Tim Hall

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Oracle related rants (and lots of off-topic stuff)...
Updated: 9 hours 40 min ago

Playing around with JSON using the APEX_JSON package

Fri, 2016-04-08 13:26

hockey-149683_640We publish a number of XML web services from the database using the PL/SQL web toolkit, as described here. In more recent times we’ve had a number of requirements for JSON web services, so we did what most people probably do and Googled for “json pl/sql” and got a link to PL/JSON.

I know about the support for JSON in 12c, but we are not on 12c for these projects and that’s more about consuming JSON, rather than publishing it.

People seemed reasonably happy with PL/JSON, so I thought no more about it. At the weekend, kind-of by accident, I came across the APEX_JSON package that comes as part of APEX 5 and thought, how could I have missed that?

This is not a slight against PL/JSON, but given the choice of using something built and supported by Oracle, that is already in the database (we have APEX 5 in most databases already) or loading something else, I tend to pick the Oracle method. Since then I’ve been having a play with APEX_JSON and I quite like it. Here’s what I wrote while I was playing with it.

If you have done anything with XML in PL/SQL, you should find it pretty simple.

I’m guessing this post will result in a few people saying, “What about ORDS?” Yes I know. Because of history we are still mostly using mod_plsql and OHS, but ORDS is on the horizon. Even so, we will probably continue to use APEX_JSON to do the donkey-work, and just use ORDS to front it.

Cheers

Tim…

Playing around with JSON using the APEX_JSON package was first posted on April 8, 2016 at 7:26 pm.
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Birmingham City University (BCU) Talk #5

Wed, 2016-04-06 13:13

bcuI had a day off work today so I could go over to Birmingham City University (BCU) and do a talk to the students.

Today’s session was more about giving them an idea of where databases fit into the big picture as far as data and data processing is concerned. I obviously come at this as a relational database guy, but the presentation also included NoSQL and Hadoop. I hope nobody is naive enough anymore to think relational databases are the correct solution for every use case, so it’s important to be objective about this stuff, rather than to push your own agenda.

Over recent weeks I’ve spent time trawling through material to get a feel for the subject matter, and it’s quite depressing to see the territorial pissing that goes on between all these camps. Each trying to convince you their solution is suitable for use cases where it clearly is not. To be fair, most of this is not coming from the experts themselves, but from the hangers on who can’t cope with the fact their favourite tech might not be perfect. We’ve all been there!

The Oracle ACE Program : My 10 Year Anniversary

Fri, 2016-04-01 00:02

ace-directorOn 1st April 2006 I got an email telling me I was an Oracle ACE, so either this is the most drawn out April Fools’ Day joke ever, or I’ve been in the Oracle ACE Program for 10 years. Wow!

The numbers look something like this.

  • Nearly 21 years working with Oracle technology. (August 1995)
  • Nearly 16 years doing my website. (Original name: 03 July 2000 or Current name: 31 August 2001)
  • Nearly 11 years blogging. (15 June 2005)
  • 10 years on the Oracle ACE Program. (01 April 2006)
  • Nearly 10 months making videos. (6 July 2015)

It’s quite scary when you look back at it.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Tue, 2016-03-29 17:21

I just got back from watching 10 Cloverfield Lane. The trailers don’t really give much away, but don’t watch them anyway, just in case. Also, don’t read any reviews with spoilers before seeing it. I think it will still work if you know the story, but why ruin it?

Wow! What a movie! Wow!

The story is great. The acting is great. John Goodman is great. I didn’t really know what the story was before going in. I had just seen the trailer embedded above.

I’m so glad I went to see this film! I don’t want to say anything more for fear of ruining it for someone…

Cheers

Tim…

10 Cloverfield Lane was first posted on March 29, 2016 at 11:21 pm.
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Deadpool

Tue, 2016-03-29 04:11

Yesterday I went to a late showing of Deadpool. If you haven’t seen the trailers already, don’t watch them as they give too much away!

I’ve been wanting to see it for a while, but I can’t get my cinema mojo back. The last thing I went to see was the new Star Wars film. I used to really love going to the cinema, but these days I really don’t like it. Even when I enjoy the film, I find the process rather irritating.

