Monday, 31 August 2015

APEX 5 Verify Theme Subscription

I was attempting to replicate the navigation bar example from the Opportunity Tracker application and I noticed my application was missing icons from the sub list dropping off the username.
Icons in submenu when visible
Here are the relevant User Interface settings for the Navigation Bar.

User Interface settings
It turns out in newly created application with Theme 42 the following is used as the sublist entry template
<li data-current="true" data-icon="#ICON_CSS_CLASSES#"><a href="#LINK#">#TEXT_ESC_SC#</a></li>

In my application that was created a few weeks ago uses
<li><a href="#LINK#">#TEXT_ESC_SC#</a></li>

So this is when I thought it might be worth giving the Verify Theme Refresh option a go.
Sure enough a bunch of templates, including the Navigation Bar, was "Out of Sync" instead of "Match"
Verify Theme Subscription

I followed the on-screen instructions as the documentation suggested, and waited with baited breath as to what to do next...

Nothing! A message came back saying my theme was synchronised and every template matched the theme master that lives in the Oracle domain somewhere.

I tried the Verify theme option previously but it does not seem to operate well in apex.oracle.com
ORA-00040: active time limit exceeded - call aborted
Not sure if this is a shared server thing or something is actually wrong.

At the end of the day this shows an advantage of running the Universal Theme - updates and corrections can come from Oracle at any time.

I guess we'll learn any disadvantages as time goes by, such as any JavaScript or CSS changes that affect your usage of the relevant template.

Note: December 2017
Pre-release of 5.1 - Upgrading Universal Theme

Monday, 24 August 2015

APEX 5 Source Used attribute - tolerating less mistakes

If you've upgraded to APEX 5 and find yourself with an error complaining about the 'Source Used' attribute:
APEX.SESSION_STATE.DB_COLUMN_SOURCE_USED
then you should thank APEX 5 for finding (and no longer tolerating) a logic bug in your application.

APEX 5 - correcting your applications

Track down that field and set the Source Used attribute to 'Always, replacing any existing value in session state'.

On a side note, setting the application's Compatability Mode to 4.2 will also fix the problem, but in this case certainly not the appropriate solution. But this means by setting this attribute to 5.0 on your existing applications can help find these problems in the first place.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Inaugural Developer Choice Awards

Can you think of anyone worthy of being recognised in the following areas?

Developer Choice Awards Categories
Today is the last day for nominations, so visit the website and nominate the first person you think of - right now!

From mid next month you will have a chance to vote for the finalists.

It looks like Oracle are trying really hard to be more involved with the community, so I think good on them for this initiative.

Monday, 17 August 2015

APEX 5 Changing region type

APEX 5 change region type
If only to further emphasise some of the fundamental rebuilds APEX 5 must have undertaken, look at the ability to switch region types.

Prior to APEX 5.0, we could migrate a Classic report to an Interactive Report, but not the reverse. And don't even think about switching to another region type.

Just bear in mind the tweaks and adjustments you'd probably lose as you toggle around. I think it speaks more about how even more the APEX toolset fits in the RAD category, and how much neater the backend must be to make this happen.

This flexibility certainly helps a step in our course where we ask students to create a classic report. No matter how clear the instruction, there's always someone who creates an interactive report. This will make it easier to switch back!

Also note the "Legacy Calendar" type. This is what helps makes APEX backwards compatible, ensuring version upgrades go more smoothly by minimising the internal changes to applications. Though the same can't be said for plug-ins, where you'll probably where most of your upgrade pain.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Kylie is Dancing with Oracle

Almost five years ago I introduced Kylie to our little Sage flock.

Now she ventures into the world of blogging. She'll no doubt talk about Oracle development in some form, either SQL, PL/SQL, APEX, or for some bizarre reason, JDeveloper.

But who knows where blogging leads, huh?  Check her out at
dancingwithoracle.com
Aptly named after her passion for dancing.

She's got a related twitter account:
@dancewithoracle

Blog on.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

APEX 5.0 Change page in Search bar

One of my favourite features in APEX 4.x was the search bar, often not actually for searching but for opening another page by typing the page number, particularly coming from shared components.
APEX 4.x application search
 For a while I thought I'd lost that feature, since I was expecting to be able to type into were the page number is reported (when in shared components), but you just need to type the page number where the magnifying glass is.
Magnifying glass, top left - that's the search
As innovative as the search bar is for finding content, I do find it a little disconcerting how it jumps left everytime I click in there and start typing. And it doesn't seem like a natural place to click? Not when the page number is nearby with a teasing possibility of edit. Darn you contrast.

Type page number here to go direct to that page

I miss the next/previous buttons from the navigation bar, but it does look a little full.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

APEX blogger from Iran

At Kscope I felt geographically isolated, but I was impressed with all the second language speakers attending.

I can only speak one language, and some would argue I don't do well at that - but people were presenting in a language foreign to their native tongue! Kudos.

The Internet I see and view is predominantly English, and no doubt my search results are skewed accordingly. Occasionally I'll find some bloggers in another language and in the days of "translate this page", I have no problems reading them - just be careful with code translation.

