dinsdag 5 april 2011

Book Review

Beginning Oracle Application Express 4
Authors: Doug Gault, Karen Cannell, Patrick Cimolini, Martin Giffy D’Souza and Tim St. Hilaire

If you are thinking about developing a product with Application Express this book is a great place to start. It is a complete hands-on book. You will work through the examples and exercises. Example code is available at the website from the publisher. ( Downloadable code and exercises make the book very valuable for learning Application Express. It is really practical and covering almost all the essential application development aspects. You will learn Step by Step from this book with little knowledge of PL/SQL, HTML and JavaScript.

A ticket system for a help desk is created from scratch. In every chapter of the book, a part of the help system is built.
The book starts by making a description of the requirements of the help desk system and to create a database design. This book also covers the steps of creating an entity relationship diagram. Good database design is the key to creating a successful application, especially with Application Express in mind. The necessary database tables used in the ERD are created in Sql*workshop. Sql*workshop and not the ERD tool is used because the objects are created from scratch.
With the basic data created, a shell is generated for the ticket system. This will be done with the options available in Application Express. After the shell is created for the application, the application is extended with forms, reports, and charts. The strength of this book is that the theoretical part is completely integrated in the exercises. This makes the book even more valuable.
When the basic part of the application is built, there is also a chapter about more advanced techniques within forms and reports. It helps to understand Application Express even better and look behind the scenes.
Programmatic elements in Application Express can provide both simple and complex features to the Application Express framework. So the help desk application is extended with conditions, validations on item level and page level, tabular form validations, computations and processes and dynamic actions.

Security in an application is often an afterthought. This book covers this very important topic. The key features of security available within Application Express are added to the application. Authentication is added to the helpdesk application by making use of a customized authentication scheme. The scheme is used to allow control over users who access the sensitive parts of the application. User access is controlled by access control lists. In the help desk application a checksum is added to the URL. This prevents URL tampering.
Once the application is ready, it needs to be deployed. So you learn how to get an application out of the system and to deploy in the production system. Techniques like export, import, and supporting objects are covered.
Websheets is a new feature in Application Express 4. In the book, you will use the features to build a websheet application from scratch. With the application you can manage your corporate soccer team. Websheets is a very nice feature to manage the soccer team. A complete example is provided.
Advanced development features are also highlighted in this book. These tools help when dealing with large applications. Features like page locks, application and page groups are covered.
Of course, your Application Express side needs to be monitored as well. Each time a page is accessed, a log entry is stored. Subjects like activity logging, login attempts, and managing workspaces are covered.
The last chapter in the book is about the team development feature. Team development is a tool for managing Application Express projects. All features like milestones, to-dos, bugs, feedback and features are discussed.

This book is a ‘must’ for people starting to work and develop applications in Application Express.