K Cannell for ODTUG Board ~ Keep the Spark Alive

Vote for Karen Cannell for the ODTUG Board of Directors

I seek your vote for reelection to the ODTUG Board of Directors, so I may continue to actively establish and maintain ODTUG as the center of excellence for Oracle developers.

Vote Karen Cannell for the ODTUG Board

ODTUG has a spark, an indescribable vibe that you just don’t find at other user groups or conferences. We are technical, committed, passionate and fun. Something happens when top technical experts and Oracle product teams combine, elbow to elbow to share and talk tech.  As an ODTUG Director, my job is to make sure that spark continues.

There are many challenges in doing so – engaging members, conference attendance, leading (not bleeding) edge content, member recruitment, quality practical technical resources, marketing what-where-when-how – all these balanced correctly combine to keep that ODTUG difference alive. That quality, that vibe, is our distinction – ODTUG is the best resource for Oracle developers.  It takes work to keep it that way. And I love doing that unsung behind-the-scenes work.  I gained from ODTUG, I have the experience to give back. I look forward to serving ODTUG for the coming years..

How developers work and learn continues to evolve – ODTUG must keep pace by delivering practical, actionable advice and training on legacy and emerging technologies. For all experience levels – novice through expert.

I am a senior ODTUG member, developer and consultant. I bring a quiet, steady, long-term perspective to the Board that is needed to balance the enticements of the “next new thing” with the need to deliver practical, get-the-work-done knowledge to our members. Please support my reelection to the ODTUG Board of Directors.

Experience / Attributes

Experience and attributes I bring to the ODTUG Board include:

  • Insight on developer needs and challenges gained via 30+ years of development experience, across large and small companies, government and private, large to single-person development teams.
  • Insight on user group operations gained through 13 yrs volunteering at local, regional and national user groups as reviewer, monitor, conference committee member, presenter, attendee and editor. As a board member I will have greater ability to solicit more content in more diverse formats.
  • Eye for timely, quality material on the latest Oracle tools, gained through 8 yrs as Editor and writer, for ODTUG, IOUG and APress
  • Quiet steadfast persistence to get tasks done, even the less glorious ones.
  • First-hand experience with major Board committees and activities:
    • Leadership Program
    • Emerging Technology Committee
    • Marketing Liason
    • ODTUG Innovation Award
    • APEX Community Liason
    • Various other committees on future not-yet-to-be-disclosed projects. All good stuff that may or may not be going forward, depending on research.

Read more details about my involvement in these Board activities, below in this post (just scroll to the bottom)

Reflections

As the ODTUG Board of Director election for the 2019-2020 approached, I reflected on my term as an ODTUG Director, on ODTUG in general and why an running again. This started small, then grew.  There was lots of time and experience to cover!

ODTUG Board of Directors Election

Crazy

You want to what? my husband asks. Then he laughs – that kooky, you-are-certainly-crazy-girl laugh. The one that says, “I have no clue why you do this, but clearly you love it, so have at it”.

Why do I love ODTUG?

Why do I do this stuff?

ODTUG is where I learned to be a mature technical professional. Sure, I had technical Oracle skills before I got to ODTUG. I worked at General Electric writing automation engineering drafting applications – code that produced production drawings. At Computervision, I wrote CAD-CAM Architecture, Engineering and Drafting packages. I used bit of Oracle at CV, about when that Internet thing came to be. Then I worked in state and federal government (fisheries) agencies, on Oracle databases. Forms, Reports, Discoverer, Designer. Then came Portal, then HTML-DB.

I was privileged to attend an IOUG Live conference – what a great way to learn! I volunteered – reviewing conference submissions. Presented! On Oracle Forms. Helped out with the IOUG SELECT Journal.

Then someone suggested I try ODTUG. They thought it might be a better fit, since I was a developer. Thank you, Bob Reidman, for that not-so-subtle nudge.

