Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Third OGh APEX dag

Yesterday was the third annual APEX day, organized by the Dutch Oracle usergroup OGh. It's the biggest APEX only event in the world, I've been told, with approximately 280 attendees. Learco Brizzi, Marti Koppelmans and myself were very proud to again have a great lineup of presenters and presentations.

The day started with a keynote by Patrick Wolf telling about and showing a lot of new 4.2 features. Of course, he could not be sure if every single feature will eventually make it to this 4.2 release. The APEX team focussed on mobile development. I was mostly impressed by the demo showing how relatively easy it will be to develop a great looking iPhone application. A query, select a list type and voila. And I think this is why the Oracle community likes APEX so much: it makes developing applications easy. It reminded me of this presentation by Kathy Sierra: it makes you feel awesome.

Next up were the three parallel tracks. I heard quite a lot of people saying they were having a hard time making choices between great presentations, and I was no exception to that rule.

I saw Roel Hartman's "5 Cool Things you can do with HTML 5". Great presentation, especially the first real slide :-), loved the websockets demo with beaconpush, and I learned a lot.

Next presentation was John Scott's "APEX 4 - Error Handling enhancements". Having seen quite a number of John's presentations in the past, I know he always takes a subject to the next level with last years translation plugin as a highlight. This time he showed how easy it is to automatically log any errors in JIRA, so users don't have to report errors anymore: you already know it. Unfortunately, his last demo didn't work. He wanted to show how to a add a screenshot from the users browser automatically to the JIRA ticket.

The fourth presentation was by Sergei Martens called "Building desktop-like web applications with Ext JS & Apex". He was very enthusiastic about APEX applications using Ext JS, but he didn't succeed completely in explaining to me what aspects he liked so much. I mean, I agree some of the builtin themes are quite boring, but I don't think the video showed a "sexy" theme. To me, a great design is a simple design, but that's a matter of personal preference. Next, he had some severe troubles with a very slow Windows (a pleonasm?) laptop. This must be a presenters' nightmare, especially since he seemed well prepared, but this was out of his control. He handled the situation remarkably well though.

The last presentation of the day was Margreet den Hartigh's and Alex Nuijten's presentation called "From Zero to APEX". A customer story about a Uniface application that was rebuild using APEX, with a team of Uniface developers that not only had to learn APEX, but also PL/SQL, HTML, CSS, Subversion, Javascript and a lot more. Almost all Dutch municipalities use this application. It looks like they can win a lot more by integrating the databases of all municipalities to a single hosted database, with some partitioning, VPD and resource manager. The cost of ownership will decrease dramatically that way. Free tip from me :-)

A nice dinner with several visitors and presenters ended a great APEX day.

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