Wednesday, April 17, 2013

OGh APEX World 2013

Last Tuesday, the fourth OGh APEX World day took place, again at Figi Zeist. Several people have already written about this day:

Here is a short writeup about my experiences that day.

For me, this year was a little different. In the first three editions of the OGh APEX day, Learco Brizzi, Marti Koppelmans and myself "just" invite the speakers and put together the program. This year, I was also a speaker and Ciber had a demo booth which was my base location for that day.

No changes, fortunately, at the keynote. Each year, we are very grateful that the APEX product development team sends a member to our event to deliver a presentation, mostly about upcoming features. This year, David Peake, the product manager of APEX himself, delivered the keynote. His talk consisted of two parts. The first part was about how APEX will fit in the new 12c pluggable database architecture and the second part was about several 5.0 features that may or may not make it to the final product. For more details about this keynote, I'll not repeat Christian Rokitta, but simply refer you to his blogpost.

After the keynote, we had programmed a total of 15 sessions in 3 tracks. The first track were customer cases. A track designed to learn how other companies use APEX in their organizations. This year we had lots of interesting cases to choose from, of which unfortunately only 5 could be selected. The second track was the international track, where all sessions were in English, especially for our foreign guests, so they too can have a day full of interesting sessions. The third track was an allround technical track, in Dutch, with sessions for beginners as well as expert developers. It was my impression that during each of the five slots, the 300 participants were spread out pretty evenly across the three tracks.

The first session I chose was Carsten Czarski's "APEX Hosting In The Own Company:". He had a very lively story about what you need to setup when hosting an APEX development environment in your own company. This is a great way to spread the adoption of APEX: if the development environment is in place, the applications will soon follow. Especially the importance and usage of the resource manager was well explained.

After the break, I presented my paper about professional software development using APEX. On the main stage, due to a pretty high number of preregistrations. This meant a fantastic theater-style room, but also meant two spotlights shining in my face for 50 minutes. Last time I did this talk, at UKOUG, I was not too happy with how it went. This time, I had made several improvements, focused much more on why each step is so important, which made the story much better, in my opinion. I had lots of in-depth conversations afterwards, which showed me the topic is indeed an important one where people are interested in. At the beginning of the session I also did a little poll to see whether the people in the audience just put the large APEX export file under version control, or the individual components, and whether they have self-contained development environments. The results were only a few raised hands in these cases. No hands at all for one-step builds and continuous integration. So there's still a lot to win almost everywhere :-)!

The third session was the customer case "CB Goes Responsive". CB Logistics is the client I'm currently working for and I've participated at the project that was presented here, so obviously I liked to see this one. Chris Amelink and Mark Rooijakkers from CB and Stijn van Raes from iAdvise explained how we created a responsive web application with APEX and Twitter Bootstrap. The business case was a wish of the publishers of e-books to be able to see the number of sales, one day after the sales were made. It's very interesting for them to see if any promotional actions have a measurable effect and this application does that.

My fourth session was Roel Hartman's session "My First Mobi" where he showed how to start with mobile development. Not every demo went as smooth as Roel would have wanted, but he still managed to get his points across. And in case you missed it and want to know more about building mobile web applications with APEX, you can find his (and Christian's and David's) book here.

The last session of the day for me was Christian Rokitta's session about PhoneGap. This session was on top my list as I had only heard from PhoneGap and was very curious to see how it works. With PhoneGap you can build hybrid apps, using HTML, CSS and Javascript and still use the abilities of a native app. A nice demonstration was when he took a photo from the audience with his tablet and uploaded it into the database.

Again I enjoyed a day full of APEX content and speaking with everyone. I'm already looking forward to a fifth edition.