The main reason for me to come to the ODTUG conference was — besides presenting our own paper — to see what other Oracle users are doing with the tool. So, most of the sessions I followed were Apex-related. As you can read on different other blogs, it is clear that Apex is hot. So, it is the right momentum to start using the tool, if you not already did.
But I also tried to follow some other sessions. A short impression:
“Service-enable Oracle E-Business Suite with Oracle SOA Suite BPEL Process Manager“, by Basheer Khan. Basheer is a very gentle and nice person, especially for newbies. I met him during the “Presenters Drink” where he invited me to his session. During his presentation he showed how to create a BPEL process that integrates with Oracle E-Business Suite using Web Services. When you are used to Apex, is this a totally different world, but a world that sooner or later we will also need to integrate within Apex.
Since I doing also a lot of pre-sales activities and always get some questions on Oracle Forms, I decided to attend a session on this matter: “How to Turn Older Oracle Forms Applications into a SOA Application“. Grant Ronald did the introduction. He emphasized (again) that Oracle Forms is not going away, but that you need start looking at other tools and technologies. His most important message was that — for Oracle customers struggling with the question which Oracle tool they need to choose — it is no longer an OR … OR decision, but rather an AND … AND… solution. An Oracle Forms application can continue existing, aside an ADF application with SOA integration or even an apex development environment for enterprise-alike applications. I have the impression that the ADF-guru’s are not yet convinced by this, but a comment of Tom Kyte on an “Apex versus ADF” post is very enlightening on this matter: “APEX is as capable of building an enterprise-y application as anything else. … APEX can build anything from tiny to huge – you do not need the infrastructure and overheads the java environment would pull along in order to build big. … There are times for Java, there are times for APEX, there are times for each of the tools – they have their strengths and weakness.”
Of course, I also wanted to attend a session of Steven Feuerstein, thé PL/SQL Evangelist. This is real entertainment, but with a high level of knowlegde transfer, maybe we should call it “knowledge-tainment”. All his “knowledge” can be found on his site and the presentation on Weird PL/SQL can be downloaded from here.
The most interesting session for me (besides the apex ones) was given by Sue Harper: “Oracle SQL Developer: An Overview and New Feaures“. The most recent version (1.5) confirms the fact that it becomes a valid and mature alternative for the Toads or SQL Navigators … and it is free. This shouldn’t be surprising since the driving force and ‘intellectual father’ of the tool is Mike Hichwa, as for Oracle Application Express.
And SQL Developer becomes even better since they announced that the tool will be extended with Data Modeling capabilities (ERDs, physical schema design, dimensional modeling, reverse engineering and more …). Finally, an alternative for the “data”-part of Oracle Designer. I’am really looking forward to this new extension.