The developers’ voice

As you all (should) know, begin this month, there was the event of the year for Java developers, Devoxx. This year they changed their name from JavaPolis to Devoxx to strengthen the voice for Java developers. But I don’t think that the name changed any of its popularity. Instead, they had more attendees compared to last year.

As a rookie, I had the privilege to go to Devoxx and explore the Java world, looking at the new and shiny technologies that will conquer the world! The first university day, I was very interested in the web development sessions I had the chance to attend sessions about JPA and Flex. Each session lasted for 3 hours (although some people didn’t wait that long :) ). The day ended with a very interested JSF on Rails session, presented by Lucas Jellema.

On the second university day, I had the chance to look at Seam in action. The author of the book (with the same title), Dan Allen, presented in a very detailed way the possibilities of Seam. Sometimes he went too far in details that some of my fellow attendees began to dream of Seam (with their eyes closed). After an energetic lunch, I went to the Filthy Rich Clients session by Romain Guy and Chet Haase.

It was a very interesting session given in a very entertaining way. Both speakers really knew how to catch the audience’s attention. They explained us how we can improve the look and feel of our applications so that both user and developer can really enjoy themselves when using/building an application.

After the performance of a beatboxer that surely woke us up, the third and most astonishing day began! First, Stephan Janssen (the man behind Devoxx), gave us a brief summary of the previous days and passed the microphone to the Java FX team. This team presented a state of the art new technology and showed it to the crowd in an amazing demo! They made a video puzzle where the player had to put the pieces back in the right order, with the video still playing! Magnificent!

As the people of this beautiful presentation of JavaFx ended,the people of IBM were the next ones in line to tell us more about these strange portals at every entry. It was an RFID-project so that the Devoxx team was able to register statistics throughout the entire week. So next year, the speakers with the least amount of attendees will be removed from the list :)

At the end of a 10-minute break, it was our turn again. I went to a session about Software estimation presented by a passionate Italian, Giovanni Asproni. He was really able to keep everyone’s attention with his live examples and his enthusiasm. After a hacking session (by Sebastian Deleersnyder of OWASP) and the feel of Scala there was Oracle’s Frank Nimphius who presented the latest features of JDeveloper 11g in combination with Oracle’s ADF.

These three days were to most amazing days for me as a rookie Java developer. I could never imagine that there were so many different products on the market that are all Java based. A special thanks to the whole Devoxx team! If you have any interest in Java development, I hope to see you next year @ Devoxx!

Bjorn Ongenae
iAdvise consultant

Collaboration between ICT Companies and High Schools/Universities

When companies are looking for new young potential, what’s the potential they’re looking for? What are the companies’ needs regarding soft skills, technical skills, communication skills, …

More and more high schools and Universities in Europe are broudening their courses and program for ICT. This month KDG high school in Antwerp organized informal workshops and a getting-acquanted day for companies and teachers to talk about this topic.

Different ICT companies, networking organisations and independent software vendors attended these workshops to talk about the needs of their companies today and in the future.

It was a very pleasant and informal way for each attendee to have an insight in today’s business and how high schools and universities can adjust their program to better answer these needs.

The discussion I would like to start with this blog is:

What do you expect from your young potentials?

  • How do you coach them and which programs do you offer when they start working for your company?
  • Do you have some sort of a ‘Skill Matrix’ where you can denote in which level of expertise they are at that time and how you can augment this in a given period of time?
  • Do you offer guided learning paths and courses tailored for them?
  • What’s the level of expertise you need in soft skills, communication skills and technical skills?
  • What’s the knowledge or expertise you’re missing now and in the future?

Oracle for Newbies

On Wednesday iAdvise gave an Oracle seminar at the headquarters of Oracle Belgium in Brussels. That’s not THE big news of course, but for this seminar our audience was different. This time we focused the “newbies”, people who‘ve never or hardly heard about Oracle.

With this seminar we wanted to debunk the myths that:

  • Oracle is expensive
  • Oracle is only for the “big” companies
  • Oracle is difficult to install and has steap lurning curve

With life installations and life demo’s we convinced our public. Therefore we only used FREE Oracle products, like Oracle XE Database, Oracle Application Express (Apex) and SQL Developer. We installed the Oracle software life during the seminar. We created a database for a fleet of cars and developed a complete web application in less than no time to manage cars, traffic offences and car accidents. We showed the most important and powerful functionalities of Apex and we even included security.

During the seminar we showed:

  • How easily and quickly you can install the Oracle XE Database and Apex
  • How fast and flexible you can set up a database structure with SQL Developer or Apex
  • How you can create a powerful and professional web application with Apex in no time
  • How Apex is based on a extremely simple architecture
  • How fast you can deploy the application using SQL Developer or Apex
  • How dirt-cheap all these topics are thanks to the free Oracle products

Oracle users already knew this, but at the end of the seminar the “newbies” were also convinced: Oracle is fun !

With the motto “When you hear you forget, when you see you remember, when you do you understand” iAdvise will organize a “Power Day”. During that day we will guide “newbies” while they try this out by theirself.
Are you interested in the “Oracle for Newbies” presentation slides or would you like to have more information about our Power Day? Please contact us at

Apex Course – a Bit Different

I’m one of the iAdvise Apex-trainers, a small group of Oracle Consultants that besides their daily job, also give an apex course from time to time.

