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business technologies and desktop
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From Our Readers / 7
Readers tell us what they think.
From the Editor / 8
Events / 11 OTN Bulletin / 15
Pure Tools —Tom Haunert
Find out about current and Learn what’s happening with Oracle’s most
upcoming industry events. dynamic online community.
Resources / 13 Briefs / 16
Your guide to Oracle Webcasts, Interview / 19
podcasts, blogs, education Pascal Laik, Oracle’s vice president of master data
offerings, and more management (MDM) products, talks about Oracle’s
solutions for MDM.


55 tec hnology
s ecur it y
Creating Custom Authentication / 55
Build single sign-on/sign-off for a suite of applications

in Oracle Application Express. —Raj Mattamal

c o mm un i ty ins ide ocp
Partner News / 20 More New PL/SQL Features / 59
Ventureforth, ICS, Helpstream, HumanConcepts, Improve performance in Oracle Database 11g with
Datawatch, Promero, Unify, Zanett, new PL/SQL features. —Sushma Jagannath
Caliber Point, Computer Sciences Corporation,
Data Systems International ask t om
Book Beat / 21 On Constraints, Metadata, and Truth / 61
Our technologist uses constraints to improve query
Up Close / 24
performance. —Tom Kyte
Mike Riley, president of Oracle Development
Tools User Group, discusses how his group’s
members can connect, teach, and learn.
Peer-to-Peer / 25
Jon Emmons, Torsten Schlautmann,
Porus Homi Havewala

66 c om ment

in the field
Mixing It Up / 66
There’s never been a better time to get involved
through networking. —Ian Abramson

all s ecur e

Good Reporting, Good Governance / 67
Measuring “How are we doing?” in Oracle
d eve lo per Software Security Assurance
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f r am e wo rks
Extending a Helping Hand / 41
analy st ’s c or ne r
Add custom features to improve team productivity.
Getting Grounded in the Cloud / 68
—Steve Muench
Developers find challenges—and
opportunities—in new architecture.
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The Right Transaction / 45
Choose the ODP.NET transaction type that fits your
business rules. —Mark Williams

p l /s Ql pra ctic es
The Magic Kingdom / 47
Choose the best way to manage literal values.
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b r ow se r-b a se d
Converting Forms / 51
Modernize Oracle Forms applications with Oracle
Application Express. —David Peake

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6 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
f r o m o u r READERS

Your corrections, your opinions, and your requests:
Here’s your forum for telling us what’s right and
wrong in each issue of Oracle Magazine, and for
letting us know what you want to read.

LeveL with Me In spite of popular business intelligence and data ware-
“On Dynamic Sampling” (Oracle Magazine, January/February housing technologies offered by Oracle, there isn’t a section in
2009, Oracle Magazine for these types of technologies, as there is for
contains a portion of the Performance Tuning Guide that PL/SQL, Oracle SQL Developer, and so on.
explains the differences between dynamic sampling levels. I would be interested in a section for business intelligence
Here’s part of it (emphasis mine): and data warehousing.

Level 2: Apply dynamic sampling to all unanalyzed Vikram Rathour
tables. The number of blocks sampled is two times
the default number of dynamic sampling blocks.
Level 3: Apply dynamic sampling to all tables that reaLity check
meet Level 2 criteria, plus all tables for which . . . The article “Integrating Applications” (by David A. Kelly,
March/April 2009) is very interesting and resonates in today’s
My question: If level 2 performs dynamic sampling on business environments. Most enterprises are using several
all unanalyzed tables, what other tables can levels 3 and up standalone applications, and the article highlights that reality.
analyze? Do they gather statistics on tables that already have sta-
tistics? I doubt that’s the case, but what other tables are there? P. Ramnath
Paul Muller kindLe-inG intereSt
Do you currently have plans to publish Oracle Magazine (and
Tom Kyte replies: Level 3 samples data in a way to validate any other Oracle news content) to Amazon’s Kindle?
“guesses” the optimizer might otherwise have to make. It gathers
statistics that are specific to the query in question. In the online Jason Bell
version of that column, see the section “When the Optimizer
Guesses” for an example of what I mean. That example is run in
Oracle Database 11g, which has dynamic sampling set to 2. When The editors reply: We are evaluating the distribution of Oracle
I tell it to use level 3, it samples the table even though it has statis- Magazine for the Kindle 2. We currently publish Oracle Magazine
tics on it—but it’s sampling to figure out what the WHERE clause in print and multiple electronic formats, including one for the
will really do. It is the flag1/flag2 example and was designed to iPhone. The digital edition of Oracle Magazine offers a custom
demonstrate the difference between levels 2 and 3. online format with hyperlinks and a PDF format for download
and offline viewing. Subscribers can choose to receive the print or
GettinG Started digital edition of the magazine by indicating their preference for
As a regular reader of Oracle Magazine, I request that you print or digital in the online subscription form at www.submag
include introductory articles for Oracle beginners on topics .com/sub/oc?pk=orafaq. Subscribers and nonsubscribers can view
such as installation, programming, networking, and creating Oracle Magazine in HTML format at
a database.

Chinedu Ikwumezie send mail to the EDITOR Send your opinions about what you read in Oracle Magazine, and suggestions
for possible technical articles, to Or click the Write the
Editors link on our Web site,
More BuSineSS inteLLiGence
Letters may be edited for length and clarity and may be published in any
I am a regular reader of Oracle Magazine and have read almost medium. We consider any communications we receive publishable.
all the issues to date for the past three years.

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 7
f r o m t h e editor

Pure Tools
Use tools as their creators intended, extend their range, and reinvent them.
any years ago I was helping a couple of car I don’t know if the mechanics were motivated by the con-
mechanic friends with some work on a backlog versation, feeling better about the problem because of the time
of repairs. (I did simple work, such as spark plug away from it, or if irony rules the world, but when they got back
changes—so no, I can’t help rebuild your transmis- to the car, the problem was solved within minutes, with the
sion.) On one car, the mechanics were working together on a current tools—“pure,” extended, and specialty—in the shop.
particular problem with a variety of automotive tools.
These professional mechanics had a collection of tools that tHe iSSUe At HANd
was simply overwhelming, to the point where if you needed a The May/June issue of Oracle Magazine has come to be known
tool that wasn’t in the “active” tool cart, you searched through as our developer issue, and in this issue’s cover feature, “United
drawers and drawers of “archived” tools until you almost inevi- Development” (page 26), Mike Hichwa, Oracle’s vice president
tably found the tool you needed. Yes, almost inevitably. of software development, database group, looks at the supply
As many different standard (and metric) tools as these of current technologies and the demand for development tools.
mechanics had, they didn’t have every tool they might ever “Today’s developers are forced to pay attention probably to 20
need. So as new technologies were introduced and new cars technologies, where before they could concentrate on maybe
required new, specialized tools, they bought new multipurpose three or four,” he says. “That puts extra emphasis on the need
tools, modified existing tools to enable different access or extend for better tools.”
useful reach, and created or bought specialty tools that might Fortunately, all sorts of development tools—pure, extensible,
only ever get used on a single job. and specialty—are readily available through traditional channels
That day when I was helping out, after my friends had as well as new development environments.
invested some time in that one problem car (trying all sorts For example, Oracle Application Express is available for
of creative solutions with all sorts of active, archived, modi- download, and a hosted version has been available for some
fied, and specialty tools from other jobs) they took a break time at It is also now available for cloud devel-
and started talking strategy. There was a specialty tool manu- opment with Oracle Database and Oracle Fusion Middleware
factured specifically for this and only this procedure, and the in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. In “Converting Forms”
mechanics knew it. But the current job was on a rare make (page 51), author David Peake walks through the use of tools
and model car they didn’t think they were likely to see again, old and new: he describes how to use the specialized Oracle
so they didn’t want to invest in that new tool. Forms to Oracle Application Express 3.2 migration process to
During the strategy conversation, there was some mis- take advantage of the latest database releases and Web 2.0 inter-
directed cursing about “the trouble with tools,” and at some activity. And in “Creating Custom Authentication” (page 55),
point, one of the mechanics started defending tools, quoting author Raj Mattamal describes how to extend Oracle Application
the adage “the right tool for the right job” and reminding us Express authentication schemes to provide a custom solution for
that using the wrong tool is a mechanic’s error. It’s not the tool’s sign-on and sign-off for a suite of applications.
fault, he said, adding, “Tools are pure.” For Oracle Fusion Middleware developers, there are always
new tools to try, extend, and build. In “Extending a Helping

Hand” (page 41), author Steve Muench uses pure Java, the
thoroughly extensible Oracle JDeveloper 11g, and Oracle
Application Development Framework (Oracle ADF) to create
reAd more about
oracle development tools framework extensions for Oracle ADF business components. For .NET developers working with Oracle Database, Oracle
doWNLoAd Data Provider for .NET (ODP.NET) is the pure provider. In “The
oracle Application express Right Transaction” (page 45), author Mark Williams extends
best-practice information for managing transactions within .NET
oracle Jdeveloper 11g applications that access Oracle Database via ODP.NET.

USe oracle products on the Amazon elastic Compute Cloud Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief

8 M ay / J u n e 2 0 0 9
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Oracle user grOups
Puget Sound Oracle Users Group 10-Day
11g DBA Boot Camp
May 11–22, Juneau, Alaska

Technology Events
OUGF Spring Seminar
May 14, Helsinki, Finland
Conferences and sessions to help you stay on the cutting edge
Greater Cincinnati Oracle User
Group Meeting
COLLABORATE 09 May 20, Blue Ash, Ohio
May 3–7, Orlando,
Florida Nashville Oracle Users Group Meeting
May 20 and June 17, Nashville,
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applications and technologies.
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May 21–22
of dozens of region-based and
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at this event, cosponsored by Learn more and register at www Steven Feuerstein
Independent Oracle Users Group, May 21–22, Bellevue, Washington
Dallas Oracle Users Group
TM Forum Management Nanda, and Christian Antognini. For more Technology Forum
May 21 and June 18, Las Colinas, Texas
World 2009 information, visit
May 4–8, Nice, France
Australian Oracle User Group
More than 3,500 executives from the infor- UKOUG Conference Series South Australia Branch Meeting
mation, communications, and entertainment PeopleSoft 2009: May 19–20, May 27, Adelaide, South Australia
industries will convene to focus on creating London, England
and delivering profitable services, generat- Scotland 2009: June 23, Suncoast Oracle Users Group Meeting
ing new revenues, increasing customer care, Glasgow, Scotland May 28 and June 25, Tampa, Florida
retaining business, and reducing operating Hyperion & BI 2009: June 24–25,
costs. Get details at London, England Northeast Oracle Users Group Meeting
Siebel 2009: June 30, Berkshire, England with Tom Kyte
I.T. Business Integration Because the UK Oracle User Group’s annual June 2, Boston, Massachusetts
May 6, Needham, Massachusetts conference has outgrown the largest confer-
Presented by the Boston chapter of Financial ence venue in the country, the group has Dallas Oracle Users Group
Applications Forum
Executives International, consulting firm Grant replaced it with a series of community- and June 5, Irving, Texas
Thornton, and Oracle, this seminar will cover region-specific conferences under the confer-
how software is critical to integration success ence series umbrella. Learn more about each Atlanta Oracle Applications Users Group
in acquisitions and mergers. Get more infor- conference and register at www.ukoug June 19, Atlanta, Georgia
mation at .org/2009.
UKOUG Application Server & Middleware
ORCAN Conference Forrester’s IT Forum 2009 SIG Meeting
May 11–13, Stockholm, Sweden May 19–22, Las Vegas, Nevada June 24, London
ORCAN, the Swedish Oracle user group, hosts Learn about lightweight software solutions,
this two-day cruise between Sweden and value-based architecture, cloud computing, Australian Oracle User Group
South Australia Branch Meeting
Finland. The onboard conference includes software as a service, business process opti-
Getty ImaGes

June 25, Adelaide, South Australia
DBA and developer tracks and features Oracle mization, and technology populism. Sign up at
Database experts Steven Feuerstein, Arup

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 11

manufacturers, service providers, content
owners, and regulators to discuss and debate
the challenges they face. Learn more and
register at

DIA Annual Meeting
June 21–25, San Diego, California
The Drug Information Association’s annual
meeting is the biopharmaceutical industry’s
largest and longest-running global multi-
disciplinary event. Dr. Nancy Snyderman of
NBC News will give the keynote address. Learn
more at

ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2009
June 21–25, Monterey, California
Attend ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2009 in Monterey, California, from June 21–25, 2009. Participate in more than 150 technical ses-
sions led by top Oracle experts, attend
IASA 2009 Annual Educational Suite and Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise one of four symposia (Oracle Application
Conference and Business Show customers to interact with peers, vendors, and Express, Hyperion/Essbase, Service-
June 7–10, Orlando, Florida Oracle thought leaders. Participate in special Oriented Architecture and Business Process
Sponsored by the Insurance Accounting and vertical sessions for retail, education, compen- Management, or Web Architecture), and
Systems Association (IASA), this conference sation and benefits, and more. Get more infor- choose from more than 30 hands-on training
delivers a comprehensive educational program mation and sign up at sessions at the Oracle Developer Tools User
for financial and technology professionals in .php/conferences. Group (ODTUG) conference. Oracle ACEs and
the insurance and financial services industries. Oracle ACE directors will hold their annual
Learn more at Oracle Retail CrossTalk meeting during the event. Get more informa-
June 15–16, Orlando, Florida tion at
Gartner Portals, Content, and Join leading retail executives to share insights
Collaboration Summit on delivering value and meeting next-generation SAOUG 2009 User Conference
June 8–10, Orlando, Florida industry challenges. Executive-level networking June 22–24, Durban, South Africa
Explore new ways to access, search, structure, encourages peer dialogue, while educational The annual conference of the South African
and manage information and improve orga- sessions help to leverage investments in Oracle Oracle User Group (SAOUG) will include
nizational productivity and efficiency through solutions. Get more information and register at keynote and Oracle executive speeches, social
collaboration and social networking software. events, SIG meetings, and networking opportu-
This summit includes more than 40 sessions nities. To learn more, visit
covering recent innovations, best practices, Federal Capital Planning &
and independent research. Sign up at www Investment Control Conference KDD-09 June 16–17, Washington DC June 28–July 1, Paris, France
This conference brings together government The annual Association for Computing
Project & Portfolio Management officials and the capital planning community Machinery Special Interest Group on
Summit to learn about best practices, compliance, Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining confer-
June 14–17, Garden Grove, California recruiting, educational resources, and network- ence is the premier international forum for
The Project & Portfolio Management Summit ing. Speakers include representatives from the data mining researchers and practitioners from
brings together project portfolio management Treasury, Labor, and Commerce departments. academia, industry, and government to share
leaders, industry analysts, and vendors to Learn more at www.governmenthorizons their ideas, research results, and experiences.
examine market trends, offer advice, explore .org/CPICConference09. Learn more at
strategies, and evaluate the latest products
and services for project portfolio management. Next Generation Telecoms eventsLOCAtOR
Learn more at Converged Services Summit Oracle Events
June 17–19, Marina Del Rey, California

OHUG Conference Telecom, cable, content, media, entertain- Oracle OpenWorld 2009
June 14–17, Las Vegas, Nevada ment, and internet companies are all trying to
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Locate User Groups
The Oracle HCM Users Group annual confer- gain market share and profitability in today’s
ence provides a venue for Oracle E-Business market. This event brings together equipment

12 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
a t O r a c l e resources

What’s New at Oracle
The latest Webcasts, podcasts, courses, and white papers
ARTICLES AND WHITE PAPERS managing applications with a unique top- oracle Business Intelligence Publisher 10g
What It Takes to Foster a Culture of down approach. release 3: Fundamentals
Collaboration Oracle Beehive—Unified Collaboration, Built In this course, participants gain expertise for the Enterprise with Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher
This Forrester Research report identifies 10g Release 3 by establishing a foundation in
the technological and cultural obstacles dgbeehivewebcastondemand the fundamentals and underlying standards.
that impede enterprise collaboration David Gilmour, Oracle senior vice president, By the end of the course, students will be
and outlines principles and practices for discusses how Oracle Beehive brings able to create reports based on various
removing them. together a full range of collaboration tools datasources such as Oracle Database, Web
Business Management in the Age of to create a truly integrated user experience services, RSS feeds, and files.
Enterprise 2.0 while delivering the highest level of security, oracle Business Intelligence suite, scalability, and manageability. enterprise edition Plus 10g release 3: create
intelligence/docs/epm-enterprise20- Oracle Data Mining Overview and Demo reports and Dashboards
whitepaper.pdf This course provides step-by-step instruc-
This white paper advocates a new definition eseminars/010709_66287/index.htm tions for creating ad hoc queries in Oracle
for Enterprise 2.0. The authors discuss the Charlie Berger, senior director of product Business Intelligence Answers and
business drivers and demographic changes management at Oracle, discusses the incorporating them into Oracle Business
that are forcing new, collaborative business Oracle Data Mining option for Oracle Intelligence Interactive Dashboards.
models. They identify the technological Database, Enterprise Edition. He presents
capabilities required for an Enterprise 2.0
platform and highlight the transformational
data mining concepts, Oracle Data Mining’s
features and differentiators, typical use oracle Direct
abilities of such a platform. cases, and several brief demonstrations. For Oracle product information, call the number for
“How to configure and use oracle real Top-Down Application Management with your region:
Application clusters with oracle WebLogic Oracle Enterprise Manager Country Phone Number
U.S. and Canada .....................................1.800.367.8674
server 10.3” Australia ....................................................1800.735.467 Find out about Oracle Enterprise Manager’s Austria .......................................................0800.29.7626
Belgium ........................................................0800.73280
howto/rac broad application management and quality Brazil .........................................................0800.901.985
This article demonstrates how to config- assurance solutions for Oracle technologies, China .........................................................800.810.0161
ure Oracle WebLogic Server to work with including Oracle Fusion Middleware. Finland ......................................................0800.113.573
France .......................................................0800.905.805
Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle The Six Habits of Highly Successful Data Centers
Germany .................................................0800.1.810.111
RAC) as well as how to test the connections Greece .................................................00800.353.12020
Hong Kong ......................................................3002.1246
to the back-end Oracle RAC nodes using a Get more from your data center: find out India ..........................................................1600.44.6725
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a database service, test the service, and nization save money while improving effi- Italy ..............................................................8008.74720
Japan ........................................................0120.155.096
create the required datasources; how to ciency and agility. Malaysia ....................................................1800.80.1837
test the configuration; and troubleshooting. Mexico...................................................01800.221.7321
The Netherlands .............................................0800.0827
ORACLE UNIVERSITY New Zealand .............................................0508.555.215
WEBCASTS AND Business Intelligence Training: Norway ...........................................................800.14411
Philippines ........................................................811.5831
INTERNET SEMINARS Anytime, Anywhere Portugal .......................................................800.853.021
Singapore ................................................1800.6722.531
Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 South Africa ...............................................0800.994.225 (Search keyword: Oracle BI) South Korea ...............................................080.2194.114
Spain ............................................................900.952900
Richard Sarwal, senior vice president of The following courses are just two of many Sweden ........................................................020.798798
product development at Oracle, introduces comprehensive business intelligence offer- Switzerland................................................0800.55.2574
Taiwan .......................................................0800.672.253
Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 ings available in the Oracle University Live Thailand ..............................................001800.441.0545
Turkey .................................................00800.353.90014
and discusses how the new release can Virtual Class format. Pick a class time that U.K. .........................................................0870.5.332200
help organizations reduce the costs of works for you; take it wherever you’d like.

oracle magazine M AY / J u n e 2 0 0 9 13

speed the performance of any clustered
overHeArD Oracle database application running on
industry-standard storage and servers.
Enterprise Performance Management: Driving
“We assume that everyone has the same understanding and Management Excellence
the same definitions of the terms that we use commonly.
That was a poor assumption on my part, and that’s what ebusiness-suite.html
John Kopcke, senior vice president of busi-
inspired me to get the architect dictionary started on my ness intelligence and performance man-
blog, to make sure that we’re all using the same terms, that agement at Oracle, discusses how leading
have the same meaning, when we communicate.” companies are integrating their manage-
—Jeff Davies, Senior Principal Product Manager at Oracle, in Architect Roundtable: Architects and ment processes and using Oracle’s enter-
Communication, Part One ( prise performance management system to
achieve management excellence.

