Everytime I started it came nagging about that it was being forced to live in an old Java version called jdk1.7.0_45 and that is was not feeling happy about it.
So, I should remedy this, I thought to myself.
First visit was, inspired by some search-work on the WWW, a file called product.conf. Which offered two possiblities:
SetJavaHome to some logical location
or SetJavaHome to nothing, and then SQL Developer would kindly ask me to point it to somwhere to live.
Well… no. My SQL Developer refused it all and just started with this jdk 1.7.
Same hack done in another file on another location, a file called sqldeveloper.conf.
Freshly downloaded SQL Developer, put in place… No help!
Rename drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 102 Jan 6 2014 jdk1.7.0_45.jdk
to drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 102 Jan 6 2014 xxx-jdk1.7.0_45.jdk
Nope! Still the same nagging…
In the end, I wound up with one of Jeff Smits’s helpers.
This guy aksed me to “start SQL Developer from the commandline”. Right, but how?
So I finally found: /Applications/SQLDeveloper.app/Contents/MacOS/sqldeveloper.sh
And that did start SQL Developer from the command-line…
But… wait… an .sh-file!! Interesting!!
And, behold… in this .sh-file lies the answer:
So the file reads: export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.7`
Which I hacked to: export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.8`
And, presto, error-message gone and SQL Developer now happily lives in Java 8.
In doing more work directly from my Macbook Air, I ran into a situation where native connectivity to an Oracle environment was needed.
From experience I have always been a big fan of the Full Oracle client, just because it comes with a lot of tools and utilities for troubleshooting, which makes the actual experience a bit more pleasant.
Looking & asking around, though, I learned fairly quickly that this client is just not available for Mac OSX… Thanks to Osama Mustafa for confirming.
So, a fact, although quite a number of IT pro’s are working with Mac!
This leaves no other choise than to divert to the Oracle Instant Client 11, which then, indeed, is just an 11g Instant Client (126.96.36.199)!
It would humor me if Oracle were to bring out a 12c Full Client for Mac, as well as an instant client, if someone would so desire.
To have some more tooling around the client, I downloaded all the packages including at least SQL*Plus.
Though the install process is relatively straight forward (download the archives and unzip them in place) getting SQL*Plus to actually run is a somewhat different ballgame!
As usual, when you start a tool, you’re bombarded by messages about unfound dynamic libraries. This set me (very briefly) on a path to place these files where they were expected on my Mac.
In a place like:
for instance, you would need to place a number of these libraries.
This leaves you with the option to populate your system with all these specific libraries, which is of course just fine, but not my choice (think of the mess in ever having to clean up) and especially not when it can be avoided.
A quick search pointed me to this excellent blogpost by Casey Lucas about this exact same issue. With a tool called ‘otool’* applied as suggested, I am now able to run SQL*Plus natively on my Mac without error messages.
* otool – object file displaying tool
If you need it, call it from the command line. It will install this and other development tools on your Mac.
That is nice, but it’s just only over halfway there.
Now I want something where I can just run: sqlplus <username>@<database>
without intricate connect-strings.
This leaves one minor “hack”, or rather “edit” required, your .bash_profile needs a bit of a path addition and an environment setting: alias ll="ls -l"
Note: the alias was already in there 😉
To top it off, I created a small tnsnames.ora in the directory with the instant client (keeping all related files neatly tucked away together)
As the year draws to a close, I just wanted to take a few minutes to look back at the passed crazy 12 months… Crazy from a personal as well as a professional point of view!
In June things took off for the Oracle stuff with a visit to OUGF14. My second real talk after starting to speak in UKOUG-Tech13. Plus the bonus, the first ever Round Table on Oracle Standard Edition, together with my friend Philippe Fierens and the support of Ann Sjökvist. Always imagined, never experienced, the way technology binds people. For all the events happening in Haltia, Finland, please read this post.
OUFG14 was also where I met Gurcan Orhan for the first time. My partner in (hard) rockin’ Oracle stuff!! Together with my international peers, we have quite a team and this makes me super proud.
I owe an apology to the Scotts! I should have been in Linlithgow presenting. I was honored to be selected to travel to the beautiful city of Edinburgh in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, but there were to many things going on, so I had to cancel. I am so sorry!!
The next stop on the agenda was Oracle Open World. But before I could pack my bags, up and leave, there was A LOT of work to be done at VIR e-Care Solutions coordinating and rolling out a brand new Oracle infrastructure to all of their clients.