About that ODTUG Spark

ODTUG has a spark, an indescribable vibe that you just don’t find at other user conferences. We are technical, committed, passionate and fun. Something happens when top technical experts and Oracle product teams combine, elbow to elbow to share and talk tech. That spark was evident in the first ODTUG I attended. And I don’t even remember which one it was. I got accepted to speak,on Oracle Forms and again, and JDeveloper for PL/SQL Developers (literally days before they split off SQL Developer as a separate product). I attended – still attend – both ODTUG and IOUG COLLABORATE conferences.  By speaking and volunteering, I gained – gain –  confidence in my skills, in myself as a professional.  Good stuff.

But something is different about ODTUG Kscope. The level of technology, a bit higher. The intensity of learning, a bit higher. The technical focus and quality of presentations – higher. Willingness of presenters  and attendees to sit down and talk shop – much higher. No one scatters at the end of the day – they hang out and gab, About Oracle and related technology. Geeky stuff. Non-stop learning. The connections made I use throughout the year – if I get stuck, I know who to go to. That was before things like the ODTUG listservs (now retired). And before the Oracle forums. And before apex.world.  Now when I go to the Oracle forum or apex.world, I know who is answering – and someone always answers. Cool!  Can’t buy that anywhere.

Getting Involved, My Story

ODTUG Technical Journal Corner

ODTUG Technical Journal – submit papers now!

Of course I soon volunteered for ODTUG.  Reviewing conference submissions, writing book reviews, then as Assistant Technical Editor.  Then as Technical Editor when Donna Richey-Winkelman retired. (Thank you for all I learned from you, Donna!)  At one point I was also Associate Editor for the IOUG SELECT Journal.

The beauty of being an editor is that one gets to read content from all over, and meet the experts and make connections from all areas. 

All communities, all topics, I got to learn more, every month,  I got to meet more people in other user groups, more people at Oracle.  I guarantee many persons got tired of seeing me, they knew I was asking for another column, or another article.  I wrote articles. Edited articles. Wrote book reviews on early versions of the JDeveloper Handbook, by Peter Koletzke and Paul Dorsey. What a privilege to learn editing from Peter Koletzke! (Many Thank You’s, Peter!)

Observations

As an editor I got to see a lot. Observe a lot. Experience a lot of ODTUG and Oracle technology in general. Traditional “Developer” roles changed – are changing. Traditional “DBA” roles changed, and are changing. With Dev-Ops, the roles are even continue to blur.  How do we change with the technology?  We turn to ODTUG for the latest sound technical resources.  As an Oracle developer, I must evolve with the technology – I cannot do that alone – I can do that with resources and connections like I find at ODTUG.

Back to ODTUG.

The connections I made through ODTUG convinced me to go into consulting. (Thank you Scott Spendolini and Doug Gault!).

 I would never have had  the courage to make the jump to consulting without the support of ODTUG and the connections I made therein.

With the friends I had made in ODTUG, I knew I had the knowledge, I knew I had the technical support I needed, and I had the consulting support I needed. Fortunately, TH Technology continues to work for me and my clients.

I keep up with the latest versions of the Oracle database, or APEX, of ORDS, SQL Developer, and all sorts of earlier tools – JDeveloper, Application Server, HTTP Server,  Discoverer, (I am dating myself …).  By presenting at, and attending ODTUG Kcope, and attending webinars, and meetups when they are local, I have a bounty of training that I cannot match anywhere.  I do not have the time nor the budget for formal weeks of training on one or two topics. As a consultant, it is my job to stay ahead of the curve – to advise my clients on the next steps for their installations. Fortunately I do best when I am learning – good thing in this field, as it never ends.

Important Board Activities

This term as a Board member, I am engaged in the following activities.  If/when elected to a new term, I wish to follow on with these activities, passing some on to newer Board members, and in turn rolling on to new committees as they may fit ODTUG’s strategic direction.

