Monthly Archives: September 2008

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” 😉

Utrecht Apex Training – Followup

A few days ago we held our third open European Application Express training days in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

It was my first time in the Netherlands and I loved it, I have to say I thought it was a bit of myth about everyone using bicycles until I saw more bicycles in 20 minutes than I’ve seen in 30*cough* years in the UK.


The event was fully subscribed (infact slightly more) with 34 attendees, some of whom had been on one of our previous events (which is a really encouraging sign and a good endorsement that you’re doing something right!).


In the 3 days, we covered a lot of different topics, trying to squeeze in as much as possible to try and give everyone something that they could take away with them (always a difficult task!), hopefully we managed to do that (the feedback comments were very good and positive).

I’m pleased to say that not a single demo failed this time…until we got to the quiz section on the final day, then all the problems came home to roost at the same time, luckily it was pretty funny (with me barely able to speak for laughing at some points).

On the last training events we have invited the attendees out to a restaurant as a ‘thank-you’ from us, however this time we decided to go Bowling instead. All I can say is it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve been bowling, our lane was decidedly wonky and the balls weren’t perfectly spherical…there, did I make enough excuses?

All in all, I had a great time, can’t wait till the next one!