25 June 2014

ODTUG Kscope 2014: Tuesday

Mark Drake, the product manager for XMLDB and the new JSON features in the database, started Tuesday with a session on flexible storage.
After a short history of the XMLDB ("more than just a LOB Store"), he went to the heart of the presentation: flexible storage.
In the upcoming release of the database there will also be JSON functionality built in. The JSON functionality won't have a separate datatype. By not introducing a separate JSON datatype the implementation of replication and high availability won't be as hard to implement as with the XMLType. On the other hand, it is harder for the API to figure out which datatype it should project to.
There are several ways to implement flexibel storage, like:
  1. flex-fields
  2. document persistence
  3. name value pairs
With flex-fields you have no way of knowing the content of the data by looking at the datamodel. By using document persistence you would implement this with content stored as XML or JSON.
Some problems can be solved when you represent name value pairs as XML. This solution was described in detail, including indexing strategies.
Right before lunch I did my session "Getting started with APEX Plugin Development". There were about 45 people in the room and I think the session went allright. After the session I had lunch with Patrick Wolf and we were going over some of the different aspects of the plugins and he gave me a few good pointers. More stuff to play with and figure out how they work.
OTN (Oracle Technology Network) sponsored a lunch and learn session. In a packed room there were some very good questions and answers.
Dietmar Aust covered some "small" features of APEX 5. This time the "Page Designer" was not the main focus of the presentation, which was a big part in other sessions on APEX 5. Instead Dietmar discussed the change in the export functionality, the different ways modal pages can be created and session joining, just to name a few.
Not new in APEX 5, but might be useful: APEX_MAIL.GET_IMAGES_URL and APEX_MAIL.GET_INSTANCE_URL. Go find more about this in the documentation.
Instead of using the v-function, use the context functions like SYS_CONTEXT ('APEX$SESSION', 'app_user') to get information about the APEX context.
There is also a extended method to escape substitution variables, e.g. &P16_EMP_NO!JS. He promised that he will blog about it.
There is a new APEX_ZIP package which is based on the AS_ZIP package, created by my former colleague Anton Scheffer. There will also be an APEX_JSON package with lots of functionality.
Finally there is an alias APP_PAGE_ALIAS, long overdue.
Next up Peter Raganitsch on things you can learn from the Packaged Applications which are created by Oracle. A lot of very nice plugins are hidden inside these packaged applications.
Peter also demonstrated a method of installing packaged applications using the command line as opposed to using the wizards. Unfortunately using the command line doesn't install the supporting objects, so the application doesn't work. This still needs to be done using the regular method in the builder. So how did he got it to work? He imported the APEX Builder (which is just an APEX application after all) and found the wizard which install the supporting objects.... just don't do it, there are some undocumented API's being used.
As there are a lot of plugins (around 50) in the packaged applications, Peter also demonstrated a way to export these by utilising the java command line tools (APEXExport and APEXExportSplitter) to export and split the applications.
The final session of the day that I attended was by David Mann: "Time for some New Graphs: Incorporating Time and Animation Elements in your Web App Visualizations".
David showed different types of visualisation, some very funky ones, some very useful. He showed some demos using D3. Personally I had never heard of D3, so definitely something to play with in the near future (at least I hope near future).
At night the Oracle ACE program organized an ACE Dinner. It was at the Pike Brewery, needless to say there was some beer involved with a very nice meal.

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