler is now a no cost (free) product

In an effort to bring world class database data modeling to the Oracle database developer community SQL Developer Data Modeler is now a free product. Support is provided with your database support, making SQL Developer Data Modeler just like SQL Developer; in that they are both no cost. You can read about and download Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler here.

I'm giving the APEX 101 presentation at Oracle World Monday Sept 20, 2010

I will be giving an intro to Oracle Application Express (APEX)
Session ID: S317042
Monday 20-SEP-2010 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Moscone South, Room 306
If your at OOW and want to learn what Oracle APEX is all about you may find this session interesting.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oracle Technology Network Developer Day - Boston August 19th, 2010

I will be in Boston on August 19th giving the database keynote for the OTN developer day at the Weston Copley Place hotel. The morning features a database 11g presentation targeted at database developers, then an overview of database development tools including SQL Developer, Oracle Application Express (APEX), Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio .NET, PHP and Oracle JDeveloper. The afternoon offers instructor guided hands on labs. It's a bring you're own laptop event; a VM is provided online as well as at the event. If your in the Boston area tomorrow Thursday August 19th it may be something worth checking out. The event is free, 8:00am to 5:30pm.

Oracle APEX 4.0.1 Released

Oracle Application Express (APEX) release 4.0.1 patch is now available for download. The page itemizes the 95 bugs fixed. APEX 4.0.1 has also been released on OTN.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Oracle APEX Forum Poll

Thanks to the 527 people who participated in our last poll. This poll asked who used Oracle Application Express to integrate with the Oracle E-Business Suite; and 23% indicated that they did. Obviously not a scientific poll, but still highlights some usage paterns.

Our new poll asks "What do you like best about Oracle APEX 4.0", and in the interest of brevity gives you 8 choices; Dynamic Actions, Plug-in's, Websheets, Team Development, Improved Interactive Reports, Improved Application Builder, RESTful Web Service integration, and New themes.

I also voted myself, and it was a hard choice; as I like all of the features. In the end I selected the "Improved Application Builder". The ever-present search, the new faster rendering and more attractive "blue-look", the tree edit, the improved debugging, high-lighting of buttons in forms to indicate the obvious action, is what I like most. When using my Apple i-pad I do enjoy or many of our new icons (easy to click on with your fingers) as well as the adoption of Interactive reports for the builder.

One feature people may not know is you can enter a page number in the "search application" search box from any builder page and it takes you directly to a given page. If you were nice enough to read this far; please also take the next step and vote.

Known Issues with Oracle Application Express 4.0

Since the introduction of Oracle APEX 4.0 on June 23, 2010 we have seen significant uptake of our new release (APEX 4.0). In monitoring the discussion forums and other channels we have received a number of customer issues uptaking Oracle APEX 4.0. To provide the APEX community with the latest information on APEX 4.0 issues / bugs we have create an Oracle Application Express 4.0 known issues web page.

This page does not track all issues or bugs but should do a good job highlighting many. The development team is working hard to develop one off patches (for some issues) as well as a 4.0.1 re-release. As of the time of this post we have 2 one off patches available via metalink.

We have also updated our Oracle APEX OTN page to link to this known issues page, in the "New in release 4.0" section. If you do encounter bugs with Oracle APEX 4.0 and wish to bring these to our attention please do use the Oracle APEX discussion forum or log bugs with Oracle support.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oracle APEX in the News

I did a few press interviews on our June 23, 2010 release of Oracle Application Express (APEX). We have found more then 15 stories, A few highlights are:

"Oracle Application Express is the primary custom development platform at General Healthcare Group (GHG),” said Marc Yaneza, Technology Director IT, General Healthcare Group. “Its speed of delivery and ease of use has given GHG an excellent, cost effective, scalable platform to get the right tailored applications delivered when required. We’re really looking forward to Oracle Application Express 4.0 where Dynamic Actions and the new reporting capabilities will provide a much richer user experience. Plug-Ins will also help us to technically streamline the way that we create, deliver and re-use custom code, increasing productivity.”

“At PINNACLE Software Corporation, a division of PAETEC Incorporated, we utilize Oracle Application Express to develop our enterprise class Service Lifecycle management software that is used to help IT organizations manage their service support and service delivery business operations,” said Dennis Vanill, Senior Manager Software Development, PAETEC. “We are eager to begin leveraging several of the new and enhanced features available within Oracle Application Express 4.0 designed to help facilitate larger team development. We are particularly excited about the ability to create dynamic actions and plug-ins to easily extend the functionality of the tool. Additionally, we hope to drive efficiencies within our development organization by leveraging the integrated project management, feedback and bug tracking features built inside the tool.”