And not alone that, there was a trip to Hamburg for Dbvisit with a presentation at the DOAG Data Replication SIG meeting, organized by Johannes Ahrends. Of course, also Björn Rost was present, plus a number of the other representatives of the data replication scene in Germany.
Oracle Open World was not the high-point of 2014, which was somewhat surprising, actually… I cannot really put my finger on it, because the days were packed with good stuff, unexpected encounters and many more goodies… But somehow, the second time around, and with a lot more OUG-experience, it didn’t crack up to be event Numero Uno of 2014! I can safely say, looking back, that national Oracle User Group events are more interesting. You get to have more quality time with the people you just get to meet a few times a year.
Still, with all the content and with everything that happened… And especially the lunch with Martin Nash in the sun at the CCM as well as the unparalleled drive by Stretched Limo to Treasure Island, hosted by Portrix (Henning and Björn) with Yuri Velikanov, Ilmar Kerm and others. I am not complaining!!
Coming back from America there was a huge surprise and honor for me.
Nominated by my peers, Oracle Corp. saw it fit to award my efforts for the Oracle Community with the Oracle ACE Associate recognition. I had never thought or expected this to be a possibility for me, so this was a complete surprise which started a chain of events, ending at the end of this post.
The final event for 2014 was the DOAG Jahreskonferenz in Nuremberg. I guess the biggest event in Europe and the biggest even for me by means of contributions. I had my “Pre-APEX” talk, there was the second edition of the Standard Edition Round Table, co-hosted by Philippe and chaired by Johannes Ahrends!! What a shock 😉 There was the Data Replication forum and Dbvisit #RepAttack!
DOAG also, and again, brought a sheer endless list of new and re-encounters with Oracle Hero’s. My good friend Peter Raganitsch was also there…
At the end of the year, you would think that you would be “home free”, right?
Well 2014 had a last trick up it’s sleeve! The year ended with me saying goodbye at VIR e-Care Solutions BV. After 16 years we had to decide to break up. It’s like tearing off a band-aid. You do it quick and it hurts less, but still…
So, I am a free man!
With this last development, set in the light of everything I had the chance of doing this year, it has been a great deal to handle. The first visit to Oracle Open World, back in 2010 has started a chain of events that has invoked some quite unforeseen twists and turns. It all looks and feels like it has been worth it, but it has indeed taken it’s toll.
Currently I am enjoying some well deserved but also much needed time off with my wife and family and I will start thinking about new ventures in a bit.
Please take a look here and here for some more information!!
Rest assured, there are some new ideas and they are EXCITING!!!
One of them being that I will be speaking at #OUGN15, better known as the boat conference, with a brand new talk.
But hey, we’re looking back here and I wouldn’t want to spoil too much of the surprise.
In the last few years I have been active with data replication solutions in the Oracle realm as you may know. This data replication field is one that has many angels, so there is something new to learn every day and sometimes there even are really new possibilities!
The first and most familiar form of the data replication forms is ‘physical data replication’, also known as ‘Standby Database‘.
In this form of replication, both source and target database are binary identical. Changes are propagated by copying the archived redo logfile from the source database to the environment for the standby database lives. Most often this is another server, preferably in another building in another town, far enough away to not be struck by the same havoc.
There are basically 3 ways to accomplish this;
Use Oracle Data Guard (in Enterprise Edition Oracle database)
Use Dbvisit Standby (in all Oracle database Editions)
Write your own scripting (not recommended in any case)
The second and more emerging form of data replication is ‘Logical Data Replication’.
In this form of replication, there is not real relationship between the source and the target database, other than that the target database houses data coming from the source database. They can live on different systems, be from different database version, a different operating system or even be from a different vendor.
Data is harvested from the source database, converted and copied over to the target database / system. On the target system this data is being applied, in the native speech of the the target database.
There are a few ways to accomplish this, but basically every vendor has the same technique. It is more a matter of pricing, basically.
Oracle Golden Gate (expensive, complex)
Dell Shareplex (somewhat expensive)
IBM Infosphere (ComPlex, expensive)
Dbvisit Replicate (easy, affordable)
So, having discussed this, as this is not new, why this blogpost?
A Standby database is more or less closed. You can open it occasionally to query some data, but that interrupts the apply-process.
On-line data replication does what it says, you have an active database, where data is continuously added. This way you can, for example query, the same data on two sources to spread load.
The case I mean to discuss is the following:
“I have 10 source database and I want one target database (ah, presto, on-line data replication) and I want to backup 5 tables from each source to the target database (again, on-line data replication, but wait, backup?) so I can easily copy back specific data to the source (eeeuhm, yes…) whenever a user messes up the source tables (aï…) and I want the target to be update each day at 23:00 (so… okay!)
