Thursday, 28 July 2011

Subscribing Apex Navigation Bar Entries

Here is a little ditty I found regarding Navigation Bar entries in Apex and had a minute to investigate how/why, so I thought I'd share.

When you attempt to set the master navigation bar entry in your application, you need to use a search dialog to select the relevant navigation bar entry from a list of the applications within your workspace.

Unfortunately, the list of entries is sometimes without a descriptive label.

So I thought I'd have a look to see what attribute is being displayed in the dialog.

It turns out the dialog uses the Image ALT text, not the entry label. So when you create/edit your navigation bar entries, I suggest make it a habit to set this attribute also - it may make your life easier in future. Particularly I guess if you ultimately move towards a different template for your navigation bar entries.

Even the context help showing existing navigation bar entries uses the ALT text as its descriptive term.

This may change in future, but certainly the behaviour of Apex


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Glassfish - url is not allowed

On my laptop I use Glassfish as my server platform for the Apex Listener.

A common problem I see (mainly from trainees trying to plug in my address) is the following error.
HTTP Status 404 - Requested url http://localhost:8080/apex40 is not allowed.

Now this isn't really a problem for me day-to-day because I have a nice bookmark that takes me to the correct location. But next time I try to set-up Glassfish, or I'm having some troubleshooting problems, I'll forget this issue.

It turns out, all I'm missing is a trailing slash on my address. It should be

I don't know if this is solved by some setting - I'm certainly not a web server expert. If anyone has any comments I'd be glad to listen.

... hold the phone! 

I just thought I'd have a read about the changes in Release 1.1.2, and I notice this fix:
Fixed a problem with an IllegalStateException being thrown when the path /apex (instead of /apex/) was accessed on the standalone Listener
I was adding this entry so I might also remember in future, and let's just say I passively found the solution, instead of actively looking for a potential one.

I remember seeing the announcement for this release, I figured I wouldn't worry about going through pain of upgrading since it's just my laptop... now I'm downloading as I post... (well I was, I scheduled this post a while ago to stop the bombardment of the start of July - but now I've created a paradox to confuse time travelers)

Maybe I'll remember to record the upgrade process...


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Modifying your APEX login page

If you would like your Login (101) screen looking a little more exciting, add a picture to paint a thousand words.

Update: You may be looking modify your APEX workspace login page.

Today I added a little polish to one of our sample applications, and I thought I'd share the relatively simple process.
As with all things Oracle, there are many ways to skin this... er, vegetable. The simplest is to edit the region properties for the container holding the username/password fields.
Here I added a region image definition of
which referred to an image I've loaded into the Apex repository.

On a side note, it may be a good idea to parameterise the image location, but that's another story.

Alternatively, I could have added a Display Image item; modified the region source; added some pre-element text... I could go on, but this solution placed the image in a place that suited my imagination exactly.

Part of this decision was not fighting the product. Apex isn't always great at complying with your WYSIWYG thoughts, sometimes it's not worth spending 80% of the effort on manipulating layout.

I also thought the default width for the form region was excessively wide, so I thought I'd investigate where to change that. I wasn't exactly sure what this theme did, so I needed to look underneath the hood.

I'm a regular Chrome user, so out of the box I could right-click on something in my page and select "Inspect Element."
I happened to right-click in the table that houses my items, so I kept looking at the parent divs until I saw the width: 450px definition. Next to that is a link that names the CSS file that sets that attribute, so I opened that file; modified the value from 640 to 450, and refreshed my page to a nice ratio.

A simple task, hope it helps.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Look ma, it's me!

My mum would be proud. My wife, well, she's embarrassed.

While standing on the shoulders of those more skilled than I, I managed to eke myself into a book.

Not just any book - but a book written by Oracle Apex Experts where the proceeds to head towards families of those experts who are no longer with us - Scott Spadafore and Carl Backstrom.

It was great fun being involved, if by fun you mean I learnt an awful lot while making constructive criticism on other people's work - I hope they didn't mind ;-)

Buy the book.

My copy arrived recently. It really is one of the best out there. Kudos to all those involved:

John Scott, Dietmar Aust, Martin D'Souza, Doug Gault, Dimitri Gielis, Roel Hartman, Michael Hichwa, Sharon Kennedy, Denes Kubicek, Raj Mattamal, Dan McGhan, Francis Mignault, Anton Nielson, and the team at APress.

More ACEs than a pack of cards...

JDeveloper ADF - The Real Business Experience (plug)

Yesterday I sent out a newsletter from Sage Computing Services detailing a free half-day seminar that we're running in conjunction with the Australian Oracle User Group.

Chris Muir - Oracle ACE Director - recognised internationally for his expertise with JDeveloper.
Penny Cookson - Oracle ACE - Perth Oracle celebrity and Oracle Magazine award winner.

Date: Tuesday 26th July 8:30 - 13:15 (double doses of coffee plus lunch provided)

Location: The Great Southern Room, State Library of Western Australia

RSVP: by 19th July

Cost: Free!

Check out the newsletter for further details on agenda.

Sage was recently mentioned in an Oracle case study for our work at the Department of Treasury & Finance.

I'll hopefully be there to learn what I can about JDeveloper, but they won't convert me!  (not yet anyway)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Learning SQL?

Sometimes I hit the "Explore" link in Google Reader, I encounter some interesting an amusing things - kinda like using iTunes Genius but for web pages that suit your RSS interests.

I stumbled across this blog listing free SQL books - as he says, not all of them Oracle, but worth a look.

I thought the OracleXE tutorial was well constructed - great for beginners trying to tinker with a locally installed Oracle database.

Not too long ago I created a small document detailing the installation process and basic configuration for OracleXE 11g Beta on a Windows box, which can be found here. I just hadn't got around to publishing it in any form.

If I can convince my laptop to open an EPUB file, I might even be able to comment on the SQL Performance Explained e-book. (nope, while writing this I tried a few avenues, but my patience has been lost)


Monday, 4 July 2011

Integrating Oracle APEX with EBS

Recently I was e-mailed a white paper from David Peake suggesting how to integrate Oracle Application Express with E-Business Suite.

It was an interesting read, so I googled the partial document name to find what else has been said about it, and to find the link for this post

David Peake announced the white paper, of course - being the author.
Steven Chan also announced it the paper.

It's been a fair while since I had to communicate with EBS. The coding examples took me back a few years, but one of the examples made me think about plug-in changes coming in APEX 4.1 - I wonder if the authorization methods will be modified to use an authorization plug-in?

David did suggest they will modify the document in future with the latest improvements. Time will tell...

Yet another sign that Oracle is fully committed to Apex as another primary option for development.


Useful Oracle APEX URLs

Today one of my tasks was to compile a list of useful Oracle APEX URLs to send out to some people.

I've managed my bookmarks fairly well, and kept track of good links I've encountered over time. This list is certainly not exhaustive, and I've no doubt missed some key links, but if you're looking to explore - you might find something new or useful below.

(Last updated: 2011-09-21)

-- APEX documentation

-- APEX Statement of Direction

-- APEX Early Adopter website (recently used for 4.1)

-- APEX splitter

-- On remembering URL parameter sequence

-- Template substitution strings

--  Plug-ins

--  Online sample applications

-- APEX blog aggregator

-- Integrate forms with Apex

-- Error page replacement (more flexible in 4.1)

-- APEX themes

-- I highly recommend the following books

-- Prettying APEX URLs