The opening credits were funny and totally irreverent. They really set the mood for the whole film.

Probably the hardest thing about introducing a “new character” to the audience (let’s forget the X-Men Origins: Wolverine stuff, since this film has) is you have to go through the backstory, which is typically pretty boring. Deadpool also had to do the boring stuff, but at least it does it in a more interesting way. Switching between backstory and “current time” crazy action is probably the best way to get it done.

The Deadpool character is very different to every other super hero. He breaks the fourth wall (talks to the audience), which is especially interesting when the characters around him seem confused, like they don’t understand who he is talking to. Added to this he self-references, is edgier and funnier than most super heroes. Also, the content is significantly more adult than any of the X-Men films that came before it.

I guess the bit I liked the least was how they gave him his mutant powers. I preferred the idea they used in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I thought the method they used in this film seemed kind-of lame.

Overall, I’m glad I went to see it. I just wish I hadn’t seen the trailers as they give away a lot of the good stuff, which I think would have been more epic and funny if I hadn’t already seen it.

Honourable mentions go out to the two female mutant characters (Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Angel Dust) who were awesome. I would have liked to see more of them in the film.

Cheers

Tim…

Deadpool was first posted on March 29, 2016 at 10:11 am.
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Video : XMLTABLE : Convert XML into Rows and Columns using SQL

Mon, 2016-03-28 11:21

Here’s an Easter present for everyone out there.

WebLogic Stuff

Sat, 2016-03-26 04:11

glasses-272399_1280-smallI’ve written a bunch of stuff about WebLogic over the last few years, but it’s kind-of scattered throughout the site. When I was gearing up for my session at the Middleware SIG recently I figured it was about time I collected it all together, so I added a new WebLogic page to the site. It’s on the menu and the quick links.

Much the same as the SQL and PL/SQL pages, it really is just a bunch of links to other stuff. I tend to put my articles in version-specific locations, because it suits me, but I realise it’s not ideal for everyone. I think this gives me the best of both worlds.

I’m always a little nervous about bringing attention to articles on certain subjects on my website. If you’ve seen me present, you’ll know I’m quick to point out I’m not “the WebLogic guy”. It’s something I’m involved in, but I would never dream of making out I’m the man. If WebLogic is your thing, there are better people to follow than me!

Having said that, the website has always been me writing about the stuff I’m doing, and that’s the way it’s going to stay. If it helps you, that’s great. If not, I’m sorry, but there are lots of other websites to read.

Google as a Cloud Provider?

Wed, 2016-03-23 06:40

cloudI saw a tweet this morning that pointed me to this article.

Google To Challenge Amazon, Microsoft In Cloud Computing War

 

This comes hot on the heels of this article.

Google dumps ISP email support. Virgin Media takes ball, stomps home

I use a lot of Google services and I like them. Having said that, I just can’t bring myself to take their Google Cloud Platform seriously. It’s not that I don’t believe they have the capability to do cloud. The are Google after all. :) It’s more about trusting their services will exist in the future. If they are happy to dump 4.6 million email customers in one shot, why should I believe they give a crap about my IaaS stuff?

This kind of behaviour is not new from Google. They have taken an axe to many services before, but this seems so much more dramatic and significant from a company that is pushing their public cloud agenda.

Now it all comes down to money, and I guess Google couldn’t make enough off the this ISP email customer, but it is still a worrying signal. People should always have an exit strategy for every cloud project, but with Google it seems like it should be a bigger priority.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid. Maybe I’m not. I just feel unnerved.

Cheers

Tim…

Google as a Cloud Provider? was first posted on March 23, 2016 at 12:40 pm.
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Video : The MERGE Statement

Tue, 2016-03-22 02:28

After a what seems like an eternity of being ill and having a dodgy throat, followed quickly by a couple of conferences, I’ve finally got back on the horse and recorded another video.

I was explaining a specific aspect of the MERGE statement to one of my colleagues and while I was doing it I was thinking, “Have I done a video on MERGE yet?” Now I have.