Learn to build a simple Oracle Business data for planning and optimization of facil- BLOGS
Intelligence Interactive Dashboard start- ity space. Tim Perez, information systems oracle enterprise Manager
ing with basic requests created in Oracle coordinator from USPS, and Steven Pierce,
Interactive Dashboard and Answers, and of Oracle spatial partner Johnston-McLamb, Chung Wu, director of product management
then move on to more-complex tasks such explain how USPS visualizes and analyzes at Oracle, is the primary author of this blog,
as including pivot tables, charts, gauges, spatial data with Oracle Database and which provides the latest information and
prompts, and embedded content. Oracle Fusion Middleware MapViewer. perspectives on Oracle Enterprise Manager.
Architect Roundtable: Architects and oracle IRM
DEMOS Communication (Parts One and Two) Simon Thorpe, a senior sales consultant
oracle Financial Analytics with Eddie Awad, Oracle ACE director, and Jeff at Oracle, provides insight into informa-
oracle essbase Davies, senior principal product manager tion rights management (IRM) and related
Follow a day in the life of a CFO as she uses at Oracle and an author with a focus issues in the “official blog” about Oracle
Oracle’s enterprise performance manage- on service-oriented architecture (SOA), Information Rights Management.
ment system to respond to changing market discuss the communication issues that face Insight-Driven Retailing Blog
conditions. You’ll see how Oracle Financial software architects and whether Enterprise
Analytics works in tandem with Oracle 2.0 tools can close the communication gap. David Dorf, director of technology strategy
Essbase in this three-minute demo. They offer insight into how effective com- for Oracle Retail, is the primary author of
oracle’s Record-to-Report solution munication can bring new life to faltering this retail-focused blog.
Achieving management excellence SOA initiatives.
requires the integration of all manage- Go Green with Oracle Document Management
ment processes. Learn about the record-
to-report management process, through sustainability.html
which systems and data are combined to Brian Dirking, principal product director at oracle Blog center
meet internal and external reporting needs. Oracle, and Greg Crider, senior director of
product marketing at Oracle, discuss how oracle consulting
PODCASTS Oracle document management customers
oracle events and Webcasts
Architect Roundtable: Enterprise 2.0 (Part One) have saved their organizations thousands of dollars and also helped the environment
oracle Podcast center
Oracle ACE Vince Salvato, Oracle by reducing their paper consumption.
ACE Director Bex Huff, and Oracle InfiniBand Networks Drive Extreme My oracle support
Product Manager for Enterprise Content Performance for Data Warehousing
Management Billy Cripe discuss the connec- oracle Newsletters
tion between social media and Enterprise Voltaire’s InfiniBand interconnect solu-

2.0 and the level to which Enterprise 2.0 is tions are a key component of Oracle oracle support
understood among IT stakeholders. Exadata, helping drive extreme perfor-
USPS Leverages Location Data with Oracle mance for large Oracle data warehouses. oracle university Asaf Somekh, vice president of market-
oracle on Twitter
Hear how the United States Postal Service ing at Voltaire, discusses how Voltaire’s
(USPS) is making innovative use of location InfiniBand interconnect can dramatically

14 M AY / J u n e 2 0 0 9
a t O r a c l e OTN BULLETIN By ju stin Kestelyn

A List to Remember
Community content is the lifeblood of OTN.
recently compiled and posted a sciously refer to blogs here, as opposed a new five-day Oracle training course
list of the most-popular technical to bloggers, since some blogs feature for end users of Oracle JDeveloper 11g
articles and how-tos published by multiple authors) have thus far demon- and its associated Oracle Application
Oracle Technology Network (OTN) strated talent or flair that caught my eye: Development Framework (Oracle ADF)
in 2008. When reviewing this list, you Social CRM [customer relationship man- Business Components and Oracle ADF
will note that in every case the authors agement]. This blog’s many authors from Faces Rich Client. That course is now
involved are end users (customers and the Social CRM team each hew to the officially part of the SAGE catalog.
consultants), not Oracle employees. It same standard: sharing personal experi- This is the first case we know of in
nearly goes without saying that content ences and opinions in an informal voice. which Oracle ACEs from around the
like this, and the desire to share it, is the This is an approach one can’t take for globe have reached out to work together
lifeblood of OTN. granted in the blogosphere. Visit blogs on a curriculum or other training
The 2008 list is exceptional in depth materials—or at least the first time such
as well as scope. It appears that OTN fans Frank Buytendijk Blog. Buytendijk is vice materials have seen the light of day.
are interested not only in pragmatic tuto- president for enterprise performance You can review the Oracle JDeveloper
rials that are tightly focused on product management (EPM) at Oracle, but course description, as well as other cur-
features (“Oracle Database 11g: The Top you’d never know it. (I mean that as a ricula, at
New Features for DBAs and Developers,” compliment.) Buytendijk uses his blog courses/COURSES.pdf. ■
by Arup Nanda) but also in more- to convey personal interests as well his
wide-ranging examinations about best views on subjects relevant to EPM. Go to Justin Kestelyn ( is senior
practices (“Basic Java Persistence API Best director, Oracle Technology Network and developer
Practices,” by Dustin Marx), conceptual Fusion ECM [enterprise content manage- programs, as well as OTN editor in chief.
discussions (“Filtering and Grouping: ment]. Blog author Billy Cripe is an
A Comparison of SQL, Linux Scripting, Enterprise 2.0 practitioner as well as a OTNLOCATOR
and Ruby,” by Casimir Saternos), and pundit. He constantly asks for feedback OTN Home
“extreme” evaluations (“Build Your Own and polls his readers—and that attitude
Oracle Extended RAC Cluster on Oracle shows through in his blog. Read it at OTN Headlines
VM and Oracle Enterprise Linux,” by

Jakub Wartak). As usual, the OTN com- This is a rather small sampling, but Free Software Downloads
munity has proven to be richly diverse, in subscribing to the RSS feeds associated
interests as well as approach. with these blogs would be a good start Documentation
See the complete list at www.tinyurl if you want to dip your toes into the
Technology Centers
.com/58ox8z. rapidly deepening Oracle blogosphere.
For a complete, aggregator-like view,
Best of the Blogosphere visit
In 2005, when first Technical Articles
“saw the light” of the internet, there oracle aces in alliance
were scarcely 30 Oracle employee blog- Recently I got word from Oracle ACE Blogs
gers to be found. Four years later, there Director (Oracle Fusion Middleware)

are hundreds, ranging in focus from Chris Muir about an interesting mile- Discussion Forums
infrastructure to industries to application stone for the Oracle ACE program. Muir
families. (Although is and other members of his Australia- Developer Events Calendar
not, strictly speaking, a developer-only based outfit, SAGE Computing Services
Oracle ACE Program
zone and is not formally an arm of the (including Oracle ACE Penny Cookson),
OTN brand, I am proud to consider worked closely with fellow Oracle ACE
OTN on Twitter
myself its godfather.) Director Lucas Jellema and his colleagues
A few of these new blogs (I con- at Netherlands-based AMIS to design

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 15
d i d y O u KNOW
? a t O r a c l e briefs

Oracle leads embedded dbms market Oracle Unveils Oracle crM automatic upgrades, requiring little or
Oracle was the overall leader in the On DeManD 16 no upfront IT investment.
embedded database management system
(DBMS) market in 2007. Oracle’s share of
the market was 26.3 percent in 2007, up
O racle CRM On Demand 16, the latest
release of Oracle’s on-demand CRM
service, is now available. It features
Oracle sOUrcing On DeManD
nOw available
from 23.7 percent in 2006. Total worldwide
embedded DBMS software revenue in 2007
was US$1.97 billion, with 50.8 percent
advanced customization capabilities and
new partner relationship management
functionalities so that organizations
O racle has introduced Oracle Sourcing
On Demand, a software-as-a-service
(SaaS) solution that drives more-efficient
coming from the Americas; 35.3 percent can extend their applications and CRM and more-effective strategic sourcing.
coming from Europe, Middle East, and Africa; systems to meet unique business require- Based on Oracle Sourcing and Oracle
and 13.9 percent coming from the Asia ments. A hosted solution, Oracle CRM Sourcing Optimization, Oracle Sourcing
Pacific market. On Demand, Standard Edition for single On Demand is preconfigured and hosted
Source: IDC tenant, is also available. by Oracle, which reduces time to value Oracle CRM On Demand 16 allows and accelerates return on investment.
infrastructure/dbms/idc-215446.pdf organizations to customize applications Oracle Sourcing On Demand cuts the
at the user interface, business process, time necessary for sourcing by making
and data layers. Built on a foundation it easier for organizations to complete
dbas Have Plenty tO dO
for enabling unlimited custom objects, sourcing events, to ensure that agree-
The top three operational database
it provides additional prebuilt custom ments are implemented as soon as they
management challenges are database
objects and delivers a high degree are signed, and to generate more-
performance, data recovery and availability,
of flexibility to define relationships effective contracts. The new service also
and upgrading to new database versions,
between custom and prebuilt objects. supports sourcing for lowest total cost
according to a survey of more than 400 DBAs.
New partner relationship manage- by enabling cross-functional collabora-
More than half (53 percent) said their most
ment functionality in Oracle CRM On tion among experts from finance, pur-
significant database project in 2009 will be
Demand 16 leverages and extends the chasing, and lines of business in order
an upgrade. Of DBAs surveyed, 40 percent
current partner license option to provide to easily optimize cost, quality, risk,
support or oversee 11 or more database
a broad set of indirect channel manage- and innovation. Oracle Sourcing On
instances, and 36 percent expect data volume
ment capabilities, as well as enhance- Demand also includes packaged inte-
to grow 25 percent or more in 2009. Almost
ments that support key functionality and gration to and from Oracle Purchasing
half—49 percent—said their mission-critical
business processes critical to the man- to ensure that the right information is
databases required six or more hours of
agement of an indirect sales channel. available within the relevant system.
planned downtime in 2008.
“Oracle continues to lead the industry Customers can go live rapidly
Source: GoldenGate Software with the most complete best-of-breed because they need only a browser in CRM-on-demand service that helps orga- order to utilize Oracle Sourcing On
pr_dbta_survey_021709.html nizations of all sizes and industries maxi- Demand. Oracle hosts and manages all
mize their business needs,” says Anthony of the additional functionality, hardware,
eurOPean cOmPanies Plan data Lye, Oracle senior vice president of databases, servers, firewall settings, and
center exPansiOns CRM. “Oracle CRM On Demand 16 and preconfigured applications.
More than 80 percent of European companies the new customization capabilities are Oracle Sourcing On Demand deliv-
surveyed in October 2008 plan to expand indicative of how only Oracle offers the ers self-paced, online training targeted at
their data centers in the next two years, flexibility and choice organizations need developing the skills users need to drive
according to a Web-based survey of IT to drive measurable business results at effective sourcing outcomes. It also pro-
decision-makers in the U.K., France, Germany, every customer touchpoint.” vides a dedicated, functional help desk
and Ireland. More than 25 percent of survey Oracle’s hosted solution, Oracle CRM with 24/7 access to subject matter experts.
respondents plan to start expansion projects On Demand, Standard Edition for single “The current economic environment
in 2009. Companies project a 21 percent tenant, enables organizations to access presents a unique opportunity to drive
increase in average power capacity per rack a fully dedicated hardware and software mammoth savings from strategic sourc-
of 5.78 kilowatts, up from 4.7 kilowatts in the stack, unlimited custom objects, and ing,” says Cliff Godwin, senior vice
previous year’s survey. optional enterprise disaster recovery. The president of applications technology at
Source: Digital Realty Trust private hosting model provides a cost- Oracle. “Oracle Sourcing On Demand effective option that is easy to use and can deliver immediate impact to an
fast to deploy with virtually seamless organization’s bottom line, helping offset

16 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
Product SPotlight: Oracle Introduces Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5

N ow available, Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5
provides a comprehensive set of services and features
to simplify the management of the full Oracle software
oracle Applications. Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5
is now certified with Oracle’s Siebel Customer Relationship
Management (Siebel CRM) 8.1.1, which allows it to
stack. The new release offers enhancements in the areas of provide monitoring and diagnostics capabilities for Siebel
database management, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle business workflows and to enable administrators to detect
Applications, and Oracle VM. problems quickly. The new release also includes Oracle
database management. Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Application Management Pack for Oracle Communications
Release 5 includes many database management enhance- Billing and Revenue Management, which allows adminis-
ments that support Oracle Database 11g, including trators to save time and effort monitoring service levels,
■ Real-time SQL monitoring diagnosing and remedying performance issues, and manag-
■ Support for Oracle Database 11g advisors ing configurations.
■ Deployment automation for highly available grid oracle VM. Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 extends
computing infrastructures its support for virtualized environments through a new
■ Improved support for Oracle Database Vault Oracle VM Management Pack that provides customers with
■ Automated database testing workflow that integrates a complete management solution for Oracle VM.
database software provisioning, data masking, database “Customers are battling economic conditions that
workload capture, and workload replay tasks require a rigorous focus on delivering business operations
oracle Fusion Middleware. Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g and IT efficiencies at a lower cost,” says Richard Sarwal,
Release 5 provides improved support for Oracle Fusion senior vice president of product development at Oracle.
Middleware. It features tighter integration with Oracle “Oracle Enterprise Manager supports their endeavors
WebLogic Server, Oracle Beehive, Oracle Service Bus, and through automated management of business workflows,
Oracle Coherence to deliver a comprehensive and com- processes, and services, as well as supporting the full
plete management solution for applications built on Oracle Oracle software stack through its unique top-down
Fusion Middleware. application management approach.”

the effects of shrinking revenue, infla- policies. Any unauthorized activities can as automating time-consuming regula-
tionary pressures, and new risks.” be detected immediately using Oracle tory compliance reporting functions.”
Audit Vault’s alerts dashboard.
Oracle BrOadens dataBase auditing and In addition, Oracle Audit Vault Oracle delivers Oracle Beehive
MOnitOring capaBilities delivers prebuilt, customizable reports On deMand

N ow available, Oracle Audit Vault
10.2.3 includes support for col-
lecting audit data from IBM DB/2 and
to help address the need for com-
prehensive compliance reporting for
regulations such as the Payment Card
O racle is now offering Oracle
Beehive—Oracle’s complete and open
platform for secure communications and
Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) Industry Data Security Standard, Health integrated collaboration—as a SaaS solu-
database servers. Insurance Portability and Accountability tion: Oracle Beehive On Demand.
Oracle Audit Vault offers organiza- Act, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Oracle Designed to help organizations
tions a centralized auditing and activity Audit Vault’s reports can be saved and secure communications and add col-
monitoring solution for their third-party shared within the enterprise and with laboration into business processes,
and Oracle databases. Oracle Audit Vault external auditors. Oracle Beehive On Demand integrates
now captures audit data from IBM DB2 “Customers can further improve the team workspaces, calendars, instant
versions 8.2 and 9.5 and Sybase ASE security of their enterprise databases messaging, and e-mail into a unified
versions 12.5 and 15.0, in addition to with Oracle Audit Vault,” says Vipin object model. It leverages the security
Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and 2005 and Samar, vice president of database secu- capabilities native to Oracle Database,
Oracle Database 11g and earlier releases. rity at Oracle. “Oracle Audit Vault’s resulting in a centralized, secure, and
With Oracle Audit Vault, audit data is database activity monitoring and report- auditable collaboration platform. The
consolidated automatically into a secure, ing capabilities turn real-time audit data cross-platform, open standards–based
centralized repository built using Oracle’s generated natively by heterogeneous architecture of Oracle Beehive sup-
data warehousing software and analyzed databases into a key security resource for ports familiar clients such as Microsoft
in real time against enterprise-defined detecting unauthorized activity as well Outlook and can coexist with Microsoft

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 17

Exchange. It is also designed to operate Oracle HyperiOn strategic Finance FOr employee engagement and the ability to
with existing infrastructures such as banking 11 available understand where your organization is
LDAP directories and voice mail systems.
In addition, each Oracle Beehive On
Demand customer gains a dedicated envi-
O racle has released Oracle Hyperion
Strategic Finance for Banking 11, a
financial modeling application that helps
being successful and where you need to
apply more attention or refocus efforts,”
says John Webb, vice president, product
ronment, ensuring maximum privacy and executives understand the full financial management at Oracle.
security while also facilitating integration impact of alternative corporate strategies.
with other on-premises and on-demand The new release features integration Oracle tO buy mvalent
applications. Customers also leverage
Oracle’s Statement on Auditing Standard
70 audited operations to meet their own
with Oracle Crystal Ball, a spreadsheet-
based application for predictive mod-
eling, forecasting, and optimization.
O racle has agreed to acquire mValent,
a provider of application configura-
tion management solutions. The acqui-
compliance requirements. This integration allows organizations to sition is expected to enhance Oracle
“This new offering enables custom- manage risk and uncertainty in capital Enterprise Manager with extensive capa-
ers to conserve capital and benefit from investment and financing decisions. bilities for managing application con-
predictable, competitive pricing—paying The product also includes integration figurations across IT environments.
only for what they use while still making with Oracle Hyperion Financial Data “Effective application configuration
the necessary improvements to their Quality Management, which enables auto- management is increasingly important
enterprise collaboration infrastructure,” mated data sourcing from general ledgers as businesses look to improve operating
says Marc Schwarz, senior vice presi- and budgeting and consolidation systems. efficiencies,” says Richard Sarwal, senior
dent, Oracle On Demand. “Businesses are looking for ways to vice president of product development
better manage risk and improve the at Oracle. “With the addition of mValent,
Oracle Financial analytics adds accuracy of their forecasts,” says Bill Oracle expects to be able to address this
capabilities FOr public sectOr agencies Guilmart, vice president of product need by providing customers with the

O racle Financial Analytics,
an Oracle Business Intelligence
Applications module, includes new capa-
management at Oracle. “Oracle
Hyperion Strategic Finance For Banking
11 allows analysts to improve their
ability to collect, compare, and recon-
cile deep configuration information of
complex systems. This acquisition is con-
bilities that give public sector agencies forecasts by using Oracle Crystal Ball’s sistent with Oracle’s strategy for deliver-
insight into their operational budgets simulation capabilities in their financial ing cost-effective solutions for managing
and funds management. The new release models and better understand the risk applications that enable customers to
helps these agencies detect exceptions factors impacting their business.” adopt new, innovative technology with
quickly by monitoring budget spend- reduced risk.” ■
ing effectively. It also provides senior Oracle’s peOplesOFt WOrkFOrce
executives and program managers with cOmmunicatiOns unveiled
real-time information to support trend
analysis and critical decision-making.
“Maximizing budget and payment per-
O racle has released PeopleSoft
Workforce Communications, a
comprehensive solution for planning
Oracle CrM On Demand 16

Oracle sourcing On Demand
formance is a priority for all organizations, and delivering human resources (HR)
including public sector agencies,” says programs and surveys to the workforce. demand.html
Paul Rodwick, vice president of product PeopleSoft Workforce Communications Oracle enterprise Manager 10g
management, Oracle Business Intelligence. is a fully integrated, bundled solution release 5
“To help these agencies gain a tighter that allows HR organizations to deliver
grasp over their budgets and payments, the right message to the right audience, Oracle Audit Vault
Oracle Financial Analytics allows for capture workforce feedback and take
Oracle beehive On Demand
timely insight into financial performance, action on it, gain program insight, and
enables strict management of timely pay- quantify success.
Oracle financial Analytics
ments, and supports financial account- Using PeopleSoft Workforce
ability and best practices. Featuring Communications, HR departments financial-analytics.html

integration with the Oracle E-Business can reduce the risk of noncompliance, Oracle Hyperion strategic finance
Suite, support for third-party datasources, improve productivity, identify underper- hyperion-financial-performance-management/
and prebuilt ETL [extract, transform, and forming areas, identify workforce seg- hyperion-strategic-finance.html
load] maps as well as financial dashboards ments that need additional training and Peoplesoft Workforce Communications
and reports, Oracle Business Intelligence development, and reduce program costs.
Applications can be deployed quickly to “PeopleSoft Workforce Communications
Oracle and mValent
enable public sector agencies to achieve has the potential to offer great value
rapid return on investment.” to organizations through improved

18 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
a t O r a c l e interview By C arolin e KvitKa

A Clean View of Data
Oracle delivers a comprehensive solution for master data management.
single source of truth for data offers intelligence layer. While Oracle’s MDM
organizational benefits ranging solutions are agnostic to data integration
from IT agility to optimized busi- technologies, we have been strengthening
ness processes—and master our links with Oracle Data Integrator and
data management (MDM) promises to positioning it to feed the hubs.
deliver that truth. Caroline Kvitka, Oracle Oracle Magazine: How do Oracle’s
Magazine senior managing editor, talked MDM products address data quality
with Pascal Laik, Oracle’s vice president of routine requirements?
MDM products, about Oracle’s solutions Laik: In some instances, we meet the
for MDM. The following is an excerpt from requirement to execute data quality rou-
that interview. Download the full podcast at tines as part of the migration/load process in order to seed the master application
Oracle Magazine: What is MDM, and why with clean data from its start. The alter-
is it important? native is to seed the master with raw
Laik: MDM is an application whose information and clean it afterward in
purpose is to supply clean master data order to trace the history of data opera-
to the enterprise by consolidating mul- tions. In any case, data quality routines
tiple siloed sources of data, cleansing such as address validation, matching,
and deduplicating this information, and Pascal Laik, Vice President of MDM Products, Oracle and merging are required for the ongoing
sharing it throughout the enterprise. operations of the hub to enable keeping
MDM supplies a unique, consistent, Last, Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship the data clean and preventing decay.
and reliable cleansed source of data, Management is a data model–agnostic Oracle has embedded best-in-class data
which is used as a single point of truth by MDM solution for financial and ana- quality software into its MDM products
both operational and analytical applica- lytical mastering needs. In addition, we to cover deep customer data and product
tions. MDM is foundational to service- recently released an Oracle Application data quality requirements.
oriented architecture projects by providing Integration Architecture MDM solution Oracle Magazine: How can Oracle custom-
access to clean data as a service. Without that provides out-of-the-box integration ers best prioritize their MDM projects?
a single view of master data, enterprises of Oracle MDM hubs with Oracle’s Siebel Laik: We recommend that our customers
struggle with inefficient operational pro- Customer Relationship Management and plan their MDM deployment in short yet
cesses and unusable analytics where data Oracle E-Business Suite, making these impactful phases based on maximizing
needs to be reconciled manually. applications “MDM aware.” The com- return on investment [ROI]. We have
Oracle Magazine: What MDM solutions posite application user interface of this developed an MDM ROI model capturing
does Oracle offer? release enables legacy and Web applica- the parameters and typical returns deliv-
Laik: Oracle’s MDM suite includes four tions to connect to the MDM hubs. ered in live MDM projects. This tool has
key products. First, Oracle Customer Oracle Magazine: What’s the relationship been instrumental in helping customers
Hub is a customer data integration solu- of MDM to data integration? and prospects justify MDM investments. ■
tion that enables organizations to cen- Laik: Data integration helps move data
tralize information from heterogeneous
systems, creating a single view of custom-
from point A to point B. An MDM
application is a repository of the master nextStePS
ers, suppliers, and employees. Similarly, data, offering Web services to access it. LiSten to the podcast
Oracle Product Hub enables organiza- Most MDM implementations have a data

tions to master products, catalogs, bills integration element—that integration is LeArn more about
of materials, and all related information. required to load the MDM application Oracle master data management
Phil SaltonStall

