Friday 25 November 2011

Friday Fun - I, Robot

    There is a variety of comics in my RSS feeds, not too many - but what I think are some quality selections ;-)
IF you're interested THEN
    I can send a list;

    -- The timing is impeccable, but I think this calendar is an awesome purchase for anyone, any time - thought I'd share.
    safe_link := ''

    I particularly like July - the second one reminds me of an episode of Family Guy.

    Another favourite of mine => I'm a large;

    Ooh, and check out what my sister does;
    -- you might have seen it on penny's laptop at the AUSOUG conference

SP2-0079: Procedure created with compilation warnings


-------- -----------------------------------------------------------------
1/1      PLW-06009: procedure "SCOTT_WESLEY" has no coherance or distinguishable humour.


Wake up, Neo.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

APEX e-mail lag

When you submit e-mail as a process in Oracle Application Express, or using the Apex_Mail API in your own PL/SQL, you are essentially first submitting it to a queue - it won't be e-mailed immediately.

I have seen this minor fact trip a few people when wondering where/why their mail hasn't been delivered.

Prior to APEX 4.x, you would need to run the following SQL to find out details about the background job that manages the Apex mail queue:
select next_date, broken, what
from dba_jobs
where what like 'wwv_flow_mail%';
Apex 4.x brings us into 21st Century Oracle by using the scheduler module instead:
select job_action, next_run_date, last_run_duration, state
from dba_scheduler_jobs
where job_name = 'ORACLE_APEX_MAIL_QUEUE';
So this also means you have a number of options to push the mail queue. You can use the API mentioned ealier; call dbms_scheduler.run_job; or log in to the INTERNAL workspace and Manage Instance -> Mail Queue -> "Send all mail"

You might also be interested in the following Apex dictionary views:

And if you're looking at setting up an email server on your swiss laptop (the laptop that does everything - yes, I just invented that term), perhaps start here.

That is all,


Tuesday 22 November 2011

AUSOUG EOY Announcements

Here are some announcements from the Australian Oracle User Group (AUSOUG), near verbatim with some personal commentary ;-)

WA AUSOUG Xmas Function - Lawn Bowling!!

All AUSOUG members are welcome to a fun filled afternoon of teams, prizes, drinks, nibbles, networking...and lots more.
Where: Perth & Tattersall’s Bowling and Recreation Club in East Perth
When: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 04:00pm - 07:00pm
RSVP: By Monday 05th December 5pm by emailing

This is available to all our AUSOUG members - take advantage of your membership & come join us for a bit of fun.

If you're a grinch like me, don't worry - it's never too Xmas-y ;-) I find I can skip past the festive components...

AUSOUG WA Welcome New Presenters

AUSOUG are running a program to encourage new presenters.  We are getting a group together of newbie presenters with a view to developing and refining a presentation for an AUSOUG meeting and then for the conference.  If you are terrified of presenting but would like to give it a try in a group of similar minded people then contact Penny. We will be providing assistance and encouragement in determining the best presentation for you and developing your presentation techniques.

If you participated in the panel discussion in this year's conference, you may recall this being addressed. New presenters have always been encouraged and mentored in some form, we'd just like to remind everyone of the support you would receive if you would like to take the plunge. 

When I first started, I had some seasoned presenters more than happy to review my ideas and draft slide decks - even listen to my first practice if I wanted.


The 2011 Annual General Meeting of the Australian Oracle User Group Limited (AUSOUG) will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday November 23 at the Crowne Plaza, 16 Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide, preceding the SA Branch Christmas Party. The meeting will also be web cast for members who are not able to attend in person.
All documentation presented at the AGM will be available on the website soon after the event.
Please send any agenda items to

To register for the web cast, head here.

The AGM isn't just for committee members, it's a forum available to all members of the user group, enabling everyone to have a say in the direction of the group. Please feel welcome to join, or contribute by providing feedback for discussion. We'd love to hear from you - but get your comments in soon!


