Tuesday 12 November 2019

Things I learned at a user group event

Yesterday I attended a friendly, informative workshop by Shakeeb Rahman and Christina Cho, members of the Oracle APEX product team.

Reflecting on the worthiness of attending such an event, I thought I'd list out all the things I learned & observed.

  1. Everyone learns.
    It was observed that 'gurus' such as Trent, Lino, and myself were there, and maybe this might influence the level of detail content delivered. Sure, I like the details, and a particular pace, but I'm there to learn a bunch of things as much as the next person. My REST skills need a lot of work, it's always great to get a demonstration of features found in the new version. The APEX feature set has grown so much, I'm struggling to stay across it all. I attend these sessions because I know the value I can get out of them.
  2. Watching Shakeeb build.
    The last session involved Shakeeb using Quick SQL to build and populate data in seconds, then transforming the default output to look like a feed like Twitter. He did it in about 30 minutes, only using CSS once, maybe because his perfectionism was showing ;p
    As awesome as it was seeing the showcase that is APEX in action with declarative/low code techniques, I also get a lot out of seeing Shakeeb's thought processes, and how he moves about the IDE.
  3. REST Services.
    One of my attractions to this event was the workshop on REST services. I understand the mechanics, but have not had enough practice using the declarative features. Having a hands on lab where I not only receive instructions in person, but get to ask Christina deeper questions as I explore the workshop. This was invaluable to understanding the feature integration. I have a few posts in mind to help bake it in.
  4. Data is important.
    Our client would have appreciated Shakeeb's opening remarks. While we all know data is important, it can't be iterated enough to those decision makers that may not have enough understanding of the value of databases.
  5. APEX Longevity.
    I knew this one already, but I like the fact this slide has made it into Shakeeb's commentary. APEX has seen so many JavaScript frameworks come and go, with little resistance between versions. I think this is rarely seen in the programming world.
  6. Faceted search looks amazing.
    This will a boon for creating interactive applications that people are used to even quicker.
    I'm interested to see how this responds to more complicated queries, but there seems to be options for everything. I look forward to this feature, as we already build similar constructs already.
  7. The native Popup LOV looks even more suburb.
    They really have learnt from the two solid plugins that came before them. Based on the attributes I saw demonstrated, this has everything we need, and everything we didn't realise we should have. And this is iteration one. Awesome.
  8. I don't need to rely on a CSS overlay to remove toolips
  9. We can hide empty display positions in the layout editor
  10. The undo/redo tooltip was restored to native HTML in 19.x, different to the rest (thanks to sharing the love on Twitter).
  11. I was reminded of an auto-height template option for inline modals.
  12. There is a template option for 'icon and text' button templates to hide text for mobile devices.
  13. A component setting was introduced to transform application Switch items into the pill format - yet another application level optional upgrade between versions.
  14. Syntax in the code editor for SQL Workshop and Quick SQL is now highlighted. I think this improves readability and is a form of inline validation for your syntax.
  15. SQL Workshop Object Browser has a few more tables, including suggested sample queries for the tables - the same sort of group by queries that I use to help analyse what's going on in a table. The same queries that utilised in the faceted search analysis. Code & data re-use right there.
  16. We can now REST enable tables right from the SQL Workshop, with the flick of a switch.
  17. I was reminded Postman was a nifty tool for REST development.
  18. We can jump to the create application wizard from a table. I can't remember how, nor find the option, but I can't remember everything from the day... I make these notes to help, but hey.
  19. Data dictionary cache is a thing. Again, I can't recall exactly how it worked, but I've made a note to investigate later as I explore the faceted search facilities.
  20. The spotlight search has been expanded, and there are other nifty shortcuts that already exist. I use some already, but I now know to keep aware.
  21. Paged designer multi edit - I am looking forward to these improvements, which include the ability to change template options for multiple components at once - hallelujah! But I wasn't aware that some attributes were previously hidden during multi-edit mode, so this has eased.
  22. The ability to change the application logo has received all the declarative nick-knacks we needed.
  23. This application logo is separate from the one defined in the login screen, which as also received a wodge of declarative low code improvements.
  24. There is now a pre-built template style for dark mode. While I was aware of this, it's always beneficially for me to see Shakeeb operate the theme roller, since I don't use it enough.
  25. Theme roller facilities are more refined
  26. The Content Row report template - I'm looking forward to this so much I've retrofitted the template into 18.2, for demonstration
  27. All the interactive report dialogs have been re-written, with a fresh look.
  28. Menus UI can be tweaked with a 'callout' nature. We'll see how that's adopted in general...
  29. Inline regions have been given some upgrades. I've been playing with a page to experiment with these recently (post coming), so this event gave me the opportunity to ask some specific questions.
  30. Inline popups can be located near the invoking component, documented in the UT application.
  31. Lino showed me how to define inline region size with classes, instead of jQuery (to be included in post).
  32. Lino is approachable regarding my growing list of AOP questions.
  33. And as the session was beginning, I felt a little inspiration to solve a regular expression problem I was facing last week. Some interesting performance observations noted as I experimented further today, and had a regexp expert to review my work. (post coming)
  34. Christina is another solid member of the APEX family. I've had the pleasure of conversing with quite a few members of the team now, and they're a great bunch.
  35. Juniper berries are used to make gin - it was the drink'n'learn on the beer cap, in our afternoon wind-down.
And I reckon there might be a few I left off. The Q & A included some conjecture about 20.1.

Brisbane & Sydney also get the pleasure enlightment musings of Connor.

Not bad for a user group event, eh? 

It's a shame some people struggle to get support from their employers to attend such events, and more of a shame we don't see more students getting engaged. How do we reach them - the next generation?

I'm glad they came, and I'm glad I went. There are some growing APEX markets around here, and some with lulls. If we don't get the visits, the next round of students will not eventuate. It's not just the people who attend the workshops, but the flow on effect from those individuals who report back and share information with other team members. It's certainly what I did with my colleagues. Who knows who's ears could be listening in on that positive feedback.


Anonymous said...

Hi Scott,
at first: Thank you very much!
The future?
ADW could be a game changer.
However, this presumes that they do some things better:
1. Clearness in *any* regard (Option, Restrictions, Howto's) - absolutely security regarding future.
2. A much(!) better) Communication. (Do good things and talk about it.)
3. A few less restrictions (e.g. email) than the current completely free version. This could be a door opener. I think the current no-cost version is not really.
Best Regards

Scott Wesley said...

No worries, if we all learn, everything gets better, right? ;p

ADW has a lot of potential.
I think
1. will iron out, over time.
2. I think they're on the case
3. Again, a small but important detail that might be ironed out over time.
But all worthy of continuous attention.

Michelle Skamene said...

What a great re-cap, Scott! Thank you for the reminder of the value of such events, and all the great tips!

Scott Wesley said...

Thank you, unknown.

We'd like to see more at these events, and have them more often, so communicating this message seems essential.