Category Archives: UKOUG


With UKOUG Tech and EBS conference in Birmingham a couple of weeks away, I thought I’d see if anyone is interested in an APEX Meetup during the conference.

Usually at most conferences I attend Dimitri Gielis and myself try to arrange a very informal gathering of APEX-minded people in a pub. It’s a great time to network with old and new friends away from the conference halls, particularly if it’s one of your first events.

So, if you’re interested in attending an APEX Meetup, add a comment below (including your preferred night) and we’ll try and sort out an evening which suits most people.

Increasing Scalability with Oracle Application Express

Yesterday, at the UKOUG APEX SIG (which I’ll post a follow-up about shortly), I did a quick 1 hour presentation on Increasing Scalability with Oracle Application Express, I touched on (and demonstrated) quite a few different techniques in which you can make you APEX applications more scalable (and/or just as importantly, reducing the overhead of your APEX applications).

Today, I received an email from someone who attended that presentation. I have asked their permission to post their message –

“I just thought I would let you know of the performance improvements I have got since your presentation yesterday”

and what were those improvements?

“The updateable grid has always been slow to run and was taking 1min 2seconds ( I couldn’t think how to improve it without completely redesigning it), with the changes this has been reduced to 6 seconds.”

and the difference in the production system –

[table id=2 /]

That’s quite an improvement from the users perspective, something which used to take over 30 seconds is now well under a second.

From my perspective, it’s great to know that some people were inspired to use what they learned to make some significant changes which will ultimately make their end users happier (and we’re all end users of one system or another right?).

At the UKOUG conference in a few weeks time, I’m actually going to be presenting a 2 hour Masterclass on the same topic (which allows me to go into more depth, more demos and more aspects than an hour allows).


Just a quick note to mention that on Wednesday I’ll be at the (2nd!) APEX SIG meeting at the Oracle City Office in London, it looks like it’s going to be a packed day (already sold out sorry!) full of APEX sessions. I’m very happy that something ‘official’ is now being held in the UK for APEX and that so many people are involved and supporting it.

Secondly, time flies…UKOUG is right around the corner now (30th November – 2nd December). There are lots of great APEX sessions planned –

[table id=1 /]

If you didn’t spot it, I’m doing 2 sessions, Dispelling Myths about Application Express and also a 2 hour masterclass on Building Scalable Applications with Oracle Application Express (which I believe should be interesting to *anyone* developing with APEX, not just those people who are developing large scale applications).

We are also going to hold an APEX round-table on Tuesday (1st December) at 12:55-13:55, where you can come along and ask any (APEX related!) questions you have.

It’s interesting to see that Oracle are taking this event seriously too, with David Peake, Anthony Rayner and Hilary Farrell from the APEX Development team all attending (and presenting).

Now, I just need to book my hotel!

UK Application Express SIG – Followup

On friday (12th February), the first UK Application Express Special Interest Group meeting was held. I previously blogged about the planned content, theme etc here.

I’m very pleased to say that the event exceeded many peoples expectations in terms of attendance, with around 55 or so people (and I believe around 20 people on the ‘waiting list’, it’s a shame we couldn’t have got a bigger room!). It was also a very nice surprise to see that Jonathan Lewis was sitting in on the event.

There were some interesting presentations on the day, David Peake gave us some sneak insights into APEX 4.0 and the roadmap ahead.


Dimitri then gave us a presentation on Advanced Charting in APEX.

Matt Nolan & Vincent Migue then told us how they were using APEX internally inside their company (with some nice AJAX and Web 2.0 functionality).


Then finally it was my turn to Dispel Myths about APEX (sorry no pictures of myself this time).

Finally we had a panel session where the floor was open for any question (I must apologise to my fellow presenters if I took too much share of answering the questions, but there’s always that split second timing where you try to gauge if anyone else is going to answer and if not you just dive in).

