20 April, 2015

The Road Not Taken

In June 2012, Scott Spendolini and I signed the papers whereby Enkitec acquired the assets of Sumneva. We announced this big news at ODTUG KSCOPE and it was met with quite a lot of interest and more than a few congratulatory beers. Our goal was to step away from the day-to-day trappings of running your own business (i.e. Accounting, Sales, Paying the electric bill, etc) and focus our core skills in APEX.

During the next two years we hired another person (Tim St. Hilaire) to work with us on expanding our APEX based product suite, continued to work on eSERT, expanded our training offering, and built a world-class consulting team with many of the brightest APEX minds in the US. While not without its challenges, work under the Enkitec umbrella was challenging and rewarding.

However, hovering in the background, just under the surface, the entrepreneurial itch never really went away.

Almost 2 years to the day later, Enkitec announced that it was being purchased by Accenture. Again, we announced publicly at ODTUG KSCOPE, and again the announcement was met with a flurry of questions and more congratulatory beers. The year that followed was an interesting one and again, not without it’s challenges. The APEX team grew. The focus on Consulting was accentuated as Training and Product became less important.

The major change we saw was that the size of engagement we were being pulled into were moving up the scale from reasonably large to huge. There was more to do than ever, and as Practice Directors, that meant being involved at the top level of trying to keep the practice focused and moving forward. No small task but working with such talented people, it was undeniably exciting.

And yet, still waiting in the background, a bit less quietly, a bit more insistent, the entrepreneurial itch was calling.  And here I am, once again just before KSCOPE, making another life changing decision. It was a hard one to make, but I have learned over the years to trust my instinct and follow the call of that annoying little itch. 

What’s next is still a little unclear. There are a number of opportunities to explore and likely by the end of this week, I’ll have a better understanding of what the future holds. Until then I’ll be spending time on the APEX 5.0 Beginner book, to be sure. Which means getting in-depth with APEX 5. 

What I do know is that, “... knowing how way leads on to way, I doubt if I should ever come back…"

Let the adventure begin!

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28 April, 2014

ORCLAPEX-DFW First Meetup.

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

Grass Roots Explosion

As Dan McGhan mentioned in his blog here, Oracle APEX meet up groups are popping up all over the world. This is a grass roots effort lead by people who are passionate about APEX and want to share their knowledge and encourage others to do the same.
Each group is independent and may run things a little bit differently to suite the way the local group wants to work, but all the groups will be sharing ideas, experiences and we hope to benefit from things that work in other geographies. Who knows.. Maybe at some point we’ll be able to have a ORCLAPEX-GLOBAL meet up! (KSCOPE anyone?)
As it sits now there are # Meetup groups that have been formed or are in the process of forming. They are:

ORCLAPEX-DFW Meeting Agenda

Our first meeting will be pretty loosely structured so that we can discuss what we want to achieve with the group and how we’d like it structured going forward. However we did want to make sure that we had some real APEX content that might be interesting so here’s the agenda
  • 5:30pm - Come on up for food, drinks, and socializing 
  • 5:45pm - Announcements - We don’t expect much in terms of announcements for our first meeting, but just in case...
  • 6:00pm - Intro to Oracle Application Express 5.0 - We’ll have a look under the covers of APEX 5 and discuss what this means for us as developers 
  • 6:30pm - Lightning Demos and Q&A - Anyone who has something cool to share can get up and spend 5-10 minutes showing us what they’ve done with APEX
  • 7:00pm - All good things must come to an end… 
For convenience sake, and to keep things Central in the DFW area, the meetings will be held (at least initially) in the Enkitec Irving offices at  5605 North MacArthur Blvd, Suite 600, Irving Texas 750803
To join the DFW Meetup Group go sign up and RSVP to the event!
Hope to see all you DFW APEX FANATICS there!
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04 February, 2014

You don't have to wait for APEX 5 for FullCalendar Integration

One of the MANY nice things that is coming in APEX 5.0 is the native integration of the jQuery based FullCalendar, known in the APEX 5.0 Builder as the CSS Calendar. While the native integration will be nice, you shouldn't have to wait for APEX 5.0 for this functionality.

Enter the Enkitec FullCalendar plugin. We integrated FullCalendar into our website quite some time ago to enable us to display our Education and Conference calendars. Recently I've taken the basis for that code and created a plug-in that works with APEX 4.1 and 4.2.

The plugin allows the developer to decide the following:

  • The jQuery UI Theme to be used to render the calendar
  • What the header of the Calendar contains and where
    • Navigation
    • Title
    • View
  • Which calendar views, in addition to MONTH, the end user sees (Week and/or Agenda/Day)
  • Whether or not the day is considered an "All-Day" event
  • Styling for each individual event
    • Either event_color and text_color or a CSS Class to be assigned.
  • Tool Tip text to display when an end user hovers over the event in the calendar
  • Hight & Width of the Calendar
  • Which day should be considered the first day of the week

While there are still things I want to do to this plug-in, I thought I’d go ahead and release it so that the APEX community could start using it now.  

