New version of Alexandria Utility Library for PL/SQL

| Aug 3, 2011
I've just uploaded a new version of the Alexandria Utility Library for PL/SQL.

Updates include both small bug fixes and some major new features (which I'll return to in another post).

Among the improvements are:

  • Additional functions in OOXML_UTIL_PKG for working with Excel 2007 and Powerpoint 2007 files.
  • Kris Scorup has contributed improved CSV parsing to the CSV_UTIL_PKG. It now handles double quotes and separator characters inside strings.
  • Anton Scheffer's packages for building PDF and XLSX files have been included in the library.
  • The PL_FPDF library by Pierre-Gilles Levallois is a port of the FPDF library for PHP. Pierre-Gilles Levallois (more...)

Count lines in multiple files using Windows command prompt

| Jul 29, 2011
Not really Oracle-related, but I'm posting this as a reminder to myself and possibly useful to others.

To count the number of lines in a given set of files using the Windows command prompt, do the following:

for %G in (*.sql) do find /c /v "_+_" %G

This invokes the "find" command once for each file, counting the lines that do NOT contain the string "_+_" (the string has no special significance, any weird string that would not occur "naturally" in the files can be used).

There are probably more sophisticated ways of doing this, perhaps using PowerShell and (more...)

Mythbusters: Stored Procedures Edition

| Jul 29, 2011

These days, the use of database stored procedures is regarded by many as a bad practice.

Those that dislike stored procedures tend to regard them as incompatible with the three-tier architecture:

By breaking up an application into tiers, developers only have to modify or add a specific layer, rather than have to rewrite the entire application over. There should be a presentation tier, a business or data access tier, and a data tier.

This is illustrated as follows:

Note that the "tiers" in the figure should actually be labelled "layers", for as the accompanying Wikipedia article says:
The concepts (more...)

Mobile device support in Apex 4.1

| May 24, 2011
The current Apex Statement of Direction for Apex 4.1 states that it will "include themes and HTML templates suitable for smart phones and mobile devices".

If you are wondering what that means, then check out this thread on the Apex OTN Forum where Marc Sewtz, one of the developers on the Apex team, provides more details about this new feature.

Interestingly, some of these "mobile-enabling" features are also relevant for regular applications, such as the ability to render a form without a table grid, enhanced label templates, and dynamic (SQL-based) lists.

Just give me a hash table and a shitload of RAM

| Apr 14, 2011
In this interview, James Gosling, the "father of Java", says:

I’ve never got it when it comes to SQL databases. It’s like, why? Just give me a hash table and a shitload of RAM, and I’m happy. And then you do something to deal with failures.

Right... just "do something to deal with failures". And maybe add some other useful stuff. Shouldn't take too long to implement and make sure it works as intended.

But Mr. Gosling, could you please give me a cost estimate and a delivery date for the data-centric business application I want you to build for me?