The cameo for this video is Cary Millsap. If you watch the out-takes at the end you will see the level of respect and trust I have garnered in the community. The words confused and suspicious spring to mind! :)

An honourable mention goes out to James Morle for videobombing. :)

Cheers

Tim…

Video : The MERGE Statement was first posted on March 22, 2016 at 8:28 am.
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Oracle Midlands : Event #14 – Summary

Wed, 2016-03-16 09:17

Last night was Oracle Midlands Even #14 with Lothar Flatz.

The session started with “Raiders of the Data Dictionary I: Indexing for the Workload” where Lothar discussed a project he worked on based around completely revamping the indexing of a system. I guess the best way I can describe it is to say it’s a more scientific approach to indexing, using the contents of the dictionary to provide information about columns and column groups used in queries to determine the indexes to create. In some ways the approach was quite extreme (throw everything away and start again), but I also admire the bravery of that approach!

Next up was “Raiders of the Data Dictionary II: The Curse of the Buffer Cache” where Lothar discussed the problems associated with trying to keep large, frequently used tables in the buffer cache. Once again, some interesting points made and some things that will definitely influence my approach in future.

It was great to meet Lothar in person for the first time. After being in the game for 20+ years many subjects can start to feel a little repetitive, so it’s nice when someone comes along with a different spin on a subject. I certainly found myself asking a lot of questions of him and myself, which surely must be what this knowledge spreading thing is all about!

Thanks to Lothar for taking the time to come and speak to us and to everyone that came along to listen. Thanks to Mike for doing a great job in keeping Oracle Midlands going and to Red Stack Tech for their continued support.

See you at the next one! :)

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Midlands : Event #14 – Summary was first posted on March 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

KeePass 2.32

Mon, 2016-03-14 06:33

KeePass 2.32 has been released. You can download it from here.

You can read about how I use KeePass and KeePassX2 on my Mac, Windows and Android devices here.

Cheers

Tim…

KeePass 2.32 was first posted on March 14, 2016 at 12:33 pm.
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Oracle Midlands : Event #14

Mon, 2016-03-14 05:33

Tomorrow is Oracle Midlands Event #14.

om14

Please show your support and come along. It’s free thanks to the sponsorship by RedStackTech.

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Midlands : Event #14 was first posted on March 14, 2016 at 11:33 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG – Summary

Sat, 2016-03-12 08:08

ukougOn Thursday I did a presentation at the UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was not able to stay for the whole day. I arrived about 30 minutes before my session was scheduled to start. The previous session finished about 10 minutes early and the speaker following me cancelled, so my 45 minute session extended to about 70 minutes. :)

 

There had already been speakers focussing on Oracle Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS), so I did a live demo of Azure, which included building an Oracle Linux VM and doing an install of WebLogic and ADF. There was also a more general presentation about running Oracle products on the cloud. I’m not a WebLogic or cloud specialist, so this presentation is based on me talking about my experiences of those two areas. Peter Berry from Clckwrk and Paul Bainbridge from Fujitsu corrected me on a couple of things, which was cool.

After my session I hung around for a quick chat, but I had to rush back to work to do an upgrade, which went OK. :)

Thanks to the organisers for inviting me and thanks to everyone that came along. It would have been good to see the other presentations, but unfortunately that was not possible for me this time!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Simon, the preinstall packages were installed in the Oracle Linux templates. :)

# rpm -qa | grep preinstall
oracle-rdbms-server-12cR1-preinstall-1.0-8.el6.x86_64
oracle-rdbms-server-11gR2-preinstall-1.0-7.el6.x86_64
#
UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG – Summary was first posted on March 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm.
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UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG

Wed, 2016-03-09 05:50

ukougI’ll be speaking at the UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG tomorrow.

It’s going to be another hit-and-run affair for me. I’m in meetings at work all morning, then I’ll be doing a mad dash to get to my presentation at the SIG, then straight back to work to do an upgrade during the evening.