Will the plug-in continue to be developed once 5.0 is finally released? I suppose that depends on whether the APEX team implements the same of better functionality than what I’ve managed to do so far. 

In the mean time you can download the plug-in from here:  http://www.enkitec.com/products/plugins/fullcalendar

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10 September, 2013

APEX Printing in Depth - OOW Sunday Symposium

If you're going to Oracle Open World and will be there for the ODTUG Sunday APEX Symposium, then you're in for quite an interesting set of sessions. When discussing what would be a good topic for this year's set of presentations, we wanted to focus on an area within APEX from which everyone could gain some benefit. Although there are many different topics we could have addressed, the one that kept coming to the forefront, and the one that we knew everyone would have some interest in was generating printable PDF's from APEX.

If you've been in the APEX world for any length of time, you know that "Printing Ain't Easy".  Although there are a number of potential solutions to the print problem they all come with their benefits and caveats. This years symposium is aimed at presenting four of the possible solutions, how to implement them and the features, benefits and drawbacks of each. 

Here's the Schedule:

 All presentations will take place Sunday, September 22 in Moscone West - Room 2005.

If you interested in generating PDF reports from APEX, then these sessions are not to be missed.

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19 March, 2013

Your Days Are Numbered … (for early-bird KSCOPE registration)

KSCOPE 13 is coming up quickly, and so is the deadline for early-bird registration.

If you haven't ever been, KSCOPE is, dare I say, the best technical Oracle conference in the country, and potentially the world. Especially if you're interested in Oracle APEX. Along with excellent in-depth APEX coverage the agenda include coverage of: 

  • ADF & Fusion Middleware
  • Developer's Toolkit
  • Oracle Core Database 
  • .NET
  • Business Intelligence
  • Essbase
  • And Many, MANY more…

The conference runs from Saturday, June 22 though Thursday June 27, and will give you an opportunity to wish me a Happy Birthday on June 23. 

If you register on or before March 25th, you can save $300 on registration!

Do yourself and your career a favor and get to New Orleans this year for KSCOPE!

I hope to see you there!!

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14 March, 2013

Of Multiple screens and Mac Menus



Those who know me probably know I've been a Mac convert for a number of years. At home I have several Macs for various purposes, but at work I have a MacBook Air and a 27" Cinema Display that I use to do most of my work.  

I've always had a problem with the fact that the Mac menu bar always stayed hovering down on the main screen of the Mac, forcing me to break concentration from my work, move my mouse down to the lower screen, click the menu and then navigate back up.

Yes, I know that you can change the position of the menu to which ever one you want, but that doesn't solve the problem completely. What if what I'm working on is in the bottom screen and I've moved the menu bar to the top.

MenuEverywhere to the rescue!

I stumbled across this little gem on MacUpdate while searching online for a solution to my mad mouse scrolling problems. 

MenuEverywhere give you lots of options including duplicating the menu bar on secondary screens, attaching an apps menu bar to the app itself (a la WINDOZE), allowing a pop-up menu bar based on a shortcut or button, etc.

It also give you full control over look and feel, fonts, styles and so on.

Now, I don't have to break concentration to get to the working menu that I need.

All is now right with the world again.


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07 March, 2013

APEX and Exadata is in my future.

Since joining forces with Enkitec, I've managed to stay blissfully unaware of some of the things that they're best known for. Namely being top of the food chain when it comes to knowing what's what about Exadata.

 However, that's about to change!

A couple of the larger clients we worked with while we were still Sumneva have become so successful that they're working to migrate their systems, including their APEX applications, to Exadata platforms.

Now this in itself isn't a big deal. We all know that APEX runs inside the database and that it doesn't care what the underlying hardware platform is. Exadata machines run Oracle, so it's a no-brainer really.

The fun comes in when you start to think about the Exadata Secret Sauce, which in a nut shell has everything to do with the storage nodes and very little to do with the server nodes running the database. Those storage nodes are what provide the extreme speed and scalability to the Exadata platform and therefore anything that runs on them.

Understanding the underpinnings and how they can be used to help system performance can be extremely useful when taking a system that runs in a traditional oracle environment and migrating them to Exadata. Since most people are running APEX in a traditional environment, the data structures and queries have been written based on that knowledge.

And so starts my education about the technology behind Exadata and how differently (if at all) things need to be done in terms of database and query structure.

Along the way we're looking at writing a few tools/products that are aimed squarely at the Exadata world, covering things from sizing to migration to performance and beyond.

I'll be sharing what I learn about Exadata with regards to its relation to APEX et al as I move forward. 

Exciting times!
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