  • Leadership Program, Board Advisor – The ODTUG Leadership Program prepares selected ODTUG members for leadership positions within their current organizations, or  for that next step.  LP persons read a leadership textbook, attended a series of online presentations/discussions and execute a group project, the topic of which changes year to year. The LP is NOT “how to be an ODTUG leader”.  However, when we do our job right in the LP, the graduates want to stay on and give back to ODTUG.  It is hugely rewarding to watch younger (time-wise, not age-wise) workers grow as the program progresses.  It is fascinating how persons grow within this simple program. Due to certain opportunities, I initiated a post-LP mentoring program, underway now, and possibly ongoing.  I know I am getting a lot out of this – I hope the participants are gaining as well.
  • Emerging Technology Committee – Investigate emerging technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet-of-Things (IOT) and others to discern what our members need to know about, how much and when. There are lots of new cool IT things out there – which do you as an Oracle developer, EPM product manager related technologist need to learn?  Know about is one thing – need to learn to stay relevant and productive at your job is another.  ODTUG strives to deliver some of the former, more of the latter, the Need-To-Learn material.
  • Alternative Revenue Committee – Investigate alternative forms of revenue for ODTUG. As a non-profit organization, we watch expenses. We aim to give our members the best technical resources and the best conference for the best price possible.
  • Marketing Liaison – Review and recommend on ODTUG and ODTUG Kscope marketing materials – social media, email blasts, conference advertising.
  • APEX Community Liaison – The APEX community essentially runs itself, yet there are still needs for planning for ODTUG Kscope community activities, exchanging requests from the community, planning webinars, and assistance in planning meetups.

I am also involved in committees on future, yet-to-be-disclosed projects. All good stuff that may or may not be going forward, depending on initial research.

Volunteer Activities

  • Editor’s Choice – While serving as Editor of the Technical Journal, each year there was a corresponding Editor’s Choice Award for the best white paper – remember them – out of the ODTUG Kscope conference materials.  Presenters used to submit both a white paper and a presentation for each conference they attended.  The white papers served as materials for the ODTUG members, part of the overall ODTUG library. The Editor’s Choice reviews – an annual read-fest where a small group literally read and graded/ranked every paper submitted to the conference.  At one point there were 125 papers. The beauty of the Editor’s Choice reviews was that one got to read the conference material before the conference. Like attending the conference before the fact.  I learned more about Hyperion and Essbase through those papers than I ever knew existed.  By far, our Hyperion/EPM community is the most prolific!
  • Pants On the Ground – In 2011, as part of our Long Beach conference, I participated in the general session reality-TV vote-off.  I got to learn the American Idol Pants on the Ground song, and gave my husband (and no doubt many others) another good laugh.  For kicks and grins, check out those 2011 general session videos. Always practice your dancing before an ODTUG Kscope.
  • ODTUG Volunteer Award – In 2012, I was awarded the ODTUG Volunteer award – a surprise for sure. And a huge honor. And yes, they caught me off guard on that one.
  • ODTUG Innovation Award – When the Editor’s Choice was retired – mainly due to lack of papers (who writes White Papers?  The world writes Blogs now) – I initiated the ODTUG Innovation Award in 2016. The ODTUG Innovation Award honors technical excellence and innovation in the use of Oracle technology over the past year.  Innovative, Wow! stuff.  We have had great entries every year – and awesome winners:  Mia Urman, Vincent Morneau, and Stewart Bryson.   Any many more to come!

The ODTUG Innovation Award opens in April, closes before ODTUG Kcope in sufficient time for a panel of judges to evaluate the submission and award a winner, announced at ODTUG Kscope.  Best luck to all future submissions!

  • APEX Conference Submission Reviews – I am honored to review conference submissions for ODTUG Kscope and other major conferences.  This is a natural followup to reviewing Editor’s Choice papers.  I have learned through the years what works and what is new and what is not yet – and I have fun doing it.

Giving Back

In short, I originally joined ODTUG to learn. I originally volunteered to give back. As a senior ODTUG member, developer and consultant, I bring a quiet, steady, long-term perspective to the ODTUG Board that is needed to balance the enticements of the “next new thing” with the need to deliver practical, get-the-work-done knowledge to our members.

ODTUG Mission

ODTUG, as an organization, has a mission:

To establish members as leaders in their organizations through education, timely access to the latest information, communication, and networking within the community, and provide a united voice to influence the strategic direction of Oracle and other vendors.

