Pro Oracle Application Express

Well it’s been a long time in the making, but the Pro Oracle Application Express book that I wrote (with a chapter on Themes and Templates contributed by Scott Spendolini) is finally shipping!

I started working on the book way back and it seems barely a week has gone by since when I haven’t been asked the question (quite rightly!) “when is the book coming out?”.

This is the first technical book (or any book for that matter) that I have written, so the whole thing was very much a learning experience for me, although obviously I like to think I know about the content side of it, the logistics of writing the chapters, the review process, the amount of time it consumes was all very new.

When I agreed to write it, I contacted a few people who have already published Oracle technical books just to get some opinions on what I’d just agreed to. The comments all had a very similar theme of “Prepare to put your social life on hold because writing a book takes a lot longer than you imagine”.

I really did enjoy writing the book, but I totally agree with how much time it can take, there is nothing quite looking at a blank screen for an hour, or spending three hours reworking a single page and ending up with what you had original, or the joy of laying out at example only to find that you want to completely change it and have to start again from scratch.

Now, those who know me know I’m not a very ego-driven person, however, I have to say that it did raise goose-bumps actually seeing the book selling on Amazon.

Pro Oracle Application Express

Even weirder was seeing where the book was positioned in Amazon’s sales figures.

Pro Oracle Application Express

Fleetingly, the book was in the top 1000 books being sold on Amazon and was the number #1 seller in the Databases section (and the Oracle section). Of course the cynic in me would say that’s partly due to all the back-orders being satisfied from it being late, but it’s still nice to see that people are actually buying it.

I certainly don’t expect to please everyone with the book, since I was limited in terms of pages what I could write, I already went way over the original 400 page estimate (to over 700 pages) and could have easily carried on for another 500 pages or so. Also the way I’ve structured the book is to cover a different area of development in each chapter, things that are typical to encounter when designing production applications in Application Express, so there are certainly topics that I don’t talk about since I needed to talk about other areas in much more detail.

I certainly expect a lot of emails along the lines of “Why doesn’t it contain XYZ?”. Well the answer to that is that it is not intended to be a complete guide of everything you can do in Apex, more an in-depth guide on certain key areas.

So that’s that one done…is it time to start thinking about another one? Hmm maybe after a short “rest” ;)

22 responses

  1. Congratulations John!

    I have no doubts that the book is great. You’ve worked hard on this [career] for years now and are starting to realize the rewards. Couldn’t have happened to a better person.

  2. Hi John,
    I’m curious because my copy in now somewhere between Amazon-warehouse and my house.
    Next time write a book, make a PDF and sell it on your website. APEX-developers are not the kind of people who wants everything for free, because they already saved a lot of money for not having to pay Oracle (at least separately) for APEX :-)
    Cheers, Geert.

  3. Hello John,

    I bought your eBook on I’m now somewhere over the middle and as a beginner I love this book. It’s clear and structured and helps me to build the APEX puzzle, piece by piece :-).

    Do you have the example application somwhere online or as a packaged application?

  4. John,

    You’re a wonderful professional so passionate about APEX…We learnt so much from your presentations and discussions on APEX at this years ODTUG in New Orleans in June.

    Your book on APEX topic is going to be a great contribution to the Apex community…I’m eagerly awaitng the arrival of the book in my mailbox.

    May be the next project would be to organize a conference – “ApexWorld 2009″ :)



  5. Received the book yesterday, only had a quick glance so far but looks well written and is likely to be really useful.
    Should be well worth the wait!!



  6. Hi John,

    Congratulations on your book! Received my copy yesterday and immediately found some very interesting things for my own projects. Instead of typing over the many good samples, is there a way to download them instead?


  7. Hello John,
    Just bought the book, read the first 100 or pages and, so far, so good. Other books that I have read on the subject have been too similar to the provided documentation to represent value for money. The provided documentation itself can be light on detail and has too many “follow the on-screen instructions…” for my liking. Another problem that other books have had is that there has been an over-reliance on case studies. Your book is a welcome departure from the Oracle documentation. It would be nice if you could make the spreadsheet that kicks-off the bug fix application available for download as I think that it would be useful to emulate the examples in the book on occasion. Thanks again, Graham B.

  8. I am reading the book now and finished Ch 4 and 9 which I am especially interested in and found it’s really useful for such a forms developer for years which I recently found APEX a quite handy tool for RAD but just very hard to get a good book for my reference and this is one of them which mentioned specific topic which people may usually struggle with. There are some minor details which is not covered such as the download filename is not the original one. No topic about email sending w/attachement. Hope this part will be covered soon.

  9. Hi Edward,

    Thank you for the feedback, as you can imagine it’s an almost impossible task to try and write something that covers *everyones* expectations (especially as a first book!).

    I’ve noted your points and will keep them in mind.



  10. John,

    Mainly posting this here for anybody undecided about your book.

    The chapter on LDAP alone makes the book a worthwhile investment. I’ve had basic LDAP (against AD)authentication working for a while now, but after reading the LDAP chapter and experimenting some with the correct dn’s and cn’s, with the code you have in the book, I can now finally grab the extra information out of LDAP I’ve struggled with for what seems like years.

    A few more hours and should be able to have a reasonable mini-app working in my applications for the users to request edit access, record their full names, phone, etc, automatically from AD, and store when they requested the access and when I finally gave it them, etc., all with a button click by the user, cutting down my workload. In our environment I can’t simply create an AD Group and check against that, as to many people have their hands in the pot. I need to keep it more simple and under my control, hence creating my own local user_repository, but populating it from AD information instead of having the users fill out all the fields.

    Bill Ferguson

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