Tuesday 19 July 2011

ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2011

The reason I'm writing this post is to try to give a brief introduction to what Kaleidoscope is and my experience of it. The reason I have written this a few weeks later is that, since attending the conference, I have returned to begin full-time work after completing my degree so I’ve been rather busy.

First of all, what is Kaleidoscope?

Well, it's the annual conference organised by ODTUG (Oracle development tools user group). Although my view is slightly biased as this is the main conference I have attended, I have listened to what other developers have said and many of them, particularly on the APEX track, which I am most interested in as an APEX developer myself, have said that this is their favoured technical conference to attend.

You can see some of the leading APEX developers blogs and their opinion on the conference at APEX Blogs

The conference provides me with a great learning experience along with the opportunity to pass on my ideas and things I have learnt as a presenter as well as the chance to interact with some of the very best APEX developers in the world.

Saturday Arrival and Registration

Day 1 - the Sunday Symposium

The main highlight for me was hearing about the new features that will be included in the next version of APEX. The new mobile integration to be included will be phenomenal. The new error handling is going to make life easier and allow my applications to be much more user-friendly. Some other cool things were the fact that you can now fire dynamic actions from a button and one pet hate of all APEX developers for years has been the fact that a region and item button were different, this will be no longer be the case and the item button will match the region button. You can read the statement of direction and test some of the new features in the early adopter release 2 at http://tryapexnow.com

Day 2 - Monday

Although I had limited time to watch presentations on the monday, the main highlight had to be my own presentation. Although it was similar to the one I did the previous year, it was great for me to pass on some of my tips and help people learn some things that have helped me in the past. It focussed on tips and tricks that I have learnt and looking at some of the under-used features within APEX that can help developers enhance their applications.

Day 3 – Tuesday

There were many excellent presentations. Dan McGhan’s plugin session showed some really cool plugins. Dimitri Gielis’ session demonstrating how we work within Apex Evangelists was very interesting. The highlight had to be Martin D’Souza’s “APEX 4 + HTML 5 = Awesome”. For this presentation, he won the speaker award for the conference overall. Some of the things he showed included the ability to define the type of input for your text field. The web sockets are very cool with the ability to use REST requests from the database to the client’s browser. You can download the slides from Martin’s blog at http://www.talkapex.com

Day 4 - Wednesday

Again, there were a number of really cool presentations. John Scott presented a really great presentation on plugins showing off some really interesting ones and discussed how to create the different plugin types you can use. Watching Steven Feuerstein’s presentation on "Best Practices for PL/SQL Development in APEX" was very interesting. Having worked with Steven on the PL/SQL Challenge project, it was interesting to see how he described different aspects of the project and practices used.

I also did my second presentation which was the last session of the day so people were excited about the evening ahead but I still had a good crowd which was nice to see. It focused on building an APEX page and how the different parts of the page link together, as well as simple examples in changing templates. This had a number of demos with different questions asked about various parts of the presentation, which is great as a presenter.

The main highlight of the Wednesday had to be the fantastic night on the Queen Mary. It really was a privilege to be able to visit such a famous ship. Seeing the really funny comedian Don McMillan do two great shows was also very good. This really was an awesome night and I want to thank ODTUG for surpassing any expectations I had.

Day 5 – Thursday

On the final day the awards were people and people were rightly awarded for their contribution to the conference and the class of their presentations.

I also attended Shakeeb Rahman’s presentation on “Oracle Application Express: User Interface Design & Themes”, which showed some really cool examples of what you can do with your themes.

In closing I want to thank all the staff and volunteers for all their hard work that made the conference such a wonderful experience to attend and present at.

You can also register for next years conference at http://kscope12.com

All I can say is, roll on San Antonio next year and I hope it will be as memorable as this one.