Application Express

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I had time for fiddling around with Oracle Application Express (APEX) and could justify it as part of Oracle 11g product evaluation. Some notes follow.

When you use the database creation assistant with 11g, it generates a script called apex.sql, which in turn executes $ORACLE_HOME/apex/catapx.sql. That seemed to work OK, except there is a fair amount of configuration afterward. And Oracle Text really needs to be installed in order for apex help files to display correctly.

So here’s my list of stuff to do if you want to install Application Express.
1. Install Oracle Text first. $ORACLE_HOME/ctx/admin/catctx.sql. Check that all objects in dba_objects are valid and that components in DBA_REGISTRY are valid.
2. Run $ORACLE_HOME/apex/apexins.sql. Review the log file and make sure the entry in DBA_REGISTRY is valid. For older versions, you may need to run $ORACLE_HOME/spex/catapex.sql.
3. Review and then execute the steps in the Oracle Application Express documentation. You want the Application Express Installation Guide. It explains quite a bit, including how you can run either the Oracle http web server (Apache) or the web server that’s inside the database called embedded PL/SQL gateway. Pick which web server you want and follow the appropriate instructions. Be sure to remember the password you supply when running $ORACLE_HOME/apex/apxconf.sql. You’ll need it to do admin work with APEX.
4. Something not mentioned anywhere that I saw was the listener.ora change you need to ensure that embedded pl/sql gateway works. Adding this in the DESCRIPTION_LIST worked for me:
(DESCRIPTION= (ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=tcp)(HOST=localhost)(PORT=8080))(Presentation=HTTP)(Session=RAW))
Thanks Tim Hall of http://www.oracle-base.com for pointing this out on your web site!
5. At point I was able to log in using http://%5Bhostname%5D:8080/apex/apex_admin, using user ADMIN and the password supplied in step 3 above!

Transactional DDL

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I found this thread on comp.databases.oracle.server interesting.

It’s a discussion of whether or not Oracle should support the ability to rollback a DDL statement. I never considered this to be a possibility or even something that I’d need. But I like the comparison amongst database products from different vendors. Such comparisons can help one understand better the general problems that RDBMS tools solve. One thing that came up in the thread was whether SQL Server supports transactional DDL. I had to verify for myself, and sure enough it does. Here’s a sample sqlcmd session:

1> begin transaction
2> create table foo (f1 varchar(10))
3> go
1> rollback
2> go
1> select * from foo
2> go
Msg 208, Level 16, State 1, Server USEOMAPD357, Line 1
Invalid object name ‘foo’.
1> begin transaction
2> create table foo (f1 varchar(10))
3> go
1> insert into foo values (‘harry’)
2> go

(1 rows affected)
1> select * from foo
2> go
f1
———-
harry

(1 rows affected)
1> rollback
2> go
1> select * from foo
2> go
Msg 208, Level 16, State 1, Server USEOMAPD357, Line 1
Invalid object name ‘foo’.
1> exit

Oracle VM Server, Interrupted

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I’ve been wanting to get a virtual server running at home. But which vm server? I have two desktops at present. One is the general work machine for my wife and me and is running Windows Server 2003. I have a GB of RAM on this and can do SQL Server boondoggles when needed. My other machine now has 4GB.

I decided to try out Oracle VM Server. After looking around a bit, I learned that Oracle VM Server has two parts, the VM Server and the VM Manager. They need to get installed on separate machines. Apparently the VM Manager provides a web based GUI with which one can fiddle around with VMs running on the server. A little more digging and I found documentation which appeared to indicate that you could install a VM from the command line directly on the VM Server. Good for me, cause I don’t have a machine at home just now on which top VM Manager.

So…I installed Oracle VM Server. That went fine more or less, after creating a static ip for it. I downloaded a pre-packaged Oracle VM template with 11g on it from Oracle.com. I started unzipping it and….OUT OF DISK SPACE. My 40 GB drive was not sufficient for the unzipped VM. So I’ll need to purchase a larger drive for this machine before proceeding further.