European Application Express Training – Day 2

The second day of our Apex training started earlier (8:30am), because we had some bigger topics to get through. Today we planned to cover:

  • JavaScript & AJAX – This is always one of the ‘ooooh’ presentations, because we can show lots of live demos and cool features that people can use. It is also a huge topic (we do like to dig our teeth into covering big topics!), so we could only ever scratch the surface of some of the things you can do with AJAX and JavaScript in APEX applications.

    One of the ‘concerns’ I always have with this area is which level to pitch it at, some people attending the course have never seen JavaScript in action before (let alone written their own), so the first part of the session was a (very brief!) introduction to JavaScript, just to get people up to speed with it since the code samples later on would not make sense if you did not know some of the basics.

    I really liked this session, it was pretty technical in that there were a lot of code samples and demos, it also required lots of thought and explanation about how it all worked, but it is also one of the sessions where the benefits are really tangible, i.e. the attendees could see things in action and (hopefully!) relate them to their own projects and think “Wow…I could use that!”

  • Special guest – Carl Backstrom! – Yep, if you’re familiar with APEX (and particularly AJAX/JavaScript with APEX) you will be familiar with Carl Backstrom. We had originally planned for Carl to come in-person to the event, however we could not get all the T’s crossed and I’s dotted on that one however Carl spent a lot of time preparing a great video for us that we played to the attendees, which showed lots of nice juicy details that most people haven’t seen yet. I had already seen the video, so I spent a bit of time looking at peoples reaction to the video and it’s fair to say there were a lot of people saying ‘Wow!’ and generally open-mouths whilst watching some of the things Carl was demoing.
  • Exercise Time! – No, not *that* sort of exercise, a nice little APEX exercise we had prepared for the attendees. Most people said afterwards that they really enjoyed this, so perhaps it’s something we’ll feature more in our training. We also gave out special prizes for anyone who found our deliberate (and not so deliberate!) bugs in our code
  • 3rd Party Integration – Dimitri presenting this one after lunch and it revolved around using 3rd part products in your APEX application to either extend the functionality or to use ‘cool features’. Again this was one of the sessions that got lots of ‘oooh, I didn’t know you could do that!’. It’s amazing, you can write 2000 lines of rocket-science PL/SQL code, but people will always be more impressed by the image which automatically expands when you click on it 😉

    We had lots of people coming up to us after this one saying that they really enjoyed it.

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  • APEX Dictionary – My final presentation for the day. Once again, you can only really scratch the surface on this one (I could do 3 days on this alone), but I covered the APEX dictionary from lots of different angles as to why you should be using it. There are some exceptional cool things you can do and I’m pretty sure lots of people didn’t know just how much information is available to you as well as the many different ways you can use it.

    I went out on a ‘wing’ in this session and showed something I hadn’t intended to show, but it all worked first time thankfully, I just couldn’t resist showing ‘just one more cool thing’ to try and convince people to start using the AD.

Before we ever announced the training, Dimitri and myself had discussed whether to have a ‘special night’, where we took out the attendees for a meal. I’m very glad we decided to do that as the night turned out to be a big success.

We went to the La Vierge Noire restaurant in Brussels, where we had a 4 course meal with all the wine you can drink (it seemed like a good idea at the time, perhaps not so good when we had more sessions the following morning!). I have to say that evening was great (for me personally), it was an opportunity to relax and chat to people (I did tell people to ask me their APEX questions early on as the quality of my answers would decrease as the wine flowed!).

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After we meal we walked (in a not particularly straight line in some cases) back to the hotel, ready for the final day!

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