Sunday, October 13, 2013

East Coast Oracle Users Conference 2013

This year's East Coast Oracle Users Conference is now just three weeks away! If you're anywhere near the Raleigh/Durham area you'll definitely want to make this event. Steven Feuerstein and Elke Phelps are the keynote speakers and there's a great lineup of technical content covering everything from apps development and BI to DBA and security. The main event takes place Tuesday, November 5th and Wednesday, November 6th at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center. However, pre-conference workshops will take place on Monday the 4th. You can checkout the workshops on the event's home page.

I'll be doing one of the workshops as well as a presentation. The workshop is the Dynamic Action Instant Immersion. Here's the description:

JavaScript is the programming language that brings web applications to life. But for most Oracle developers using Application Express (APEX) to build web-based front ends for their databases, learning JavaScript can be quite an undertaking. Enter Dynamic Actions, a feature of APEX that provides a declarative interface over JavaScript. This hands-on mini-class is designed to give students a jump start when beginning with the Dynamic Action framework. Attendees will bring their own laptops and be provided access to an APEX workspace with an application just begging for some Dynamic Action enhancements. Attendees will start with the very basics and quickly move on to solving more complex tasks based on real business requirements. Along the way, related concepts, such as jQuery selectors and event propagation will be explained to provide a background for understanding the various options within the framework. 

The presentation I'll be doing is titled APEX Overview. Here's the abstract:

You may have heard of Oracle Application Express, a.k.a. APEX: that it’s included with your database license; that it excels at building web-based applications on the Oracle database; that it’s easy to learn yet powerful and flexible. Even if you hadn’t heard any of these things, don’t miss this session. We’ll review the history of APEX and its basic architecture, talk about some common use cases for APEX and the features the tool offers to satisfy various requirements, and then build an application live, from scratch, to demonstrate exactly how APEX is used.

I'm looking forward to a great conference - hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Enkitec Modal LOV Plug-in for APEX in the Wild

I'm very happy to announce the newest member to the Enkitec family of plug-ins: Modal LOV. Many of you may already be familiar with the basic functionality of the plug-in since it's a fork of the work Jason and I started with Super LOV. In this new release I've added some of the most requested features, including the ability to search across all columns and sort by each column. I also did a level set and took all the functionality back to APEX 4.0!

For the uninitiated, Modal LOV displays a list of values as a modal dialog and allows for multiple columns without concatenation. Here's a screenshot of a demo LOV when it's open:

One important note... When you install the plug-in, make sure to create an application level item named EK_ML_SEARCH. This is required for the search all columns functionality. Eventually I'll be able to remove this requirement for APEX 4.2 and above but it will always be required for earlier versions.

Here's a link to the main page for the plug-in: Click on the demo or help links on the right of that page to learn more.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Enkitec Navbar - Now Available Without Side Effects!

When I released the Enkitec Navbar plug-in a couple weeks ago I wasn't happy with the fact that Twitter Bootstrap didn't properly scope their CSS. While you'd surely have delighted your end users to no end by using the plug-in in your application, there was a chance you may have broken something else, potentially stymying their awesome experience leaving you with no net gain in their respect and adoration. This just wasn't acceptable.

After doing some digging I learned that it IS possible to scope the CSS for Bootstrap. You just need to clone the GIT repo, modify the LESS CSS files to your liking, recompile the CSS, and then tweak the results ever so slightly, that's all... Granted, this is more work than would be necessary if scoping were available out of the box but the end result was the same: Enkitec Navbar sans side effects - woot!

Since we were taking another look at Navbar we also took the time to do some other enhancements and bug fixes. If you're using a static list, list entries pointing to pages protected by Session State Protection will now work as expected. We increased the size of the Brand label to allow for embedded images. And finally, we added support for icons in the list entries! The creators of Twitter Bootstrap have an agreement with the creators of Glyphicons so you get access to 140 high quality icons for free! Here's a Navbar example using icons in the first level:

To learn more about or download the Enkitec Navbar plug-in, head on over its main page at:


Friday, April 19, 2013

Enkitec Sparklines Plug-in for APEX in the Wild

If you were fortunate enough to attend Kscope in 2012, you may have caught Doug Gault's excellent presentation titled "Creating a SparkLine Plugin From Scratch". I remember being there and being really intrigued by the concept of "sparklines". Here's a little bit about them for those that don't know:
Edward Tuft, who both invented and coined the term sparkline, described them as "data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphics". Sparklines are the perfect tool to present trends or variations in data “at a glance”. Unlike the charts commonly used in APEX, sparklines are very small in size, often presented alongside or within text. Also, sparklines rarely contain scale or axis data and single data points are rarely singled out. To put it another way, charts provide the detail whereas sparklines provide a snapshot.
And for those of you who simply prefer pictures, here they are:
Neat huh?!? Well, now that Doug is my boss, you can imaging how much arm twisting it took (none really) for him to convince me to wrap this one up and get it out the door as the 3rd plug-in under the Enkitec name. The plug-in currently supports line, bar, and tristate sparklines and it makes many options declarative and easy to adjust. It also adds a new "Sparkline Click" event to the dynamic action framework in your application so you can respond to clicks when needed.

If you're interested in learning more go to and click on help or demo on the right.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Enkitec CLOB Load Plug-in for APEX in the Wild

In February of 2010 I published a blog post titled "CKEdtior and Those Pesky CLOBs". The post covered how one could overcome limitations related to how many bytes of information could be submitted for an item in APEX. Since then APEX has improved a lot but this pesky little problem still plagues us. While the content in the blog post still works it's not exactly easy to reproduce each time you need it. Can anyone smell a new plug-in???

I'm excited to release the second plug-in under the Enkitec brand: Enkitec CLOB Load! Enkitec CLOB Load is a dynamic action "utility" plug-in of sorts that allows you to easily move large amounts of text from the database to items in your web page and then back to the database. It's packed with some goodies, such as the ability to display a modal dialog while loading and it works asynchronously too - even via web workers if your browser supports them!

I have to give special thanks to Tyson Jouglet who helped build this plug-in. He is responsible for some nice features and great code!

If you're interested in learning more go to and click on help or demo on the right.

I hope it saves you some trouble!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Enkitec Navbar Plug-in for APEX in the Wild

I'm excited to announce the first plug-in released under the Enkitec brand: Enkitec Navbar! It's basically a wrapper plug-in for the Navbar and Dropdown pieces of the Twitter Bootstrap framework so most of the credit must go to the developers and contributors of that framework. The goal of this plug-in for APEX was to make it as easy as possible to add these components to your applications. The result is a fantastic looking, easy to use navigation bar that could be used as a replacement for tabs or elsewhere. Here's a preview:

If you're interested in learning more go to and click on help or demo on the right.

I hope you enjoy it! More plug-ins are under development! :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When one door closes, another opens

I'm very excited to announce that I've joined the amazing team at Enkitec! Enkitec is an Oracle centric software services and consulting firm headquartered in Dallas, TX. I didn't really know much about Enkitec until Scott Spendolini and Doug Gault joined the company in June of 2012. Since then I've come to admire the what Enkitec does in the Oracle space and the rock-star team they've amassed to get it done.

Fortunately for me I get to keep doing what I love: APEX consulting, training, and plug-in development. Speaking of plug-in development, stay tuned as some long overdue updates and new plug-ins will start rolling out in the coming weeks!