As long as ODTUG follows that mission, I can keep working, keep learning, keep current technically, keep a great bunch of friends and connections.  And be a solid technical professional. Help me forward ODTUG’s mission, for all our members.

I ask for your vote for reelection to the ODTUG Board of Directors to ensure that the ODTUG spark, and the ODTUG flow of knowledge continues.

Happy Coding!

Karen

Vote Karen Cannell for hte ODTUG Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APEX Presentations ~ Through the Years

I was recently asked to summarize my APEX Presentations. I realized I had them in several places, but not in one consolidated space. So here it is – a summary of my APEX Presentations through the years:

APEX 5 Interactive Reports

Updated for the APEX 5 release, these links contain the presentations from KScope 15, and white papers as published in RMOUG’s SQL>UPDATE magazine.

For APEX 5, Interactive Reports have been reengineered from the inside out. Any developer who uses IRs, has made customizations for appearance or features or performance outside of the standard API’s, even pagination plugins, needs to be aware of the new CSS and JavaScript engine.  APEX 4 and earlier customizations will likely not work in APEX 5 without some refactoring. Be prepared!

Presentations: APEX 5 (Released) Interactive Report Deep Dive, KScope 2015 Presentation
   APEX5 Interactive Reports New Features and Upgrade Cheat Sheet – Presentation RMOUG 2015
Papers:     APEX 5 Interactive Reports Part I: New Features and Enhancements
     APEX 5 Interactive Reports Part II: Structural CSS and JS Widget Code Changes
 

Migrating Critical Business Application to APEX – Successfully

Presentation: Migrate Business Applications to APEX, Successfully – Presentation 

I had a blast at COLLABORATE14 in Las Vegas, NV, April 6-11, 2014.  I had a chance to catch up on Oracle 12c skills, learn more about ADF Mobile with APEX for hybrid mobile applications, XQuery and XML DB and of course refresh friendships with all those at IOUG.  My Friday presentation was on Migrating Critical Business Applications to APEX, covering tips and tools for migrating any legacy app to APEX.

APEX Data Load Options, or, How Do I Load Data, Let Me Count the Ways …

Presentations: APEX Data Loading Options

There are many many ways to load data into an Oracle application. This presentation discusses data load methods specific to APEX – the data load wizard, external files, custom methods and using the APEX Listener for a true MS Excel file upload. This is practical what works, what doesn’t information to help one decide the best approach for data loading problems.

Meaningful Maps, Gantts and Charts

Presentations: Meaningful Maps, Gantts and Charts

APEX 4.0 introduces improved charts and maps, but how to make sense of them? This presentation covers all the basics for understanding APEX 4.0 Charts, Maps and Gantt Charts.  Plenty of information to get one building meaningful charts and maps in APEX applications.

Tight Tabular Forms

Presentations: Tight Tabular Forms

APEX tabular forms are handy, but kind of loose, if you use them out of the box. This presentation covers the improvements in APEX 4.0 for tabular form validations, plus some tips on adding validations using the APEX_APPLICATION arrays, and building manual tabular forms using the APEX_ITEM API.

Migrate BI to APEX: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Lessons Learned Along the Way

Presentation: Migrate BI to APEX – What Works, What Doesn’t, and Lessons Learned Along the Way

This presentation covers a real migration from a major-vendor BI tool to APEX Interactive Reports for end-user information needs. Covers feature considerations such as drills, pivots, output; dynamic crosstab options and construction, including use of 11g PIVOT and AMIS PIVOT object type solution.  Careful crosstab query construction makes APEX Interactive Reports more powerful than one may think. APEX 4.0 new features address the needs for user-defined grouping, shared reports, scheduled report delivery, multiple views of the same data set and improved charting.  Check it out!

Note:  I am working on an APEX 5 version of this presentation – improvements in APEX 5 interactive reports, including the PIVOT feature, may tip the scales and make a switch from an expensive, underutilized BI tool to APEX a better use of resources.