My gut feeling is that the day was a good success, there were lots of interesting questions outside of the presentations (during breaks/lunch etc) and I find that this is usually one of the highlights of events like this since many people are not comfortable asking questions in a big group but in a 1-2-1 situation you get the chance to ask anythign you like

After the event many of us went to nearby bar (my wife even joined us later) and whiled away the hours discussing all things APEX and non-APEX.

I do want to stress one thing though, if you attended the SIG meeting, please *please* make sure you give your feedback to the UKOUG, since without this feedback they will be unable to gauge the response to the event and determine any future plans for it.

I really do hope another event is arranged soon, as I see APEX growing in popularity and usage every day, so there is definitely a need for events like this. Special thanks to Justin Hudd for finally pulling this all together!

UK APEX SIG – Coming VERY soon


The “need” for a UKOUG Application Express SIG (Special Interest Group) has been discussed a lot, Jonathan Lewis blogged about it a year ago and received a lot of interest. Sara Blair also floated (or resurfaced at least) the idea again last year, again receiving a lot of positive feedback. I have also been very interested in the idea and have said as much to most UK “APEX people” that I’ve spoken to.

However up till now it’s just never happened, fortunately Justin Hudd has progressed it past the idea stage and actually co-ordinated pulling everything together to actually make it happen!

So on the 13th February in the Oracle office in London will be the first UKOUG APEX SIG meeting!

The agenda is available on the UKOUG site here, however to give you an outline, we have –

  • David Peake (Oracle) – Latest & Greatest from Development
  • Anthony Rayner (Oracle) – Learn How Oracle Utilises Application Express
  • Dimitri Gielis (AE) – What happens on an APEX Page?
  • Matt Nolan & Vincent Migue (e-DBA) – Using APEX to Expose your Business to the Web
  • John Scott (me!) – Dispelling Myths about Application Express
  • APEX Forum – A chance to ask the Experts
  • A.O.B. and Close

The event is planned to run from 9am to 5pm, however given how enthusiastic most of us are about Application Express I’m sure we’ll be around a bit later too to ask any questions etc.

A note on the pricing:

  • If you are already a member of UKOUG then it’s free to attend.
  • If you are not a member then there is a £160 plus VAT charge.
  • UKOUG Day 4

    We’re here already, final day of UKOUG! It’s gone really quick, all that preparation and then it’s over until next year.

    It was quite a ‘lazy’ start to the day, checking out of the hotel and loading up the car with bags, then heading over to Peter Lorenzen’s session on “How to make your APEX Application Secure”. I hadn’t seen this session before and it was full of good tips on using the features available within APEX to secure your app.

    Peter had a full room and once again I heard a couple of people leaving saying things like “I didn’t know you could do that”, so Peter definitely did a good job.


    It was also a good chance for Dimitri, Peter and myself to have a chat after having not met Peter before UKOUG (but having corresponded with him via email/Apex forums etc).

    After some lunch, it was time to make a difficult decision, i.e. which of the final sessions would be my final session at UKOUG. It was difficult because Jonathan Lewis and Steven Feuerstein were both presenting at the same time.

    I’ve met Steven a few times (we created a simple APEX app for his new book) and he’s a superb presenter. However I decided to go to Jonathan Lewis’s session, as it just so happens I’ve spent the last couple of days wrestling with some queries and went to his session for some inspiration.

    I’ve also seen Jonathan present a few times now and he is an absolute master at it, personally I like the more technical types of presentations and this didn’t disappoint at all. His session was titled “Optimisation Through Understanding” and whilst I wouldn’t even pretend to have understood everything Jonathan covered, it was perhaps one of the most instructive 2 hours of Oracle learning I’ve ever had.

    All in all, an excellent first UKOUG for me, I’ll definitely try and go next year too.

    UKOUG Day 3 (or “Sharing a stage with Tom Kyte”)

    Today was the big ‘APEX day’, with 3 APEX presentations and the APEX roundtable.