This reeks after somewhat of a hybrid approach!
We cannot do regular on-line data replication, for this is aimed at being real-time.
And we cannot leverage Standby database, since it needs to be centralized in one database and not 10. Next to that it would take some administration to open up the standby database in read-only mode, take the copy, and close the database again.
Working with Dbvisit, we came up with “Pause Apply” and “Resume Apply”, which we combine to form “Delayed Apply“.
This delayed apply would neatly answer the question posed.
By “delaying” the application of changes to the data, we could make sure the requested tables are only updated from 23:00 on;
We can combine the 50 tables (10 databases x 5 tables) in one single target database, since it is a logical approach to the matter;
We can easily restore or copy back corrupted data, since both the source and the target database remain continuously open.
Using Dbvisit Replicate, having this kind of protection for your “logical test-cases”, what this company was doing to require this solution, is really affordable.
It can help in dynamically and quickly resetting specific data-sets or test-cases while remaining much more flexible than creating scripts to reset a specific data-set or test-case! And, of course, there are many more ways to use this neat feature…
Traveling to Nuremberg, anticipating three days of Oracle submersion. There are so many speaker heading over there it cannot be anything but successful.
This will be the first conference I will attend after being accredited as Oracle ACE Associate which, for me, makes it again a little more special.
The first surprise, though, was just that. Arriving, by bus, at the boarding-location, there was a Bombardier DASH8-Q400 waiting, which turned out to be a turbo-prop aircraft. Okay, I jumped from a Cessna Caravan twin engine turbo-prop before, but this was still a first. As I am writing these lines, we’re descending upon Nüremberg.
On the first day of the conference, which started with a beautiful but rainy morning stroll to the conference center, The action started to really kick in from about 12:00 with the first session of my good friend Peter Raganitsch, talking about the 10 worst practices in APEX. A refresingh way of looking at software development by focussing on how to do it wrong!
The day ended with one of the “most pleasantly unorganized sessions” of the conference, where Johannes Ahrends and Philppe Fierens joined me on stage for the Standard Edition Round Table, #DOAG14-edition.
The second day was full of sessions, and I vistited Joel Kallman “APEX fast=true”, discussing the the knowledge needed to do serious application development on APEX, creating #DBADev. And, off course, the sharp presentation of my friend Franck Pachot about interpreting AWR-reports!
At 17:00 it was time for my third event, the “Electronic Patients Records system based on Oracle APEX” talk, which had quite a good turnout. The day ended with a super-cool meet-up with Mia Urman, Lonneke Dikmans AND Brynn Llewellyn… And later on we had a real nice depiction of #DBADev 2.0, involving Joel Kallman, Philippe Fierens, Illoon Ellen and myself.
The third and last day of the conference was spend executing #RepAttack. This session concluded 3 full days of hands-on hacking with cool software and getting a feel of some of the new stuff.
A few of the cool new meetings (which we’ve dubbed the e-people to real people conversion by IRL) involved:
When looking for a print solution with APEX you will find .PDF
You will find a lot of .PDF
And .PDF is good. There is nothing wrong with .PDF. In fact, .PDF looks cool and you can do a lot of neat stuff with it. With toolkits like pl/pdf you can create .PDF’s directly from PL/SQL.
But sometimes there is the need to be able to print directly.
For instance with batch-processing or with nightly print-runs or whatever. And this is where you would find yourself locked out with .PDF and, glancing Google, you would guess you’d be out of luck!
Since we had:
created a web based solution
the need to print directly
print in nightly-runs
plus we had:
about 400 reports (.rdf files) which we need to reuse (without having the opportunity to rebuild them in something like pl/pdf)
combine different output / distribution mechanisms
we needed to tackle this challenge!
So we did !!
It was fixed by using some old and new technology mixed together:
Oracle reports builder
Oracle Fusion Middleware, more specifically, Oracle Reports Server, aka WLS_Reports
By using this combination of products, you can create a printing solutions which is capable of printing directly to your network printer, create HTML or PDF reports.
Schedule them, e-mail them, and all this by URL-control!
desname=name of your output (device, file, whatever)
More commands in the link to the documentation on the bottom of this post!!
You can post these parameters to the Reports Server without calling them in the original URL!
You can set a “local” on your Reports Server for omitting <@database> in ‘userid’ for your default database
Actually you can set all environment variables, like TNS_ADMIN, NLS_LANG, REPORTS_PATH, etc.
