Thoth Gateway moved to GitHub, now supports Apex 5.0

As with the Alexandria PL/SQL Utility Library, the source code for the Thoth Gateway, a mod_plsql and Apex Listener/ORDS equivalent for Microsoft IIS, now has a new home on GitHub. This should make it easy for anyone to look at and perhaps contribute to the code.

If you don't care about the source code, you can head straight to the releases page to download just the binaries. Updated installation instructions for IIS 8 will (more...)

Alexandria PL/SQL Utility Library moved to GitHub

The PL/SQL Utility Library, codenamed "Alexandria", now has a new home at GitHub. This will make it easier to collaborate on the project. If you want to contribute, just fork and submit a pull request.

The liibrary contains around 50 PL/SQL packages as well as a few types. There are no table dependencies, which reflects the general-purpose nature of the utilities. Jeffrey Kemp has a great guided tour of the library which highlights some of (more...)

Thoth Gateway 1.4.0 beta release 1 available

As mentioned in my previous post about the Thoth Gateway, a mod_plsql and Apex Listener alternative that runs on IIS, the goal for the next release of the gateway (tentatively called version 1.4.0) is to change the Oracle Data Provider for .NET (ODP.NET) from the "Unmanaged" to the "Managed" driver. By using the Managed (pure .NET) driver, the installation of the Thoth Gateway becomes even simpler, because it removes the need (more...)

The APEX_JSON package: Generating JSON from PL/SQL

In my previous blog post, I took a look at the new APEX_JSON package that ships with Apex 5.0 and its capabilities for parsing JSON.

In this blog post, I am going to look at how the APEX_JSON package can be used to generate JSON from data in your database using PL/SQL.

There are multiple ways of creating JSON output using the APEX_JSON package. There are several overloaded write() procedures which can output (more...)

The APEX_JSON package: Parsing JSON in PL/SQL

As I mentioned a year ago, it looks like Apex 5.0 will include a new package called APEX_JSON for parsing and generating JSON. In this blog post, I will take a quick look at the parsing, and the next blog post will be about generating JSON output.

Since Apex 5.0 is still in Early Adopter (beta) mode and not yet released for download, we can run a query against the data dictionary (more...)

Creating PDF reports from PL/SQL

Do you need to create PDF reports from PL/SQL?

There are a number of options:

  • Anton Scheffer wrote a PL/SQL package called AS_PDF3 that covers all the basics: Different fonts (including TrueType), images, and tables.
  • There's the commercial PL/PDF package that has more features, such as the ability to use existing PDF documents as templates for new documents, compression, encryption, and more. There's also an extra Toolkit component which allows you to extract pages from (more...)

Oracle XE 11g Win64 on Microsoft Azure cloud

(Or: "How to build your own Oracle Cloud in 25 minutes"... ! )

After downloading the recently released Oracle Express Edition for 64-bit Windows, I decided to test it out on a Windows Server 2008 R2 running in the Azure cloud (recently renamed from "Windows Azure" to "Microsoft Azure").

Here are the high-level steps needed to get this up and running:

  1. Sign up for Azure and login to the management portal.
  2. Create a new Virtual (more...)

Oracle Express Edition (XE) 11g for Windows 64 bit

As announced by Kris Rice (who is the product manager for SQL Developer, Apex Listener and Oracle XE), the Oracle Express Edition (XE) Database version 11g is now (finally!) available for 64-bit Windows.

It's been a looong wait; the 64-bit version for Windows was expected to be released around the same time as the 32-bit version, some 3 years ago.

Anyway, it's here now, which is great! Thanks Kris! :-)

Oracle Express Edition 11g (more...)

Useful Git commands

This is not related to Oracle at all, I'm just putting this here as a reminder to myself...

git log

Show a compact list of commits for a given period, formatted nicely:

git log --since="2 weeks ago" --pretty=format:"%h - %an, %ar : %s"


Start the default graphical interface for viewing the logs/commits:


Start the graphical interface and show the history for a single file:

gitk db/src/some_file.sql

More to come...

Oracle on Windows Azure pricing revealed

I just noticed that prices for Oracle Database running on Windows Azure have now been published.

The prices for the virtual machines with the Oracle license included run from about USD 820 per month for Oracle Standard Edition (SE) running on 2 cores, to a whopping USD 9300 per month for Oracle Enterprise Edition (EE) running on 8 cores. These prices are for Oracle software only and do not include the cost of the VM, (more...)