Oracle Application Express 4.0 Now Available (Database Trends and Applications)

Citing a particularly useful new feature, Hichwa notes that Dynamic Actions allows developers to declaratively create a broad range of AJAX controls without coding JavaScript. "This enables developers who don't know JavaScript to develop rich client side functionality they could not otherwise develop. It also improves productivity in that it's faster than coding JavaScript." Another useful capability, Pluggable Components, allows APEX to be extended by third parties to include new components such as advanced item controls - mashups to, for example, Google maps, etc., Hichwa says. "The plug-ins are installed and then appear as if native when creating components using wizards. Pluggable components empower the community to extend APEX as they wish."

Oracle APEX Gets Web 2.0 Boost by Joab Jackson, IDG News

"By far, this is the most significant release to date. It has more features and pushes the platform much farther than previous releases," said Mike Hichwa, an Oracle vice president of software development.

On the surface, APEX proves to be a very basic tool that offers a lot of RAD capabilities and is quite simple to get started with. As users delve deeper into the tool, they will find a lot of powerful capabilities that may offer just enough flexibility to delay the need to buy more advanced development suites. It all comes down to how developers want to present data and fill table forms on the Web for their users.

You can read many more, here (scroll down to news), you can also google news for "oracle application express".

Oracle Developer Tools User Group (ODTUG) Kaleidoscope 2010

The ODTUG conference (June 27 - July 1, 2010) brought many in the Oracle development community to Washington DC (my fair city) for a week of sessions, hands on labs and general socializing. Speaking with ODTUG organizers attendance was way up, even when many user group conferences are down. Speaking for myself I thought the buzz and ambiance was exceptionally positive.

For the Oracle APEX tracks the week started off well on Sunday with a full day Oracle Application Express Symposia; that walked through the process of building an application starting with the Data model, moving into application development, building plug-ins, performance tuning, user interface design, printing, security and globalization. The week continued with two full tracks dedicated to Oracle APEX, and a database track with lots of SQL, PL/SQL and SQL Developer content. It was a big success by all accounts. It is also worth noting that Symposia featured Oracle SQL Developer Data modeler, as well as Oracle SQL Developer. Both tools available on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) here.

On Monday ODTUG President Mike Riley noted that the Oracle APEX team timed the release of Oracle APEX 4.0 the week before ODTUG from maximum effect (which is true, we worked real hard to make this date). From the Oracle Database Development tools perspective Oracle APEX was the biggest draw accounting for about 28% of all sessions / events. The Oracle SQL Developer, SQL Developer Data Modeler, and SQL Developer Unit testing were also well represented with both user sessions and hands on labs.

I enjoyed, not only my keynote address which I co presented with Oracle APEX development manager Joel Kallman (which I was pleased filled two rooms to capacity), but mostly the opportunity to talk to the developers. I filled a full notebook with success stories, enhancement requests, and ideas on how we can better advance database tools. It was an international event with a large number of attendees from all over Europe.

For the Oracle APEX community attending ODTUG the talk was all about the 4.0 release; many had seen various early access releases, however many were surprised with the elegance, depth, and ease of use in dynamic actions, Interactive Reports, and Plug-ins. Many presentations highlighted the speed at which developers can create database centric applications and I attended packed (as in standing room only) presentations that highlighted team development, websheets, improved charting, RESTfull web services, and modernized user interface themes.

My congratulations and thanks to hard working organizers of this years ODTUG and I look forward to next year's ODTUG in Long Beach CA.

Oracle APEX Listener

As of June 28, 2010 the Oracle APEX listener is available for download on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) here. The APEX listener in combination with a J2EE Web Server is a drop in replacement for Apache / ModPLSQL. Since Oracle Application Express (APEX) is deployed within an Oracle database you need some thin mid tier to facilitate the communications between the browser and the database. The Oracle APEX listener does this, it takes URL gets and posts and maps them to database calls; then returns the generated HTML to the browser. The Oracle APEX listener not only services all versions of Oracle APEX it can also service any PL/SQL Web tool kit application.

