Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 30: OGh APEX dag

Today was OGh's APEX day. I saw 5 good presentations, in which I was not bored by Powerpoint once. I probably missed a few other good ones, since in the afternoon we all had to make some hard decisions about which presentation to visit and which ones to skip.

The first presentation was by Kitty Spaas and Mark Rooijakkers called "Centraal Boekhuis goes APEX". An informative and very entertaining story about why Centraal Boekhuis has chosen to migrate their J2EE applications to APEX ones. And about why they are still happy with that choice. This presentation was followed by a great presentation by Patrick Wolf from Oracle Austria, who told us about APEX 4.0. This new version will have lots of new features that will make developing APEX applications even easier than it already was. He demonstrated how dynamic actions and plugins work in a way that was easy to follow. So this was a good start of the day.

After the lunch everyone had to choose one out of three possible presentations. The first presentation I chose was the presentation by Jan Huyzentruyt and Olivier Dupont from iAdvise about Flightcare Belgium. They showed a very strong business case for using APEX: with only 6 people doing IT for a company of 1700 people, they managed to develop 51 small applications, with a total of 750 pages. And the screenshots of the applications looked good. The second choice of the afternoon was made in favour of Dimitri Gielis' presentation about APEX 4.0. He showed the new features that Patrick Wolf skipped. He did this in his usual enthusiastic and interactive style. Unfortunately the session ran quite a bit over time, which was unnecessary, but the content made up for it.

One of the best presentations this day was by my colleague Art Melssen about APEX templates. The APEX templates are now table-based, which doesn't leave much room for interface designers. The new version should contain a few CSS-based templates already. And according to Art, this is much better. Nice examples of how powerful this can be, can be found at csszengarden.com. He recommends to build your own template from scratch and to use CSS for the layout. The presentation inspired me to start doing that myself as well (in the second half of this year). His presentation was full of useful links with webexamples. So that should make a nice self-study for a sunday afternoon or two.

So I returned home with lots of new ideas and with the wish that APEX 4.0 will come out soon... Thanks to Natalie, OGh and the speakers for this great day.

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