Third, Oracle Site Hub enables orga- from its source systems. Data integration
Oracle data integration
nizations to master information about can also be used to feed the master data
sites, locations, stores, and trade areas. from the MDM application to the business

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 19
c o m m u n i t y partner news

Ventureforth releases solution for action workflows, default data, radio Together, OrgPlus Enterprise and Oracle
DistributeD Maintenance enVironMents frequency users, labeling functions, and E-Business Suite enhance the ability to

O racle partner Ventureforth has intro-
duced Distributed Mi2K for Oracle
Enterprise Asset Management, a dis-
other options through a point-and-click
interface. RF-SMART was also recently
validated for Oracle’s JD Edwards
visualize workforce data, communicate
organizational information, and manage
workforce change.
tributed asset management solution for EnterpriseOne 8.12. When integrated with Oracle Human
remote maintenance environments such Resources Management System, OrgPlus
as offshore drilling platforms, vessels, helpstreaM offers coMMunity-DriVen Enterprise inherits roles, responsibili-
and remote refineries and plants. The serVices for oracle crM on DeManD ties, and field-level security as defined
new offering is tailored to industries
with remote sites and network commu-
nications challenges. Distributed Mi2K
T he Helpstream Winter 2009 release
from Oracle partner Helpstream
contains more than 40 enhancements
in Oracle E-Business Suite, ensuring
that users have appropriate access
rights to human resources data. OrgPlus
for Oracle Enterprise Asset Management to help service organizations improve Enterprise users can plan reorganiza-
provides the equivalent of a mini–Oracle customer satisfaction and retention tions and mergers, develop executive
Enterprise Asset Management instance while reducing support costs. The new succession plans, and validate work-
at each remote location, which allows release features community-driven force data such as reporting relation-
users at the location to perform relevant service functionality and integration ships. OrgPlus is part of Oracle’s global
maintenance and supply chain opera- of Helpstream’s Web customer service application sales demonstration envi-
tions in real time, regardless of connec- portal with the service desk capabilities ronment for organizational charting,
tivity with the primary instance in the of Oracle CRM On Demand. modeling, and visualization.
corporate data center. When combined with Oracle
The manager’s workbench feature in CRM On Demand, Helpstream allows Datawatch integrates business
Distributed Mi2K for Oracle Enterprise customers to create, manage, and DocuMent serVer with oracle uniVersal
Asset Management allows maintenance publish user-generated content and recorDs ManageMent
crew managers and supervisors at
remote locations to generate reports,
assign and reassign work orders, view
share support knowledge, resulting in
faster issue resolution. By deploying
Helpstream, organizations can enable
O racle partner Datawatch has inte-
grated Oracle Universal Records
Management with its Datawatch Business
global inventory levels, and approve agents to focus on resolving complex Document Server (BDS) enterprise
purchase requests for spare parts while service issues and building relationships content management product suite to
in disconnected mode. When connec- with customers, making agents more provide a single environment for control-
tivity is restored, Distributed Mi2K for proficient and productive. ling records and retention policies for
Oracle Enterprise Asset Management Highlights of the Winter 2009 release content stored in the Datawatch BDS
updates Oracle E-Business Suite main- include cross-channel interactions archive. Datawatch BDS offers central-
tenance, inventory, purchasing, and between community- and agent-assisted ized document management for images,
human resources data at all locations. questions, cross-channel resolution mon- reports, customer correspondence, state-
itoring for tracking channel effectiveness, ments, and other documents, and features
ics rf-sMart integrateD with improved branding and customization, optional modules for document imaging,
JD eDwarDs worlD a9.1 improved content management and electronic notification and delivery of

O racle Certified Advantage Partner
ICS’ RF-SMART suite of wire-
less automatic data collection and
authoring, and Web portal and search
engine optimization.
documents, and workflow management.
Oracle Universal Records
Management enables consistent appli-
mobile applications for supply chains huManconcepts achieVes integration cation of content retention policies.
has been integrated with Oracle’s JD with oracle e-business suite Content is automatically cataloged on
Edwards World A9.1. The integra-
tion was validated through the Oracle
PartnerNetwork Application Integration
O rgPlus Enterprise 3.3 workforce deci-
sion support software from Oracle
Certified Partner HumanConcepts
an ongoing basis and retained as long
as legal, regulatory, or business reasons
require. It also allows compliance and
Architecture for Partners Initiative. has achieved validated integra- legal teams to apply litigation or audit
RF-SMART is written specifically tion with Oracle Human Resources holds to content, preventing the acci-
for JD Edwards World and IBM Power Management System 12 (part of Oracle dental or intentional deletion of infor-
System. RF-SMART system administra- E-Business Suite) through the Oracle mation in a legally defensible manner.
tors can manage and change system PartnerNetwork Application Integration When integrated with Oracle
security, radio frequency screens, trans- Architecture for Partners Initiative. Universal Records Management,

20 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 m/oraclemagazine
b o o k BEAT

Oracle SOA Suite procedures, queries, and subqueries.
Developer’s Guide From there, the author goes beyond the
By Antony Reynolds and basics and covers optimizing security using
Matt Wright virtual private databases and transparent data
Packt Publishing encryption; importing and exporting data using
Datawatch BDS offers records managers SQL*Loader and Oracle Data Pump; and using
a single view into retention schedules, SQL replay, change management, and result
ISBN: 9781847193551
disposition actions, and audit histories. caching. The author also discusses avoiding
The combined product also facilitates This book is for developers and architects human errors using flashback and automatic
undo management; building and tuning PL/SQL
the process of discovering and declar- using Oracle’s comprehensive service-oriented
architecture (SOA) offering, Oracle SOA triggers, functions, and packages; developing
ing records and helps to ensure that an database applications using Java, JDBC, and
Suite—whether they’re working on integration
enterprise conforms to regulatory man- XML; and optimizing availability and scalability
projects, building composite applications,
dates and internal corporate policies. or specializing in implementations of Oracle with Oracle Real Application Clusters.
Applications. Oracle SOA Suite Developer’s The book includes a helpful cross-referenced
appendix containing Oracle commands,
Promero Announces Hosted Predictive Guide explains how to best harness and apply
keywords, features, and functions.
diAler And cAll center softwAre this technology, and offers insight on using
Author Kevin Loney has been an Oracle
Oracle SOA Suite to solve real-world problems
racle partner Promero has released
O Contact Center On Demand with
Predictive Dialer, a hosted predic-
—enabling readers to quickly learn and master
the technology and its applications.
developer and DBA since 1987. He is a frequent
presenter at Oracle user conferences and is the
author of many Oracle Press books, including
The initial section provides a detailed tutorial
Oracle Database 11g DBA Handbook.
tive dialer and call center software on the core components of Oracle SOA Suite:
package that uses Oracle Contact Center Oracle Service Bus, Oracle BPEL Process
Manager, Oracle Business Rules, and Oracle Processing
Anywhere. The software-as-a-service XML Documents
Business Activity Monitoring.
(SaaS) package is targeted at small to From there, the authors discuss the best way with Oracle
midsize call centers with fewer than 200 to combine these components to implement a JDeveloper 11g
agents and companies with annual rev- real-world SOA solution. Using a working example By Deepak Vohra
enues under US$100 million. The offer- of a fictional online auction site (oBay), they lead Packt Publishing
you through key SOA design considerations in
ing includes rapid setup and training and
implementing a robust solution. ISBN: 97818471966681
features low startup and monthly costs. In the final section, the authors address
Oracle Contact Center Anywhere can nonfunctional considerations and cover the This hands-on tutorial guides newcomers and
replace or work with existing PBXs. It packaging, deployment, and testing of SOA intermediate users through Oracle JDeveloper
offers skills-based routing; a universal applications. They also detail how to use 11g and XML document development. It offers
Oracle Web Services Manager to secure and up-to-date information on working with the
queue for phone calls, e-mail, faxes,
administer SOA applications. latest version of Oracle JDeveloper, and
voice mail, voice-over-Web calls, and Coauthor Antony Reynolds is a middleware brand-new information on JAXB 2.0 support in
callbacks; and Web-based collaboration. solutions director and SOA evangelist at Oracle. Oracle JDeveloper 11g. Filled with illustrations,
In its new offering, Promero combines Matt Wright is director of product management explanatory tables, and comprehensive
Oracle Contact Center Anywhere with for Oracle Fusion Middleware in Asia Pacific and instructions, this book walks the reader
has worked with early adopters of BPEL since through the wide assortment of Oracle
ProStar Lead Manager, a software appli-
its inception. JDeveloper’s capabilities. Readers will gain
cation developed by Promero that lets experience with Oracle JDeveloper through self-
call center operators create Web forms, Oracle Database contained tutorials that provide clear instruction
collect data online, and “hot transfer” 11g: The Complete on the key XML tasks that Oracle JDeveloper
prospect information from predictive Reference can accomplish.
By Kevin Loney With practical information and illustrated
dialing calls to sales professionals.
Oracle Press examples, this book shows the reader how to create, parse, and store XML documents quickly,
unify Acquires ciPHersoft and provides step-by-step instructions on how to
ISBN: 9780071598750
racle partner Unify has acquired construct an XML schema and use the schema to
O CipherSoft, an Oracle partner that
provides modernization and migration
This fully updated guide provides all the
details on the powerful features of Oracle
validate an XML document.
The book also provides detailed coverage
Database 11g. Oracle Database 11g: The of Oracle XML Developer’s Kit. Later chapters
services for Oracle applications. The discuss using XPath; transforming XML with
Complete Reference explains how to use the
acquisition expands Unify’s portfolio of XSLT; using the JSTL XML Tag Library; and
new features and tools, execute SQL queries,
application migration solutions to work construct PL/SQL and SQL*Plus statements, using the JAXB 2.0 API to bind, marshal, and
for organizations using Oracle Forms. and work with large objects and object- unmarshal XML documents.
relational databases. Author Deepak Vohra is a consultant and
CipherSoft offers legacy Oracle
Part one of the book covers critical database a principal member of the NuBean software
Forms users two options: to upgrade company. He is the author of JDBC 4.0 and
concepts, including installing Oracle Database 11g
from older versions of Oracle Forms Oracle JDeveloper for J2EE Development (Packt
or upgrading from an earlier version, and creating
to the latest supported version, Oracle database tables, sequences, indexes, views, and Publishing, 2008).
Forms 10g, or to migrate from Oracle user accounts. Part two covers SQL and SQL*Plus, Look for Oracle books at
Forms to Java and Oracle Application including how to construct SQL statements, .com/bookstore.

oracle magazine M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 21

Development Framework. Oracle program. The integrated solu- Oracle validates dclinK integratiOn
CipherSoft’s Exodus solution auto- tion is designed on a “pay-as-you-use” with Oracle e-business suite 12
matically converts Oracle Forms and
PL/SQL code. Automatic conversion
removes the risk of human error and
model and includes a range of licens-
ing, implementation, hosting, and IT
support along with business process
O racle Certified Advantage Partner
Data Systems International (DSI)
has achieved validated integra-
produces standardized business appli- outsourcing (BPO) services. tion for its dcLINK 5.0 automated
cations that are maintainable and cost Caliber Point’s multiprocess human data collection solution with Oracle
effective. Exodus is the only product resources solutions include workforce E-Business Suite 12 through the Oracle
on the market to be validated for administration, payroll, and recruitment PartnerNetwork Application Integration
Oracle Forms to Java and Java Platform, across multiple geographies. The scalable Architecture for Partners Initiative.
Enterprise Edition migration. and open infrastructure of Oracle HCM DSI’s dcLINK tracks inventory, assets,
applications allows customers to make and time on the shop floor, in the ware-
Partners exPand Oracle accelerate with changes to employee data in a globally house, and in the field. It supports RFID,
sOlutiOns fOr Midsize OrganizatiOns distributed environment. bar code, voice, mobile application, and

B ecause midsize organizations con-
tinue to demand affordable, quick-
to-deploy software applications, Oracle
The combined offering meets the
needs of large companies in North
America and Western Europe, as well as
automated machine interface technol-
ogy on a single platform. These capa-
bilities are now integrated with Oracle
partners around the world are deliver- the growing and unaddressed need for E-Business Suite 12. DSI also provides
ing new Oracle Accelerate solutions— human resources services among midsize implementation services for Oracle
prepackaged bundles that pair Oracle companies and underserved regions such Mobile Supply Chain Applications,
Applications with industry-specific as Latin America, Central and Eastern project planning and implementation,
functionality to deliver rapid, fixed-cost Europe, and Asia Pacific. and radio frequency infrastructure and
implementations. With 230 different devices from leading manufacturers.
offerings from 129 partners, Oracle csc Offers sOa services In addition to Oracle E-Business
Accelerate solutions span 53 industry
segments in 19 industries and are avail-
able in 33 countries.
O racle Certified Advantage Partner
Computer Sciences Corporation
(CSC) has announced SOAsure, an end-
Suite validation, DSI’s dcLINK has
achieved validated, real-time integration
with Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
One of those 129 partners is Zanett, to-end approach to creating a service- and JD Edwards World products. ■
an Oracle Certified Advantage Partner oriented architecture featuring Oracle
that offers Oracle Accelerate solutions technology solutions. Oracle worked
for aerospace and defense, complex closely with CSC to develop this offer-
electronic equipment, software, indus- ing around Oracle Service Bus, Oracle webLOCATOR
trial products and components, con- Enterprise Repository, and Oracle Ventureforth
sulting management services, medical Service Registry to allow customers to
devices, and life sciences. achieve SOA benefits more quickly and ICS
“By using the tools and industry focus cost effectively.
of Oracle Accelerate, we can improve Consisting of a set of services
our customers’ time to value and enable that address the entire SOA lifecycle,
a quicker ROI [return on investment],” SOAsure uses tools, processes, method-
says Jeff Copper, managing director of ologies, and accelerators to assure cost- Datawatch
JD Edwards applications at Zanett. “With effective development, maintenance,

Oracle Accelerate, we’ve seen as much and support. The offering enables orga- Promero
as a 20 to 25 percent decrease in imple- nizations to respond rapidly to market

mentation time, which is a market differ- changes with new products and services. Unify
entiator for us in these economic times.” Services under SOAsure include SOA
to enterprise resource planning (ERP) Oracle Accelerate Partner Solutions
caliber POint Offers Oracle-POwered integration, ERP upgrades to SOA- solutions.html
huMan resOurces sOlutiOns compliant versions, ERP extensions Zanett

O racle partner Caliber Point Business migration to SOA, process orchestration

Solutions, a Hexaware Technologies spanning intra- and extra-ERP services, Caliber Point
subsidiary, is providing Oracle’s ERP instance rationalization, migra-

human capital management (HCM) tion to or integration with SaaS ERP, Computer Sciences Corporation
applications in conjunction with its virtualization of the ERP platform, and
own human resources consulting and application management of the SOA/ Data Systems International
services under the BPO Powered by ERP environment.

22 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
s p e c i a l su p pl e m e n t

Managing Software Licenses:
Automation, Insight and Efficiency
A new approach to tracking software licenses gives IT professionals a leg up in corporate
efforts to manage costs and reduce compliance risks
Databases and enterprise application software are critical to business, but in an era of tight budgets, companies need to make
sure that they confidently buy only what they need and use what they are licensed for. As a result, IT professionals are under
growing pressure to keep close track of the systems the company has in place, and the licenses it has purchased to use.
That sounds straightforward enough, but it’s not always easy. At many companies, inventorying data-center software and
licenses has been a manual process that is slow, labor-intensive and error-prone. That situation is complicated by the fact
that the IT landscape is a moving target. Software may be installed without an understanding of the licensing implications.
Corporate structures change. Employees come and go. So, it is easy for a company to find itself with installations that fall
outside of the original contract terms—and that can lead to increased software costs and
Better insight into unwanted surprises, especially if a full vendor audit is performed.
Now, Oracle users can move beyond those traditional manual methods, with the recent
software use helps
release of Acresso’s FLEXnet Manager Suite for Oracle. FLEXnet Manager Suite gives IT
companies improve professionals the ability to quickly and easily inventory their Oracle Database and Oracle
software-purchase E-Business Suite applications—and have a powerful impact on their companies’ efforts to
manage costs and reduce compliance risks. “The solution is based on Acresso’s 20 years
planning, and a faster, of experience in the license-tracking field and its proven FLEXnet licensing technology,”
automated process says Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director, Product Management at Acresso Software. “Now, this
technology can be brought to bear in the Oracle environment to reduce the time and effort
provides the timely needed to accurately assess a company’s Oracle deployment and
information needed license-compliance position.”
FLEXnet Manager Suite automates the inventory
to drive change in
process, increasing accuracy and making it pos-
Learn more
the business.” sible to perform more frequent assessments to
keep up with change. It allows companies to Best Practices
pinpoint their deployments of Oracle Databases and options and E-Business for Managing Oracle
Suite application components. It can interrogate a wide range of systems to
obtain Oracle deployment information, including those based on HP-UX, AIX,
Software Licensing
Linux and Windows. Unlike other technology, it does not require the deploy- On demand webcast
ment of agents on target systems to collect deployments of Oracle, thereby Presented by Acresso Software
streamlining the implementation process significantly. And it provides custom featuring David Blake, President,
report-authoring and the ability to drill down to get more precise deployment Contract Negotiation Service
information. ”You can have a complete picture of where Oracle is deployed at AMR Research
within the enterprise and when, where and how your organization uses licenses,”
says Greenwald.
With the ability to perform accurate and more frequent inventories, IT professionals
have better visibility into their licensing situation, and can work early on to correct problems
and manage license compliance. Improved insight into software use helps them plan and budget
for future purchases more effectively. It also creates a foundation for projects such as platform standardization, volume
bundling, securing longer-term agreements and hardware consolidation.
Empowering IT professionals with a more collaborative and intelligent procurement process, FLEXnet Manager Suite
provides detailed, accurate information so that procurement teams and vendors can be on the same page with a clear view
of software use, and are better equipped to pursue productive and focused fact-based negotiations.
c o m m u n i t y UP Close By jeff eric kso n

Seriously Practical
User group leader wants developers to connect, teach, and learn.
ike Riley, president of the Oracle Reports, and Oracle Warehouse
Oracle Development Tools Builder,” says Riley. “We have a business
User Group (ODTUG), tells intelligence and data warehousing track
the story of his first brush that we hope to mingle with the Oracle
with a member of the organization and Hyperion and Oracle Essbase track,
how it changed the way he thought about because we can see those two communi-
his career. As a project manager and ties having a lot to offer each other. We
DBA at Hortica Insurance and Employee want people to get to know their present-
Benefits, Riley was embarking on his ers and know their peers. We want them
company’s first Oracle Designer project to network and find lifelong contacts.”
in 2000, and he brought in one of the While members network, ODTUG
world’s foremost Oracle Designer experts also looks to include developers who
to mentor his team. That expert was Kent are experts in other technologies. “Last
Graziano, then president of ODTUG—a year we rolled out the welcome mat for
group, as Graziano told Riley, of Oracle the Oracle Hyperion and Oracle Essbase
development tools users and experts who people and found they were a good fit for
help each other grow professionally. “He ODTUG,” Riley says. “Now we’re looking
Mike Riley, President, ODTUG
showed a willingness to share and teach at the BEA community.”
that I admired,” says Riley. By the end of Reports 6i to Oracle Database 11g, and Joining ODTUG has led Riley to a
the project, Riley was also a member of the community was helping with that,” richer professional life. “My ODTUG
ODTUG. “I’ve been hooked ever since.” says Riley. “Our expert members answer colleagues are my friends,” says Riley.
I met Riley in San Francisco, when questions quickly. I’ve received heartfelt “ODTUG membership has been about
he flew to Oracle headquarters from his thank-you notes for answers I’ve posted.” becoming a more well-rounded person.
home just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, To facilitate face time between mem- I’ve been asked to answer questions, to
to represent ODTUG at a broader user bers, ODTUG holds “Seriously Practical” teach, and to become a more polished
community meeting. I picked him up two-day conferences one or two times a speaker because I’m presenting in
at his hotel on what he told me was his year. The events provide detailed presen- front of hungry professionals and other
daughter Morgan’s seventh birthday. He tations and discussions on topics such as experts. I’ve built my skills and network
was missing her, and I felt like a slim PL/SQL and Oracle Application Express. through ODTUG, and it helps with
substitute, but Riley answered my ques- Riley tells of a 2007 conference that cul- everything I do back at work.”
tions with good cheer. He was, he said, minated with food, beer, and a PL/SQL Like Riley, I’m hoping to develop my
happy to tell me about the user group contest. “Nobody cared about the beer,” own contacts at Kaleidoscope this June.
that means so much to him. he says. “They wanted to win the contest.” I’ve already got my Google maps dialed
ODTUG members exchange exper- The granddaddy of ODTUG confer- in to Monterey, California. ■
tise on tools for developing applications ences is Kaleidoscope (June 21–25, 2009,
against Oracle Database, and members in Monterey, California), where more Jeff Erickson is a senior writer with Oracle Publishing.
embrace widely different toolsets. “I’m an than 800 people are expected to attend.
Oracle Forms guy, but we’ve got Groovy
and Grails experts, and Java is front and
I was glad I had my recorder running as
Riley described the event. nextsTePs
center for many people with [Oracle] “Sessions will cover a wide range of JoIN oDTUG
JDeveloper and Eclipse,” says Riley. development areas, including Oracle