The agenda looks cool, so I would have liked to stay the whole day, but sadly that’s not going to happen. :(

My favourite bit of any tech event is interacting with people, so just turning up to present is not ideal, but in this case I don’t have a choice in the matter, unless I go AWOL from work… :)

Hope to see you there, even if it is only briefly!

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG was first posted on March 9, 2016 at 12:50 pm.
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OUG Ireland 2016 – Summary

Tue, 2016-03-08 08:05

oug-ireland-2016

The day started at 05:00. I lay in the bath for 20 minutes in denial, wondering how I would manage to stay awake for the day. I’ve been ill for ages, so I felt like I was running on empty anyway. Once I had managed to drag myself out of the bath and get dressed, I picked up my laptop and took a taxi to the airport.

The taxi to the airport was smooth enough. I was already checked in and had no bags to drop off, so I went straight for the security and was greeted by the biggest queue I had ever seen at Birmingham airport. To all those people that laugh at me getting to the airport 2+ hours before a short flight like this I say, “Better to be safe than sorry!”

Despite the massive queue for security, populated by people who didn’t understand commands like, “Belts off!”, and, “All liquids out of your bags!”, the queue moved quite quickly and the departure area felt relatively quiet. I grabbed some food and logged into work to find one of the DW loads had failed. I cleaned stuff up and reset it. As I was boarding I passed one of my colleagues who was off to Glasgow for a product user group. I shouted across that his DW load had failed, then turned the corner to board before he could quiz me further. :)

The ChavAir flight was fine. They are a basic bitch airline, but you can’t really complain when you are paying £27 for a return flight. I overheard three people saying they paid £20 return. I was robbed. :)

When I arrived in Dublin, I got the AirLink Express into the city, which was 10 Euros for a return ticket and dropped me off about 100 yards from the Gresham Hotel. Bonus!

After signing in and saying hello to a couple of people, including the wife, it was off to the first session. My timetable for the day was:

  • Marcin Przepiorowski with “Looking for Performance Issue in Oracle SE. Check What OraSASH Can do for You”. I’m lucky enough to have Oracle EE with the Diagnotics and Tuning pack for all the databases I work with, so I get to use the real ASH and the performance pages in Cloud Control. Even so, it’s worth keeping your eye on what others are doing, as you never know when you will need it!
  • Carl Dudley with “SQL Tips, Techniques and Traps”. I really enjoyed this session. It was a quick pace with lots of little and interesting points. I’m sure everyone picked up something they had not heard before. I know I did.
  • Oren Nakdimon with “Write Less (Code) with More (Oracle 12c New Features)”. This was another quick paced session made up of lots of little pointers. As I watched it I found myself thinking, “Have I written about that?”, or, “Did I include that in my article?”. There were certainly a few things that had passed me by during my time with 12c, so I made a note about them and will be revisiting a couple of articles. It was a really neat session!
  • Keith Laker with “SQL Pattern Matching Deep Dive”. I’ve written some stuff on pattern matching, but this was another level. After watching this session I know enough to know I don’t know enough. :) Definitely a subject I need to go back and revisit. I’m always a little nervous of deep dive sessions because often they don’t deserve that title. I think this one did! :)
  • Me with “Analytic Functions: An Oracle Developer’s Best Friend”. This was in the same room as Keith’s talk and had most of the same audience. I started by saying something to the tune of, if you understood the stuff from the previous session, you probably don’t need to watch this one. :) My analytics session is quite different to ones I’ve seen others do. It is an entry level session, where I repeatedly reference non-analytics stuff to try and simplify the concepts and syntax. If you have done lots of analytics it’s probably not for you, but I always get some comments from people saying they use analytics, but didn’t realise what some of the stuff did.
  • Me with “Oracle Database Consolidation: It’s Not All About Oracle Database 12c!”. This is an overview session where I discuss the methods of database consolidation I use along with their pros and cons. I don’t dislike any individual method of database consolidation, but I do react harshly to anyone who claims one method is superior. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to database consolidation and anyone that tells you there is is a bloody liar! You will always need a combination of approaches and this is very much my message here. It’s a light and fluffy session, which probably fits quite well towards the end of the day when everyone is fried. :)
  • Cloud Q&A Panel Session. I mostly turned up to support the wife, but it was actually quite relevant to my current company, who are in the procurement phase of a replacement for many of our core business systems, with “the cloud” being an option. Added to that, I’ve been doing POCs of Azure, AWS and Oracle Cloud recently for IaaS and PaaS.