Oracle Application Express: Tactics to Tackle APEX Bugs

Paper:               Tactics to Tackle_APEX Bugs,  Paper

Presentation: Tactics to Tackle_APEX Bugs, Powerpoint

Know your application, know your tools, have a plan, and always remember that you know some stuff. You can debug Application Express apps and stay sane.

APEX development is a breeze, until something goes wrong and there’s no obvious clue of what happened or how to fix it, and there’s no UNDO. Or is there? This session presents tactics to tackle common APEX problems such as MRU internal error, Browser errors, SQL and PL/SQL issues, HTML, and JavaScript problems. We cover triage, debug tool options, and debug tactics, and then demonstrate applying those strategies to tackle common APEX problems.

This paper and presentation were written for APEX 4.0 (or earilier?) ~ APEX debugging techniques are much improved now! However, the strategies and tactics for addressing bugs: knowing your app, knowing your tool, instrumenting, researching first and using the forums still apply.

Oracle Application Express Interactive Reports: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Presentation: APEX Interactive Reports: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Paper:               APEX Interactive Reports: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I had fun writing this paper, mainly because the movie (old western, Clint, of course) theme song played in my head, and our house is defnitely a Clint-John Wayne-Sam Elliot-Any Old Western neighborhood.

Oracle APEX Interactive Reports have many Good points, but one-size does not fit all, so we developers still have some cleverness to apply to meet end user requirements in all cases. This paper outlines the Good, the Bad, the limitations, and shows some easy CSS edits to address the Ugly, the default appearance. Have fun!

APEX Interactive Reports offer amazing functionality out-of-the box, but this wealth of features comes with limitations. This session presents the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of APEX IR, then details and demonstrates workarounds to address the Bad (the limitations) and the Ugly (the appearance). Learn how to limit Search and Activity features for different user roles, how to eliminate part or all of the Search and Activity Bars and how to customize the look-and-feel to fit your corporate template.

(As with all my papers, I will keep this post up to date with the latest version of the paper.)

APEX Cheat Sheet

Download the APEX Cheat Sheet paper from here: APEX Cheat Sheet

When starting out with Application Express, it can be a bit confusing in terms of what syntax to use where, how to effect the item alignment needed, how to customize the look-and-feel… in general, how to get productive. Tha APEX Cheat Sheet paper is a collection of tips, how-to’s, syntax conventions and tricks to accelerate a developer’s APEX learning curve. The APEX Cheat Sheet paper has grown to be much longer than a “cheat sheet” but it does provide a solid quick-start to APEX development.

Note: While written for erly APEX versions – APEX 3! – some of the basics still apply, like the f?p syntax.  Someday I will do another Cheat Shet- the problem is there are so many new features, I will have to do multipe cheat sheets for each major feature.

APEX Under the Covers

Paper: APEX Under the Covers

In working with Oracle Application Express I have found the best way to learn “how they did that” is to look “under the covers” at the APEX code … The way to do that is to download an application, install it in my builder, and view how the author implemented the features of interest.

The white paper and presentation APEX Under the Covers walks the reader / viewer through the learning process of looking under the covers at some not-so-standard features implemented in APEX. The examples are not rocket science; they are intended only to get the brain thinking along lines where the reader may not yet have ventured, suggesting a few different approaches to achieving an end within APEX.

Note: This presentation was written for APEX 4, but the approach is the same with APEX 5 and beyond – learn from how they wrote APEX. For APEX 5, use and LOOK AT how they wrote the packaged applications. This is free training at its best!

APEX Debug Options

Paper: APEX Debug Options

Debugging Oracle Application Express can be a conundrum.   It’s PL/SQL, but I cannot see it, and I cannot step through it. PL/SQL generates the page, but I do not have access to the APEX page generator. There is JavaScript and CSS and HTML … Where to start?  The truth is there are many avenues for debugging APEX; some APEX-supplied, some external to APEX. The paper and presentation APEX Debug Options describes both APEX-supplied utilities and tools external to APEX for debugging APEX applications.