ODTUG holds two or three confer- Application Express; database develop- ATTeND Kaleidoscope
ences a year, and for users’ day-to-day ment and tuning; architecture approaches
andrea mandel

needs, the group provides forums linked such as service-oriented architecture WATCH Up Close
Mike Riley interview
to an e-mail list of experts. “I saw where and business process management; and
someone was trying to connect Oracle traditional tools such as Oracle Forms,

24 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
c o m m u n i t y PEER-TO-PEER BY Bl ai r C am p Be ll

Keeping It Real
Three Oracle technologists push their comfort zones, test reality, and take control.
Jon Emmons lot of DBAs still underestimate the peerSPECS
Company: Opitz Consulting GmbH,
What advice do you have about benefits of using PL/SQL. a provider of Oracle solutions and
getting into Web and database Which new features of Oracle Database consulting
development? Don’t be afraid are you finding most valuable? I took Job title/description: Divisional
director, leading the Opitz division
to take on a challenge that part in the Oracle Database 11g responsible for Oracle infrastructure
may be over your head or Release 1 beta program. When I first consulting
outside your skill set. As long heard about Oracle Real Application Location: Gummersbach,
as you have good support— Testing, I was impressed. In the
Oracle credentials: Oracle
examples, documentation, past, I had some really hard projects Certified Professional, with 10 years
coworkers who are willing trying to do realistic load testing. of experience using Oracle products

to help, and online forums—you’ll learn much more when Oracle Real Application Testing is
you’re pushed outside your comfort zone. a great new feature that keeps the
You’ve taken Oracle University (OU) classes in the past. What led you complexity in that kind of project to
to do this? I’ve taken several OU classes related to both the a minimum, and it’s even more real- oracle_ace
database and application server istic at the same time.
technologies—but only after I’d peerSPECS
been working with the products Company: SunGard Higher
Education, a provider of solutions,
Porus Homi Havewala
for a while. The classes were strategic consulting, and technology What technology has most changed
invaluable for reinforcing what I management to colleges and your life? Oracle grid technology,
had learned on my own and for including Oracle Enterprise Manager
Job title/description: Team
filling in the gaps. manager and remote DBA, 10g Grid Control and all the great
What would you like to see Oracle, managing consultants working with management packs. I really like the
higher education institutions to
as a company, do more of? I see provide technical leadership, DBA advanced capabilities of Oracle Grid
a lot of value in offering a free services, and training Control for tasks such as patching
Location: Concord, New
“light” version of software, as Hampshire
databases in an automated sched-
was done with Oracle Database Length of time using Oracle
ule, setting and scheduling Oracle
Express Edition. This lowers the products: 8 years RMAN [Oracle Recovery Manager]
barrier to entry but gives people backups on the fly, and issuing SQL
a database that can really grow scripts and OS commands against peerSPECS
with their products. any database or server. Company: S&I Systems, a provider of enterprise infrastructure,
oracle_ace What would you like to see Oracle, business solutions, and integration
Torsten Schlautmann as a company, do more of? Oracle services
How did you get started in IT? I got a CPC 464 [a popular personal has demonstrated technical and Job title/description: Principal
consultant, presales/consulting,
computer produced in Europe in the 1980s] as a present for my thought leadership since its incep- interacting closely with Oracle and
15th birthday. After using it just for gaming for a while, I got tion in 1977. The most recent the Oracle community through
seminars, events, and blogs
bored and started to write my own applications in Assembler. example of innovative technology
Location: Singapore City,
My first “big” application was a is the announcement that we can Singapore
program to capture the contents of use Oracle Grid Control to back Oracle credentials: Oracle
Certified Master (Oracle Designer,
discs with a GUI. up our databases directly to the Oracle Developer) and Oracle
Now that you’re a pro, what’s your Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. Certified Technician (Oracle
Database 10g), with 14 years of
favorite tool or technique on the job? My request would just be to keep experience using Oracle products
Even though I’m now much more up this leadership.
of a DBA and an architect, I still What green practices do you use
love to write code using PL/SQL. in your DBA work? I don’t print
I’ve never learned such a powerful anything—I keep everything as
programming language so easily. A electronic copies. ■

oracle magazine m aY / j u n e 2 0 0 9 25
Bring together the languages and
with Oracle development solutions


MJ09_Developer.indd 26 4/6/09 5:12:21 PM

ages and technologies your applications demand

D evelopers who need straightforward solu-
tions for complex technical problems have
many options to choose from—and the number
president of software development, database
group, at Oracle. “That puts extra emphasis on the
need for better tools, because before you could
of options and the developers choosing them keep specialized information, like syntax, in your
increase every year. “We have seen a significant head. Even professionals who do this all day can’t
growth in languages like PHP or Perl, and to some memorize everything anymore.”
extent Python or Ruby on Rails,” says Al Hilwa, These new tools and technologies developed
program director, application development because business needs forced increased require-
software research, at independent research ments on applications. “New applications have to
firm IDC. meet a higher bar of richness in terms of graph-
And it is not only the numbers of languages and ics, interactivity, and mixing and blending content
new adopters that has grown. “Today’s develop- types at the presentation layer,” says IDC’s Hilwa.
ers are forced to pay attention probably to 20 Regardless of whether your focus is the user
technologies, where before they could concentrate interface, the business logic, the database, or
on maybe three or four,” says Mike Hichwa, vice even the “cloud,” (see the sidebar, “Clouds in the


MJ09_Developer.indd 27 4/6/09 5:13:02 PM
Development Forecast,” page 29),
Oracle tools and development solu-
tions offer many choices for Web
2.0 enterprises and companies that
still depend on their legacy main-
frames for business processes.

Streamlining the BuSineSS
Avis Budget Group wanted to
improve its customer experience,
but accomplishing this goal with
its legacy mainframe system was a
formidable task. “We’re trying to
tackle a suite of problems that are
not uncommon to many compa-
nies that are dealing with legacy
systems,” says Prahlad Athreya, Avis Budget Group needed to expose legacy functionality in a service-oriented architecture. To do so, the company looked
to Oracle. “Oracle WebLogic Server is a robust application server that helps us build on a core application that we know
principal architect at Avis. “The works without any issues and lets us focus our efforts on delivering services,” says Prahlad Athreya, principal architect.
costs of maintaining legacy
systems tend to be high, and it’s always a challenge to keep without any issues and lets us focus our efforts on delivering
systems operational while making major changes.” services,” Athreya says.
Even the simplest changes can be problematic for a “Oracle WebLogic Server has several features that promote
company as large as Avis, which in 2007 completed 28 million automation and allow administration to be simplified using
vehicle rental transactions worldwide on the 425,000 vehicles scripting,” says Athreya, explaining the product’s appeal. “And
that it rents from 6,900 locations. And while renting and the key to delivering a good SOA is a good messaging founda-
returning a car is relatively straightforward for a customer, tion. In that regard, Oracle WebLogic allows us to integrate
managing all variables associated with the rental experience, very well with the mainframe.”
along with the back-end processes, requires fairly sophisti- One of the first processes that Avis addressed with its
cated capabilities. Oracle WebLogic–based SOA solution: rental return. The
The company was faced with the challenge of exposing company implemented a new E-Receipts application that
legacy functionality—especially that related to the customer enables a renter to return a car, get an instant paper receipt,
experience—in a more flexible and cost-effective service- and receive a follow-up e-mail with an electronic receipt that
oriented architecture (SOA). Additionally, the SOA infrastruc- can be used for expense reports or recordkeeping.
ture needed to support all of Avis’ customer contact channels, The Oracle WebLogic–based E-Receipt application has been
from call centers and the Web to airport rental counters and transformative, in that it has allowed Avis to unlock business
standalone facilities. processes and information that previously were mainframe-
To build its SOA, Avis chose Oracle WebLogic Server, bound. The solution ties into the company’s mainframe-based
because “Avis firmly believes in open standards and interoper- billing system, and in addition to electronically enabling a core
ability,” says Athreya. In addition, the Avis team built the SOA business process (rental returns), E-Receipt demonstrates how
infrastructure (called OMEGA, or One Merged Enterprise & Avis could cost-effectively extend the reach of its mainframe
Global Architecture) based on Oracle WebLogic Server because applications using SOA technologies.
it gives developers freedom to concentrate on building busi- The combination of SOA and the Oracle WebLogic plat-
ness logic and business services without having to worry about form allows Avis to achieve an extra benefit as well: reuse.
Catherine Gibbons

internal infrastructure issues. “A big chunk of our environment is devoted to services that
“Oracle WebLogic Server is a robust application server are used across applications throughout the company,” says
that helps us build on a core application that we know works Athreya. “SOA and Oracle WebLogic save us the effort of

28 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
“SOA and Oracle WebLogic save us the Clouds in the Development Forecast
effort of having to reinvent and rebuild a For companies that have big storage or development needs
piece of functionality, so it can be reused and want to access a larger network without having to main-
across multiple projects.” tain one, working in the cloud can provide a lot of advan-
tages: it’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s cost-effective.
—Prahlad Athreya, Principal Architect, Avis Budget Group “We’re seeing a move to reduce the time, complexity, and
cost of gaining access to computing resources and solutions,
and that’s exactly what cloud computing does,” says Mike
having to reinvent and rebuild a piece of functionality, so it Hichwa, vice president of software development, database
can be reused across multiple projects.” group, at Oracle. For example, while Oracle Application
Express or Oracle Database can be run locally for depart-
Securing the Vote mental solutions, they can also be run in the data center, or
Although businesses must be able to develop applications that even in the cloud.
can help them run more efficiently, it’s perhaps even more “You can get an Oracle database on Amazon’s [Elastic
important for democratic governments to have applications Compute] Cloud and use Oracle Application Express and
that can ensure fair and impartial elections. That’s why Ohio’s start building your Oracle-based application with no local
secretary of state turned to Oracle and Oracle Application hardware,” says Hichwa. “So you can sign up, get on the
Express—a no-cost feature of Oracle Database that enables internet, and in minutes—literally—you can procure an Oracle
organizations to rapidly develop browser-based database appli- database in the Amazon cloud and start using it. I came
cations—as the foundation for a brand-new election reporting across one blog that showed a customer who bought an
and monitoring solution. Oracle database in Amazon’s cloud, used it for eight hours,
The Ohio secretary of state is responsible for managing data then stopped, and paid less than $5. I don’t know too many
for corporation filings, Uniform Commercial Code filings, and other providers who can give you that type of service.” (See
monitoring and tracking of statewide campaign finance activi- Next Steps for information about using Oracle products on
ties, as well as the state’s election environment. It’s an indepen- the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.)
dent office that’s elected by the people of Ohio. But what if you’re not ready to develop your own database
When the current secretary of state, Jennifer Brunner, came application in the cloud? What’s a good way to get started
into office in January 2007, one of her primary goals was to in cloud-based application development? New concepts like
clean up the elections environment. There had been accusa- cloud computing can be hard to understand at first, but some-
tions of bias in the 2000 and 2004 elections, and she wanted times there are easy ways to wrap your head around them.
to ensure that Ohio’s elections were free, fair, open, and avail- “Starting to develop cloud-based applications can actually
able to everyone. be a very easy experience,” says Christian Schalk, a devel-
An important step was rewriting the election night report- oper advocate at Google. “You can often start by dropping a
ing system, along with the applications that maintain and little bit of JavaScript into your page and instantly turn your
report on elections across the state. Because the secretary of app into a cloud-based app that ties into a larger server-
state’s office was already primarily an Oracle shop running based cloud architecture.”
Oracle Database with Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle Schalk recommends that developers start by getting a feel
RAC), its technology team decided to take advantage of Oracle for the different cloud-based technologies that are available.
Application Express and use it as the basis for Ohio’s new elec- Among other things, developers can learn how easy it is to
tion reporting operations. (The secretary of state’s office desig- integrate an online map into an existing application.
nated civil service employees as the primary project managers “Using the Google Maps API is a nice example of how easy
for the new Oracle Application Express system and contracted it can be to create an application that ties into the cloud,” says
with an independent and unbiased consultancy, the James Schalk. “Just getting Google Maps to appear in an application
Group, for technical staff augmentation.) is a good use of cloud computing, and it’s incredibly easy.”
The secretary of state’s office used Oracle Application Once you’re familiar with the options, it’s possible to start
Express to develop three applications for election night report- building up and integrating with many online cloud services
ing, including a county submission utility and an elections and APIs.
administration package. All of these applications were inte- “If you’re coming from a traditional enterprise or server-side
grated into an Oracle Application Express environment and development environment, where you’re working on fairly
stress tested. Election systems aren’t used on a daily basis, complex technologies, you may be surprised to find that us-
but when they are used, they must be able to support the ing some of these mashable cloud-based technologies can
required workloads. be pretty easy,” says Schalk. “It’s also a lot of fun!”
“We went through a series of dry runs and stress testing

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 29
to ensure that the Oracle and network of 21 advice
Application Express environ- centers across the U.K. About
ment could handle the load 300,000 unique visitors go
that we anticipated on election to its consumer Web site each
night,” says Robert Mangan, month for resources such as
chief information officer, Ohio energy-saving recommenda-
secretary of state’s office. “We tion applications.
stressed the bandwidth at A long-time Oracle customer,
275MB all the way up to 500MB the Energy Saving Trust had
and couldn’t bring the Oracle previously used a combination
Application Express site down of application development
or degrade the performance to tools and technologies, along
an unacceptable level. It worked with an Oracle database, to
really well for us.” create custom applications for
As a result, the new Oracle many of its business processes.
Application Express–based elec- That strategy has changed.
tions reporting applications “We’re trying to leverage off-
were rolled out in late 2007 the-shelf applications whenever
for a special election and for possible,” says Adam Spindler,
the 2008 primary and general The Ohio secretary of state’s office uses Oracle Application Express for its
IT manager at the Energy
elections. The county submis- new election reporting operations. “If there’s a wall with the tool, we haven’t Saving Trust. “As a result, our
sion module provided a secure hit it yet,” says Robert Mangan, CIO, Ohio secretary of state’s office. application development efforts
sockets connection that allowed are focused more on integra-
the county boards of elections access to the Ohio secretary of tion and being able to extend applications rather than writing
state’s Web site and gave them the ability to submit reports them from scratch.”
and results throughout the night of an election. The results In November 2008, the organization completed a major
were automatically pushed to the databases and the backup upgrade of its Web site, leveraging eZ Publish, an open source
sites by way of Oracle Streams. content management system that uses the Energy Saving
“Our biggest concern was whether Oracle Application Trust’s existing Oracle Database infrastructure. eZ Publish is
Express could take massive hits and massive usage over the written in PHP and has a PHP-extension-based architecture, so
Web, and that ended up not being an issue for it at all,”
Mangan says. During the 2008 general elections, the Web-
based application received close to 49 million hits in a six- snapshots
hour period on election night.
“It performed well. We met all of Secretary Brunner’s goals Avis Budget Group
for the election night operations,” says Mangan. “We’ve got Location: Parsippany, New Jersey
a great election monitoring tool now, and we’re planning on Employees: 30,000
expanding it over time and adding additional features.” Oracle products: Oracle WebLogic Server
The Ohio secretary of state’s office is now pushing Oracle
Application Express into initiatives for campaign finance and Office of the Ohio Secretary of State
voter registration. “If there’s a wall with the tool, we haven’t hit
Location: Columbus, Ohio
it yet,” says Mangan.
Employees: 188
Oracle products: Oracle Database 10g, Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle
Leveraging infrastructure for robust appLications Application Express, Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, Oracle Spatial, Oracle Streams,
Oracle Database delivers a database platform for building scal- Oracle JDeveloper, Oracle Application Server
able and reliable applications across multiple development
technologies, including PHP and Java. Open standards and Energy Saving Trust
interoperability, which save time, money, and upkeep, are
Location: London, England
important for most companies. For one organization in the Employees: 247
U.K., open standards help save energy as well. Oracle products: Oracle Database 10g, Oracle Real Application Clusters,
Rick Zaidan

The Energy Saving Trust promotes the efficient use of Oracle Application Server
energy and a more low-carbon lifestyle through its Web site

30 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
“Oracle Database is just
the best on the market.
Using Oracle Database in
a cluster makes our life
so simple.”
—Adam Spindler, IT Manager,
Energy Saving Trust

it can be integrated with the organiza-
tion’s other applications and infrastruc-
ture components.
“We use PHP to communicate from
eZ Publish to our CRM [customer
relationship management] system, by
generating XML and then receiving XML
back, processing it, and putting it all
in,” says Spindler. “Everything’s PHP.”
In fact, strong support for PHP was a
key reason that the Energy Saving Trust
chose eZ Publish. “When it comes to moving and crunching large amounts of data, like our 80 million rows, we love PL/SQL,” says
“We liked the idea of PHP before- Adam Spindler, IT manager at the Energy Saving Trust. “PL/SQL does everything we need.” The organization
attracts 300,000 unique visitors to its Web site every month for energy-saving tips and recommendations.
hand, but it was really the fact that eZ
Publish was written in PHP that was the
deciding factor,” says Spindler. “Previously we had to have a infrastructure, starting with Oracle Database. “Oracle Database
separate service running to handle our Web requests and basi- is just the best on the market,” says Spindler. “With our three-
cally used it to pass off the requests from Apache to this other node [Oracle RAC] cluster, Oracle Database is bulletproof—it
service and process it there. But now with the PHP-based just works, all the time. We even had a situation where one of
solution, it just runs as a plug-in, so it’s far more robust and our engineers pulled the plug on the main database server and
efficient than before.” it just carried on—it didn’t miss a beat. Using Oracle Database
The Energy Saving Trust also uses Java to write some in a cluster makes our life so simple.” ■
extensions, such as one it has built to connect the Web portal
to energy savings recommendation engines, which provide David A. Kelly ( is a business, technology, and travel
information to consumers on the best ways to save energy. The writer who lives in West Newton, Massachusetts.
company has also used some cloud computing capabilities

by incorporating a Google Maps extension, which was built
using the Google Maps API, Ajax, PHP 5, and the Yahoo! User
Interface framework. The Google Maps extension allows users
READ about Oracle development tools
to find gas/refueling stations close to a specified location.
Spindler still sees the need for application development
LEARN about Oracle Application Express
skills—especially PL/SQL—and the Energy Saving Trust’s
application development team includes both Java and PL/SQL DOWNLOAD Oracle WebLogic Server
developers for creating custom applications or extensions.
“PL/SQL is the perfect tool for doing data manipulation in VISIT
the database,” says Spindler. “We like Java, but when it comes the PHP Developer Center
to moving and crunching large amounts of data, like our
80 million rows, we love PL/SQL. PL/SQL does everything the Oracle Cloud Computing Center
we need.”
John Blythe

USE Oracle products on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
Regardless of the tool employed, Spindler attributes a lot
of the Energy Saving Trust’s success to developing a robust

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 31
By dav i d Bau m

Prevent errors, reduce downtime, and save
money with Oracle Application Testing Suite.

