Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The Apex community (or standing naked in the window)

A few years ago I was assigned to a project in London and, as a result, found that my working day was bookended by one-hour train journeys to and from work. (It was an ... interesting project which involved designing a database in conjunction with a team of "flat-earther" web developers who didn't believe that relational databases were important and in whose world E F Codd was probably strangled at birth.) As the train neared London it snaked past a residential area. One day I looked up from the novel I was reading and caught a brief look of a woman standing in an upstairs window - completely naked.

The internet is something like that. The promise of anonymity that it affords us often brings out the weirdest facets of our personalities; the same facelessness that emboldened that nameless woman often makes people go on messageboards and act like fools.

However, fortunately, I have found that the Apex community - and it is a community - is completely different. Every day I am discovering new blogs that outline in painstaking detail solutions to problems I didn't even know I had yet. (I spent this morning writing code to log users out of my app if they've been inactive for half an hour: I found everything I need to achieve this here. I also adapted code I found here to write myself form that'll enable me quickly enter help text for the items in my app.) It's also quite nice that not long after I posted an entry questioning Oracle's commitment to Apex I got a response from David Peake, the product manager for Apex in Oracle reassuring me. Just in case you've had questions of your own on the same subject here's part of what he had to say:

Oracle has shown its commitment to Application Express by making it part of the seed installation of Oracle Database 11g. Therefore, whenever you install Oracle Database 11g it automatically installs Application Express. Such decisions are not made lightly and not made for tools with limited life expectancy.

Internally Oracle Application Express has also become a critical development tool. Every Oracle Employee utilizes our ARIA People Search application (also downloadable from our Packaged Applications on OTN) built with APEX. There are countless internal applications hosted on our internal site with the majority of development teams using APEX applications in varying degrees.
I'll be emailing his response to the bosses and developers at work. It might be the final reassurance they need to confidently make business and career decisions.

Anyway, that was all I really wanted to say; I just wanted to note on record how helpful the Apex community is. My next post will probably be about this report builder that I want to write with Apex. I'll write that tomorrow - if I'm not too busy taking long train journeys and looking out of the window!

No comments: