XFILES (Part 2) – APEX Newbie Enhancement Requests

Its not yet “the breeze” I hoped for in regard to “Installing XFiles” on APEX. I am missing parts of the source that XFiles in APEX is build upon and although I know where I can get it, it is not easy to implement it “The APEX” way. For example XFiles is depending on XDB Utilities, packages and methods in PL/SQL, that makes life easier while working with XMLDB and/or have implemented some of the best practices ideas of the XMLDB Development team and others. To do it, installing those, the “neat way”, it should be created in a different Oracle schema and not in the APEX workspace user owner (other database schema’s might enjoy them as well in the database).

A DBA View on Things…

APEX doesn’t have, AFAIK as a newbie, yet a proficient way to make this easy to install, or at least what I thought could be done, via a single packaged install. First of all, as said, there are dependencies to other “outside” packages and privileges. APEX doesn’t checks this but just fails and show a nice report with the failed statements (nice implementation) but would it not be even nicer to have a pre and post installation workspace import pages that checks on criteria needed and/or set by the creator of the APEX application before and afterward, the workspace SQL file is even imported. Ever have used, for example the latest, Oracle Software installer… That kind of thing but be a nice asset. There is now to much stuff, I hope that I actually implement correctly / as the APEX application creator, mend it to be.

An example. Apparently this XFiles demo application has been progressed in his source since the mentioned OOW 2008 Mark & Carl demo. It needs the database compatible parameter to be set to0 Oracle Database version 11.2.0.1.0 to actually work in respect to demonstrated the Application Security for APEX build upon XMLDB Access Control List Security (ACL’s) features, as demonstrated by Mark during Oracle Open World 2009 (Managing XML Content with Oracle XML DB and Oracle Application Express).

The first page, the XFiles APEX login page, hints this security feature implemented (check box with “Application Principle”)…

APEX Xfiles Login Page with Application Security features

Click on the picture to enlarge

Apex Newbie Enhancement Requests

So wouldn’t it me nice to have a “Check Install Workspace Requirements” – Web Page that before the Workspace will be imported, checks on the requirements in regards to privileges, database feature settings and others and show an overview with failed or success and/or even a “Shall I implement it for you?” (give me some username/password combinations…)”. See the great Oracle Software installer improvements in Oracle 11gR2 for more “line of thinking”.

Also, as said, a pre and post web page that would enable you to execute pre- and post SQL statements via different user schema’s, for example, this XFiles APEX application needs the possibility to have access to Oracle Advanced Queuing methods / privileges, granted before the import of the Workspace script can be executed. The APEX owner schema, in my case the one installed during a Oracle 11gR2 Linux demo database, APEX version 3.2 , is a masqueraded almost full DBA look-a-like account anyway, so maybe some of those scripts could be executed via the APEX application owner and/or the correct database schema.

Finally, lets be honest, APEX is now a grownup (especially what I have seen from the APEX 4.0 application) software application development environment that has be taken seriously, so I would opt for a small enhancement request that DOESN’T create the default EMP, DEPT tables, demo APEX application etc anymore BY DEFAULT (and not the other way around that I as an APEX admin have to disable the functionality) while creating a workspace. As a DBA it is especially annoying that during the workspace creation even a tablespace gets created by default if a new user account is given to work with.

Status

Would have liked to actually be able to show some of the pages currently, but I can’t yet do to trying to figure all the dependencies and gather all the extra PL/SQL packages, so I can create a “Installation Guide” pdf for this application, based on the Oracle 11gR2 Linux or hopefully somewhere in the future a Oracle 11gR2 XE environment. The current stage is that the next page after login crashes with statements that refer to not accessible or not installed packages (the latter). So this is a bit frustration due to my hope that I could already could show you some of the pages regarding its look and feel etc. You could have a look at Managing XML Content with Oracle XML DB and Oracle Application Express in the meanwhile :-(

Keep you posted

Marco