W hen IT professionals absolutely, positively have
to get it right—whether they’re helping an edu-
cational software company improve its application
lifecycle or they’re running the Web site of a charitable
organization that raises funds online—they test. Making
sure that all applications run smoothly in all kinds of
conditions is mission critical, and the way to ensure
that applications perform as needed is to test them—
rigorously and repeatedly—under real-world conditions.
Application testing is becoming increasingly impor-
tant as customers seek to deploy applications faster, at
lower cost, and with higher quality of service. Quality
assurance (QA) professionals want application testing

32 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
solutions that prevent costly application perfor- question: how can we become more efficient in
mance problems, avoid unplanned outages of the QA department while driving our testing pro-
business-critical applications, and automate the cesses forward?
manual steps involved in application testing. To better serve its customers and keep the
These QA goals were key for Meridian LMS performing optimally, Downs and his team
Knowledge Solutions, which wanted to establish follow proven methods for control processes,
processes that would make its entire application testing, documentation, and review procedures,
testing lifecycle more efficient. The company, a as well as creating templates and guidelines
subsidiary of Visionary Integration Professionals, for QA deliverables. Oracle Test Manager for
provides learning management system (LMS) and Web Applications, one component of Oracle
learning content management system software. Application Testing Suite, helps them bring all
Meridian serves 4.5 million users at more than these pieces together while enabling collaborative
200 public and private sector employers. For communication through a common portal.
this educational software company, testing isn’t The biggest advantage of the Oracle software,
something that their end users do after they’ve according to Downs, is its simplicity: all funda-
mastered the material. Testing starts at home. mental areas of the software lifecycle are avail-
“We didn’t want to simply develop our testing able in a simple and intuitive interface.
processes around an application,” says James “Oracle offers three important testing modules
Downs, product QA manager at Meridian. “We integrated into one interface,” says Downs. (For
wanted to define processes that would make us a description of the testing modules, see the
more efficient so we could better manage our sidebar, “Oracle Application Testing Suite:
application testing lifecycle from beginning to end.” Putting It All Together,” page 34.) “Requirements,
As part of defining their processes—as well as test management, and defect tracking are all
managing application testing lifecycles—QA pro- bundled together, which is fantastic for traceabil-
fessionals at Meridian asked themselves a simple ity purposes. When you’re trying to itemize
I-Hua CHen

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 33
things, it is easier to have them all “We focus on making sound
in one place.” decisions for all areas that we
One of the most time- want to fix, from requirements
consuming QA tasks for Meridian management to development
involves creating traceability to QA to the change process,”
between requirements, tests, and explains Downs. “It’
s all about
defects. “By allowing users to asso- repeatability. You want to devise
ciate requirements to tests, tests to procedures that are cyclical, con-
issues, and issues to requirements, sistent, and predictable.”
Oracle Test Manager for Web
Applications provides traceability No LaughiNg Matter
and mapping that aids in our CCB Consistent and predictable applica-
[change control board] process, tion performance under extreme
issue resolution, and testing prepa- conditions is paramount for Comic
ration and execution,” Downs Relief, a U.K.-based charity whose
says. That functionality has big
“Oracle’s traceability capabilities vision is “a just world free from
payoffs for Meridian. alone save our team days, if not poverty” and whose mission
“Oracle’s traceability capabili- weeks, on every release.” is “positive change through
ties alone save our team days, if the power of entertainment.”
not weeks, on every release,” says —James Downs, Product QA Manager, Established in 1985 by comedians
Downs. “These capabilities sys- Meridian Knowledge Systems with a passion for helping others,
tematically cover our functionality each year Comic Relief runs a
and prevent a lot of upkeep and overhead.” major fundraising campaign—either Red Nose Day or Sport
Meridian’s application testing procedures are built both for Relief, which are held in alternate years.
today’s requirements and with an eye to the future. During these campaigns, Web site performance is critical.

Oracle Application Testing Suite: Putting It All Together
The Oracle Application Testing Suite, part of Oracle Enterprise Melinda-Carol Ballou, program director of IDC’s Application Life
Manager’s suite of application quality management products, Cycle Management Service and a principal analyst at the inde-
provides an integrated solution for load testing, functional test- pendent research firm, says, “Oracle’s acquisition of the Oracle
ing, and test management. It enables customers to test pack- Application Testing Suite functionality [acquired with Emperix’
aged, Web, and service-oriented architecture–based applications e-TEST suite] is an important first step toward developing an
and their underlying infrastructure, and it helps ensure optimum overall lifecycle strategy for Oracle Applications.”
quality, scalability, and availability. Oracle Application Testing Indeed, Oracle is in the process of integrating and enhancing
Suite includes three components. Oracle Application Testing Suite functionality in several of its
Load testing for Web applications simulates thousands of vir- applications lines, including Oracle E-Business Suite and Siebel
tual users accessing the application simultaneously and measures Customer Relationship Management (CRM). “We are leveraging
the effect of the load on application performance, thus validating Oracle’s extensive knowledge of these applications to generate
the performance and scalability of applications and Web services. test scripts more efficiently and to provide best-of-breed solu-
Functional testing for Web applications provides for com- tions for testing Oracle Applications,” says Leng Leng Tan, vice
prehensive functional testing of applications and Web services president of applications and systems management at Oracle.
by simplifying automated test script generation and enabling the For example, the Oracle Application Testing Suite accelera-
automation of complex Web applications and associated tech- tors for Siebel let customers jump-start their Siebel application
nologies out of the box. testing by providing automated load and functional testing for
Test manager for Web applications helps manage Web Siebel customer relationship management applications. “Oracle
application testing by allowing users to define testing require- Application Testing Suite integrates with Siebel Test Automation
ments, specify and execute manual or automated tests to validate Interfaces to natively recognize Siebel UI elements and corre-
requirements, and manage the defects that those tests uncover. late application requests when creating automated test scripts,
Oracle Application Testing Suite also provides a common script- greatly simplifying the testing process,” says Tan. “The frame-
ing environment between functional testing and load testing to work allows customers to focus on testing their Siebel applica-
simplify test processes and accelerate test completion by as much tions rather than creating test scripts and greatly reduces the
david deal

as 50 percent. overall cost of testing.”

34 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
Comic Relief uses Oracle Load Testing for Web Applications,
one of the three primary Oracle Application Testing Suite
modules, to define and manage a comprehensive testing
process that includes validating the functionality of its Web
applications and ensuring that those applications can
perform well even when the organization experiences huge
spikes in traffic.
Comic Relief’s Web application testing processes ensure
that people visiting the organization’s fundraising sites can get
information and make donations quickly. “Oracle Load Testing
for Web Applications includes infrastructure performance
monitors that record metrics on Web servers, application
servers, databases, and other infrastructure components,” says
Charlotte Melén, Web technology manager at Comic Relief.
“That’s been really useful.”
Comic Relief’s test campaigns follow a set process that
begins with performance testing and tuning and then moves
on to load and stress testing. Oracle Application Testing Suite
helps the QA team define and manage these testing processes,
validate application functionality, and ensure that Comic
Relief’s Web properties perform under the anticipated demand.
Comic Relief’s testing procedures include simulating 30,000
simultaneous users and measuring the effect of the load on
application performance.
During extensive load testing leading up to Red Nose Day
2007, Oracle Load Testing for Web Applications was instru-
mental in ensuring that the online donation application would
be able to handle traffic processed by 9,800 call center agents. Comic Relief requires dependable Web site performance. “Oracle Load Testing for
“Thanks to our systematic testing efforts, we were confident Web Applications includes infrastructure performance monitors that record metrics
on infrastructure components,” says Charlotte Melén, Web technology manager.
that our infrastructure would be able to handle the tremendous
demands it would experience during the event,” Melén says.
The site performed as testing thoroughly is the key to application success. “I would
planned. Comic Relief pro- advise anyone putting in place a business-critical Web applica-
snap shots cessed more than 450,000 tion to test thoroughly,” she says. “It’s a key quality assurance
transactions during a seven- measure to show whether or not an application will perform
Meridian Knowledge Solutions hour period. During peak under traffic. We certainly could not run our campaigns
(a subsidiary of Visionary Integration
Professionals) loads, the site processed an without such rigorous testing.” average of 54 transactions James Downs from Meridian Knowledge Solutions
Location: Chantilly, Virginia per second. Comic Relief acknowledges the importance of application testing and the
Industry: Software and services is planning for three times value of the Oracle testing tools to his team: “Oracle has pro-
Revenue: US$13 million that amount of traffic for vided a relatively low-cost solution that supports almost all
Employees: 80 the 2009 Red Nose Day aspects of our product development lifecycle.” ■
Oracle products: Oracle Application
campaign. “We’ll be testing
Testing Suite, Oracle Database
for peaks of 150 transac- David Baum ( is a freelance business writer based in
Comic Relief tions per second to ensure Santa Barbara, California. we can handle an expected
Location: London, England 750,000 transactions in
Industry: Charity
Revenue: US$136 million
Employees: 120
six hours,” Melén says.
“This will allow us to walk
into Red Nose Day 2009 READ about ensuring Web service quality with
Oracle products: Oracle Load Testing Oracle Application Testing Suite
for Web Applications, Oracle Database, with confidence that the
Oracle Application Server, Oracle Data Web site will perform
DOWNLOAD Oracle Application Testing Suite
john blythe

Guard, Oracle Real Application Clusters under pressure.”
Melén believes that

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 35
I-Hua CHen

36 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
By a lan jo ch

Safeguard the deSktop
Oracle technology for Windows supports your midsize business.

T he need to make IT investments that both
minimize expenses and provide dependable,
flexible, and scalable solutions is nothing new.
supplied by one vendor while supporting them
with flexible and scalable business software
from another vendor. One such IT combination is
For many companies, the IT solution is a single- Microsoft Windows and Oracle Database.
vendor, integrated stack of enterprise software As Chris Sykes, CEO of Volume Group, puts
solutions. For some companies, however, includ- it, “Microsoft runs my desktop, and Oracle runs
ing many midsize businesses, a cost-effective my business.” His global marketing communica-
IT solution may involve multiple vendors. These tions company combined Oracle Database 11g,
businesses may choose to maintain technolo- Microsoft Windows Server 2008, and custom
gies and expertise focused on the desktop and .NET applications created by its in-house devel-
opment staff.
Similarly, Olam International, a global com-
modity supply chain management company
for coffee, cocoa, nuts, and other commodi-
ties, finds that the right IT setup is critical for
its global business operation and growth. The
company benefits from the combination of Oracle
Database 11g and the Windows operating system
to run its worldwide purchasing, distribution, and
financial operations.
“There are many opportunities for data optimi-
zation, automation, and visibility,” says Thiagaraja
Manikandan, Olam’s senior vice president and
chief technology officer. “IT can be a competitive
differentiator for our company.”

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 37
Multiple CoMbinations
Organizations such as Volume and Olam use Oracle Database
pendent research firm.
“They may already be
snap shots
11g and other Oracle products as a foundation for enterprise- an Oracle customer with Volume Group
class IT reliability, scalability, and security. At the same time, IT a database administra-
staffs, particularly those in small and midsize companies, con- tion staff that’s expert Location: Berkshire, England
Industry: Marketing communications
tinue to benefit from their expertise with the Windows operat- in Oracle technol-
Revenue: US$8.4 million
ing system and Microsoft’s .NET development environment. ogy, and the company Employees: 83
Oracle/Microsoft users often fall into two main groups, says is simply extending Oracle products: Oracle Database,
Carl Olofson, research vice president for information manage- the environment to Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio
ment and data integration software research at IDC, an inde- get certain advan-
tages from Microsoft Olam International
Windows Server,” he
Location: Singapore
extending a developing Hand says. “A second group
Industry: Supply chain management
has determined that Revenue: SG$8.1 billion
Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio, Oracle Data Provider for Oracle Database is the Employees: 100
.NET (ODP.NET), and Oracle Database 11g extend many capabilities right RDBMS for their Oracle products: Oracle Database,
to organizations that integrate Oracle and Microsoft technologies. Windows-based applica- Oracle Application Server, Oracle Forms,
These important tools and features include tions and development Oracle Developer Suite, Oracle JDeveloper,
Oracle Financials
activities, and finds that
Oracle works well in
Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio integrates tightly with
combination with Microsoft technologies.”
Microsoft Visual Studio to make it easy for .NET developers to
perform database tasks, generate SQL scripts automatically and
solid perforManCe
check them into source control, support Oracle user-defined types,
In addition to its more traditional marketing communica-
generate code automatically for Microsoft Office projects, and more.
tions business, Volume creates learning management systems
ORacLE pROVIDERs fOR asp.NET that support its international clients’ technical sales and call
Oracle Providers for ASP.NET, included with Oracle Developer Tools center agents. It sought a competitive edge for these applica-
for Visual Studio, enables Oracle Web application developers to tions, but at the same time, it wasn’t ready to ditch its .NET
take advantage of Microsoft Visual Studio Web controls for login applications or ignore its IT staff’s expertise in the develop-
authentication, site map, session state, and more to generate Web ment environment.
applications without writing code and store the Web site state in “We’re at a critical time in our evolution as a relatively
Oracle Database. small and independent company,” Volume’s Sykes says.
“We’re now competing against the large global advertising
ODp.NET suppORT fOR cachING
networks, and technology has become the driver to differen-
ODP.NET provides unique .NET caching features that improve data-
tiate Volume in the marketplace.” But as Volume grew, it “hit
base performance. The Oracle client result cache improves query
a performance ceiling” with Microsoft SQL Server, according
performance by enabling client-side caching of SQL query result
to Sykes. “We needed something like Oracle Database 11g to
sets in memory, and it automatically keeps client data consistent
give us that performance hike, improve security, and expand
with the database. Oracle statement caching speeds statement
scalability,” he says. That’s the reason that Volume recently
execution for frequently executed PL/SQL and SQL statements.
migrated to Oracle Database 11g.
ODp.NET suppORT fOR cLusTERING “The time frame our technology team gave me for migrat-
ODP.NET load balancing intelligently dispenses connections to the ing from SQL Server to Oracle Database 11g was quite long,
least-loaded database service, service member, or node in a data- because their perception was that it would be a lengthy and
base cluster, ensuring a well-balanced cluster. If a database service painful process,” Sykes says. But that wasn’t the case.
fails, ODP.NET ensures new connection requests are serviced by an “We factored in time for some potential disruption, but
existing service in Oracle Real Application Clusters or an existing the migration hasn’t affected the delivery of our applications
database in an Oracle Data Guard setup. at all,” he says. “In some cases, the move actually sped up
the implementation of some applications.”
ORacLE DaTabasE 11g suppORT fOR acTIVE DIREcTORy
In real-world terms, the added database power enables
Oracle Database 11g supports native integration with Microsoft
Volume to pitch larger, more lucrative projects. “Two years
Windows Active Directory, so Oracle database and configuration
ago, the average revenues from our applications ranged
tools can use a Windows user’s logins to connect directly into
between £50,000 and £100,000. Now, they’re averag-
Windows security management system.
ing between £250,000 and £500,000. We couldn’t do that

38 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
without Oracle,” Sykes says. Tools for Visual Studio] to be
The opportunity to very important,” says IDC’s
move to a more power- Olofson. “They’re critical
ful database and stay with to the adoption of Oracle
a familiar operating system technology in the Microsoft
platform proved attractive environment because .NET is
to Olam as well. The com- where Windows developers
pany chose to upgrade its do their work. These tools
older Oracle databases to mean developers don’t have
Oracle Database 11g despite to make a paradigm shift to
the potential of Microsoft move from, say, SQL Server
SQL Server. to Oracle.”
“Oracle provides much
better scalability, performance, a Competitive edge
and availability capabilities Volume’s Sykes sees that
than Microsoft SQL Server, “We hit a performance ceiling with Oracle and Microsoft together
so it doesn’t make sense to offer high-performing and
switch to some other technol-
Microsoft SQL Server. We needed . . . flexible solutions at economi-
ogy when you’re already using Oracle Database 11g to give us that cal prices. Initially, he says,
a top-of-the-line database,” performance hike [and] improve security.” his staff was skeptical that
Olam’s Manikandan says. Oracle technology would be
Olam considered Microsoft —Chris Sykes, CEO, Volume Group affordable for a company of
SQL Server less flexible Volume’s size.
because it runs only on the Microsoft platform, a fact that “There is a perception that Oracle is big and expensive and
would impede Olam’s switch to Linux or UNIX if it were to has no place in a small enterprise,” he recalls. “But we actually
consider an operating system change sometime in the future. found the opposite: Oracle was accessible, and it
Upcoming decisions about applications also influenced was affordable.”
Olam’s database decision. “We’re looking at some very top- Oracle technology also offers Volume an intangible benefit
of-the-line risk-management solutions that are very resource that helps it differentiate itself against tough global competi-
intensive,” Manikandan says. “They only run on high-end tors. “Clients like the fact that enterprise-level capabilities
databases like Oracle.” can be delivered by an agency like ours,” he says. “That gives
us a massive amount of credibility.” ■
Rapid development
In addition to performance advantages, Oracle Database on Alan Joch ( is a technology writer based in New England who
Windows can be good news for a programming staff, thanks specializes in enterprise, Web, and high-performance-computing applications.
to the close integration between Oracle Database 11g and
Microsoft’s Visual Studio development platform. Developers
who use the .NET Framework can access Oracle Database nextSTEPS
11g via Oracle Data Provider for .NET (ODP.NET) and Oracle READ about
Developer Tools for Visual Studio. Oracle Database 11g
“ODP.NET and Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio

allow .NET developers to use existing .NET applications Oracle Database 11g on Windows
and program against Oracle databases without any learn- Dev_Deploy_TWP.pdf
ing curve,” says Santanu Datta, senior director of Windows
new Oracle Database 11g features in Oracle Developer Tools
development at Oracle. “This eases Oracle/Microsoft technol- for Visual Studio
ogy integrations and speeds migrations from SQL Server to
Oracle databases.” VISIT
Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio natively sup- the Windows Server System Center
ports Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and 2005 versions and
includes program design tools, automatic .NET code genera- the .NET Developer Center
tion, source control integration, and an integrated PL/SQL
John Blythe

DOWNLOAD Oracle Database 11g
editor and debugger.
“I personally consider [ODP.NET and Oracle Developer

Oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 39
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d e v e l o p e r frameworks By Steve M uench

Extending a Helping Hand
Add custom features to improve team productivity.
here are two main benefits to Setting Up YoUr Framework Project Properties dialog box appears,
framework-based develop- extenSionS project select the Libraries and Classpath
ment using Oracle Application Framework extension classes exploit Java section in the tree at the left. To add the
Development Framework (Oracle inheritance to add, augment, or over- required library, click the Add Library
ADF). The first is productivity. You stand ride functionality provided by Oracle button. When the Add Library dialog
on the shoulders of the declaratively ADF business components base classes box appears, select BC4J Runtime and
configured functionality Oracle ADF in the oracle.jbo.server package; the click OK. Repeat these steps to add a
provides and focus primarily on imple- starter workspace already contains two second library, Oracle JDBC, which is
menting features unique to your own such extension classes. To access these also required for a framework exten-
company’s requirements. The second classes, expand the FwkExtensions sions project. Then click OK to dismiss
is extensibility. When the framework project, the Application Sources the Project Properties dialog box. In the
doesn’t offer a feature you need out of folder, and the oramag.model.fwkext code editor, you should notice immedi-
the box, or when its default behavior package in the Application Navigator. ately that the wavy underlines in both
doesn’t work the way you’d hoped, you Double-click the CustomEntityImpl the CustomViewObjectImpl and the
are free to extend the framework to work class to open it in the code editor. You’ll CustomEntityObjectImpl tabs disap-
as you please. By reading this column, see that CustomEntityImpl extends pear, now that the project correctly refer-
you’ll learn the basics of implementing the base framework class for entity ences the libraries on which it depends.
framework extensions for Oracle ADF objects (EntityImpl). Now, double-click Next, create a skeleton framework
business components by studying three CustomViewObjectImpl to open it in extension class for application modules.
simple examples. the code editor. You’ll see that it extends Right-click the FwkExtensions project
To begin, download the starter the base framework class for view node, and choose New from the
workspace at objects (ViewObjectImpl). In the source context menu. In the New Gallery,
oracle/09-may/ and ensure code for CustomViewObjectImpl, select the General category on the
that you’re using the studio edition of the note the red, wavy underline beneath left, select the Java Class item in that
Oracle JDeveloper (produc- the ViewObjectImpl class name in the category on the right, and then click
tion) release, available as a free download extends clause. Place your cursor over OK. When the Create Java Class dialog
on Oracle Technology Network (OTN) the underlined class name, and a box appears, enter the class name
at tooltip will describe the problem: “Type CustomApplicationModuleImpl; leave the
jdev. Start by extracting the contents of ‘ViewObjectImpl’ not found.” Expand default package name, oramag.model
the file and opening the the import section of the source file, by .fwkext; and then click the Browse
FrameworksMayJun2009.jws work- clicking the small plus sign in the code button next to the Extends field to pick
space in Oracle JDeveloper. The Model editor’s left margin. Note that the correct the class that your new class will extend.
project in the workspace defines an Emp import statement for oracle.jbo.server When the Class Browser dialog box
entity object, EmpView view object, and .ViewObjectImpl is there, but there is still appears, erase any text that may already
HRModule application module. The a problem. Hold your mouse over that appear in the Match Class Name field
FwkExtensions project will contain the import line, which itself is wavy under- and type the three uppercase letters AMI.
extensions you make to the framework. lined, and the tooltip will state, “Import The list displays a subset of classes as
Before proceeding, adjust the prop- oracle.jbo.server.ViewObjectImpl not you type, showing you only those classes
erties of the scott connection in the found.” These error messages indicate whose “CamelCapped” names include
Application Resources zone of the that the project is missing a reference the capital letter A, followed by capital
Application Navigator until you can suc- to the library that contains the underly- M, followed by capital I. (Of course, you
cessfully test a connection to a SCOTT ing Oracle ADF business components could also have typed ApplicationModuleI
schema. If necessary, use the provided runtime classes you are trying to extend. to shorten the list, but knowing the trick
CreateDeptEmpTables.sql script to create To correct the problem, double-click about CamelCapped searching saves you
the EMP table and EMP_TABLE_SEQ the FwkExtensions project node in typing.) In the short Matching Classes
sequence used by the examples. the Application Navigator. When the list, select ApplicationModuleImpl in

