My OpenWorld 2008: 22 Set

Written by Paulo Vale on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today I have changed my agenda and attended two sessions that weren’t initially in my schedule. The first was the one presented by Dimitri Gielis about working charts in APEX and the second one was about mashups and integration with APEX by Simon Boorsma.

Before that I went to Moscone North to watch a bit of the keynote. You can’t believe the number of people that were there! The following picture it's outside the room, next to some big screens.

Session 1: Advanced charting with APEXDimitri Gielis

The presenter tried to make this session the most interactive possible with some funny slides and he managed quite well to do it. The session idea was to show that when using flash charts in APEX, in what concerns customization, you are not limited to the options presented on the chart properties page. You can customize your charts even more if you analyze and modify the XML behind it.

Dimitri made live demo of things like making drilldown charts and reports, protecting the links with checksum, adapt the chart scale, add copyright text, change labels orientation and other tricks.

At the end, he announced that his company has a partnership with to provide an upgrade kit to Anycharts version 5 for the APEX 3.1. Has you all surely know, actual APEX version uses Anycharts 3 when you create a flash chart from the traditional wizard and uses Anycharts 4 when you create a chart from an Interactive Region.

He got lots of questions and the time flew away. So, he had no time to explore the final idea and the advantages of having Anycharts 5.

Session 2: Converting from Oracle Forms to APEXDavid Peake

There is phenomenon called APEX buzz. You’d be impressed with the number of people in the room witch never had seen APEX before. I’m sure they all were Forms people… I can tell that, beyond the obvious, by the questions asked. From that point of view this was an excellent marketing session for APEX, with David using and abusing of interactive reports features.

I have myself a background on Oracle Forms too, and when watching that live demos, I was thinking in how impressed I would be if I didn’t knew APEX before. Also, David has great skills as a public speaker.

The presentation was based in a featured expected for the next APEX 3.2 release, which is a tool to import Oracle Forms .fmb files to APEX. With the demo we saw two Oracle Forms .fmb files being imported to APEX and transformed into web forms interface.

As David kept saying, this is not a “silver bullet” solution and it’s not also a Forms emulator. Each conversion will need hours of additional work after the import, but this tool is meant to help with the first steps. But again, Oracle Forms is not going away, so you should only considerer the change if you really have a business need.

There are however several advantages on moving to APEX, and David Peake referred to some of them like: the modern web 2 computing; out of the box functionalities like Interactive Reports and Flash Charts; easy skill transition for Form developers; and of course the unbeatable price (it is a no cost database feature).

I didn’t count the number of questions coming from the audience, but it was by far the most participative session I attended until now.

Session 3: Apex Mashup – Simon Boorsma

One of the advantages of APEX is that it’s easy to integrate third party functionalities like mashups. A mashup is obtained collecting data from different sources and combining them into a unique result, like for example google news does.

In this session, Simon Boorsma showed us nice examples of mashup integration with APEX. He uses google maps and amazon store APIs to collect information into an APEX page. He also made an example of using dapper to get flickr photos.

Session 4: Web 2 development with APEXCarl Backstrong

This was by far, the most technical session until now. Carl talked about the best way to debug javascript and Ajax, combining two indispensable tolls: Firefox and Firebug.

He worked a lot of interesting examples with Ajax, like getting data from the database, asynchronous posting with apex.ajax, the use of arrays and of course JSON.

By night, party with OTN night at Hilton Hotel. Also, a little jump into InstallFest with Unbreakable Linux and Oravle VM. I got one of that t-shirts with the penguin on the back for you João Oliveira ;).

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