What we found is we needed to run Oracle Reports Server on Windows, just to take advantage of the Windows Printing System which is quite stable and easy to configure. (So, yes, okay, there you have it, a good thing about Windoze!)
Basically you can create a simple solution, but you can easily expand it quite a bit, making a printing and reporting solutions worthy of and enterprise environment, with distributing reports via e-mail, creating reports in file-systems, embedding reports in websites, and basically anything you want or would need.
And, you get a nice Management Console for free with this installation!
From this management console you can administer your print-jobs, set all kinds of parameters, which is quite neat!!
But, wait… the catch… It’s gonna cost you!
Or, can you keep it under control?
But of course!
Printing is mostly a half-on-line thing, and for a lot of stuff, it’s not extremely performance / time critical… So what can we do?
Oracle Reports Server is licensed as “Oracle Forms & Reports Server” and it will set you back € 370 per Named User or € 18.200 per CPU (being Oracle CPU’s according to the Core Factor Table!)
It’s still a whole lot of money, but would you really need more than 2 cores? If you give the machine enough memory and fast disks? Probably not.
Is it worth considering taking another node in your environment? Perhaps. This print-solutions could be a viable reason to do so. It brings you quite a bit of functionality straight from the box. But, as always, do your math and make educated choices.
In flight to San Francisco on the 27th of September 2014. Heading out to Oracle Open World for the second time.
Much has changed since my previous visit.
The previous time I came to this biggest of IT events in the world, I came as a spectator, representing an IT company, where my mission was to soak up as much knowledge as I possibly could, submerging myself in the flow of the event.
This time ‘round, I come as a participant, representing another IT company that wants to add to the scene and deliver a smart alternative.
And also personally there is a huge difference! Previously I went alone and was thrilled to find Frits Hoogland at the gate, which was already a familiar face to me back then! Now I am travelling to meet up with many more friends… listening to Metallica on the flight already reminds me that I will meet Gurcan Orhan over there! And in the pervious weeks many promises were made for quick meet ups and catch ups on the grounds of what we call “Oracle Open World”!
Clock set to Pacific Summertime, good morning world!!
Time has come a long way since my previous trip! Where I was bound to the onboard entertainment system a few years back, now I can work, prepare and write this text in flight. Hoping to meet all of you guys out here.
And today, Oracle Open World came to a real kick-off, when we went to the Golden Gate Bridge Run, organized by @thatleffsmith, where we ran or walked with a great number of Oracle celebrities, ranging from @oraclebase through @helifromfinland and Frits Hoogland to @dbvisit!
After this @ilmarkerm, myself and two lovely ladies from Finland shared a cab to Moscone where we met up with the RACAttack Ninja’s at the OTN Lounge…
There is always a lot to do when you run your page. And, somehow, these days there are some default limits to the amount of work you are supposed to do.
Okay, but what does this mean…
In an application, we have a screen to create some appointment between a bunch of people. This bunch can become quite substantial indeed.
In those days we were running Oracle HTTP Server 9i to lift mod_plsql up in the IP, and we never had any issue creating these somewhat larger appointments in our application.
Recently we got a call on our service desk, which said there were some issues in creating an appointment with a greater number of participants. The message read, somewhere in the error-text:
“HTTP-400 Too many arguments passed in. Got 2009 parameters. Upper limit is 2000”
Okay, somehow this application function is not going to work!
On research we identified the parameter PlsqlMaxParameters to be the problem. This parameter was introduced with the first version of Oracle HTTP Server right after 9i. If unset, PlsqlMaxParameters defaults to a value of 2000.
I am guessing here, but my bet would be this to be a restriction to prevent a buffer-overrun of some kind.
To resolve the issue the PlsqlMaxParameter needed to be added to plsql.conf. (We tried to do this in dads.conf to keep most of Oracle HTTP Server unaffected, but got errored out).
We chose the value of 4000, meaning a 100% increase while maintaining a fair and safe limit.
For Oracle HTTP Server, the parameter is set in plsql.conf which can be found in either:
Currently we are leveraging Oracle 11g Standalone HTTP Server (188.8.131.52), so without this bulky and difficult WebLogic overhead and we thought we’d aught to test this installation with these big appointments.
As expected, we received an error-message, so the behavior is consistent for this part. The scary bit though was that the error-message is no longer an error-message but a hint to go in the woods…
“The request could not be understood by the server due to malformed syntax.”
Which could virtually mean anything, and if we hadn’t run into the previous error, we’d have a helluvatime trying to resolve this.
Luckily the theater was set and we knew what we were searching for and testing, so we quickly resolved this also by adding PlsqlMaxParameters.