~ Keeping it Fresh: Cost-Effective Training

Layoffs, economizing, more for less, and oh-by-the-way keep up with the latest in Web development, languages, data modeling, coding techniques, testing, quality, the latest App Servers and find time to relax a bit and network with your peers. The temptation is to postpone or skip all training. I suggest however that this is the time we need training all the more. I maintain the most cost-effective training can be found at our user group conferences. Attend! Volunteer – get involved! IT is the most efficient, cost-effective way to stay current and learn new technologies, and you might have some fun along the way.

ODTUG – Calling All Media for Kscope Submissions

As Editor of the Oracle Developer Tools User Group (ODTUG) Technical Journal, I am privileged to read and review all conference materials submitted for the ODTUG Editor’s Choice Award. This is a task I look forward to each year – since 2007 or 8 when I first volunteered for the ODTUG Technical Journal.  This year should be interesting …

The popularity of blogs, videos, and podcasts attests to the fact that today’s developers are gathering information in a wide variety of media. Our members are consuming more information online and in alternate formats, as opposed to formal white papers and other printed media. Some have said the white paper is dead; others say they just don’t have time to read one, let alone write one.

ODTUG’s aim is to deliver quality, timely technical content to our members in the most convenient online formats possible – and we want to keep that momentum going. Over a year ago, our Technical Journal transitioned to an entirely online format. Accordingly, it’s time to make the next transition, with our Kscope conference materials.

In the past, we asked Kscope speakers to submit both their presentation slides and a white paper that covered their presentation topic. Starting in 2014, we invite our Kscope conference presenters to submit their conference materials in the following media types: video, audio file, blog post, and white paper. Entries should convey a complete technical topic.

All conference materials are eventually available to our members. The purpose of this expansion is two-fold. Accepting speaker presentation submissions in the aforementioned reusable media types:

  • Increases the volume and type of technical material available to our members
  • Expands the ODTUG Editor’s Choice Award to acknowledge creative, effective use of all modern media options to convey a complete technical topic, not just white papers

Our Editor’s Choice Award honors excellence in conveying a complete technical topic to our members. Expanding the media type of Editor’s Choice submissions simply means we have a wider variety of submissions to judge. The Editor’s Choice Award winner is decided by a team of ODTUG experts who review all of the conference submissions and grade them according to a variety of scoring criteria that cover these general topics:

  • Communication Quality – assesses communication style (written or verbal), overall organization of the media, and grammar
  • Applicability – evaluates subject matter importance, completeness, effectiveness, and accuracy
  • Topic Merit – acknowledges the exceptional and innovative, treatment of a cutting-edge topic, technical complexity, or a new and unique approach to a common problem

There are two new scoring points related to media type – one for media format in the Communication Quality category, and one for effective use of media in the Applicability category. The recommended media type score values submission types in this order: video, white paper, audio file, blog post; however, each submission will be evaluated on its own merit. Effective use of the media in conveying the message is more important.

Remember that these new media-related scores are just two of over 150 possible points, so our advice is to not get too hung up on media format. The content and the message are the stars.

Most important for the Editor’s Choice Award is overall excellence in technical communication of complete technical topic for our ODTUG members. As such, grammar, organization, proper formatting (for the media type), clarity, examples appropriate for the content, and how well the message is conveyed all matter.

By the way – no tweets allowed! Our ODTUG members are smart and eager to learn; they are hungry for more than a tweet. As a technical editor, I believe our members deserve more than 140 characters.

We are also accepting nominations for our Editor’s Choice Review Team. This dedicated team of volunteers reviews each conference submission according to published scoring criteria. The scores are weighted and averaged to arrive at an overall winner. Our review team is comprised of a cross-section of our members – no one developer tool or technical topic is overly weighted or favored. We are always looking for new Editor’s Choice Team members. To join us, or to nominate someone else, please contact me at kcannell@odtug.com, or use the contact form below.  Reviewing conference submissions  is an easy way to volunteer for ODTUG and get a preconference view of all Kscope conference material. It’s like a conference before the conference.

So, Kscope presenters – wow us with your stuff!  Impress us!  The door is open – show us what you know, in your favorite media. I thank you in advance, from all our ODTUG members.

As always, happy coding,

Karen