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A blog by Hafed Benteftifa.

Oracle Apex (HTMLDB) 2.2


Posted by Hafed | Posted in apex(htmldb), oracle | Posted on 10-02-2007

I am back now at testing HTMLDB 2.2 after last year’s tutorial. At any rate, there a number of new features with the tool although it is still missing some very obvious ones.

The most striking one is the lack of stacked, tabbed canvases. When you deal with master-detail forms, it is almost the case that you need to spread out the details info on several tabs (well at least 2 or three tabs). On the otn forum, I have seen that one post requested this feature in the upcoming release of apex 3.0 and another post stated that this tabbed canvas issue can be implemented with some DHTML tricks.

Learning to use Apex is one thing but if that also entails becoming a Javascript, Ajax, DHTML guru, then I guess we are missing the issue at hand which is managing and/or processing the database data.

Going back to Oracle Forms, the onus is on the developers and specifically the people writing the PL/SQL code
and libraries required to implement the business rules. With Apex, it looks like most of the issues that are being raised now on otn deal with the design/interface side of the application. As such, I hope that the Apex team should put all its energy toward resolving/implementing those features that made Forms such a formidable tool.

Last, a google search for HTMLDB/Apex course or lecture notes yields no results at the present time.

Account management tools


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Other tools | Posted on 13-12-2006

Lotus notes along with a domino server can be used as a powerful platform for managing access and accounts within an entreprise.

However, with the advent of wiki collaboration tools such as jotspot (www.jotspot.com), there is a real possibility of getting the same fonctionnalities implemented on a jostpost server appliance.

Lately, I have been toying with this concept using the following setup:
-VMWare appliance
-Wiki app
-Active directory setup on a windows machine
-Email Server
From there, I am trying to do a complete workflow for a typical AM task (AD account creation, email account creation and ldap acct setup).

Things to be working as planned although there are a lot of things to be ironed out.

Web 2.0 3.0 and on: the chinese and indian future for all of us


Posted by Hafed | Posted in personal | Posted on 27-11-2006

Lately, I have come across some very interesting websites, the so called web 2.o generation, with some of them originating in india. A typical example is zoho crm, which I am now testing for my own use and can already say it is an impressive piece of work.

This brings me to the latest statement by Former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn, see http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061126/wl_asia_afp/australiachinaindiaeconomygrowth, in which he is envisioning a future dominated by India and China. This is to be expected given the current drive these two countries are giving to manufacturing and software development.

To be checked …

Jotspot wiki and its relation to Lotus Notes


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Other tools | Posted on 21-11-2006

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up with www.jotspot.com because I was interested in using a wiki to manage my daily IT chores.

Jotspot was highly praised by several columnists and since there was a free plan, I started using it right away to manage the daily calls (actually the emails I receive on my business account).

Because I needed to modify one of the functionalities in the daily calls app, I was pleasantly surprised that it was really easy to make changes to the way the app behaves.

But what really struck me was the model behind Jotspot: everything there was just a wiki page and fields, views etc can be added rather quickly. The API behind jotspot will let you do that in a straightforward way.

As I started looking into some of the apps on this platform, I saw the similarity with Lotus Notes where everything is a database, which is itself a collection of documents.

So, my previous post on Lotus Notes was right on target. Jotspot was able to bring similar functionalities using the wiki concept.

About a week after I signed up, Google announced that it was acquiring Jotspot. No need to explain why but if you worked with Lotus Notes, you see how Jotspot is going to fit within Google strategy.

Openbravo training slides


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Other tools | Posted on 21-11-2006

I posted some powerpoint slides on slideshare.net
Please look under tag: openbravo or blidainfo.com

For the time being, I made available the basic stuff related to the procurement and sales modules.

In preparation are those related to the finance, material and business partners modules.

Hope those involved with Openbravo will find them useful.

ERP implementations


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Other tools | Posted on 20-10-2006

For the last 4 months, I have been deeply involved with an ERP implementation.
It started with a request for a billing system that a large customer wanted to have.

After I researched the market and given that there was a justification for an open source solution, I selected the leading packages ERP5, Compiere, OfBiz and Openbravo.

A detailed examination of the features, actual and proposed, was done during the summer. What I found out is that a number of claims are put forth on the websites and the accompanying brochures.

However, when you start testing real world scenarios, you find some really nasty surprises. As I always advise my friends, it is best to check carefully the claims that the developers make before making a firm commitment.

While I am not going to put forward the study here on this blog, let me just say that Openbravo seems to be the most promising, least because of its open architecture and its elegant handling of the PDFs (documents that you will need to print sooner or later such as invoices, Purchase orders, etc).

Its web interface, while well laid out is easily modified and any competent web developer can add extra UI stuff to the existing one.

Some important features are missing in Openbravo but the WAD put forth by the Openbravo team helps a lot in adding any new functionality.

Database can be either Oracle or Postgres. For the time being, I tested both but the actual production system will run on Postgres. How that will work out is open at the present time.

Needless to say, I learned a number of key things during the course of this project. The next stage will be to turn this into a production system and see how it will perform.

Chili at 5:00 in the morning


Posted by Hafed | Posted in personal | Posted on 31-03-2006

Unbelievable, but this is a first for me. Today, we had a pot luck at work and I had chili at 5:00 in the morning. Very strange but my stomach is still not saying anything :)

Anyway, that was a really good way of celebrating the coming of spring and the food was excellent with people bringing specialties from around the world.

During the course of writing the HTMLDB (oracle ap…


Posted by Hafed | Posted in apex(htmldb), oracle | Posted on 24-03-2006

During the course of writing the HTMLDB (oracle applications express-APEX- a.k.a TAKFAH) tutorial, I was confronted to the case of the POST-CHANGE trigger (Forms-like) in APEX.

The question was already asked by a user on OTN and I went through an implementation using an idea borrowed from Carl Backstrom.

Here is the problem: you create a report based on one table. However, in one of the region, you want to retrieve the details based on one of the items from another table.

Here is the link: http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?messageID=1234011?

Upcoming tutorial for HTMLDB – Oracle Application Express


Posted by Hafed | Posted in apex(htmldb), oracle | Posted on 13-02-2006

I am putting the last touch on a tutorial about HTMLDB 2.0
As you might know, Oracle has now changed the name of HTMLDB to Oracle application express.

What I like about HTMLDB is the ease of development and the fact that you can put together a working app in a very short time. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a lot of tutorials on this tool (the OTN page for HTMLDB lists a few but there no single end-to-end app developed with HTMLDB).

At any rate, it will be posted here very shortly.

Basic features for the IDE- Oracle notes designer


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Forms, oracle, Wiki | Posted on 28-12-2005

I am working on the features to be included on the IDE. Checking sourceforge.net, I found several interesting open source packages. The closest to what I envision for the code generator is middlegen(http://boss.bekk.no/boss/middlegen/).

Now, for the notes feature itself, I came across http://www.to-java.com/ which I found on the oracle otn section (migrating Lotus notes apps to J2EE, http://www.oracle.com/technology/oramag/webcolumns/2003/techarticles/lin_tojava.html). That’s exactly what I think is the closest to a Forms, views paradigm for an Oracle-notes application.

As far as the IDE is concerned, it is going to be a Java Swing based interface. For the time-being, I am checking Sun Netbeans (http://www.netbeans.org/) and Oracle Jdeveloper.

At any rate, I don’t want to get too deep in extra features at this point. The basic point is to get an MVC application with the capability to display Views and Forms.