Sunday 7 November 2021

APEX in tense. #JoelKallmanDay

Now I feel extremely luck to live in a part of the world that has been relatively free of impact from COVID-19, certainly from a societal health perspective.

That said, I'm fairly certain there has been an indirect impact on my non-billable APEX activities - one only needs to look at my blog history over the past few years. Blogging is an outlet I've always enjoyed, and I miss doing regularly. 'Next week' I'll start doing it more regularly. Next week...

Blog frequency dips

But I was flicking through some tweets and saw Tim's announcement regarding #JoelKallmanDay, an initiative extending from past appreciation days, but now honouring the late great Joel Kallman, who sadly succumbed to COVID-19.

While I may be late to the event, I still feel compelled to contribute in some form. I only had the honour of meeting Joel a few times, but I know he's been an influence in my outreach. And I certainly feel his passion through the extended Oracle APEX team, whom I've also shared some wonderful moments with. I think about him frequently.

Like Tim, I thought I'd do an abridged history of my path to APEX. I had my first exposure to generating HTML from PL/SQL back in University, though too late in my final year project to do anything exciting with it - but I felt back then it seemed quite a powerful concept.

That said, I ended up cutting my programming teeth with Oracle Forms for a good number of years before my employer in ~2008 asked/directed/suggested I learn Oracle APEX while it was v3.2.

I was really given the opportunity at that point to jump in the deep end with APEX and explore what could really be done when it comes to designing applications that help the user get the job done. Not only that, I started the conferencing thing and got exposure to people like me from all over the world.

It wasn't long before I started training other people to use Oracle APEX, and if nothing else, that certainly helps you learn the ins, outs, and shortcomings of your development tool. Combined with regular involvment in the online forums, where even answering a question I thought I knew often comes with other people contributing their own perspectives, offering an enhanced method, or other consideration.

I've since had the chance to speak at two Kscopes, where I met Joel and quite a few people in the APEX team. They're all so passionate about the product, and offer their own special skills to help mature the product in the right direction - adding features faster than I can learn them. Not only that, they all know how to have fun outside the technology world. Something particularly important for our mental health in these challenging times.

I've now been on a few projects where we're transitioning Forms application to the web-based world that APEX lives, and now I have the pleasure of helping convert a large Forms application I had a decent part in developing - back before I knew what APEX was.

For me this is a particularly exciting time. It was somewhat of a plunge to leave my previous job during these testing times, but it's opened a raft of new opportunities - all the while I wish I had more time to tinker with my own little APEX side projects. 

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