From there is was a quick chat with some folks at the social event, then the AirLink Express back to Dublin Airport.

The flight back was fine, but I was starting to feel really worse for wear. At one point I thought I was going to puke, but I managed not to. I was imagining everyone else thinking I had been for a day on the lash in Dublin. :) We landed early and I got a taxi home and the day was done!

Big thanks to OUG Ireland for inviting me to the day. Sorry I couldn’t stay for the second day! Thanks to the other speakers and attendees, who are collectively the most important people there! Thanks to the Oracle ACE Program for letting me continue to fly the flag!

For anyone that is looking for a new conference to try out, you should give OUG Ireland 2017 a go. Just so you know, here is the breakdown of the travel costs for my day trip:

  • Taxi to airport: £25
  • Return flight between Birmingham and Dublin: £27
  • Return trip on AirLink Express into the city: 10 Euros
  • Taxi home: £35
  • Total: < £100

The costs have been similar for the last three years and it’s certainly something I’m happy to pay out of my own pocket!

See you all next year!

Cheers

Tim…

OUG Ireland 2016 – Summary was first posted on March 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

VirtualBox 5.0.16

Sat, 2016-03-05 07:53

VirtualBox 5.0.16 was released yesterday.

Downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

The installation went fine at work on Windows 7 and on Mac OS X (El Crapitan) at home.

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 5.0.16 was first posted on March 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm.
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UltraEdit 23 for Windows

Fri, 2016-03-04 05:49

UltraEdit 23 for Windows has been released. Followers of the blog will know I’m an UltraEdit junkie, so as soon as I got the email telling me UltraEdit 23 had arrived I installed it instantly. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!

The glaring hideousness you are presented with is a ribbon! For ***** sake! Hasn’t the whole world spent enough time moaning about the Office ribbons already?

uedit23

Never mind. Right-clicking on the ribbon allows you to switch to “Toolbar/Menu Mode”, so that’s good right? Wrong! You switch and everything looks fine, but when you resize the window you lose half of the windows and the only way back is to enable the ribbon again. :( (Fixed by latest build)

So I’m left with this bloody awful ribbon, or a non-functioning editor. I am not happy!

Moving away from the ribbon issue, there seem to be a number of rendering issues about the product in general. Making minor theme or layout changes cause it to hang for a minute, before coming back to life.

This release seems to be mostly about the pretties, but the pretties make the product unusable. I can’t state how disappointed I am with this release. Let’s hope the patches come soon!

My advice, don’t upgrade to 23.00.0.43 as it is bloody useless. Wait until they sort out the rendering and the “Toolbar/Menu Mode”, then you can use something that doesn’t make you want to vomit or slash your wrists!

Cheers

Tim…

Update: It seems my problems with UltraEdit 23 may be caused by my work Windows PC being locked down to Classic Mode, rather than using Aero. If you also use Classic Mode, approach UltraEdit 23 with care. If not, then everything I say below is probably not relevant to you!

Update 2: IDM have sent me a new build (23.00.0.49) that works fine. I guess this will be available for others to download soon.

UltraEdit 23 for Windows was first posted on March 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm.
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OUG Ireland 2016

Wed, 2016-03-02 02:24

oug-ireland-2016

Early tomorrow morning I will start my journey to Ireland for the OUG Ireland 2016 conference.

I’ve got back-to-back sessions in the afternoon on database consolidation and analytic functions. I was invited to a panel on the Friday also, but I had already booked my flights before that invite, so sadly I had to decline.

This year is going to be another day trip for me, with the flight costing a gigantic £27 on ChavAir. :)

See you there!

Cheers

Tim…

OUG Ireland 2016 was first posted on March 2, 2016 at 9:24 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

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