For those who follow this technology closely you will note this is the third way to expose Oracle APEX (and Oracle web toolkit) applications on the web. The Oracle HTTP Sever (OHS) is distributed with the Oracle database as well as our middleware. The Oracle HTTP Server bundles Apache 2 with the PL/SQL module (mod_plsql). This is good for customers / developers who want to run Apache. A second alternative is to use the Embedded PL/SQL Gateway (EPG), which is can be enabled by running database scripts and runs out of the database using XDB. This is good for less demanding workloads that want the simplicity of no mid tier. Ideal for a notebook. So this brings us to the new APEX listener which is the third way of integrating Oracle APEX. The Oracle APEX listener can run with Oracle Web Logic Server (WLS) or Glassfish, or most any Java web server. This configuration is ideal for customers / developers who use a Java stack, use Oracle Fusion Middleware (FMW) or like the simplicity of deploying in a Java Web Server.

From my perspective the Oracle APEX listener is the way to go for most, in that it does not lock you into any specific version of Apache (you can of course front end the APEX listener with Apache), and it offloads the web serving from the database when using EPG. So the APEX listener addresses major concerns of our customers (1) no Apache version lockin, (2) synergy with the Java stack (3) external to the Oracle database.

To learn more about how to install, use, and manage the Oracle APEX listener you can visit our OTN page. If you have support for the Oracle database you can call Oracle support. If you want to discuss the APEX listener in our OTN forums you can do so here.

Oracle Application Express 4.0

As of June 23, 2010 Oracle Application Express (APEX) 4.0 is now available on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) here. This is our (the Oracle APEX development team's) most significant release since Oracle APEX was first released in 2004 (as HTML DB). Oracle APEX is a unique product (actually it's a no cost feature of the Oracle Database), in that it runs within an Oracle database, and is capable of providing multi tenant / self service application development.

Here is how it works, you simply navigate your browser (ff, ie, safari, chrome) to an "instance" of Oracle APEX (which is simply an URL, for example our kick-the-tires free public service is and sign up for a "workspace". Once you have an Oracle Application express workspace you can start exposing your Oracle database data on the web by creating an "application". If you don't already have Oracle database tables created, you can create, load and manage your database objects using the Oracle APEX SQL workshop.

You can create simple applications that report on database data or more complex applications such as the Oracle Store. You create these applications using declarative programming (wizards, property sheets) all from your web browser. For example you can click on the APEX Application Builder icon, then on the create application button and build an application using a simple wizard. Then you can add report pages, form pages, integrate web services, create charts, calendars, etc, link all these pages together using tabs, page branching, and list controls giving database developers with a working knowledge of SQL and relational databases the ability to create useful multi user web 2.0 application in minutes. Even if you haven't "programmed" in years but understand databases you can quickly master the basics of Oracle APEX.

So what's all the hype about Oracle APEX 4.0? The 4.0 release introduces some innovative features including dynamic actions which provides declarative client side page event processing. For example dynamic actions let you hide / show, enable / disable page components triggered by events on a page; they also let you make SQL and PL/SQL calls without reloading the full page using AJAX; all without coding JavaScript. Simply follow a wizard that defines the triggering events and actions. Plug-ins are also powerful in that they let Oracle APEX guru's craft Oracle APEX components (region and item controls) that can be loaded into an Oracle APEX application extending the rendering capability of the application builder. The plug-in components then appear as native feature function of Oracle APEX. Crafting plug-in's requires knowledge of APEX internal API's so its not for the novice, but consuming a plug-in is trivial. So plug-ins unleash the creativity of the vibrant and creative Oracle APEX community.

You can install Oracle APEX on your laptop, including a MAC by running a native db or using a database within a VM. You can install APEX 4.0 into an Oracle database 10.2 (or better) in your organization, or you can use an instance hosted by Oracle or another hosting partner. You can even run APEX in on the Amazon cloud using the Oracle AMI, EC2 and EBS. Since the client for development and runtime is a browser, you can develop your application from any browser that has connectivity to your development instance, this includes the Apple iPad, Linux OS, MS Windows, etc. As of APEX 4.0 we do not support IE 6 (because it's a tad buggy with modern stuff), but you can create applications that are IE 6 compatible. Personally I work almost exclusively in Safari, so I can "launch" my development too, login, and start developing and tweaking an application in seconds from just about anywhere.

You can read more, much more, about APEX on our OTN pages