oracle magazine M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 41

the oracle.jbo.server package, and then augment the default functionality of your figuring the Model project to depend on
click OK. Finally, uncheck the Generate application modules. the FwkExtensions project. This enables
Default Constructor check box and Next, expand the Resources folder in the components in the Model project to
click OK to create the skeleton frame- the FwkExtensions project and double- reference classes that the FwkExtensions
work extension class. Your framework click the ApplicationModuleCode project contains. Double-click the Model
extensions project now has an extension .txt file, which contains the lines of project in the Application Navigator, and
class for entity objects, view objects, and custom code to add. In the editor, when the Project Properties dialog box
application modules. Although these select all the lines in this file (Ctrl-A) appears, select the Dependencies section
aren’t the only framework classes you and copy them to the clipboard with on the left. Click the pencil icon above
can override, they are the three most Ctrl-C. Click the tab containing the the Dependent Projects and Archives
common, and the steps for extending and CustomApplicationModuleImpl list to edit its contents. When the Edit
using the other base classes are the same. source file to activate it in the editor, place Dependencies dialog box appears, expand
the cursor at the end of the super the FwkExtensions.jpr node in the
Enabling OptiOnal SQl tracing .prepareSession(); line (after the semi- Projects list and check the check box
The first simple framework extension colon), and press Enter to open a blank next to the Build Output node. This indi-
you create will add a feature to applica- line below it. Paste the contents of the cates that the FwkExtensions project’s
tion module components that will enable clipboard into the source file, by pressing compiled classes should be added to the
Oracle Database SQL tracing if a par- Ctrl-V. A few wavy underlines will appear, Model project’s dependencies. Click OK
ticular Java system property is set in the indicating that import statements are to return to the Project Properties dialog
runtime environment. This will simplify missing. To include the required imports, box. While you’re here, because the
the process of identifying SQL statements place your cursor over the first underlined framework extension class’s functionality
your application executes that might be exception name, SQLStmtException, and depends on the presence of a Java system
slow, requiring an additional index or a note that a tooltip displays “Import oracle property named sqltrace, add a Java
change to the WHERE clause to improve .jbo.SQLStmtException (Alt-Enter).” Press command-line option to set the value of
performance. You’ll accomplish this by the Alt-Enter key combination to auto- this property accordingly. Select the Run/
overriding the prepareSession() method matically include the necessary import Debug/Profile section at the left, ensure
of the application module to add custom statement. Then repeat these steps by that the Default run configuration is
code that will run when the application placing your cursor over the next wavy- selected in the list on the right, and then
module is first used in a user session. underlined exception name, SQLException, click Edit. On the Launch Settings panel
To begin, ensure that the tab contain- and use Alt-Enter to include the import of the Edit Run Configuration dialog box
ing the CustomApplicationModuleImpl for that exception as well. that appears, find the Java Options field
source code file is active by clicking Having taken care of the missing and type -Dsqltrace=true. (The format is
your cursor somewhere in the code import warnings, study the lines of code a hyphen followed immediately by an
editor. Note that, in addition to the for a moment. They say that if the Java uppercase D [it’s case-sensitive!] immedi-
main Oracle JDeveloper IDE toolbar, system property named sqltrace is set to ately followed by the param=value for the
the code editor has its own toolbar of the value true then execute ALTER SESSION system parameter you want to set.) Click
useful options for working with source SET SQL_TRACE TRUE on (the connection OK to continue and OK again to dismiss
code. Pass the cursor over the toolbar associated with) the current transaction. the Project Properties dialog box.
buttons, reading the tooltips that appear, The try/catch block handles the exception With this project dependency regis-
until you find the Override Methods (SQLStmtException) that might occur if tered, configure the HRModule com-
button, and then click it. When the the current user has not been granted the ponent to use the framework extension
Override Methods dialog box appears, ALTER SESSION privilege, and it prints class. In the Application Navigator,
note that the Methods list shows you out a helpful message letting developers in the Model folder, under oramag
all the methods you can override. Begin know to ask their DBA for the privilege. .model, double-click HRModule to
typing the initial letters of the method open its editor. Select the Java page of
named prepareSession until it scrolls putting a FramEwOrk ExtEnSiOn the editor, and click the pencil icon to
into view, click the check box next to claSS tO wOrk the right of the Java Classes heading
the prepareSession(Session) method, and For a framework extension class to be to edit the Java Classes settings. When
then click OK to override this method. used at runtime, you need to reference it the Select Java Options dialog box
Note that Oracle JDeveloper includes the as the base class of the component that appears, click the Classes Extend
appropriate method signature along with should make use of it. So, next you’ll button to see the current settings for
the call to super.prepareSession(), which configure the HRModule application the classes this component extends.
invokes the built-in functionality inher- module in the Model project to use the When the Override Base Classes dialog
ited from the superclass. You can add CustomApplicationModuleImpl exten- box appears, click the Browse button
custom code before or after this line to sion class you just created. Start by con- next to the Object field to pick the new

42 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
base class for this application module.
In the Find Superclass dialog box, click
in the Match Class field and begin
typing the first letters of the class name
CustomApplicationModuleImpl. After the
first few letters, your extension class will
appear in the list, so select it and then
click OK to use this base class, as shown
in Figure 1. Click OK to dismiss the
Override Base Classes dialog box and
then OK again to dismiss the Select Java
Options dialog box.
At this point, right-click HRModule
in the Application Navigator and choose
Run to test it. After clicking Connect Figure 1: Configuring a component to use a custom framework extension as a base class

in the Select Business Components
Configuration dialog box, you should see application, revealing which view object SImpLIfyIng SeQuence-vaLued
either a “SQL_TRACE Enabled” message produced each SQL statement in the prImary KeyS
or a “Failed to enable” message in the trace. The second code block is an As a final framework extension flour-
Oracle JDeveloper log window, depend- overridden bindParametersForCollection() ish, you’ll implement a way to simplify
ing on whether your DBA has granted method that will log a message to the the population of a sequence-valued
the SCOTT database user the ALTER console whenever the view object’s query primary key at entity-instance-creation
SESSION privilege. Either way, you can (or the query for calculating its estimated time. In the FwkExtensions project,
see that the framework extension class’s row count) is executed. This additional in the Resources folder, double-click
functionality is being exercised, so exit diagnostic can help you realize when the EntityObjectCode.txt file and
from the business components browser queries might be executing more fre- copy all the lines it contains to the
to continue our journey. quently than you expected. clipboard. Then click the tab for the
Now configure the EmpView view file, click
ImprovIng vIew object Query LoggIng object in the Model project to use this the blank line between the opening
Next, you’ll add some code to the framework extension class. Double-click and closing braces, and paste the lines
framework extension class for view the EmpView view object to open its into this class. The first block of code
objects to improve the logging of editor. As before, select the Java page you pasted is a helper method named
queries so you can better understand of the editor and click the pencil icon nextVal() that accepts the name of a data-
which view objects’ queries are execut- to edit its Java Classes settings. Click base sequence and returns the next value
ing and how often. Start by double- the Classes Extend button and click from that sequence. The second block of
clicking the ViewObjectCode.txt file the Browse button next to the Object code is an overridden create() method
(in the FwkExtensions project, in field. In the Find Superclass dialog box, that loops through the attribute defini-
the Resources folder) and copying click in the Match Class field and begin tions for the primary key attribute(s) of
all the lines it contains to the clip- typing the first letters of the class name the entity object, looking for any attri-
board. Then click the tab for the CustomViewObjectImpl. After the first few bute that has a custom property named file, click letters, your extension class will appear SequenceName defined on it. For each
the blank line between the opening and in the list, so select it and then click OK key attribute that has a SequenceName
closing braces, and paste the lines (from to use this extension class. Click OK to property, the extension code interprets
the ViewObjectCode.txt file) into this dismiss the Override Base Classes dialog that property’s value as the name of a
class. The first block of code you pasted box and OK again to dismiss the Select database sequence, and then uses the
is an overridden create() method that Java Options dialog box. Now, if you test helper function above to populate the
concatenates an additional comment the HRModule application module again attribute value with the next value from
onto the end of the view object’s optional by running it as you did before, in the that sequence.
query optimizer hint when the compo- Oracle ADF business component browser, Now configure the Emp entity object
nent is created at runtime. This extra SQL when you double-click the EmpView1 in the Model project to use this frame-
comment includes the name of the view view object instance, you should see the work extension class. Double-click the
object, such as EmpView1, and the fully following message in the log window: Emp entity object to open its editor.
qualified name of its definition, such as Using the now-familiar steps, select the
oramag.model.EmpView, which can help in ## Executed [VO=EmpView1, Java page of the editor and click the
analyzing the SQL trace output for your Def=oramag.model.EmpView]. pencil icon to edit its Java Classes set-

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 43

tings. Click the Classes Extend button,
and use the class browser for the Row
field to select the fully qualified name of
the CustomEntityImpl class. If the class
name doesn’t appear in the list, cancel
the dialog box and try again, making
sure to click the Browse button next to
the Row field and not the Collection or
Definition field. Once you’ve selected
the desired base class for the entity row,
click OK to dismiss the Override Base
Classes dialog box and OK again to
dismiss the Select Java Options dialog
box. Although the application module
and view object you configured above
used the framework extension class
without requiring any custom Java class Figure 2: Inserting a new row using a sequence

of their own, note, on the Java panel for
the Emp entity object, that it does have corresponding Value cell, and change use your framework extension classes
a custom EmpImpl Java class. Click the its value to be EMP_TABLE_SEQ. Then by default at design time, see sections
blue hyperlink next to the Entity Object save all your changes. To test out your 33.1, “Globally Extending ADF Business
Class label to open the EmpImpl class new declaratively configured sequence- Components Functionality,” and
in the code editor. Note that when you populated primary key functionality, 33.2, “Creating a Layer of Framework
changed the entity row base class above run the HRModule again (right-click Extensions,” of the Oracle Fusion
to use CustomEntityImpl, Oracle HRModule, and choose Run) in Developer’s Guide for Oracle ADF 11g. ■
JDeveloper automatically modified the the business components browser
custom EmpImpl class to extend it. So (click Connect in the Select Business Steve Muench is a consulting product manager for
as we’ve seen, your framework exten- Components Configuration dialog box Oracle JDeveloper and an Oracle ACE. Since 1990
sion classes can easily add functionality, when it appears). Double-click the he has developed and supported Oracle tools and
whether or not your Oracle ADF busi- EmpView1 view object instance, and XML technologies and continues to evangelize them.
ness components require any custom then click the Insert a new row toolbar Muench coauthored Oracle ADF Developer’s Guide for
Java code of their own. button. In the new row that appears, Forms/4GL Developers (Oracle, 2006), wrote Building
The last step is to configure a custom note that the value of the Empno Oracle XML Applications (O’Reilly Media, 2000), and
property named SequenceName on the field defaults to the next value in the shares tips and tricks on OTN ( and in
Empno attribute of the Emp entity object. EMP_TABLE_SEQ sequence, as shown his “Dive into ADF” blog (
This property acts as a clue to the over- in Figure 2.
ridden create() method behavior inher-
With these three examples under
ited from the framework extension class your belt, you’re now ready to apply
that you want the Empno attribute value framework extension classes in your
reaD more frameworks
populated from a sequence. So, click next Oracle ADF project. As usual,
the Emp.xml tab to activate the entity we’ve had only enough space to explore
reaD more about
object editor. Select the Attributes page the simplest examples here, but they oracle JDeveloper and oracle
of the editor, select the Empno attri- should have demonstrated how easy application Development framework
bute in the table, and click the green it is to add your own custom, declara-
plus-sign toolbar menu in the Custom tively configurable features to the Oracle designpatterns
Properties section header below. When ADF framework. In time you’ll come to Oracle Fusion Developer’s Guide for Oracle ADF 11g
the toolbar menu appears, select Non- appreciate the true power of framework b31974/toc.htm
translatable Property, because the value extensions, when you begin sharing the
oracle fusion middleware
of the SequenceName custom property generic code with other team members
will not need to change, based on the and reusing a common layer of Oracle

current user’s locale. Double-click in ADF framework extensions across mul- DowNLoaD
the Property value cell in the new tiple applications. For more information oracle JDeveloper 11g
row of the custom property table that on how to package your extensions as
the starter workspace for this column
appears. Change the value of this cell a reusable library and how your team
to be SequenceName. Double-click the can configure Oracle JDeveloper to

44 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
d e v e l o p e r ODP.NET By m ar k W illi am s

The Right Transaction
Choose the ODP.NET transaction type that fits your business rules.
racle Data Provider for .NET database transactions is not to end the OracleConnection object by invoking
(ODP.NET) offers two distinct transaction until the entire unit of work the BeginTransaction method. Note that
transaction types: implicit and is complete. this is the only way to acquire the trans-
explicit. Without the proper The implicit transaction is the action object—there is no constructor
understanding of these transaction default when you are using ODP.NET, available to create the object. Assuming
types, it is possible to create an appli- and, as its name implies, the implicit that you have an OracleConnection
cation that does not function correctly transaction does not require any object named “con,” you acquire the
or that leads to data inconsistencies special action on your part—it happens transaction object as follows:
or corruption. implicitly. This is also known as “auto-
In this column, I explain these two commit,” because the transaction is OracleTransaction txn =
transaction types and discuss the cir- automatically committed if no error is con.BeginTransaction();
cumstances under which each is appro- raised. When a transaction is commit-
priate. The sample application that ted, it means that any changes made by Acquiring the transaction object from
accompanies this column, at the transaction become permanent in the connection object begins the transac-
.com/oramag/oracle/09-may/o39odpnet the database. It is also at commit that tion. To end the transaction, you invoke
.zip, illustrates the basic use of each of the changes become visible to other either the Commit or the Rollback
these transaction types. database users. method on the transaction object.
To best execute the sample applica- Although an implicit transaction is Suppose that after beginning some
tion (Microsoft Visual Studio solution) automatically committed if no error number of updates, deletes, and
that accompanies this column, you is raised, what happens if an error inserts, you want to make the changes
should have the following installed: is raised? The implicit transaction is permanent. You commit the transaction
■ Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 (any automatically rolled back. This means as follows:
version, including Express Editions) that any changes made by the transac-
■ Oracle Data Access Components tion are undone and that the database txn.Commit();
Release (or higher) looks as it did before any changes were
■ Access to Oracle Database (any attempted. Other database users never Now suppose that after beginning
version, including Oracle Database see the changes that have been undone. some number of updates, deletes, and
Express Edition) With an implicit transaction, inserts, you want to undo the transaction’s
If your environment does not the commit or rollback automati- changes, perhaps because of an error. You
include these versions of these compo- cally happens when you invoke the roll back the transaction as follows:
nents, make adjustments as required to ExecuteNonQuery method of an
fit your environment. OracleCommand object. The fol- txn.Rollback();
lowing invokes the method for an
Database transactions OracleCommand object named “cmd”: What happens if you fail to commit
In the context of this column, a data- or roll back an explicit transaction?
base transaction simply means a logical cmd.ExecuteNonQuery(); Oracle Database will roll back the trans-
unit of work performed in the data- action on your behalf.
base. This unit of work can consist of The opposite of the implicit
a single simple step (such as updating transaction is the explicit transac- When to Use each transaction
a value in a table) or many complex tion. As you have likely guessed, If you take no steps in your code to
steps (such as updating values in some the explicit transaction does require implement explicit transactions, you
tables, deleting rows from other tables, some action on your part. However, will, by default, use implicit transac-
inserting rows into another table, and this action is minimal and consists tions. However, as discussed above,
so on). The number and types of steps of only a few steps. To execute an business rules ultimately dictate the
are dictated by the business rules, but explicit transaction, you first acquire steps that are involved in a transaction.
a guiding practice when it comes to an OracleTransaction object from an A classic example in discussions of

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 45

database transactions (in fact, it is the The sample application also uses a actions becomes visible to other data-
example used in this column’s sample new database table. To create this table, base sessions.
application) is the transfer of funds you can use your favorite tool, such as Even though this is a simple applica-
from one bank account to another. Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio tion, you can also use it to further exper-
This bank transfer transaction naturally .NET, Oracle SQL Developer, SQL*Plus, iment with the ODP.NET transactions.
involves two steps: or another tool. Here is the SQL I used Here are a few suggested experiments:
1. Decrement the source account by the to create the table: ■ Alter the code so that the initial values

desired amount. inserted by an implicit transaction are
2. Increment the destination account by create table MayJun2009 ( too large for the balance column. For
the desired amount. account_id number(4) primary key, example, a value of 100,000 will exceed
Both transaction steps must success- balance number(6,2) the (purposely limited) largest value
fully complete for this transaction to be ); that column may contain.
logically complete. If implicit transac- ■ Simulate an application failure by

tions are used in this case, however, Next I added two rows of data to the stopping the debugger during the
and there is a failure after the first step table, using SQL*Plus, as follows: explicit transaction (the funds trans-
(which is implicitly committed) but fer). To do this, select Debug -> Stop
before the second step, the data may insert into MayJun2009 Debugging from the main menu.
become logically inconsistent. That is, values (1, 1000); ■ Change the transfer transaction code

money “has gone missing” because the to use implicit transactions, and then
balance in the first account has been insert into MayJun2009 simulate an application failure by stop-
decremented (and committed) but the values (2, 1000); ping the debugger after the first balance
balance in the second account has not transfer command execution. ■
yet been incremented. commit;
Determining when to use each trans- Mark Williams (mawilliams@cheshamdbs
action type is a straightforward process. To create the sample application, .com) is an Oracle ACE director, an Oracle Certified
Use the explicit transaction if either of create a new .NET console applica- Professional DBA, the author of Pro .NET Oracle
the following is true: tion, add a reference to the ODP.NET Programming (Apress, 2004), and a contributor to
■ The transaction consists of multiple assembly on your system, and replace the Oracle Data Provider for .NET forum on Oracle
steps. the generated code with the code from Technology Network.
■ You want to explicitly control the the Program.cs file in the download at
commit or the rollback.
Use the implicit transaction if both of
the following are true:
The sample application performs the nextSTEPS
■ The transaction consists of a single following basic steps: READ more ODP.NET
step. 1. Updates the balance for Account ID 1,

■ You are willing to accept the automatic using an implicit transaction LEARN more about
commit or rollback. 2. Transfers funds from Account ID 1 ODP.NET
Oracle Data Provider for .NET Developer’s Guide
into Account ID 2, using an explicit
The Sample applicaTion transaction, by first decrementing b28375/toc.htm
This column’s sample application is Account ID 1 and then incrementing Oracle Database 2 Day + .NET Developer’s Guide
a very simple implementation of the Account ID 2 (both steps are required appdev.111/b28844/toc.htm
classic transaction example: transfer- for the transaction) Oracle Database Net Services Administrator’s Guide
ring funds from one account into 3. Resets the starting balance of both network.111/b28316/toc.htm
another. The comments in the code accounts, using an implicit transaction
indicate where an implicit transaction is (which allows the sample to be easily Oracle Database Concepts
employed and where an explicit transac- re-executed)
tion is employed. Now execute the sample applica-
The sample application connects with tion in Visual Studio. To see the dif-
the .NET Developer Center
the HR sample user that ships as part ference between implicit and explicit
of Oracle Database. Of course, you can transactions, step through the code in DOWNLOAD
choose to connect the sample applica- debug mode. I also recommend that Oracle Data Access Components
tion to any database user in your envi- you use your favorite tool to query the

ronment. If you do connect to a different MayJun2009 sample database table the sample code for this column
user, adjust the sample application code during the various steps to clearly see
to connect to that user. when the data resulting from the trans-

46 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
d e v e l o p e r PL/SQL PracticeS By steven feu erstein

The Magic Kingdom
Choose the best way to manage literal values.
hat is the best way to avoid
codeLiStiNG 1: magic_values table description
hard-coding literal “magic
TABLE magic_values
values” in my PL/SQL-based
applications? name VARCHAR2 (100) UNIQUE
Every application has its own set of , description VARCHAR2 (4000)
, value VARCHAR2 (4000)
“magic values”—literals that express some
, identifier VARCHAR2 (100) UNIQUE
characteristic of that application. These , datatype VARCHAR2 (100) DEFAULT ‘VARCHAR2(32767)’
values are generally referenced in many , function_return_type VARCHAR2 (100)
places in code. Sometimes the values are
fixed for the lifetime of an application;
sometimes they change periodically (with as well as issues you should consider that returns the magic value, and I would
each new year, for example). before you choose your own approach. recommend always placing this function
Let’s look at an example. Suppose that Create a packaged constant. The essential within a package. Here is an example:
one rule in my application is that the technique for avoiding hard-coding is
maximum salary allowed in the employ- to reference your magic value by name. PACKAGE magic_values
ees table is $1,000,000. I might then ref- The simplest way to do this is to create IS
erence this value in a subprogram: a package and define a constant in it to /*
hold the value (or add the constant to an You cannot earn more than this
IF l_new_salary > 1000000 existing package). Here is an example: in a single year.
RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR (-20001, PACKAGE magic_values FUNCTION maximum_salary
‘Maximum salary of 1000000 exceeded!’); IS RETURN NUMBER;
END IF; c_maximum_salary END magic_values;
Most programmers know that refer- END magic_values; PACKAGE BODY magic_values
encing a magic value in this way is a bad IS
idea; here I have “hard-coded” the literal Note that if you do not include the FUNCTION maximum_salary
(1000000) directly in my subprogram— CONSTANT keyword in the declara- RETURN NUMBER
and more than once. That’s problematic, tion of the magic value, its value will be IS
because inevitably that value will change. changeable, which is certainly not constant. BEGIN
When it does, I (or, more accurately, the With this package defined, I can now RETURN 1000000;
entire development team) will have to reference it: END;
scour the code, changing the old value to END magic_values;
the new value. IF
That is why we all should avoid such l_new_salary > and now my application code will look
hard-coding of literals. So how can we magic_values.c_maximum_salary like this:
do that? Here are three possibilities:
■ Create a packaged constant, assigning THEN IF
the value to that constant. RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR (-20001, l_new_salary >
■ Create a function that hides and ‘Maximum salary of ‘ || magic_values.maximum_salary ()
returns the magic value. magic_values.c_maximum_salary || THEN
■ Store and manage the magic value in a ‘ exceeded!’); RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR (-20001,
database table. END IF; ‘Maximum salary of ‘ ||
I will demonstrate each of these magic_values.maximum_salary () ||
approaches and then finish up my Create a function that hides and returns the ‘ exceeded!’);
answer with a comparison of the options magic value. I can also create a function END IF;

