Expert Oracle Application Express 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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Take for example, the Oracle Application Express Installation Guide for Release 4.1. This document has the following line in Section 1.4 About Choosing an HTTP server. "In order to run, Oracle Application Express must have access to Oracle Application Express Listener, Oracle HTTP Server and mod_plsql or the embedded PL/SQL gateway." Yep. That's right... sort of. As an experienced installer of APEX, I know that they mean: There are three different ways to connect to Oracle Application Express:
The Oracle Application Express Listener
An Oracle HTTP Server and mod_plsql
The embedded PL/SQL gateway
But, if I was a brand new person with no experience, I might wonder if I need the Oracle Application Express Listener + an Oracle HTTP Server + mod_plsql, or the embedded PL/SQL gateway. Reading the rest of the guide might give me an idea, but for a while I might be confused.
However, I often waffle back and forth between what the biggest problem with technology documentation is: Is it assumed knowledge? Or is it the fact that almost all technology documentation tells you what some setting or button does, but it almost always leaves out the `and here is why you would want to do this' information. You could make the argument that they are one in the same, but I usually see them as different problems. The second problem really comes into play when there are choices. If there are no choices then just telling me what I have to do is fine. Just make sure I know how to do it. I once saw a step in an installation guide that was "Configure SQL/Net". No links to other documentation. No explanation on how to do it. Just "Configure SQL/Net". Ummm... Aren't you kind of assuming that I know how to do that? (And lest it seem like I'm picking on Oracle here, I've seen this in all types of documentation from other technology companies like Microsoft and Dell to even simple things like power tools.) But when I have choices, let me know what those choices mean to me and why I'd choose one over the other.
While it would be great if all the documentation from technology vendors addressed both problems, I doubt it will happen soon. Until then we have books like Expert Oracle Application Express.
This book is 13 chapters long and each chapter was written by a different author. At first that sounds like a recipe for disaster. But when you realize that each author is a pillar of the APEX community and a subject matter expert on their chapter and (most importantly) each of the chapters is excellent, you suddenly realize you're holding a treasure in your hands.
Each chapter contains real world experience including the all important `and here is why you would want to do this'. If fact chapter 1 by John Scott addresses the above connection to Oracle Application Express issue. Sure there are three ways to do it, but why would I want to use one way or the other? Well, read chapter 1 and you will know.
I spent 14 years at Oracle and taught hundreds of people how to use Oracle Application Express and I thought at least some of the chapters would be a bit of a review for me, but I can truly say that I learned valuable information from each and every chapter.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is going to be using Oracle Application Express.
With the way the book is written there is no dependency on reading one chapter before the others and you can easily read the sections that interest you most first and then move on to the other chapters at your leisure.
Here is a breakdown of the chapters:
Chapter 1: OHS, EPG and APEX Listener Compared. In this chapter John Edward Scott looks at the different web server choices and the pros and cons of each. He also shows you how to help make the server as efficient as possible.
Chapter 2: Oracle APEX 4.0 Charts Inside Out. In this chapter Dimitri Gielis talks about the options available for charting (HTML and Flash based). He talks about what goes on behind the scenes with charting and how to customize the XML generated that is used by the AnyChart engine to tweak your charts.
Chapter 3: Tabular Forms. In this chapter Denes Kubicek talks about what has changed with tabular forms in APEX 4.0 and how to code around "missing" functionality that he would like to see implemented in future versions.
Chapter 4: Team Development. In this chapter Roel Hartman talks about using the team development functionality built into APEX to track your projects bugs and development. While not a true project management tool, Roel gives some examples of how you can extend to the tool to add some missing functionality, and how to work with the feedback functionality.
Chapter 5: Globalization. In today's world applications and web sites are being accessed from all over the world. If your company deals with international clients, or you want to reach as many people as you can with your website, then globalization is important. In this chapter Francis Mignault takes you through the steps necessary to help set up your application for globalization and how to use translation to help users of your non-native language be able to interact with your application.
Chapter 6: Debugging. Doug Gault shows you how to use tools (both internal to APEX and external) to help you debug your application. He also mentions using debugging information to help spot performance trends over time, and what debugging information might not be captured and why.
Chapter 7: Dynamic Actions. Martin Giffy D'Souza talks about one of the most popular new features to be found in APEX 4.0. He talks about what dynamic actions are, how to create them and how they can be used.
Chapter 8: Security. In this chapter Anton Nielsen talks about how to help secure your application. In today's world more and more hackers are out there trying to get unauthorized access to your system whether for fun or profit. Anton talks about different types of attacks that can be used and ways to help close the security holes.
Chapter 9: Lifecycle Management. In this chapter Dietmar Aust shows us how to handle your project as it goes through its various changes. He talks about best practices and shows why it's necessary to have a standard process in place for handling releases.
Chapter 10: Working with APEX Collections. In this chapter Raj Mattamal shows us what APEX collections are and how/where to use them to extend APEX's native session state functionality.
Chapter 11: Plug-Ins. In this chapter Dan McGhan shows us the different types of plug-ins that available for creation, shows us the plug-in architecture and walks us through examples of creating each of the different types.
Chapter 12: Architecture. In this chapter Michael Hichwa gives a brief overview of APEX and provides some insight into what goes on behind the scenes.
Chapter 13: Advanced Interactive Reporting. Here Sharon Kennedy shows us how to take the data stored in our databases and present it nicely with APEX's built in reporting tool.
This is an excellent book that I feel will help take someone with a good understanding of APEX development to the next level. I feel the authors did what they set out to accomplish with this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone using APEX for web development.