Friday 18 November 2011

APEX 4.2 Statement of Direction

At the end of September the Oracle APEX development team updated the statement of direction for Application Express 4.2

APEX 4.2 wishlist on Oracle Forums, monitored by APEX product development.
My 2012 new year blog post on the topic.

The list is somewhat smaller than the SOD for 4.1, but it seems like it will be a release that will tie off some loose ends, perhaps allowing the development team to think of grander plans for 5 - or is that wishful thinking?
No, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a 4.3 and maybe a 4.4 first...

Not forgetting the fact that version numbers are probably quite arbitrary and assist marketing more than being a true reflection of functional content. (There are no hard facts here, in fact I couldn't find the article I was going to link to suggesting this notion...)

As for the points in the SOD:
  • Mobile applications - the only delay in this being included in 4.1 was Oracle waiting for jQuery Mobile to be production ready (announcement of readiness made today!) - not Apex. This is a switch waiting to be flicked.
    I saw someone recently suggest 4.2 will be released in first half of 2012 - but do you think I can remember which particular social media mentioned that?
  • Charts - I'm not currently a heavy user of charts, but I'm sure the newer HTML 5 features will be a dream for many. I wonder though if the Apex team will add more declarative options for the AnyChart features - instead of forcing the developer to rely on customising the XML.
  • Web services - I'm not currently a heavy user of web services, either. But I know many clients who would love a more declarative & secure nature to web services within Apex.
  • Application Deployment - to me, this is what desperately needs the most attention in Apex. I have some thoughts on this that I may share in a future post.
  • Functional/performance improvements - aren't there always? I must say I like discovering the random little features dotted around the development environment.
    And I simply won't say no to even better performance.
If the APEX line-up in KScope 12 is any indication, I think next year is going to be when I really get into mobile programming with APEX.


APEX matures => sequence usage

Of course many of the new features that come with an Oracle product are well documented. In fact, it's not a bad idea to read through the entire release notes for every APEX release because they also include things like changed behaviour.

Some changes in APEX 4.1 are that minor that you wouldn't even notice them until you fall over it.

Something I found recently was the code generated when choosing to source your primary key from a sequence when building a form.

Previously, the code was a little ugly:
  function get_pk return varchar2
    for c1 in (select EMP_SEQ.nextval next_val
               from dual)
        return c1.next_val;
    end loop;
  :P6_EMPNO := get_pk;
Now it's somewhat simpler:
    if :P6_EMPNO is null then
        select "EMP_SEQ".nextval
          into :P6_EMPNO
          from dual;
    end if;
What they haven't done, however, is clean up the custom function example - and this is a little more noticable.
I noted this in EA for 4.0 - I think they said they've logged the change, but it still hasn't come along. While it's not really promoting this sort of code, it doesn't really have a place anywhere except perhaps an article talking about how bad it is for concurrent user environments.

Perhaps sequence usage will change with 12c?

Idle musings... Scott

Tuesday 8 November 2011

AUSOUG 2011 Conference Review

I think this year was successful. We had a superb line up this year, which inherently meant there were a few clashes on the schedule - especially for the DBAs. My apologies, some of those were hard to avoid due to many changes that were necessary in the final weeks before the conference. (thanks Qantas ;-)

My first year experience as the Program Chair was interesting, and I'm more than happy to take on the job next year. If anyone has any feedback they'd like to provide on the schedule, the conference, or the user group in general - we welcome & encourage all thoughts or suggestions.
In fact, every month we hold a committee meeting, and there is an AGM on Nov 23 that all are welcome to attend - even by webinar. Alternatively, you can send any agenda items to Tony.

We had some issues that were responded to well during the conference, and many others have already been addressed in a committee face-to-face over the weekend. Hopefully we can shake things up a little next year.

Visit here for my small photo gallery. I'm sure Ailsa will have some more professional shots available soon.

As for the sessions I attended:

Day 1
Us exhibitors started early. Too early. Well, my stomach was confused and someone was handing out these t-shirts with SAGE written in big white letters. I listened to Martin & Ian's intro, then went back to help prepare for the next two days.