Speaking of that link, that was a German post by Carsten Czarski. Through the Official APEX Linkedin group I found Mahdi Ahmadi from Iran. I understand he writes in Persian, and his recent post describes an APEX app that looks superb for database monitoring. He's arranging to release it on Github, but I also hope he talks with Martin D'Souza about getting it on OraOpenSource.
Dashboard Monitoring iranapex.ir
Mahdi's blog name leaves it pretty clear what's going on:
iranapex.ir

I thought I should give him a shout-out due to the English language bias. Though based on his LinkedIn connections, you've all probably met him already!

And I'm stuck here, down under ;p

Monday, 3 August 2015

APEX 5 Colour Contrast

During the APEX 5 early adopter I remember a bit of discussion going around regarding the colour contrast.

Edit: Related reading
"How the web became unreadable"

I would have been one of the complainers, and it's one topic I forgot to raise with the team when I met them at Kscope.

Use of APEX 5 is ramping up at my current site and I couldn't go any further without having a little play. A while ago I used some filters in my ad blocker extension to trim the fat from the OTN forums pages.


I'm come across an even better Chrome extension since then called Stylebot and now it's really easy to manipulate pages you regularly visit.

For instance, when you open the extension you can nominate elements on the page then declaratively define some attributes to use every time that page loads on the specified site.

Stylebot interface
After farming the blue colours from APEX 4.2, I applied this to the region titles when editing component properties. I personally found this so much easier to scan the page and look for the attributes I need.

Modified on the left, original on the right.

Shared component properties
It's almost like the difference between quickly reading a mixed case sentence and READING SOMETHING LIKE THIS WITH NO HEIGHT DIFFERENCE WITHIN THE WORDS.

I did the same thing for the Shared Components home page, though this UI will also be revamped like the page designer at some point in the future

Shared Components
Speaking of the I gave the same treatment to the property palette in the page designer.

Page Designer properties
People have already asked for me to post my tweaks, and it turns out Stylebot allows you to share them so here is mine:
Oracle APEX 5 fitted with 4.2 contrast

No doubt I'll make adjustments in future as I explore the environment and see what works, I'll be sure to keep it up to date. I'm happy to hear suggestions, and perhaps news from the APEX development team that they're thinking of adding built-in styling options to the development environment, kind of like skins.

For completion, here are the styles I used so far.

@import url(http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Georgia);

/* Component properties */
.a-Body .a-Main div.a-Region-header {
    background-color: #cfdef0;
    border-style: none;
    border-width: 1px;
    border-color: rgb(170, 170, 170);
}

.a-Body .a-Main h2.a-Region-title {
    font-weight: bold;
    font-family: Helvetica;
    font-size: 14px;
}

/* Shared components */
.a-Body .a-Main span.a-LinksList-label {
    font-size: 14px;
}

.a-Body .a-Main label.a-Form-label {
    font-size: 13px;
}

.a-Body .a-Main li.apex-rds-item.apex-rds-after a span {
    font-size: 13px;
}

.a-Body .a-Main li.apex-rds-item.apex-rds-first.apex-rds-selected.apex-rds-item--hint a span {
    font-size: 13px;
}

/* Frame some buttons */
.apex-page-designer div.a-Region-headerItems--buttons button {
    border-style: solid;
    border-width: 1px;
    border-color: #949494;
}

.apex-page-designer button.a-Button {
    border-width: 1px;
    border-style: none;
    border-color: #949494;
}

/* Page designer properties */

.apex-page-designer div.a-PropertyEditor-propertyGroup-header {
    background-color: #cfdef0;
}

/* Component view */
#ContentBody div.aRegionHeading {
    background-color: #e8e8e8;
}

#ContentBody div.aRegionHeading h1 {
    font-weight: bold;
}

#ContentBody tr td a
,#ContentBody tbody tr td {
    font-size: 13px;
}


/* Emphasise disabled buttons */

.apex-page-designer div button.a-Button:disabled {
    color: #d6d6d6;
}

/* Substitution string width */
#BB input[id^="SUBSTITUTION_VALUE"]
,#BB input[id^="SVAL"]{
    width: 500px;
}

/* apex 5 */
input[id^="SUBSTITUTION_STRING"]
,input[id^="SSTRING"]
{
    /*max-width: 300px ;*/
    text-align: right;
}

/* Hover designer buttons */
button.a-Button.a-Button--goToPageButton.a-Button--pillEnd:hover
,button.a-Button.a-Button--noLabel.a-Button:hover {
    background-color: #d0e4fa;
}

/* Search box */
.a-SearchBox--autoExpand .a-SearchBox-input {
    width: 170px;
    background-color: #ffffff;
}

/* Success window */
#pdNotification {left: 40px;}

/* Make locked pages stand out more in page list */
#apex_pages_irr span.a-Icon.icon-lock {
    color: #ff0000;
}
/* Widen 5.1 scrollbars */
.u-ScrollingViewport::-webkit-scrollbar{
    width: 13px ;
}

/* Hide those darn tooltips */
body.apex-page-designer .ui-tooltip {display:none;}

You may also be interested in Filip's XPlug extension to further tweak the Page Designer.

Happy APEXing!