I hope this post will help you troubleshooting this catch-all message too!
Update on July 25th 2014
As we’re running into problems a new, I decided to call upon Oracle Support too… Raise and SR and see what comes floating to the top.
Well, a confirmation of what we already concluded, there is no conclusion…
I'm not able to determine what the maximum value is that you can set this to as it does not appear to have been documented in the bug, and the parameter has not been documented at all in the product documentation. I don't have access to the source code, so I'm not able to see if a hard limit has been set or not.
Raising the number of MaxPlsqlParameters is not considered to be a definite solution. Which kinda sounds logical since where you need a page-call with more than four thousand !! parameters (or even 2,000 when you think of it), you would think something could be optimized.
And the suggestions of MOS, which I will support:
I would suggest you raise the value to what you need it to be for your environment. If there is a hard limit in the code, and you configure this above that limit, then you will get an error.
I would then suggest you look into your application and work to reduce the number of parameters as per the recommendation of the developer of the parameter.
The event was super-well attended by a lot of enthusiastic people, comprised of students, novel developers and experienced seniors alike. I also got to meet a whole bunch of super interesting people (again) like:
Ultan Ó Broin (@ultan)
Patrick Barel (@patch72)
Noel Portugal (@noelportugal)
Lucas Jellema (@lucasjellema)
Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans)
Mark Vilrokx (@mvilrokx)
Through this post I would like to share some of what I picked up from the presentations and demos I went to and key learning points I figured out for myself.
Demo of Oracle voice (by Mark Vilrokx)
Oracle voice is a solutions based on Siri powered by Nuance which in fact now comprises a super lightweight front-end interface for voice-controlling Oracle Fusion Apps. The actual voice recognition and lexicon integration is done on the Nuance back-end.
A personal fun thing to find out is that actually the technology is again based on the work of the Belgian speech-specialists of Lernout & Hauspie, which I got to meet over 10 years ago!
Demo of Oracle mobilitics
Basically this is a demonstration of one of my key-take-aways for today.
These days you, as a classical developer, are challenged to step back, forget “grabbing data and throwing it into a grid or master-detail” and think about how you would “interact” with the data you have in your system.
If you think about it, you would not really want to scroll through master-detail… You want to visualize your data, so it becomes something more tangible and give you an overview with the ability to drill down or zoom in.
The “Designing for Mobility & Simplicity” talk of Aylin Uysal dove deeper into this.
Presentation UX directions with HTML5 by Mark Vilrokx
For me this was somewhat of a confirmation, strangely enough. Basically HTML5 is used as a rapid application development framework for Oracle ADF applications. In effect meaning that an Oracle APEX development environment supersedes Oracle ADF in both speed and diversity of application development (J) End of sentence
Presentation Designing for simplicity by Aylin Uysal
Stressing that person to person collaboration is still super important also (and perhaps even especially) for UX design. Organize several sesison consisting of different stakeholder groups, since UI design differs by user (or stakeholder) category.
Information abundance in classical UIs is to be replaced by minimal data UI design. Having less data, better (more visually represented) strongly increases UX!
Presentation Wireframing 101 by Ultan Ó Broin
Wireframing, in this context was new to me. Create a low fidelity “sketch” of what you want, don’t prototype anything yet! Create difference wireframes of applications and application flows to prevent “Squeak and poop” behavior of management or customers when presenting UX designs in wireframe format. A wireframe is no nicely worked out app, making it difficult to judge for outsiders.
A nice example of such rapid prototyping is the way Google Glasses is developed.
A good tool for digital wireframing (but also just for that) is Balsamiq which is used by the Oracle UX team as the preferred wireframing tool.
Presentation One picture worth a thousand words by Lucas Jellema
In this presentation of more pictures that words, Lucas gave some very cool examples of how pictures are able to, indeed, transfer much more information that words. An inspiration to use when you are UX-ing.
Visit to the Chamber of Secrets
I am so sorry, I had to sign quite an NDA before being let in… Please visit your local Oracle UX-session!
So, what are the key learning points:
Step back, and think free-flow how you would consume information. Unthink current UI design and… step back!
Less is more, also in UI design. A user experience is about getting to what the NEED as quickly as possible.
APEX is a viable development tool, in any situation!
User Interface design is becoming a serious trade, a trade to take into account.
Watch out for those InfoTiles!
A special “Thank you” to Wieteke Gaykema from AMIS who worked like crazy and still got me in at the Chamer of Secerts, even though I was shamefully late with my NDA!