    I met Dimitri at the Hotel as he’d just flown in and had been unable to make the start of the conference. We headed over to the ICC for the first APEX session of the day –

    • Programming Real Applications with Application Express – Andrew Woodward, Yorkshire Building Society

    Andrew did a good job of covering lots of the features he used to build their applications, as well as discussing things from the business perspective.

    Next up, it was time for me to present my session on “Debugging APEX Applications”, by the way the title of this post is a blatant lie, I didn’t actually share the stage at the same *time* as Tom Kyte, but I did share the same stage he used for his Keynote speech. This room was absolutely huge and I’ll be surprised if I ever present in a room bigger than this one.

    UKOUG 2007 - My Presentation

    The room was not full obviously (there weren’t that many people at UKOUG interested in APEX!), so I’m still not sure why they put me in that room, but from my perspective it had two great advantages:

    • I didn’t need to zoom in for my demos that much as the screen was enormous
    • It was very good experience to present in a room of that size, truely nerve-wracking, but also a very good feeling afterwards when it all went well.

    UKOUG 2007 - My Presentation 2

    There was one downside to this room and it was the fact that on the stage the lights shine straight at you so you can’t really see the audience that well (at least nobody past the first couple of rows anyway), so it’s difficult to see if people are yawning or whether you’re showing them something they’ve never seen before. Anyway, judging by the comments afterwards the presentation seemed to go down well for some people (which is all you can ask really!).

    Oh, I almost forgot, for this session Dimitri was my session chair. I’d ‘pre-warned’ Dimitri that my timing was tight and I needed every second of the 60 minute slot to fit all the material in so I asked him to keep his introduction nice and short….meaning keep it to less than a minute or two. Dimitri didn’t let me down…it took him 8 seconds to introduce me (there’s a nice big clock built into the stage in that Hall). I know I said ‘keep it short’ Dimitri, but there’s short and there’s short 😉

    After my presentation it was time for the APEX Roundtable, I arrived a bit late as I stayed back from my session to answer a few questions and also it took me a while to put my laptop etc away. The roundtable was hosted by Jeremy Duggan and the panelists were Dimitri Gielis, Anthony Rayner and Peter Lorenzen. As usual with the Roundtables, there were lots of good questions covering a varied range of topics and the panel did a good job of answering them (I wasn’t on the panel for this one, but I did pitch in with a few answers).

    After lunch, I started to unwind after giving my presentation (there is definitely an ‘adrenaline dump’ after you give a presentation) and also sat with Dimitri doing some work related things while he prepared for his presentation on “Integration of BI (XML) Publisher and APEX”.

    UKOUG2007 - Dimitris Presentation

    I’ve seen Dimitri present this topic a few times now, but he always puts a different spin on it every time he presents it, so it’s always worthwhile watching it again. The audience was quite split between people who had used BI Publisher with APEX before and those who hadn’t used it at all before. Afterwards I heard a couple of people discussing how impressed they were because they didn’t know that level of printing integration was possible, good job Dimitri!

    After Dimitri’s presentation I met Borkur Steingrimsson, whom Dimitri already knew. Borkur told me that he’d already made dinner reservations for us to wind down after our presentations. This meant that he’d called Mark Rittman and Peter Scott and arranged for us to meet up. This was exactly what I needed, so thanks Borkur!

    We headed over to some bar (which I forget the name of) and had some great tapas and a few good beers.

    IMG_3087 IMG_3085

    I’ve met Mark before at Collab and OpenWorld, but I’d never met Borkur or Peter before, they’re both really nice guys and very easy to talk with. After the food we headed over to another pub which was pretty empty when we arrived, but soon started to fill up and rapidly became a ‘who’s who’ of the Oracle world, with Lisa Dobson, Doug Burns, Marco Gralike and many many others arriving.


    I lasted till around 11:30pm and then had to head back to the hotel to get some sleep…however I found out the next day that some people managed to stay in the pub until 4:50am…I won’t name names, but you know who you are 😉