Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Building Plug-ins

It sounds like some people plan to pick up the gauntlet! Awesome! But where to start??? There are lots of great resources out there one could use to build plug-ins for APEX. I'll list the resources I know of here and update the list as I learn of new resources or the links are updated. Let me know if you want me to add a resource. Click here for all the details on the Application Express Plug-in Competition.



Webinar Tomorrow: Application Express 4.1 New Features in Action

Tomorrow I'll be teaming up with Tyson Jouglet to do a webinar for ODTUG. If you haven't yet upgraded to Application Express 4.1, or you have and you want to see some of the cool new stuff you can do, make sure you're there. Again, it's tomorrow, Thursday the 19th at 12pm EST. If you'd like to attend from a land far, far away, click here and drag the indicator till is says 12:00pm for New York - hopefully one of the other time zones will be of use to you ;)


Application Express 4.1 New Features in Action


Oracle Application Express (APEX) 4.1 was recently upgraded to version 4.1.1. You know what that means? It is time to upgrade! APEX 4.1 is packed with new features including the use of ROWID over primary keys, a standardized data upload process, row processing for tabular forms, and much more. In this session, Dan McGhan and Tyson Jouglet have picked out their top 10 favorite new features and will demonstrate them live in turn. If you’re looking for a reason to upgrade, do not miss this session!

Registration Link

I hope you see you all there!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Gauntlet has been Thrown Down

Think you have what it takes to create an APEX plug-in? Well get to it! At this point there's about one month left in the Application Express Plug-in Competition. That’s just under four weeks to plan, develop, and package up your plug-in. Believe it or not, that’s more than enough time.

I've talked to a few people about entering in the competition and their responses were similar - they are worried that they don’t know enough to pull it off.  If you feel the same way I strongly encourage you to reconsider and get started today. One of the best ways to learn is by doing and when you release an APEX plug-in, you not only help yourself, you help the community as well.

Perhaps you have the knowledge but don’t know where to start or what to create… Well I can help you there! I have lots of ideas but, sadly, very little time to bring them to life. Here are some ideas that are based on existing jQuery plug-ins - something that will make the APEX plug-in creation much easier:

  • Countdown Timer
    • Plug-in type: item 
    • jQuery Plug-in:
    • Description: I'd implement this plug-in as an item rather than a region to allow for greater flexibility. This plug-in would show the count down clock and eventually trigger a timeout event on the item that would allow dynamic actions to respond.
  • Feature Hint
    • Plug-in type: dynamic action
    • jQuery Plug-in:
    • Description: Feature hint would allow developers to let end users know of features within an application that aren't immediately obvious. The plug-in should allow developers to specify when the messages should be displayed (conditions could be used) and should maybe use Ajax with APEX preferences to record that a user has seen/dismissed a particular feature hint.
  • News Ticker
    • Plug-in type: region
    • jQuery Plug-in:
    • Description: It's a news ticker! ;)
  • Region Floater
    • Plug-in type: dynamic action
    • jQuery Plug-in:
    • Description: Would allow developers to keep selected regions on the page while users scroll.
  • RSS/ATOM Feed
    • Plug-in type: region
    • jQuery Plug-in:
    • Description: A region that displays various feeds. If done right it could give Google Reader a run for its money :)
  • Org Chart
    • Plug-in type: region
    • jQuery Plug-in:
    • Description: Roel Hartman already put out an org chart from Google, but this is purely JavaScript based and supports drag and drop.

If you have other ideas for plug-ins that would be useful but not overly complex to create, feel free to leave a note in the comments. Remember, you have till May 14th to submit your plug-in. Check out for all the details. I look forward to reviewing the submissions! Good  luck!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Modal Page goes ColorBox

I'm excited to announce the 2.0 release of the SkillBuilders Modal Page plug-in. The first version used some code borrowed from Super LOV to display the modal. While it helped get the plug-in out quickly it had some issues in older versions of IE (6 and 7). Having said that, I believe the implementation of the plug-in has worked quite well.

The big news in this release is a transition over to ColorBox! ColorBox is a lightweight customizable lightbox plugin for jQuery by Jack Moore. The great thing about ColorBox is that it was made to work well with iframes so it plays nice with older versions of IE. Just check out our demo page to see how much better the modal dialogs look!

Of course there are some other nice enhancements as well. Here's a summary:
  • Moved to ColorBox over jQuery UI Dialog for the modal display
  • New  resize method added
  • New events added
    • Auto Close
    • Manual Close
    • Close (new)
    • Start Open (new)
    • End Open (new)

Also, have a look at the example on our Super LOV demo page. That's an example of how Super LOV can be combined with Modal Page for some really cool functionality! I'll be sure to blog on how to do that ASAP!

Hope you like the new version!