The morning was kicked off with a presentation about new features with interactive reports in APEX 4.0.
A demo shows how to create an icon enabled report for basic product list report. Every product is represented by a picture in a grid that shpws a few images per "row".
A more detailed version of the icon view was also created where each row had a picture and a number of details about it on ever "row".
These are all integrated into the interactive report, so the only thing that differs is that the user clicks on a button in the searchbar for the interactive report. So it is essentially just a way to allow the user to select different modes for viewing the report.
Via group by controlls, the end user can set up their own way to aggregate data in the report. End users can save their settings for a report to allow them to get the same report again later by just selecting the saved report.
Developers can also save settings for the report to give all users access to a variant of the report that many users have a need for.
It is also possible for end users to share reports. This allows an end user to save their version of a report as a "public" report. This is turned on by the developer and who has the right to save such reports is controlled the same way as access to other objects in APEX.
It is also possible to enable subscriptions of reports. The result of that is the the user receives and email with the report in HTML format at the interval they have chosen.
All of these helps the end user be more productive and one area that also gives more fredom to the enduser is websheet application wich was presented next by David Peake.
David likes to call it "Wiki on steroids" and after watching the presentation I would have to agree. I have actually thought websheets were just a way to give users a way to edit data in a table in a grid on a webpage. It is clearly time to stop ignoring this part of APEX.
It allows end users to create pages and add contents just any WIKI does. It is also geared towards businessusers with little IT knowhow. They can build applications the shows data and updates data without knowing anything about programming or even databases.
David shows a demo of it where he first created a websheet application. THen during running of it the application runs in a mode where editing allows use of some things that are usually in the builder interface for database applications. The user can edit the page with rich text controls, can enter SQL to execute to create content on the page. It is also possible for the user to create a table or add data by just cutting and pasting from Excel.
Websheets essentially turns APEX into a user created content application. It is possible to collaboratively work on a websheet application and have dynamic content in it.
Could this be used as a documentation platform to enhance a wiki to also be able to present data from the system? Or maybe to use to build simple dashboards to give an easy overview of the statu on things in a system?
One area where this could be really useful would be to use it for prototyping together with end users and let them modify things on their own to show what kind of solution it is they would want.
The next presentation was "Exadata Management and Optimization". I was a little late to the session, but all I got in the forty minutes I was there was a long plug for using Oracle ACS to install, monitor and manage the solution. They had a hundred or so slides of information on how they have the people, the skills, and the tool to do it right.
They seems ot havea very impressive setup with an appliance that collects data and an SLA of 15 minutes to present the customer with an action plan after something fails (the machine is very fault tolerant so it is usually not the same things as an outage).
Still I came to learn about managing and optimizing exadata, not to get a sales pitch for Oracle ACS.
The only amusing thing in the presentation was when during the Q&A the presenter was asked to summarize of Oracles best practices. He asked "All of them?" and the person asking responded very seriously that yes, he would indeed want to get a summary in a few words on all of the best practices. The presenter snickered and said something like "lets chat after the session to make sure you get what you need".