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 47
pl/sql practices

Note that I have put the open and Listing 3 shows the implementation of the name of the value (“Maximum salary”)
close parentheses “()” after the call to the the number_value function only, because twice. See Listing 5 for a better solution.
function. This is optional, but it is a way that is what I’ve used in this column. Another way to use the magic values
to self-document that you are calling a With the get_magic_values package defined in a table is to generate a
function and not referencing a variable defined and the data inserted, I can package of constants or functions from
or a constant. rewrite my IF statement that references the rows of the table. The magic_values
Store and manage the magic value in a maximum salary, as shown in Listing 4. .sql script, available with the download
database table. Suppose you have many Now, unfortunately, I have hard-coded for this column, at
magic values in your application and are
concerned about making sure that they codelistiNG 2: get_magic_values package specification
are handled consistently without any PACKAGE get_magic_values
hard-coding. You might consider creat- IS
ing a database table to store and manage FUNCTION varchar2_value (NAME_IN IN
RETURN varchar2
all these magic values. Listing 1 shows $IF dbms_db_version.ver_le_10_2
an example of such a table, named $THEN
magic_values. /* No result cache available prior to Oracle Database 11g */
In the magic_values table, the name RESULT_CACHE
column is for the name of the magic $END
value, such as “Maximum salary allowed ;

in company.” The description should be FUNCTION date_value (NAME_IN IN
obvious. The value is the magic value RETURN date
itself. The identifier, datatype, and func- $IF dbms_db_version.ver_le_10_2
tion_return_type columns are used /* No result cache available prior to Oracle Database 11g */
to generate a magic values package.
Suppose I put the following data into $ELSE
the magic_values table: $END
FUNCTION number_value (NAME_IN IN
INSERT INTO magic_values ( RETURN number
name $IF dbms_db_version.ver_le_10_2
, description $THEN
/* No result cache available prior to Oracle Database 11g */
‘Maximum salary’ ;
, Too much money!’ END get_magic_values;
, ‘1000000’
); codelistiNG 3: get_magic_values package body, with number_value function only
PACKAGE BODY get_magic_values
FUNCTION number_value (NAME_IN IN
I can then build a get_magic_values RETURN NUMBER
$IF dbms_db_version.ver_le_10_2
package, shown in Listing 2, with a set $THEN
of functions for retrieving a value for /* No result cache available prior to Oracle Database 11g */
a given name. Note that I use a differ-
ent named function for each datatype, RESULT_CACHE RELIES_ON ( magic_values )
because I cannot use overloaded sub- $END
programs whose signatures differ only IS
l_value NUMBER;
in the type of data returned. I also use BEGIN
conditional compilation to enable the SELECT VALUE INTO l_value
use of the function result cache when I FROM magic_values
compile this package on Oracle Database
11g. That will improve performance of RETURN l_value;
retrieval of these values, which will very END number_value;
END get_magic_values;
rarely change.

48 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
oramag/oracle/09-may/, tion. That’s where those other columns of , hide_values_in_body_in => FALSE
offers such a generator, the gen_magic_ the magic_values table come into play. , dir_in => NULL
values_package procedure. Suppose I now populate the magic_ , ext_in => NULL
To generate such a package, this values table, providing values for all );
procedure needs to know the valid columns as shown in Listing 6. END;
PL/SQL identifier for this magic value, the I then call the generator procedure:
datatype of the magic value, and (when and my screen (through server output)
relying on functions to retrieve the value) BEGIN displays the package specification:
an unconstrained version of that datatype gen_magic_values_package (
to serve as the return type of the func- pkg_name_in => ‘GET_MAGIC_VALUES’ CREATE OR REPLACE PACKAGE
codeLISTING 4: IF statement with two references to “Maximum salary” IS
IF l_new_salary > get_magic_values.number_value (‘Maximum salary’) /*
THEN You cannot earn more than this
‘Maximum salary of ‘ || get_magic_values.number_value (‘Maximum salary’) || ‘ exceeded!’); in a single year.
END IF; */
maximum_salary NUMBER
codeLISTING 5: Improved IF statement DEFAULT 1000000;
c_max_salary CONSTANT NUMBER
The application will not work
:= get_magic_values.number_value (‘Maximum salary’) ; with dates before this.
l_new_salary NUMBER := get_the_salary (); */
IF l_new_salary > c_max_salary
minimum_date DATE
, ‘Maximum salary of ‘ || c_max_salary || ‘ exceeded!’);
open_status VARCHAR2 (4)
END get_magic_values;
codeLISTING 6: Populating the magic_values table
The online version of this column, at
INSERT INTO magic_values
VALUES ( o39plsql.html, compares the benefits of
‘Maximum salary’ the different ways to avoid hard-coding
, ‘You cannot earn more than this in a single year.’
, ‘1000000’ literal magic values. ■
, ‘maximum_salary’
, ‘NUMBER’ Steven Feuerstein ( is
); Quest Software’s PL/SQL evangelist. He has published
10 books on Oracle’s programming language, including
INSERT INTO magic_values Oracle PL/SQL Programming and Oracle PL/SQL Best
‘Earliest supported date’ Practices (O’Reilly Media). Feuerstein’s self-appointed
, ‘The application will not work with dates before this.’ mission in life these days is to improve the quality and
, ‘ADD_MONTHS (SYSDATE, -60)’ quantity of PL/SQL code testing.
, ‘minimum_date’
, ‘DATE’


INSERT INTO magic_values
READ online-only column content
‘Open status’
, NULL READ more Best Practice PL/SQL
, ‘’’OPEN’’’
, ‘open_status’
, ‘VARCHAR2’ Oracle Database 11g

COMMIT; magic_values.sql

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 49
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XBRL_tools_OracleMag.indd 1 3/3/2009 10:10:08 AM
d e v e l o p e r Browser-Based By Davi d Peake

Converting Forms
Modernize Oracle Forms applications with Oracle Application Express.
racle Forms has been around and various item types, but it does not Converting Oracle Forms Source to XML
since before the days of client/ convert business logic stored in Oracle Although the XML file equivalents for
server computing, and numer- Forms triggers, program units, or librar- each of the Oracle Forms source files are
ous Oracle Forms applications ies. After you generate the initial design, already included in the download for
have been faithfully meeting business you can take full advantage of the rapid this column, you should know how to
requirements for many years. application development capabilities in perform this conversion on your own.
Converting Oracle Forms applica- Oracle Application Express to enhance The Oracle Forms-to-XML conversion
tions to use another development tool the generated pages. Figure 1 describes tool, Forms2XML, produces an XML
is a labor-intensive, time-consuming the process flow of an application file that has the same base name as
process, and recent rumors that Oracle migration from Oracle Forms to Oracle the Oracle Forms file but with an .xml
will soon drop support for Oracle Application Express. extension. For example, stndrd20
Forms are unfounded. With these things For this column, we will convert .olb becomes stndrd20_olb.xml. The
in mind, why would anyone want to some components from the Oracle Forms command has the following syntax:
convert their Oracle Forms applications Summit sample application. In particular,
to use another development tool? we are going to use the customers.fmb, frmf2xml [options] file1 [file2...]
Typically, Oracle Forms moderniza- customers.mmb, orders.fmb, stndrd20 java oracle.forms.util.xmltools.Forms2XML
tion projects convert legacy applications .olb, and wizard.pld files. The modified [options] file1 [file2...]
to use the latest Oracle Database version script files to create the required tables,
and enable developers to satisfy user together with the XML file conversions Note that you can generate your own
demands for greater user interactivity for each of the source files, are available XML files for the sample application
and Web 2.0 capabilities. A moderniza- at by using Forms2XML and the Oracle
tion option for Oracle Forms applica- may/ The steps in this Forms files in the complete Summit
tions that will deliver on both of these column assume that you have an Oracle application download at
objectives is Oracle Application Express. Application Express 3.2 workspace products/forms/files/
Oracle Application Express renders defined and have downloaded and (Forms2XML was first introduced in
applications using HTML, and it has extracted the file. Oracle9i Internet Developer Suite.)
built-in Web 2.0 functionality such as
interactive reports, Flash charts, and
the ability to extend user interactivity
by use of JavaScript and Asynchronous Forms Module
XML File Upload
FMB File
JavaScript and XML (Ajax). In addition,
the rapid application development envi- Object Library Forms2XML
Oracle Forms
ms and Oracle
OLB File Conversion
ronment offered by Oracle Application Tool
Reports Metadata Analysis

Express is similar to that found in Oracle Forms Menu
MMB File
Forms, utilizing a declarative framework
Application Generation
together with SQL and PL/SQL to define PL/SQL Library
Forms Builder
Oracle Forms PLL File File Conversion
processes and enter business logic. Utility

Application Customization
Understanding the Conversion Process
The capabilities for converting from
Oracle Forms to Oracle Application Reports Builder
XML File File Conversion
Express in Oracle Application Express Utility
3.2 generate an initial application design Oracle Reports
Oracle Application Express
that you then enhance and expand to Forms Converter
fully replicate the original application.
The conversion maps blocks to pages Figure 1: From Oracle Forms to Oracle Application Express

oracle magazine  M ay / J u n e 2 0 0 9   51

MJ09_BROWSER.indd 51 3/16/09 1:08:00 PM

Figure 2: Application migration/Oracle Forms conversion project

Creating the Conversion ProjeCt home page, click Application Migrations 1. From the Project: Summit page
For an Oracle Application Express (on the right within Migrations). (Home -> Application Migrations ->
project to load Oracle Forms files, it 2. Click Create Project. Project: Summit), under File Name,
must be associated with the schema 3. Enter Summit for Project Name, click click orders_fmb.xml to go to the
where the underlying tables are defined. Browse, select the customers_fmb.xml Forms Objects page.
The following steps use files contained in file, click Open, and click Next. 2. Click the Blocks link, and under
the sample application download for this 4. Click Upload Another File, click Name, click S_ORD to go to the Block
column and describe how to create the Browse, select the orders_fmb.xml file, Details page.
Summit sample application tables: click Open, and click Upload. 3. Within the Application Express Page
1. From the Oracle Application Express 5. Click Upload Another File, select Query box, select Custom Query from
home page, select SQL Workshop -> PL/SQL Library (.PLD) from the File the Use Query list.
SQL Scripts -> Upload. Type list, click Browse, select the wizard 4. Click the copy icon under Enhanced
2. Click Browse, select the Summit_ .pld file, click Open, and click Upload. Query.
DDL.sql file, click Open, and click 6. Click Upload Another File, select 5. Modify the SQL in the Custom Query
Upload. Forms Menu (_mmb.XML) from the text box as required. Note that for this
3. From the SQL Scripts page, click File Type list, click Browse, select the exercise, no modifications are needed.
Upload, click Browse, select the customers_mmb.XML file, click Open, 6. Click Apply Changes at the top of
Summit_Data.sql file, click Open, and and click Upload. the page.
click Upload. 7. Click Upload Another File, select The following steps show how to
4. Click the Summit_DDL.sql file; Object Library (_olb.XML) from the select or deselect blocks and items to be
click Run; and then from the Run Script File Type list, click Browse, select the included in the generated application
page, click Run again. stndrd20_olb.XML file, click Open, and how to change titles and labels:
5. From the Manage Script Results page, and click Upload. 1. From the Project: Summit page,
click Go until Status shows Complete. 8. Click Finish. under Blocks, click 4 (to go to the
6. Click the View Results icon. Note Figure 2 shows the newly created blocks defined on the Orders Form).
that the value for Statements Processed Oracle Forms conversion project. 2. Under Include, uncheck the
and Successful should be 58. S_ITEM block.
7. Click the SQL Scripts locator link. reviewing and analyzing your ProjeCt 3. Change the name of the S_ORD
8. Click the Summit_Data.sql file, and Once you have created your migration block to Orders and the S_INVENTORY
click Run; then from the Run Script project, you can review the components block to Inventories.
page, click Run again. and determine which user interface com- 4. Click Apply Changes.
9. From the Manage Script Results page, ponents to generate. The project enables 5. Under Item Count, click 9 (to go
click Go until Status shows Complete. you to quickly drill down into any of to the items defined on the Orders
10. Click the Show Results icon. Note the Oracle Forms components, includ- [S_Ord] block).
that the value for Statements Processed ing blocks, items, triggers, lists of values 6. Change Item Prompt for Customer
and Successful should be 1173. (LOVs), and program units. Id to Customer and Item Prompt for
With the database tables created, use A block query is based on analysis of Sales Rep Id to Sales Representative.
the XML files generated by Forms2XML the corresponding SQL and postquery 7. Click Apply Changes.
(and included with the sample applica- triggers from the form’s block. The follow- To facilitate project management of
tion) and the following steps to create the ing steps show how to modify an Oracle the application conversion, each compo-
conversion project: Application Express query that will be nent can be annotated with the following
1. From the Oracle Application Express generated from an Oracle Forms block: types of information:

52 M ay / J u n e 2 0 0 9
3. At this point, you can modify user
interface details (by clicking Page name)
as well as remove unwanted pages or add
more pages. For this exercise, no modifi-
cations are needed, so click next.
4. Select the desired theme, Theme 20;
click next; and click Create.
5. Click Run Application.
Once you have generated your Oracle
Application Express application, you will
need to perform postgeneration modifica-
tions to incorporate business logic, using
validations, processes, and computations.
Review of and enhancements to the gen-
erated user interface may also be required
to further improve usability. Figure 3
shows the Summit application Orders
detail page after postgeneration cleanup.

Oracle Forms conversion in Oracle
Application Express is not designed to
fully replicate an Oracle Forms appli-
cation. The conversion process does,
Figure 3: Orders detail page after postgeneration cleanup
however, offer significant benefit by
generating user interface components
■ Applicability 5. Update annotations as required. and providing project management
■ Priority For example, for notes add, tracking capabilities.
■ Completion This functionality will need to be The effort and resources required for
■ Assignments implemented postgeneration as a each Oracle Forms conversion project are
■ Notes validation, and for Tags add Validation. largely dependent on the size, complex-
■ Tags 6. Click Apply Changes. ity, and business logic implementation
Applicability is used to indicate within the Oracle Forms application. I
whether a particular component needs to GeneratinG your application strongly recommend that you undertake
be analyzed and reimplemented after the Once your project review and analysis a prototype or a proof of concept to
converted application is generated. For are complete, you can generate your properly plan each Oracle Forms conver-
example, most Oracle Forms key triggers Oracle Application Express application. sion project before you begin. ■
such as Key-Clrblk and Key-Commit are During application generation, forms are
not applicable in an Oracle Application converted to one or more pages, depend- David Peake ( is a principal
Express application, because such func- ing on the number of blocks included. product manager in Oracle’s Server Technologies
tionality is generated by default. The type of application pages generated division. He has been with Oracle since 1993.
The following steps show how to is determined by the presence of relation-
annotate a trigger:
1. From the Project: Summit page,
ships between the blocks, the number of
records displayed, and whether INSERT nextSTEPS
under Triggers, click 45 (to go to the or UPDATE are allowed. The following READ more Browser-Based
triggers defined on the Orders Form). types of pages can be generated for a

2. Click the Trigger Level column block: a report, a report and a form, or a LEARN more about Oracle Application
heading, and select Item, which will master/detail page. Express
create a filter showing only the item- The following steps describe how to
level triggers. generate the Oracle Application Express
Oracle Application Express
3. Click the Applicable column heading, Summit application:
and select Yes, which will create a filter 1. From the Project: Summit page, click express/download.html

showing only applicable triggers. Create Application. the sample application for this column
4. Click the edit icon for the When- 2. Leave Summit as the name for the
RAdIo-ChAnged trigger. application, and click next.

oracle magazine M ay / J u n e 2 0 0 9 53
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d e v e l o p e r security BY R aj MattaMal

Creating Custom Authentication
Build single sign-on/sign-off for a suite of applications in Oracle Application Express.
lthough Oracle Application application, which presents users with single sign-on across the suite of appli-
Express has excellent out-of- an authentication challenge. At the client cations using these schemes are
the-box options for authenti- site, the login application is integrated ■ A mechanism that sets a suite cookie

cating users, it is sometimes with Microsoft Active Directory for user- upon successful credential verification
necessary to write custom authentica- name and password management, but ■ A means of redirecting users without

tion schemes to meet specific require- any technique for verifying user identity valid sessions to the login application
ments. Such was the case for one client can be used with this method, as long as ■ A way to check for the suite cookie

I worked with, a large govern- upon subsequent page views
ment contractor with several Getting started. To get started on
Oracle Database instances already creating and deploying these
deployed and some fairly restric- customer authentication schemes
tive requirements, specifically in your own suite of applica-
■ Users must be able to run tions, first download the zip
Oracle Application Express appli- file at
cations from any of the Oracle oracle/09-may/
instances while having to authen- and extract the contents. The
ticate only once download contains four SQL
■ Users must be able to sign files—ns_auth_util.sql, ns_auth_
out of any application and have aux.sql, login_logout_procs
that sign-off apply to all other .sql, and table_ddl.sql—that
applications need to be uploaded to Oracle
■ The authentication solution Application Express.
must leverage existing Oracle To upload the files
infrastructure 1. In Oracle Application Express,
This article steps through an example it ultimately resolves to a true or a false go to the SQL Scripts page (Home ->
implementation, based on my experi- value. With successful authentication, SQL Workshop -> SQL Scripts)
ence with that client. It provides single- users receive a “suite cookie” that facili- 2. Click Upload, and on the Upload
sign-on and single-sign-off functionality tates transparent authentication to all Script page, for File, browse to a file
for a suite of Oracle Application Express other suite applications. from the download such as ns_auth_
applications, by assembling two custom Signing off from any application util.sql, and click Upload
authentication schemes that incorporate in the suite initiates a recursive sign- 3. Repeat the previous step for the
custom code while leveraging native off process across all applications. The remaining files from the download
Oracle Application Express functionality login application’s schema owns a Setting up the suite login authentication
whenever possible. table containing details about all appli- scheme. Begin constructing the custom
cations in the suite, and this table is authentication solution by creating the
Overview Of the implementatiOn used by a procedure that signs users off login authentication scheme. In Oracle
In the client solution, each Oracle from each application and cancels the Application Express, go to the applica-
Application Express instance runs suite cookie. tion designated as the login application
several different applications. One of the and create a new authentication scheme
Oracle Application Express applications Create Single Sign-On, USing from scratch.
has been designated as the “login appli- aUthentiCatiOn SChemeS 1. On the Shared Components page,
cation.” All the other Oracle Application The client’s implementation uses two under Security, click Authentication
Express applications are “auxiliary appli- custom authentication schemes: the Schemes.
cations” in the suite. suite login authentication scheme and 2. On the Authentication Schemes page,
i-hua chen