Pivot Table plugin for Apex

An interactive Pivot Table lets the user analyze a data set by selecting which fields to use as rows and columns in a grid. You've probably seen this in Excel, something like this:

I've created a region plugin for Apex which turns any SQL query into an interactive pivot table. (more...)

Thoth Gateway version 1.3.7 available, including source code

There is a new version of the Thoth Gateway, a mod_plsql replacement for IIS, available for download. The latest version is 1.3.7.

This version also includes the source code for the gateway. The project has been "open source" (under a BSD license) since day 1, but I (more...)

First mentions of Oracle 12c XE (Express Edition)

Oracle released an Express Edition (XE) of its 10g database back in 2005 or thereabouts, and this was later followed up by an Oracle 11g Express Edition database.

Oracle XE is great because it is lightweight and "free to develop, deploy and distribute". Dietmar Aust has posted a thorough clarification (more...)

JSON parser for PL/SQL in Apex 5 ?

I was looking at the Apex 4.2.2 installation script (coreins.sql), and noticed the mention of a new package, wwv_flow_json, which is apparently being worked on but was removed at the last minute "as no longer required for 4.2.2".

Even though the package is not installed (more...)

Using Apex with IIS Express

The Thoth Gateway is a gateway written in C# and ASP.NET that allows you to run PL/SQL web applications (including Oracle Application Express) on Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS). You can read more about the gateway here. It is an alternative to Apache/mod_plsql and the Java-based Apex Listener.

For (more...)

Version 1.7 of Alexandria Utility Library for PL/SQL

| Feb 17, 2013
The latest version of Alexandria, the utility library for PL/SQL, is now available for download. The previous version has been downloaded more than 2,000 times in the last 8 months.

The docs/readme.txt file contains a fairly detailed list of additions, enhancements and bug fixes. Below are some of the more noteworthy changes:

Improved installation script

You can now choose between installing the full library (close to 50 packages as of this version), by running the main /setup/install.sql script, or you can install just the core set of packages via setup/install_core.sql and then choose additional sets of (more...)

PL/SQL and Microsoft technology

| Jan 16, 2013
Many companies tend to have mixed environments, with Oracle databases (and PL/SQL) running business-critical back-office systems, as well as Microsoft products for front-office applications such as email, word processing and collaboration/file sharing (ie Outlook, Office and Sharepoint), and of course the desktop operating system itself (Windows, with Internet Explorer, Internet Information Server, all integrated via Active Directory).

Working in these mixed environments means that you, as an Oracle PL/SQL developer, frequently need to work/integrate with various Microsoft technologies from PL/SQL.

Over the last couple of years, I've written a number of blog posts on this topic. This post is just (more...)

Apex Plugin: Execute PL/SQL code and return content to page

| Nov 6, 2012
Here is a Dynamic Action plugin for Oracle Application Express (Apex) that lets you execute PL/SQL code in the database, and then send output generated on the server (via calls to the "HTP.P" procedure) back to any element on the web page.

A more specific use case would be to respond to the clicking of a button by generating a fragment of HTML using PL/SQL, and then refresh a DIV on the page with that dynamically generated content. See the screenshot below for an example; notice that part of the first region has been updated with content generated on the server (more...)

Database (schema) backup to the cloud with PL/SQL

| Aug 13, 2012
In my last blog post I described using the DBMS_DATAPUMP and DBMS_JOB packages to automate database schema backups from the database itself, rather than using batch files to do so. I also mentioned that "since the files are written to the database server itself, you need some kind of process to move the files to another server or storage location, so the backups don't disappear along with the database if the database server itself is somehow lost or corrupted. [One] option is to upload the backup file from the database to some online ("cloud") storage service, such as Amazon S3. (more...)

Simple database (schema) backup using PL/SQL

| Jul 23, 2012
Usually, database backups are the responsibility of DBAs, and not something that developers really care or think too much about. However, if you are a lone developer, or part of a small team that doesn't have the luxury of having a dedicated DBA, then you might have to deal with backups yourself.

There are several ways to make Oracle backups; what I will be concentrating on here is the "Data Pump Export" method. You may already be familiar with the command-line "expdp" command which allows you to create a dump (.dmp) file containing your database objects (schemas, tables, procedures, (more...)