Apex Interactive Grid and IOT’s

I love the interactive grid in Application Express.  And here’s why… (Warning: Ranting mode is now on Smile)

You can tell people

  • here’s an application built with almost no code, in fact, you probably could have built it yourself
  • it’s multi-user, with optimistic locking built in for you
  • it’s secure
  • it’s backed up and recoverable,
  • it’s scales ridiculously well,
  • it doesn’t need any complicated middle tier, or software libraries,
  • it can be accessed anywhere you have a browser…which is…anywhere!
  • it has responsive look and feel,
  • it was built with software that doesn’t cost a single dollar,
  • it centralises the data so you have a single source of truth

and after you have told them all of that….do you know what they’ll say ?

“Yeah…but I like to double-click on a field to edit it…So I’ll just use Excel and store it on my hard drive”

AGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Somebody…..shoot….me……

Interactive grids blow that flaccid argument out of the water!  So get on board to Application Express 5.1+ for some interactive grid awesome-ness.

One discovery I did make with interactive grids, is that if you based the grid on an Index-Organized table, you will erroneously get a ROWID column in your grid



This is not a major drama – just delete the item from the designer and it will still work just fine, and this minor detail is fixed in an upcoming release.

End of an era …

Four years ago I wrote about a little volunteer project that my partner did.  A small association that provided outdoor experiences and facilities for kids with physical impairments needed a system to record member and volunteer details, plus a few other bits and pieces.  We built an Apex solution running on XE.  This week, they became part of a larger government initiative, and thus their Apex application was no longer needed and the information migrated to a centralised service.  There was a tinge of sadness about that, but I also was pleased with the outcomes of this “project” namely:

  • It ran for 4 years with virtually never an outage besides those related to power etc.  (After all, their “server” was just a PC in the secretary’s office Smile)
  • Their PC’s etc went through several iterations of patching, upgrades, replacements etc and the system was unaffected because it was entirely run in the browser
  • We never had a single issue with the database
  • Minimal maintenance needed.  In fact, the only “serious” bit of work needed after go live was when we discovered that their external drive (where we stored our database backups) was from time to time removed to be used for offsite file transfers, and when it was re-attached they would assign it a new drive letter.  So we adjusted our backup script to cycle through drive letters to “find” the disk and adjust the RMAN backup details accordingly.

That’s one of the great things with Apex, and a database-centric model.  It is just so well insulated from all the things that change most frequently, that is, those elements closest to the client.

So yesterday I took a final datapump export of the system as a “just in case” measure, and uninstalled the application and its dependencies from the PC.  But for four years, they had a successful application that provided all of their data entry needs and all of their reporting needs, and besides checking an occasional email to ensure the backups were working ok, took very little of my time. And surely that’s what all IT applications “aspire” to be – stuff that just plain works.

It never let them down and never cost them a cent.  You can’t tick any more boxes than that Smile

Apex upgrade 4.2 to 5.0.2

Just a quick note for anyone upgrading Apex on their systems.

The installation (into a non-multitenant instance) went through with no problems, but tracing the installation suggests it will flush the shared pool 6 times during installation/upgrade.

That might have some impact on other applications/sessions running on that database, so best to find a quiet time to do it.

You never stop learning

My mate Scott Wesley, whose specialty is Apex, is currently at Kscope having the time of his life (well, I hope so Smile).  He tweeted this picture last night of his conference badge, mainly about the “I love Apex” buttons, but something else struck me.



Take a look at the last two ribbons attached to his badge.  I’ve known Scott for many years, and was even fortunate enough be a  mentor of his for awhile.  He’s a sharp dude, and is probably one of the best Apex resources locally in Australia and abroad.  This is why you see the deserved Oracle Ace designation.  But its his first Kscope, so he also gets the “newbie” ribbon. That reinforces the fact that no matter how much experience you have, no matter how much knowledge you have, there are always new things to learn, new things to explore, to continually expand your horizons as an Oracle professional.

So … try to keep a virtual badge on a virtual lanyard around you’re neck as you go about your working day.  It should always contain a “newbie” ribbon – so you’re always finding new challenges.