Wednesday, March 23, 2011

OGh APEX day 2011

Yesterday I attended OGh's APEX day. Previous year was already pretty successful with 150 people attending. This year the maximum of 150 people was reached in only a few days, so we scaled up the event to a maximum of 250 people, and in the end we still had to disappoint several people. And this year we had several sponsors as well: Oracle, Ciber, Transfer Solutions and Itium. These must be signs that APEX is becoming increasingly popular here in the Netherlands.

The day started with three plenary sessions. The first one was by Tony Andrews and Nigel Blair who told us about their huge APEX project for Northgate Revenues and Benefits. They sell software to local counsils and their application contained approximately 1500 Forms. They had moved from character mode, to Oracle Forms to Oracle Webforms with their application. Their users complained about Webforms of which the user interface deviated too much from their normal internet experience. The sales win rate dropped from 1 out of 2 to 1 out of 4 or less. With their new APEX application they focussed on the user interface again and are now back at winning 50 to 60% of the deals. It was also good to see how Tony solved several technical problems of which some are now part of APEX 4. This session was a great show case that APEX is certainly very much capable for large, enterprise level applications.

The next session was Hilary Farrell's session about APEX 4.1. Hilary is part of the APEX development team. It always amazes me how much great work this team gets done with such a relatively small team. The last years I think I've seen almost every team member present somewhere: all highly competent and passionate people. And Hilary is no exception. Lots of small improvements are on their way in APEX 4.1, of which I think I'm going to like the improved error handling the most. You can read more about the new version in this statement of direction.

Next up were Dimitri Gielis and John Scott with "APEX Evangelists way of working in APEX Projects". They showed how they handled several aspects of a new APEX project. From Ant scripts to generate a fresh projectstructure in Subversion. Continuous integration, their "Glitchi" project management APEX-tool and Balsamiq, with which they design the user interfaces together with the client.

In the afternoon I saw Jasper Alblas' session demonstrating Eneco's new debtor application. I have worked for more than six years at Eneco, so I was eager to see this session. Very informative session and a nice looking application. Well done, Jasper!

The second afternoon session I attended was John Scott's "Building APEX 4 Plugins". I always love John's presentations. He always presents with humour and makes seemingly complex subjects appear simple so you'll end up thinking "hey, I can do that myself without too much ado". I especially liked his Google Translate demos.

The last session I attended was Hans Wijnacker's session. Again a well delivered session about an APEX-application that keeps track of golfscores at tournaments. If you are organizing a golf tournament, you can hire them to take care of the IT. I saw Hans faced some similar challenges that I've faced with my own APEX application for Tourpoules (currently offline by the way, waiting for 11g XE to be released ...).

I had a great time and I want to thank OGh and especially Natalie Rohlof, who organized the event, for the fantastic day. I hope Learco and me will get the chance to setup a program for a third edition in 2012.


  1. Do we have to wait till 2012 or is fall 2011 also an option?


  2. Mark,

    It's not on this years calendar, so I don't think fall 2011 is an option. I've passed on the suggestion - which I also take as a compliment - to OGh nevertheless.