Chris Muir - Ultimate Sales Pitch for ADF - While I had seem something similar during the Sage JDeveloper half day, I thought I'd listen to the skinny on why people should choose ADF. I must say, it was a pretty good sales pitch, but it made me feel like a Cobol programmer that desparately needs to update their skills!

Gabriel Ilarda OBIEE / Ray Tindall WLS - I started with Gabriel partially because I've been encouraging him to present each year. It seemed his pairing with colleague Dale had him under good control, and it looked pretty good. I had some things to do, so I snuck out and also caught a bit of Ray's look at Web Logic Server. It was going over my head, but he had a captive audience and apparently it was well received.

Alwyn Woo - OLM - Alwyn's another local I've encouraged to present. It was his first presentation and had hintered preparation, so I was impressed to see a clear, well thought out presentation. I asked a random question half way through about remote queries and he responded well.

Jeff Kemp - Simple ETL - I've worked with Jeff before on a project that involved some heavy ETL, and I was curious to hear what he had to see. It ended up being an interesting case study on a ETL project that was relatively small, but Jeff still had plenty of information to share. I was expecting something a little more technical, but to his credit Jeff did point out at the start what the deal was. Tom Kyte would have been impressed - I saw one SQL statement - a merge - that had plenty of good business logic going on. Golden rule - do as many things as possible in SQL - check!

Graham Wood - Oracle Hidden Features - One of many clashes due to such a great line-up. Unfortunately I skipped Penny's winning show - figured I'd seen enough ADF today by going to Chris' presentation earlier, and after seeing Graham in Sydney earlier in the year I was curious to see what sort of features he'd be talking about.

Day 2
My third morning with the alarm at 5am, after a few weeks of burning too much candle on both ends - this time I somehow managed to ignore it. So I missed the Introduction to the ACE program. Instead, after arriving with 10 minutes to spare, I had to find Penny to borrow her laptop (I planned to travel light), find Connor to borrow his pointer (I left my dongle in my laptop at home) and find a Burswood stage-hand (my room must have been 30C!)

Scott Wesley - Apex 4.1 Security - what an awesome presentation ;-) Actually, my run through the night before led me to believe it was going to go pretty well. On the day though I must say I had no idea how many people attended, let alone who was in the audience. Usually I'm reasonably aware of this, but my blinkers were on pretty hard! So thank you for those who voted positively... the new style was (apparently) a winner, and I think I'll stick with it when the topic or content will suit.

Mark Lancaster - 4.1 Minor upgrade or not - Given the conference lead up, I really haven't had a chance to play much with Apex 4.1 (beyond the security features), so seeing Mark cover the differences and features at the level he did was excellent.

Frank Nimphius - Adding Mobile & Web 2.0 UIs to Existing Applications - The Fusion Way - given the mass amount of Fusion content, the schedule adjustments, and my feeling that mobile UI is only going to get more important - I figured I'd check Frank's session out. He's a good speaker, but at this point I had hit a wall so I was struggling to concentrate. I believe Eddie spotted me blinking...

Panel Discussion (User Groups) - I think this was a success. We were always going to be struggling for time, but Vinod kept a tight ship. We had a good discussion with decent participation from the audience. I think we should open up topic ideas for next year. Yury has this session recorded, so stay tuned for visibility.

Chris Muir - Angels in the Architecture - I had seen Graham talk Exadata in Sydney at length, so I skipped Graham to watch Chris talk ADF blueprints. I currently lack the ADF skill to really comprehend what Chris was trying to illustrate, but he did it really well and I could see the rest of the audience was loving it.

Connor McDonald - A year in purgatory - diary of 11.2 RAC upgrade - I find Connor never disappoints, and while his presentation this year wasn't as technical as usual, his tale of hell enthralled the room. He also received a heartfelt applause when he announced (spoiler alert) the upgrade was ultimately successful - on time. Not only that, he kept the audience awake in the last session of the day.

Good work speakers, for having the tenacity to write the presentation; for having the confidence to present it; and the patience to put up with scheduling changes.