I’ll get this question every few months, but last time was rather unusual. Would you mind giving this course in Suriname? This country in South America is located over 7000 km from iAdvise. Suriname used to be a colony of The Netherlands, and one of the few places with Dutch as the mother of tongue… which is why they preferred to work with us. It was starting to get colder here, so I didn’t mind a little trip to a tropical country. A few weeks later the deal was made and I was ready to go.

This wasn’t going to be our average 3-day basic course. Going through all this trouble of getting me there, they wanted to know everything about it, so we added 2 days filled with advanced topics.

It was a challenge, because of the diverse group. Some had experience with Apex, others had years of experience with Forms but most of them where access developers. Before I left I had send some training material for them to study so we could move though the basics a bit faster.
For the 2 days of advanced topics most time was spend on my 2 favourite subjects: security and performance. While it’s not that difficult to create an application, it’s very easy to create one full of security flaws. You shouldn’t call yourself an Apex developer if you don’t know all about SSP, sql injection and all of those other treats.
The time that was left, we used to set up their first projects. Designing your application is probably the most important step.

I’m sure they’ll be excellent Apex developers in no time.

ADF Methodology for the Masses – ODTUG 2009

I’ve added an abstract for ODTUG 2009 on the ADF Methodology Google Group and I would like to share the content of this abstract with the community as well.

Especially because your feedback is needed to keep the ball rolling and to check out how many people are using ADF today or are interested in an introduction.

The abstract:

A software development methodology is designed to assist experienced and uninitiated technology practioners to standardize their approach to software design & development. They can help highlight common decision points, outline best practices, promote code reuse, and propose standard deliverables among many other things.

This is a meeting of an ongoing group of experts and delegates first held at OOW08 based around ADF and the support of Oracle staff. We’d like to open the opportunity to the user groups to start participating in this event and ODTUG’s reputation as the key-Oracle development eventwould make this ideal.

-) Quick Introduction of the ADF Methodology Group
-) Goals of the ADF Methodology
-) ADF as a topic:
a) Propose a standardised approach to ADF design & development beyond just the technical
b) Highlight common decision points, outline best practices, promote code reuse, and propose standard deliverables
c) Understand alternative technologies and how ADF fits in
d) Give a feel for the important topics with JDev 11g ADF (and how to learn about them)

-) Presentations regarding best practices, reporting possibilities, testing strategy, 11g take aways

-) Learn how to adopt ADF at an organizational level
-) Help to promote ADF and to inspire others to use ADF
-) Highlight samples, information, guidelines for ADF
-) Take-outs + where to go from here

The goal of the ADF Development Methodology Group is to propose just such a methodology for JDeveloper Application Development Framework (ADF) based projects. With the experience of real-world experts, including Oracle ACEs and Oracle staff, join us to put such a methodology together.

Business Course introducing ApEx and SOA for High Schools/Universities

This week me and Nathalie Roman (Oracle Fusion Middleware developer of the year) went to a High School in Antwerp to organize a 3-day theoretical and practical course about APEX and SOA.

During these 3 days we gave the students insight in what SOA and ApEx is all about and what they can achieve with it.

A short summary:

Day 1
Nathalie introduced iAdvise as an innovative Oracle Company that is active in Oracle Fusion Middleware, SOA Governance, Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence, Infrastructure and Hosting and of course front-end development using ADF, Java Open Source Technology, Client/Server technologies (such as Forms), Flex and of course ApEx. After that we did an overview for the three days and Nathalie started with her presentation on SOA.

When Nathalie was finished It was my turn. I gave the students a full presentation about ApEx with a live demo. For my demo I had an excel file with some data and asked some students to give me a realistic guess on how long it would take to build an online application starting from my excel data. Answers from 30 to 50 minutes were given so students were immediately very interested when they saw that I could make such an functional application in under 2 minutes.

In the afternoon we started with a hands-on Apex session. As I expected most of the students had no problem building some basic reports and forms, their first impression was that the tool is very quick and easy to use.

Day 2
Our second day started with the assignment of making another apex application, after that an introduction to web services and bpel was given by Nathalie. In this presentation Nathalie gave an insight in web services, the difference between synchronous and asynchronous threading and how the different API’s can be used for authentication/authorization/encryption … After an insight into web services, Nathalie explained the main differences between BPEL and ESB using some common use cases. Using these Use Cases the students could anticipate when to use which methodology when functional requirements were outlined.

For BPEL Nathalie also explained the importance of BPMN so business processes could be analyzed and automated within a governance-structure with as well IT, business as analysts as the key stakeholders. After the theoretical part we gave the students an hands-on introduction to web services and bpel processes. The bpel process was used to automate the HRM application that was build in ApEx.

Day 3
On day 3 the students made their second BPEL process and saw a little bit of ESB. In the afternoon we expanded the earlier made ApEx applications with the pl/sql webservice we made. Students learned how to call a webservice using the apex wizard and also using the manually manual option. They had to construct the soap envelope and got a better insight in the whole process.

Me and Nathalie were very satisfied after 3 days, all students were very interested in the oracle technology and a lot of students realized that you can do a lot more with sql and pl/sql then they had done before.