Betekintés: Andrews-Blair - Northgate Revenues and Benefits, Forms Migration to APEX

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APEX Day 2011

Northgate Revenues and Benefits
Forms migration to APEX

22nd March 2011

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APEX Day 2011

Introductions



Tony Andrews – Independent Apex Developer
Nigel Blair – Product Director – Northgate Public Services

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Why we did it
Nigel Blair

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Internal Focus Groups
Guide
Site Project
“Unpopular
Front End”
Late 2004……

Version 6
Integrated Workflow
Performance Management

Results….

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APEX Day 2011

.......how we got there

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APEX Day 2011

Ambitions - Technology
• Move from Oracle Forms in Browser to pure HTML Front End
• Fully Transactional Web Site
– Same model as Amazon, eBay, Tesco
• Builds on iWorld Project
• Improvements in Accessibility
– W3C Level 1 (possibly level 2)
• Any Browser Features
– Skinnable / Style Sheets
– Colors / Large Print / Proportional Resizing/ Text Only
– Light / Quick
• Can run alongside existing UI during phased migration

Source: http://www.doksi.net

APEX Day 2011

Ambitions – Presentation (Enquiry)







Faster Enquiries
User Friendly
Technical Jargon Free
Business Focussed
User Driven
Liaise / Consult with End Users
– Learn from previous roll-outs
– Look at weak areas
• Flatter Presentation of Data
– Quicker Access to Data
– Quicker Link to Update

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APEX Day 2011

Ambitions – Performance (Update)
• Quicker
– Speed of Response
– Less Clicks
– Multiple Update of data
– Enquire / Create / Update
– Multi Row
• Benchmark Existing Application
– Address Weak Areas
– More Organic Approach
• Improved Service / Productivity
• Improved Quality
• Integrated Workflow / Scheduler

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APEX Day 2011

Timeline
October 2005
Launch Of Prototype at IRRV Conference
November 2005
V6 Prototype Installed On Customer Portal
December 2005
Management Board Sanctions Version 6
V6 Development Commences
Jan - May 2006
Development Continues
Consultation Continues
User Group Executive Approve Roll-out

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APEX Day 2011

Timeline
May – July 2006
Recruitment Of 6 Beta Sites
Beta Programme Commences
V6 Beta Release – July 2006
December 2006
First Production Release of V6
December 2008
All forms and processes available in V6
Announced De-support of V5 from December 2009
December 2009
First All-V6 Release
All customers live on Version 6 Only

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APEX Day 2011

Version 6 – today!

ACTIONS
LINKS
KEY DETAILS
Gives
access
to
the details
User-defined
links
other
Showsquick
theBLOCK
user
theto
main
CONTEXT
TABS
REGIONS
actions
(updates
etc.)
applications,
internal
and
and current
status
of
the
item
Holds
the
main
details
ofwork
the
Quick
Access
to
all
main
Breaks
information
down
into
associated
with
theof
current
external
web
sites
(e.g.
DWP)
in context
(Account,
Property,
item
inthrough
context
(Applicant,
Areas
use
Tabs
clearly
defined
regions
page.
Claim etc etc)
Task)

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APEX Day 2011

Outcomes.......

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APEX Day 2011

Outcomes.......

Central
Government
Opportunities

International
Opportunities

Improved
Performance

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How to migrate 1500 Forms to Apex
Tony Andrews

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APEX Day 2011

Tony Andrews





UK-based Oracle developer for 20+ years
User of Apex since Project Marvel
Developer at Northgate 2002-2010
Active on:
– tonyandrews.blogspot.com
– stackoverflow.com
– forums.oracle.com

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APEX Day 2011

Aims





Update of 1500-module Forms application
Preserve large existing database
Preserve large existing code base
Preserve large existing body of role-based security and
navigation metadata
• Use 20+ developers who know Forms, PL/SQL and the
application (but don't know HTML, CSS, Javascript)

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APEX Day 2011

Concerns
• Will Apex scale?
• Is Apex robust enough for a serious product?
• Is Apex good for developers?
– Why not Java?!

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APEX Day 2011

Challenges
• Migrate 1500 forms quickly, consistently and correctly
• Some Apex built-in features not useful:
– Form region
– Tabular form region
– Tabs
– Validations
• Requirements for “Rich UI”
• Management of large Apex project

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APEX Day 2011

Rich UI
• Reports with “overflow” area
• Tabular forms over APIs
• Dynamic hide/show, enable/disable, validation and
population of items
– In other words, Dynamic Actions!
• Configurable item, region and report column labels

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APEX Day 2011

Report with Overflow

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APEX Day 2011

Report with Overflow

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APEX Day 2011

Report with Overflow

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APEX Day 2011

Tabular Form

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APEX Day 2011

Tabular Form

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APEX Day 2011

Tabular Form

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APEX Day 2011

Tabular Form

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APEX Day 2011

Tabular Form

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APEX Day 2011

Tabular Form

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APEX Day 2011

“Dynamic Actions”
Defined via data in tables

Applied automatically via page 0 region
(no developer code)

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APEX Day 2011

Rich UI
• Report overflows, tabular forms, “dynamic actions” etc. all
defined declaratively via data
• This data needs to be maintained by the developer, and
deployed via version control
• Creating all this data via SQL Plus scripts or Toad (or SQL
Developer) is tiresome
Q: What can we do to make the developer's life easier?

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APEX Day 2011

Rich UI
A: Give them an Apex application to maintain the data, with a

facility to download all data for a page as a SQL script ready
for deployment.

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APEX Day 2011

Reuse Legacy
• Forms module definitions in Oracle Designer
– Generate first-cut Apex pages and our “metadata” from
these
• Security/navigation data
– Render navigation tabs from this
– Base page authorisation scheme on this
• Business Logic APIs
– Generate first-cut code to map Apex page to API

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APEX Day 2011

Apex Page Generator

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APEX Day 2011

Consistency (Quality)





Build Standards
Generator
Skeleton pages to copy
Reports to check Apex pages for adherence to standards

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APEX Day 2011

Manageability
• Many small applications
– One per logical business area
– Between 5 and 50 pages per app
– Assign applications to development teams
– Version control export files (app or page)
– Version control our metadata
• Master Application
– Common Components, published to other apps:
– Templates, Authorisation and authentication schemes
– Shortcuts, Application processes

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APEX Day 2011

Apex Resources





Apex on OTN
Apex Forum
Apex Blogs
Apex Development Team

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APEX Day 2011

Outcome





Successful replacement system
Satisfied customers
Productive and satisfied developers*
A foundation for developing future applications

* well, mostly!

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APEX Da
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y 2011

Conclusions
• Can Apex be used for large projects?
• Is it a good idea?
• Would we do it again?

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APEX Day 2011

Conclusions
• Can Apex be used for large projects? Yes
• Is it a good idea? Yes
• Would we do it again? Yes – and we have