Saturday, January 14, 2012

SkillBuilders Save Before Exit 3.0

I've just finished the latest update to the SkillBuilders Save Before Exit plug-in. Here's a summary of the changes in version 3.0:

  • Added setting to highlight items that were modified (thanks to Alex for the idea)
  • Implemented “fix” for IE issue that caused users to be prompted two times rather than just once (this was removed at some point but has been added back in)
  • Added modifiedItems method which returns a jQuery object of the APEX items that were modified 
  • Renamed Ignore Change Selector setting to Ignore Modifications Selector. Also renamed changeDetected method to modificationDetected (similar naming convention now used throughout plug-in)

The new highlighting feature is awesome! Check out a demo here.

Be sure to visit our plug-in page to learn more about the plug-in and to download a copy. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What’s in the Forecast for the Oracle Cloud?

One of the big announcements at Oracle Open World 2011 was the release of the Oracle Cloud. Today we seemed to get a little closer to that release with the announcement of the Preview Availability Phase. I've been added to a queue waiting for an account which is just torturous. It's like seeing the presents under the tree but knowing you can't open them till Christmas. I’m obviously really excited about the Oracle Cloud. I’m curious to see how Oracle’s offering will affect the cloud landscape and compete with the likes of Amazon and Salesforce in that space!

Larry’s introduction of the Oracle Cloud seemed rather all encompassing, offering both application and platform services. On the application services side, you’ll find services like Fusion CRM, Fusion HCM, and Oracle Social Network. On the platform services side you will find offerings like Java and Database services.

For those of you that don’t know me very well, I’m an Oracle database developer and Application Express (APEX) aficionado. Thus, my interests in the Oracle Cloud are focused more on the platform/database services. Since the announcement of these services I've had list of questions and concerns that has continued to grow.

Ultimately, even if I had the answers to these questions now, things could change rapidly making those answers obsolete in an instant. In fact, that probably will happen and I welcome it! Oracle has an amazing team of people working for it and it will be interesting to see how they tackle various issues with innovative solutions.

Even still, if only for reflection later, I'd like to share some of the questions and concerns I'm still pondering. Let's hope we have the answers soon!

Database vs. Schema

From what I can tell thus far, the  Database Cloud Service will operate a little like currently does where everyone gets their own schema. While a single schema can be very powerful, I'm curious as to whether a full database offering will be made available, and if so, when? Also, will multiple Database Cloud Service instances be able to see each other?


Most developers I know like to test deployments against a test system prior to going to production. Will each Database Cloud Service instance include a development and/or test instance which can be used for deployment purposes?

Database Packages

What if I want to schedule a job with DBMS_SCHEDULE or encrypt some data with DBMS_CRYPTO? These, and many other important packages, are locked down by default - arguably for good reason. But I want them! Will use of these packages be allowed?

Upgrade Strategies

If the  Database Cloud Service is offered as a multi-tenant, schema based solution, how will database and APEX upgrades be handled? Of course we all know that upgrades always run the risk of breaking applications so I’m interested to know how potential risks will be mitigated.


I believe that most people should be running their applications and websites on SSL. Will applications using SSL be supported? I have to believe that eventually SSL will be supported, but it's an important question. I hope the answer is yes, sooner rather than later.


On we are able to send emails via SMTP. However, that's not a production system. Will the production system include SMTP or a similar solution like Amazon's Simple Email Service? If so what kind of limits will be imposed?

OS/FTP/File System Access

Although the Shared Components in APEX provides us with a convenient means of using external files in our applications, there are many reason one might prefer a standard file system with FTP access. Will this be a supported option?


What will the pricing model look like? Of course I saved this one for last. This is a huge, make it or break it type question. I really hope that Oracle enters the cloud space with a pricing model that's geared more toward gaining market share than profits - like Google does with many of its cloud services.

So what's in the forecast for the Oracle Cloud? I can't wait to find out!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Webinar: Introducing SkillBuilders Super LOV 2.0

It's almost time to release SkillBuilders Super LOV 2.0! The release will be next Thursday and we'll be holding a webinar to be sure everyone knows how to best leverage the plug-in.


Since its introduction just over one year ago, the SkillBuilders Super LOV (list-of-values) plug-in has been our most popular plug-in by far. In short, Super LOV displays multi-column LOVs. Due to its popularity we are more committed than ever to making this plug-in better.

To celebrate Super LOV's first birthday (a little belated), we are releasing version 2.0 which brings one of the most requested features since day one: enterable!

Of course enterable is only one of the many features offered by Super LOV at this point. In fact, Super LOV is so action-packed with features we thought it would be fun to invite you to a webinar to show you how to use them all. So if you are in need of a multi-column LOV solution, or you'd simply like to learn more about installing and leveraging plug-ins in APEX, do not miss this session.

Click here to register for the webinar.

As usual, it’s free to attend – but it’s real training. I'll show you how the basics of what the plug-in offers and how that differs from what's available out of the box with APEX. Then take you through the steps of installation and configuration so that you can add Super LOV to your applications immediately.

The webinar will run on Thursday, January 12th, at 1pm EST. To see other time zones, click the registration link and then on the “Show in my Time Zone” link at the top of the page.