Monday, 10 November 2008

Oracle Forms to Apex Conversion (or Obama might not actually be Jesus)

Hey, I just thought up a definition for politics: soap operas for boring people. (Or maybe I should change that from boring people to grown ups; I'm not sure.) Think about it: a small cast of main characters, huge dramas, power play, and the occasional sex scandal - how is that any different from Desperate Housewives or Eastenders?

Not being American I watched the recent elections with semi-detached interest. Every few days I'd log onto YouTube and watch John McCain's latest attack ad calling Obama a terrorist, a Muslim, a communist, an Arab, an ... elitist?

But here's the weird thing; ever since Obama won the election he and his men have practically been releasing attack ads against Obama themselves. "You know how we talked about hope and change? Well, is there any chance you could, erm, hope for a little less and expect change a little slower?"

The excitement and anticipation in the Apex community (or at least that subset of it that intersects with the Oracle Forms community) that followed the announcement of version 3.2, and the subsequent need to manage our expectations kinda reminds me of Obama trying to dampen his supporters' frenzy.

The revelation that version 3.2 will include a Forms to Apex converter is, undoubtedly, big news. If, like me, you work for a company that has been churning out .fmxes for well over a decade and has now decided that the best path to the future is Oracle Apex, a Forms2Apex engine could save you thousands of man-hours, hundreds of thousands of pounds, and an incalculable amount of earache from your customers. How can you not get excited about that?

I have the privilege of being one of a small number of outsiders invited by Oracle's David Peake (he's the PM for Application Express) to participate in their Early Adopter programme for version 3.2. He kicked it off with a web conference where, while he was understandably proud of the hard work he and his team have put into this release, I sensed he was doing an Obama and managing our expectations.

So here's what you need to know: Apex version 3.2 does not come with a witchcraft plugin pre-installed. You will still need to do some work. You will need to set up a project and dedicate time to it. Some things just cannot be done automatically.

So are your expectations sufficiently dampened yet? Well, here's the good news. Apex version 3.2 will do a lot more than you now currently expect. We were treated to a demo of its capabilities (and later this week I'll get my grubby mitts on it myself) and I'm very impressed by what it can do and the way that it does it.

I hope to be blogging a bit more in the next few days, giving you details of how it works and what exactly it can do. If you've got any specific questions that you'd like me to investigate for you, feel free to leave them as comments to this entry. Do be aware that I am not an employee of Oracle (as a developer that uses Oracle's technology I have an intense love-hate - or rather like-hate - relationship with the company) and so the answers I give you will not necessarily represent the views of Oracle. There's even a possibility that my answers may be wrong. But hey -


Anonymous said...

Any word on APEX 3.2?? Or did Oracle wrap your knuckles for talking about it too early?

David Njoku said...

I've been ill and up and down the country in meetings so I haven't had a chance to contribute as much to the project as I intended (and I'm kinda embarrassed about that, to be honest) but everyone else has been working hard on it and I can report that it's coming along nicely. But no thanks to me. :-(

taj said...

nice way to keep us updated about the latest on the apex...i am really enjoying reading your blogs... keep up the good work !!