Thank you to all the delegates. I hoped you enjoyed this year's conference enough to come back again next year. Thanks for listening and appreciating our speakers share their experiences.

Special thanks to Burke, Penny, Francisco & Chris for assistance with the conference schedule, and those who reviewed the abstracts.

And a big thank you to all the user group committee members & volunteers involved in bringing it all together. This includes the exhibitors that greeted all those attending with a smile.

Let's make next year so much better.

Scott Wesley
AUSOUG 2011 Program Chair
Sage Computing Services

AUSOUG 2011 Photo gallery

AUSOUG 2011 Photo gallery

Chris explaining how ADF is like a flower...

That looks like Roen front row centre - listening to Gabriel talk BI in what I presume to be a flash Italian suit 

The Sage team listening to our Managing Director speak - I was in another room...
(Chris - other row, Eddie, Kylie, Kate, Ray, Branka)

Jeff, that's a naughty word on your slide, there

I think Debra may be trying to comprehend my slightly modified agenda
(Vinod, Tim, Debra, Connor, Graham, Penny, Chris)

I think Stanley would like to know if trampling is a crime... 
because if so, these green pigs are GUILTY!

Friday 4 November 2011

Sage Hat Trick!

Well done to the Sage team!

With the help of our wonderful support crew, the Sage team won the three best paper awards
  1. Best Ace - Penny Cookson - I missed her talk this year, but I'm sure it was full of rude jokes
  2. Best from OTN Tour - Chris Muir - finally not foiled by just as superb Connor McDonald.
  3. Best Paper - Scott Wesley - me! I'm so happy, particularly since I overslept and made it with only 10 minutes to spare!
I'll blog about my experience with the Prezi tool soon, I've had a few people asking questions.

Now it's bed time.



Oracle APEX 4.1 Security Presentation

As promised here is the link to the presentation I gave on 4th November 2011 at the Perth AUSOUG conference.

Update : I was awarded Best Paper for this. Thanks everyone!

I hope you enjoy it, and find it informative.

Just a shame you don't hear my, err..."charismatic" commentary ;-)


Tuesday 1 November 2011

SAGE Welcomes the 2011 AUSOUG Conference

This years AUSOUG conference is just about upon us, and I'd like to make a few announcements.

I've created a special page on the Sage Computing website that details our involvement.

We will have a booth in the exhibition centre, so seek us out. In between mingling, feasting, networking and general mucking about you might have a chance to talk with us about resourcing, training or how nice the curry was today.

You can also find members of our team presenting at the following times:
Branka promises me our booth will look stunning this year, no doubt outshone by including rest our stunning team (ahem) Kate, Eddie & Kylie.

We will also be reminding delegates of our two upcoming Perth workshops:

  • Apex 4 Workshop November 9-11 
  • Oracle PL/SQL 11g Workshop 21-23

Talk to us for further details, we should have pamphlets available - right next to our freebies!

Swing by, there might be some other surprises.


With my 2011 AUSOUG Program Chair hat on, please check the AUSOUG conference program page for the latest updates - it's been a tough battle keeping the schedule still with the turbulence this year ;-)

To print it was updated 1st November. If you are interested in attending the panel session on Friday just after lunch - think about e-mailing us a question for the panel to discuss.

Something else you haven't seen before - on the second morning we have Dennis Ward introducing the Oracle ACE & Java Champions program at 8.25am, so grab a coffee/tea and come by Astral 3 to find out what the deal is with all the ACEs on the program.

Then later, after lunch listen/join in on a discussion with a panel of experts moderated by kind Vinod Patel - they will be talking about how user groups can help improve your career, and maybe even become an ACE yourself.


I look forward to meeting those I haven't met, and greeting those I haven't seen in a while. And a cheerio to those that I saw just the other day!

Bring on the food.


ps - if there is one presentation you should see, just for something different, check out Connor McDonald at the end of the last day. You'll come out laughing, and ready to find out which bar people are heading to!