Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A New Job and a New Chapter

I am pleased to announce that, as of today, I have joined Oracle. But before I get into the details of my new job, I want to say something about my last.

My experience at the Accenture Enkitec Group was both amazing and unforgettable. The work was challenging, stimulating, and genuinely rewarding. But it's the people at Enkitec whom I'll miss the most. From the APEX team (which I spoke with nearly daily) all the way to the top, the folks at Enkitec are some of the best and brightest I've ever worked with. I wish them all continued success and the best of luck (though I doubt they'll need the luck)!

At this point you may be wondering why I'd have changed jobs if I enjoyed mine so much. Frankly, I'd never really thought about it until I read this blog post from Steven Feuerstein. Wow, I'd heard of technology evangelists in other companies but never Oracle. In a nutshell, their job is to take the technologies they're passionate about, break them down into digestible forms, and then spread the gospel! ;)

The position really resonated with me - so I went for it. Surprisingly, and to my delight, Steven didn't hire me as an APEX Evangelist, although I'm excited I'll be doing that too. My main focus will be on JavaScript and HTML5, along with the many related frameworks and libraries that one can use to create applications that connect to and leverage the various features of the Oracle Database.

In at least one way the new job will be a lot like the last. At Enkitec, my job was to help our customers succeed. This will be true at Oracle as well and I'm really looking forward to doing just that!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ORCLAPEX NYC Meetup - September 2014

We recently scheduled our next ORCLAPEX NYC meetup for September the 19th. This time around we'll have a round table discussion and I'll be presenting on JavaScript for APEX developers. If you're in the NYC area be sure to check it out! If you're not in the NYC area have a look at http://apexmeetups.com to see if there's an APEX meetup a bit closer to home.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Webinar: I Want Master / Detail / Detail, and I Want it Now!

Whu, whu, webinar. Wow, I almost forgot how to say it. Let's hope I didn't forget how to do them!!! :) I'm pleased to announce I'll be doing my first webinar for Enkitec next month! The webinar is titled I Want Master / Detail / Detail, and I Want it Now! and it will run on Thursday, May 15th at 10am EDT. I hope to see everyone there!


Application design patterns offer developers reusable solutions to common problems. In enterprise applications, the Master / Detail pattern provides end users with an intuitive and efficient means to work with data models that have header records with one or more detail records. Oracle APEX has included native support for the Master / Detail pattern for a while, but for some people it’s not enough - they need Master / Detail / Detail.

Unfortunately, native support for Master / Detail / Detail was dropped from the Statement of Direction for Oracle APEX 5.0 (it is now slated for 5.1). However, with a little extra work, the Master / Detail / Detail pattern can be added to earlier versions Oracle APEX and this webinar details exactly how to do it. In this webinar, we'll kick things off with the built in Master / Detail pattern, explore options for the additional layer, and then implement it live.

Registration Link


Friday, April 25, 2014

ORCLAPEX NYC - First Meetup!

Calling all APEX Fanatics in the NYC area, there's a new Meetup for you: ORCLAPEX - NYC. Here's a link to our first event!

Inspiration in New York City and abroad

I moved to NYC in 2013 and I've been loving it here ever since and for many different reasons. Something I've found to be very inspiring are all of the meetups one can join. I typically do 2 monthly meetups (AngularJS NYC and BooklynJS) and 1 weekly meetup (NY Pluralsight Study Group). I've found the meetups to be a great way to learn new things and meet people with similar interests in technology.

Oddly enough, I wasn't able to find an APEX specific meetup in NYC or any other city for that matter. I thought about creating a group but decided to put off any serious consideration until I returned from APEX World (late March 2014). However, while in Holland I had a conversation with Peter Raganitsch who confessed he was considering starting something similar. We decided to work together.

Conspirators and co-conspirators

About a week after returning from APEX World, Peter and I met online to brainstorm. We both wanted something fun, local, and unique. But we also saw some value in something shared or connected too. After our conversation I was convinced to try to start an APEX related meetup in NYC (he would take on Vienna). At that point I needed to find some co-conspirators...

One of the many advantages of living in NYC is having Marc Sewtz as a neighbor! I'd met with Marc and another member of the APEX team, Patrick Maniraho, for lunch a few weeks before APEX World. We had talked about how nice it would be to have a local APEX meetup so I reached out to them to see if they were interested in bringing one to life. They were on board immediately. Marc reminded me that Josh Millinger lived in the area and after a couple emails he was on board too. At the same time I was also talking to others outside of NYC and Vienna - more on that later. With the co-founders in place we moved on to the next steps.

Marc was able to secure us a room in Oracle's offices in Manhattan (woohoo, thanks Oracle!). Next we needed to plan the event. As luck would have it Peter was coming to NYC just about a month out. We asked if he would be our first guest speaker and he accepted. I hope his fiancee can one day forgive us for asking him to work on their vacation - we just couldn't resist. To round out the content we decided to have Marc kick things off with a brief overview of APEX 5.0.

In addition to the two talks we wanted another way to let the attendees participate and we eventually settled on Lightening Demos. The idea provide folks with up to 5 minutes to demo something cool that have done or a little trick they may know that could inspire or otherwise benefit the group. Finally, knowing that we'd be in good company in a great city, we figured we'd head out to a local restaurant or bar when the meeting is over - something we're calling APEX After Hours.

Out of the shadows

Once we had a plan for the first event I started a new group on meetup.com named ORCLAPEX NYC and started working on various content. Here's the About Us:
This is a group for anyone in the NYC area that is passionate about Oracle Application Express (APEX) and is interested in meeting like minded folks to learn, share ideas, and have fun.
Although we're likely expand on that and other content on the site, that's us in a nut shell!

One thing we're really interested in seeing is local participation on both sides of the podium. This is a community event! We're confident that many developers in the area are solving interesting problems using APEX. We'll be trying to convince our members to organize their thoughts into a brief presentation which could be immensely beneficial to other attendees.

As a small group, we can be very flexible with the format and speaker times. If you feel you have something to say but don't need more than 15 or 20 minutes, that's great! We have some "seasoned vets" on hand that we can use to fill the gaps with great content.

Branching out

Within a few minutes of having created ORCLAPEX NYC, Peter finished creating orclapex Vienna!

I mentioned before that I was talking with others outside of Vienna and NYC. Like Peter, Doug Gault was also considering doing something similar in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and so ORCLAPEX DFW was born. Only it didn't stop there!

Jorge Rimblas created orclapex MSP for the Minneapolis area.

Scott Spendolini created orclapex NOVA for the Northern Virginia area.

Francis Mignault created orclapex MTL for the Montreal area in Canada.

That's 6 groups so far! The only thing we really share is the "orclapex" string in the name and we're not even consistent on the case (most people seem to be using lower case for orclapex)! :) Each group is independent for now and will have to find is own way along.

Where will all of this go? It's too early to tell. But it's exciting and I'm really looking forward to our first meeting and growing the group from there. If you think there's enough APEX developers in your area for some kind of meetup I'd encourage you to give it a shot. Feel free to borrow ideas from the NYC group if it helps get things off the ground, or go your own route.

I would, however, recommend using orclapex (lower case?) followed by the city/area name or acronym for the name of the meetup. That will help others find these groups where ever they pop up. Have fun and good luck if you decide to create a meetup!

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: http://www.enkitec.com/products/plugins/modal-lov 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: http://www.enkitec.com/products/plugins/navbar