Monthly Archives: April 2007

First Collab Post

Well, I finally managed to get some time to blog about arriving in Vegas for the Collaborate 07 event.

The flight over from the UK went pretty smoothly (for once! I seem to have a ‘knack’ for having eventful flights), although one strange thing did happen. Due to all the new security steps we now all face when we travel by air these days, when I went through the airport security I had to remove my laptop (an Apple Macbook) from my bag and pass it through the X-ray (or whatever they use these days) detector.

I actually bought a Tucano padded sleeve to put my laptop in to prevent it being bashed and scratched too much when I carry it in my bag.

When I passed through the security check and went to pick up my laptop on the other side, I got a bit of a surprise, there were *three* laptops there in identical padded sleeves, and since it took so long to get through the security check they were all mixed up (so we couldn’t tell which laptop was which).

So, easy enough, we (myself and the other two guys) removed the sleeves from the laptops, which showed two black Macbooks and one white Macbook (mine is a Black one), so the next logical thing to do was to power up the Macbooks so I could see which one had a login user called “John”. Of course, having one of the most common English forenames around didn’t help, since the other guy was also called John. Luckily my wife also has an account on the laptop so we could tell them apart. It did make me think though, since if I had not been able to see my wifes login name, we would have had to resort to trying to login to the machines to find out which laptop was which. The way things were heading I wouldn’t have been surprised to find we both used the same password!

Oh, I just remembered too that the flight from the UK to the US ran out of alcohol about 3 hours into a 10 hour flight, it’s not the first time I’ve been on a flight that’s ran out of alcohol, but I’ve never seen it run out that quickly (they were fully stocked at the start of the flight!). I actually only had a single drink, so I’m guessing there must have been some *extremely* happy people on that flight who drank my share.

Anyway, with laptops safely returned to their rightful owners I arrived at the Luxor hotel in Vegas around 4pm, which meant there was time to unpack, freshen up and head out to see the some of the sights in Vegas. I’ve been to Vegas a few times before but there have been quite a few changes since I was last here (lots of building has been going on).

After a quick look round, jetlag finally caught up and I pretty much slept right through until the next day.

The next day (Saturday) I met up with Dimitri Gielis and his wife Kristel (who arrived in Vegas a week earlier for a pre-Collab holiday). It was good to meet up with Dimitri again since we hadn’t seen each other since Oracle OpenWorld in October 2006, we have shared lots of emails and MSN messenger chats since OpenWorld, but it’s still much nicer to be able to sit and chat over a nice meal and a cold beer.

APEX SIG at Collab

If you’re going to the Collaborate 07 event in Las Vegas (15-19 April 2007) and you’re involved with Application Express (or even if you’re just curious about it and what it can do), you should try and drop by the APEX SIG meeting which is being held 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm on Tuesday, April 17th, where Steve Howard, Dimitri Gielis, Tony Jedlinski and myself will be on the panel, giving our views about APEX and generally asking questions (if it’s anything like Oracle OpenWorld was last year there will be a *lot* of good questions!)..

The SIG meeting is shortly after my own presentation (Session #117, called “Delivering pages in 3 seconds or less (because users don’t like waiting!)” which runs from 1:45PM – 2:45PM) where I’ll be discussing a couple of techniques you can use to make your APEX applications more responsive from the user perspective (as well as behaving better from a resource and performance perspective).

Hope to see you there!

JDeveloper versus APEX?

I came across an article written by Chris Muir which explains his thoughts on why Developers should choose JDeveloper rather than other tools (and in particular rather than Application Express).

Now, while I’m always up for some healthy debate on the strengths and weaknesses of different tools, there were some details in that article that I definitely couldn’t disagree more with. One that stood out was –

Apex is too proprietary compared to JDeveloper and is worse for your developer career path.

Too proprietary? Well APEX requires the Oracle DB to work if that is what he means, but as I commented on his blog, I wouldn’t expect to be able to take my PL/SQL procedures and compile then in MySQL either.

As for ‘worse for your developer career path’, I’m not entirely sure what that means? How do you measure that? Is there a statistic somewhere that I’ve missed that compares the number of out of work JDeveloper Developers versus the number of out of work APEX developers?

Another quote which leaped out at me was this one –

JDeveloper’s ADF will provide a higher educational stepping stone away from the old Forms market than Apex will

Again, I’m not entirely sure what Chris means by ‘higher educational stepping stone’. APEX development means you get to use SQL, PL/SQL, Javascript etc, does he not consider learning those as ‘educational’?

I have seen many (way too many!), Java systems which run appalling slowly simply because the Java Developers didn’t understand how best to use the database and usually end up reinventing the wheel to do things themselves that the Database could do far more efficiently in the first place. When you use APEX, all your code runs in the database (besides the client-side JavaScript stuff of course), so it *encourages* you to learn about how best to use the Oracle database to its full potential.

Another quote:

One of the other career benefits is, unlike if the Forms or Apex market dies

I’ve heard this argument many times too, it is always along the lines of “Use X, because if Y dies then we’re locked in”. Well what if ‘X’ dies first? Sure, sometimes you can make an educated decision about which market is more likely to survive, but what makes Chris think that APEX is more likely to die in the short to medium term than JDeveloper is?

If there is one thing I’ve learned in IT, is that there is *always* something new coming along, now that something *new* might be a completely new technology, or it might be an improvement in an existing technology, however the way that I have always looked at it is this….what can I use that will make my development easier *right now*?

APEX might die out one day, JDeveloper might die out one day, the Oracle DB might die out one day? Heck…I’ll die out one day, but does that mean that I can’t use a great tool because it *might* die out one day?

That argument just doesn’t stand up for me, in many businesses there are old COBOL systems still running decades after they were first written. Why couldn’t an APEX (or JDeveloper) application written today still be working in 3/5/8/20 years time, even if the development tool has long gone? I do not use a development tool, to use the tool itself, I use the tool to help me to achieve a specific *requirement*, for example developing an application to do ‘XYZ’. If I develop that application and it works, do I really care if the tool disappears in 5 years time?

Anyway, Chris said he wrote the article for this reason –

The other purpose behind this post is to start discussions about which *is* better, JDev + ADF or Apex.

So it will be interesting to see what other comments (beside mine) his post receives.