Unauthenticated requests to access the auxiliary authentication scheme. click Create.
applications are redirected to the login The main components needed to enable 3. On the Create Authentication Scheme

oracle magazine M aY / j u n e 2 0 0 9 55

page, for Create Scheme, select From Setting the authentication function. One of Express can run custom authentication
scratch and click Next. the entry points for integrating custom function code to validate a username/
4. For Name, enter Suite Login code into an Oracle Application Express password combination.
Authentication Scheme, and click the authentication scheme is the authen- Listing 1 contains the code from the
Create Scheme button. tication function. Oracle Application ns_auth_util.sql file you uploaded earlier;
that code includes the ns_auth_util
codeListiNG 1: NS_AUTH_UTIL package for suite login authentication
custom authentication function. To
function call into the suite login
procedure set_sso_cookie; authentication scheme, add it as the
authentication function.
function check_credentials (
-- 1. On the Authentication Schemes
-- credentials verification function for demonstration purposes only. page (Home -> Application Builder
-- checks emp for valid username/pw combo; sets suite cookie -> Application number -> Shared
p_username in varchar2, Components -> Authentication
p_password in varchar2) Schemes), click Suite Login
return boolean ; Authentication Scheme.
END ns_auth_util; 2. On the Edit Authentication Scheme
/ page, for Authentication Function
(under Login Processing), enter
create or replace PACKAGE BODY ns_auth_util
g_cookie_expires date := sysdate + 1;

procedure set_sso_cookie is 3. Click Apply Changes.
-- Upon successful verification, the
-- sets suite cookie, called from check_credentials only CHECK_CREDENTIALS function also
l_t_id number := null; calls the SET_SSO_COOKIE procedure,
begin which sets the suite cookie that enables
owa_cookie.send( name => ns_auth_aux.g_cookie_name, subsequent, transparent authentica-
value => upper(v(‘P101_USERNAME’)) || ‘^’ || v(‘APP_SESSION’),
expires => null, tions to other applications in the suite.
path => ‘/’ Note that for demonstration purposes,
); the CHECK_CREDENTIALS function
end set_sso_cookie;
checks the values of the EMP table,
function check_credentials ( which installs with the sample appli-
-- cation in every Oracle Application
-- credentials verification function. checks emp for
-- valid username/pw combo; sets suite cookie Express instance.
-- Setting up the auxiliary authentication
p_username in varchar2, scheme. Now set up the auxiliary
p_password in varchar2)
return boolean authentication scheme on any Oracle
as Application Express instance that con-
begin tains applications considered part of the
for c1 in (select 1
from emp suite. As with the suite login authen-
where ename = upper(p_username) tication scheme, create a new scheme
and ename = upper(p_password)) from scratch.
htp.init; 1. For an auxiliary application in the
owa_util.mime_header(‘text/html’, FALSE); suite, on the Shared Components page,
set_sso_cookie; under Security, click Authentication
return true;
end loop; Schemes.
return false; 2. On the Authentication Schemes page,
end check_credentials; click Create.
END ns_auth_util; 3. On the Create Authentication
/ Scheme page, for Create Scheme,
select From scratch and click Next.
show errors package body ns_auth_util;
4. For Name, enter Auxiliary

56 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
Authentication Scheme, and click the 3. Click Apply Changes the user’s browser to a specified location
Create Scheme button. To add the LOGIN_PAGE proce- Every application in the suite must
Setting up LOGIN_PAGE to handle unauthen- dure call to all auxiliary authentication perform the suite and session cookie
ticated users. This Oracle Application schemes, repeat the preceding steps for checks with each page view, so include
Express custom authentication frame- each of those schemes. the call to the SENTRY function for the
work checks for a valid suite cookie Using a page sentry function to validate page sentry function of the suite login
whenever users navigate to any appli- the session. The other function criti- authentication scheme and all auxiliary
cation within the suite. Requests from cal to custom authentication schemes authentication schemes.
users without a cookie are considered is the confirmation of a valid session To add this SENTRY function call to
unauthenticated. In this example, both with each requested page view. In the suite login authentication scheme
the suite login authentication scheme Oracle Application Express, the page 1. On the Authentication Schemes
and the auxiliary authentication scheme sentry function performs this duty. At a page (Home -> Application Builder
integrate a custom procedure, LOGIN_ minimum, the custom page sentry func- -> Application number -> Shared
PAGE, to properly handle unauthenti- tion for this implementation’s authen- Components -> Authentication
cated users: tication schemes must perform the Schemes), click Suite Login
following tasks in the order specified: Authentication Scheme
create or replace PROCEDURE login_page 1. Confirm that the current user’s Web 2. On the Edit Authentication Scheme
as browser has a valid suite cookie. page, for Page Sentry Function (under
begin 2. Confirm that the current user’s Web Page Session Management), enter
owa_util.redirect_url (ns_auth_aux browser has a valid Oracle Application
.g_logout_url); Express session cookie for the currently return_ns_auth_aux.sentry;
end; requested application.
3. Confirm that the username from 3. Click Apply Changes
This procedure uses the owa_util the suite cookie matches the Oracle To add the SENTRY function call to
.redirect_url API to send users to the Application Express session cookie. all auxiliary authentication schemes,
login page of the login application. This 4. Instantiate a new Oracle Application repeat the preceding steps for each of
is done rather than hard-coding the Express session or rejoin the existing those schemes.
available Session Not Valid URL attri- session if the previous three conditions With the SENTRY function added to
bute, to allow for easier maintenance. are met. all of the suite’s authentication schemes,
Because the procedure is called via a The ns_auth_aux.sql script, included any application in the same domain as
URL, the mod_plsql DAD user needs to with the download for this article, con- the suite cookie will respect the single-
be granted access to it: tains the code for the page sentry function sign-on functionality.
(SENTRY). The page sentry function uses
grant execute on login_page to several of the Oracle Application Express Single-Sign-off implementation
apex_public_user; authentication APIs from the APEX_ Signing users off from applications in
CUSTOM_AUTH package that facilitate the suite is somewhat more challenging
The call to the LOGIN_PAGE pro- working with sessions, specifically than signing on, because it is not simply
cedure is specified in the suite login ■ IS_SESSION_VALID, which a matter of expiring the suite cookie set
authentication scheme as well as in all checks to see that the invoking Oracle during authentication. For a proper sign-
auxiliary authentication schemes in the Application Express application has a off, the session information for each appli-
form of a relative URL. valid session cation in the suite must also be expired.
To add this LOGIN_PAGE proce- ■ GET_USERNAME, which retrieves Three additional constructs—a table,
dure call to the suite login authentica- the username associated with the a logout procedure, and a branching
tion scheme session if the Oracle Application logout page—work together to provide
1. On the Authentication Schemes Express session is valid this single-sign-off mechanism.
page (Home -> Application Builder ■ GET_SESSION_ID_FROM_COOKIE, Table of suite applications for logout. With
-> Application number -> Shared which retrieves the Oracle Application authenticated applications potentially
Components -> Authentication Express session ID from the Oracle being distributed across multiple data-
Schemes), click Suite Login Application Express session cookie stored base instances, the implementation must
Authentication Scheme by the user’s Web browser, if available be able to visit each application in the
2. On the Edit Authentication Scheme ■ DEFINE_USER_SESSION, which suite to ensure deauthentication before
page, for Session Not Valid URL instantiates a new Oracle Application returning users to the login page. A
(under Page Session Management), enter Express application session table, NS_SUITE_APPS, contains the
■ LOGOUT, which expires the Oracle necessary information about every appli-
#OWNER#.login_page?p_app_id=&APP_ID. Application Express session and redirects cation in the suite.

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 57

The NS_SUITE_APPS table is stored with the application to implement logout from all suite
in the schema of the login application, ■ HOST_PORT, the host and port of applications and how to configure the
but it must be accessible to the schemas the Web server providing access to the logout page.
of every application. For any schemas application
on the same instance as the login appli- ■ INSTANCE, the logical name of the ConClusion
cation, grant the schema access to the application’s database instance When my team implemented this
table. For any schemas on the other ■ APP_ALIAS, the alias of the applica- authentication mechanism at the client
instances, set up a database link and a tion as defined on the application-level site, the rollout was a success. Being a
synonym, NS_SUITE_APPS. attributes page large government contractor, the client
Listing 2 contains the data definition Unique constraints defined on the put the solution through a rather rigor-
language for the NS_SUITE_APPS table. APP_ALIAS and APP_ID columns sim- ous security review, which it passed
The following columns from that table are plify the flow of the example code, but without issue. A major contributing
used by the single-sign-out procedure: if you remove these constraints, be sure factor to that success was the leveraging
■ APP_ID, the identification number of to modify the main cursor of the logout of the existing authentication infrastruc-
the application from which the user is to procedure accordingly. ture that Oracle Application Express
be deauthenticated The online version of this article, provides developers. Because our imple-
■ LOGOUT_PAGE_ID, the page at mentation augmented the authentica-
number of the logout page associated may/o39security.html, describes how tion functionality already performed by
Oracle Application Express, the security
review was brief as well.
codeListiNG 2: Creating the NS_SUITE_APPS table
Finally, it is important to reiterate
drop table ns_suite_apps;
that you should almost always try to
CREATE TABLE “NS_SUITE_APPS” take this approach when adding custom
(“ID” NUMBER, code to any Oracle Application Express
application: leverage existing infra-
“LOGOUT_PAGE_ID” NUMBER, structure whenever possible, and add
“HOST_PORT” VARCHAR2(250), customizations as necessary. As dem-
onstrated by this article, following this
“HOME_PAGE” VARCHAR2(300), approach makes even more-advanced
CONSTRAINT “NS_SUITE_APPS_PK” PRIMARY KEY (“ID”) ENABLE, tasks, such as developing custom
authentication mechanisms, straightfor-
) ward and manageable. ■
Raj Mattamal ( is a
drop sequence NS_SUITE_APPS_SEQ;
copresident at Niantic Systems, LLC, a New Jersey–
create sequence NS_SUITE_APPS_SEQ start with 1; based consultancy specializing in Oracle Application
Express solutions and training.
before insert on “NS_SUITE_APPS”
for each row
if :new.”ID” is null then
select “NS_SUITE_APPS_SEQ”.nextval into :new.”ID” from dual;
end if;
end; reAD online-only article content
LeArN more about Oracle
-- example inserts into the ns_suite_apps table
Application express
Insert into NS_SUITE_APPS
Oracle Application Express Application
Builder User’s Guide
(1, ’TASKS’, 108,102, ’’, ’ODBLAP1’, ’ACTIVE’, ’1’); e11838/sec.htm#BgBgggDe
Oracle Application Express API Reference
Insert into NS_SUITE_APPS
(2, ’HARDWARE’, 114,102, ’’, ’ODBLAP4’, ’ACTIVE’, ’1’); DOWNLOAD sample code for this article

58 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
t e c h n o l o g y inside ocp By sush m a jaga nnath

More New PL/SQL Features
Improve performance in Oracle Database 11g with new PL/SQL features.
racle Database 11g intro- codeLisTinG 1: Which statements will be inlined?
duced several new PL/SQL
PROCEDURE test_inlining (x PLS_INTEGER) IS ...
features and tools that help
you improve application PRAGMA INLINE (test_inlining, ‘YES’); -- call 1
performance. Continuing the discus- PRAGMA INLINE (test_inlining, ‘NO’); -- call 2
PRAGMA INLINE (test_inlining, ‘YES’); -- call 3
sion of new PL/SQL features from the
x:= test_inlining(1) + test_inlining(2) + 17;
previous issue, this column focuses
on more new features and also pres-
ents sample questions of the type is attempted at PLSQL_OPTIMIZE_ C. Neither test_inlining(1) nor test_
you may encounter when taking the LEVEL level 2 for a particular call, and it inlining(2) will be inlined; ‘NO’
Oracle Database 11g: Advanced PL/SQL increases the priority of inlining at level overrides ‘YES’ for PRAGMA INLINE.
exam. Successful completion of this 3 for a call. D. test_inlining(1) will not be inlined,
exam enables you to earn the Oracle Which statements are true about the but test_inlining(2) will be inlined.
Advanced PL/SQL Developer Certified inlining of PL/SQL subprograms? The correct answer is C. One
Professional certificate. A. The need to create and initialize PRAGMA INLINE (identifier, ‘NO’) over-
the stack frame for the called procedure rides any number of occurrences of
AutomAtic SubprogrAm inlining is eliminated. PRAGMA INLINE (identifier, ‘YES’), and
Automatic subprogram inlining is an B. The copied procedure almost always the order of the pragmas is not important.
optimization process that replaces pro- runs faster than the original call.
cedure calls with a copy of the body of C. The optimization can be applied over nAtive compilAtion method
the procedure. As a result, automatic the combined text of the call context In earlier versions of PL/SQL, native
subprogram inlining can reduce the and the copied procedure body. compilation required developers to
overhead associated with calling sub- D. The PL/SQL compiler can automati- translate PL/SQL code to C code. The
programs while leaving your original cally find calls that should be inlined next step was to compile or trans-
source code in its modular state. and can do the inlining without the late the C code to native code. This
In Oracle Database 11g, the PL/SQL user’s having to change any parameters. required a C compiler to be present on
compiler can automatically identify the The correct answers are A, B, and both the development and production
subprograms that should be inlined C. Because the subprogram is a part of servers. It also required developers to
and then do the inlining. This process the main program, no stack frame ini- define a PLSQL_NATIVE_LIBRARY_
of subprogram inlining is controlled by tialization is required, and the subpro- DIR parameter to indicate where the
the PLSQL_OPTIMIZE_LEVEL param- gram executes faster than it would if intermediate OS files were created.
eter and the INLINE pragma. Setting it were an individual procedure. With Native compilation in Oracle
PLSQL_OPTIMIZE_LEVEL to 2 means subprogram inlining, optimization can Database 11g does not require a C
that you must specify each subprogram be applied on the complete program, compiler; the Oracle executable is
to be inlined with the INLINE pragma, including the subprogram. Answer programmed to transform the machine
and setting PLSQL_OPTIMIZE_LEVEL D is incorrect because the process of code precursor directly to the required
to 3 means that automatic inlining is subprogram inlining is controlled by platform-specific machine code. The
attempted beyond those subprograms PLSQL_OPTIMIZE_LEVEL parameter result is that PL/SQL programs using
that you specify. values and the INLINE pragma. native compilation in Oracle Database
Within a PL/SQL subroutine, the Examine the statements in Listing 1, and 11g run much faster than PL/SQL
PRAGMA INLINE value can be set in identify which one is true. programs using native compilation in
the following ways: A. test_inlining(1) will be inlined, but Oracle Database 10g.
■ NO indicates that no inlining occurs, test_inlining(2) will not be inlined. You can set the PL/SQL native com-
regardless of the PLSQL_OPTIMIZE_ B. Both test_inlining(1) and test_ pilation method in Oracle Database 11g
LEVEL setting and the YES pragmas. inlining(2) will be inlined; ‘YES’ over- by using the following parameters:
■ YES indicates that automatic inlining rides ‘NO’ for PRAGMA INLINE. ■ PLSQL_CODE_TYPE = { INTERPRETED |

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 59

NATIVE } specifies the compilation mode CODE_TYPE parameter has no effect Automatic subprogram inlining replaces
for the PL/SQL library units. on the PL/SQL library units that have a subprogram call with a copy of the
■ PLSQL_OPTIMIZE_LEVEL = { 0 | 1 | already been compiled. called subprogram to improve program
2 | 3} specifies the optimization level D. All subsequent automatic recom- performance. PL/SQL native compilation
to be used for compiling the PL/SQL pilations of PL/SQL library units use improves the performance of PL/SQL
library units. native compilation. statements because the native code does
You can enable PL/SQL native compi- The correct answers are A, C, not have to be interpreted at runtime
lation by using the following statement: and D. Setting the value of PLSQL_ and therefore runs faster. ■
OPTIMIZE_LEVEL to 3 directs the
ALTER SYSTEM SET PL/SQL compiler to automatically Sushma Jagannath ( is
PLSQL_CODE_TYPE = NATIVE; inline subprograms. Changing the value a certification exam development manager at Oracle.
of PLSQL_CODE_TYPE to NATIVE will She has been with the company since 2000.
You changed the values of the following not change the PL/SQL code that has

parameters for a session: already been compiled, but subsequent
recompilations of PL/SQL code will use
PLSQL_OPTIMIZE_LEVEL = 3 the native compilation method. Answer
LEARN more about the Oracle
PLSQL_CODE_TYPE = NATIVE B is incorrect because anonymous
Certification Program
PL/SQL blocks cannot be compiled into
Which statements are true? native code. EXPLORE the certification forum
A. The compiler automatically inlines

subprograms. CONCLUSION READ Inside OCP columns
B. All PL/SQL library units, including This column focused on some of the

anonymous PL/SQL blocks, are com- PL/SQL enhancements introduced in READ more about PL/SQL
Oracle Database PL/SQL Language Reference
piled into machine code. Oracle Database 11g that improve the
C. Changing the value of the PLSQL_ performance of PL/SQL applications:


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t e c h n o l o g y ask tom BY tom kYte

On Constraints, Metadata, and Truth
Our technologist uses constraints to improve query performance.
t is interesting to note how impor- codeLIstING 1: Creating tables with mutually exclusive data and a view
tant constraints are for query opti-
SQL> create table t1
mization. Many people think of 2 as
constraints as a data integrity thing, 3 select * from all_objects
and it’s true—they are. But constraints 4 where object_type in ( ‘TABLE’, ‘VIEW’ );
Table created.
are used by the optimizer as well when
determining the optimal execution plan. SQL> alter table t1 modify object_type not null;
The optimizer takes as inputs Table altered.

■ The query to optimize
SQL> alter table t1 add constraint t1_check_otype
■ All available database object statistics 2 check (object_type in (‘TABLE’, ’VIEW’));
■ System statistics, if available (CPU Table altered.

speed, single-block I/O speed, and so SQL> create table t2
on—metrics about the physical hardware) 2 as
■ Initialization parameters 3 select * from all_objects
4 where object_type in ( ‘SYNONYM’, ‘PROCEDURE’ );
■ Constraints
Table created.
And the optimizer uses them all to
determine the best approach. Something SQL> alter table t2 modify object_type not null;
Table altered.
I’ve noticed over time is that people tend
to skip constraints in a data warehouse/ SQL> alter table t2 add constraint t2_check_otype
reporting system. The argument is, “The 2 check (object_type in (‘SYNONYM’, ’PROCEDURE’));
Table altered.
data is good; we did a data cleansing;
we don’t need data integrity constraints.” SQL> create or replace view v
They might not need constraints for data 2 as
3 select * from t1
integrity (and they might be unpleasantly 4 union all
surprised if they did enable them), but 5 select * from t2;
they do need integrity constraints in order View created.

to achieve the best execution plans. In a
data warehouse, a bad query plan might codeLIstING 2: Optimizing a table away
be one that takes hours or days to exe- SQL> select * from v where object_type = ‘TABLE’;
cute—not just a couple of extra seconds
Execution Plan
or minutes. It is a data warehouse, there- ———————————————————————————————
fore, that truly needs constraints—for Plan hash value: 3982894595
performance reasons.
Let’s look at some examples (these | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
were all executed in Oracle Database —————————————————————————————————————————————
11g Release 1, The first is an | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 40 | 6320 | 151 (1)| 00:00:02 |
| 1 | VIEW |V | 40 | 6320 | 151 (1)| 00:00:02 |
example of partition view elimination—a | 2 | UNION-ALL | | | | | |
feature of Oracle Database since Release |* 3 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | T1 | 3083 | 475K| 31 (0)| 00:00:01 |
7.3. If we describe the data contained in |* 4 | FILTER | | | | | |
|* 5 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| T2 | 5 | 790 | 122 (1)| 00:00:02 |
tables, Oracle Database will frequently be —————————————————————————————————————————————
able to eliminate tables from consider-
ation in the execution plan. Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
In Listing 1, we set up two tables that
contain mutually exclusive data (using the 3 - filter(“OBJECT_TYPE”=’TABLE’)
OBJECT_TYPE attribute) and a view that 4 - filter(NULL IS NOT NULL)
5 - filter(“OBJECT_TYPE”=’TABLE’)
uses UNION ALL to pull them together.

oracle magazine m aY / j u n e 2 0 0 9 61
ask tom

Now in Listing 2, we query this we could do? Yes—all we’d need is to many people, because they falsely
view (V) and use OBJECT_TYPE in the add at least one attribute that is known believe that “IS NULL” predicates cannot
WHERE clause to see how the optimizer to be not null to the index. Then the use an index. I believe that this myth
can optimize a table away. index could sometimes be used in has arisen because people think nulls
At first the execution plan in Listing place of the table for a full scan, and are not indexed. The fact is that nulls
2 looks as if it did not get rid of an it could be used to answer predicates are indexed many times; just entire null
access to table T2, which it could have, of the form “WHERE OBJECT_TYPE index keys are not. So, if at least one
because T2 is known to contain only IS NULL.” That last bit might surprise attribute of the index is not null, every
TABLEs. But on closer inspection, we codeLIstING 3: One way to count rows
see a filter step at step 4, and the filter is SQL> set autotrace traceonly explain
SQL> select count(*) from t;
Execution Plan
That is interesting. We never wrote Plan hash value: 2966233522
that, but the optimizer added it for us.
Because NULL IS NOT NULL is FALSE, | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
that tree of the execution plan will never ————————————————————————————————————————
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 1 | 283 (1)| 00:00:04 |
take place. (You can verify that by using
| 1 | SORT AGGREGATE | | 1| | |
TKPROF if you like. No I/O will be per- | 2 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| T | 68437 | 283 (1)| 00:00:04 |
formed against table T2). ————————————————————————————————————————
As a second example, we’ll take a
look at NOT NULL constraints and see
codeLIstING 4: A better way to count rows
why they are extremely important—in
SQL> alter table t modify object_type NOT NULL;
particular when it comes to INDEX uti-
Table altered.
lization. We’ll create a table and index a
nullable column: SQL> set autotrace traceonly explain
SQL> select count(*) from t;

SQL> create table t Execution Plan
2 as ——————————————————————————————————————————
Plan hash value: 1058879072
3 select * from all_objects;
Table created. ——————————————————————————————————————————
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
SQL> create index t_idx on t(object_type);
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 1 | 54 (2)| 00:00:01 |
Index created. | 1 | SORT AGGREGATE | | 1 | | |
| 2 | INDEX FAST FULL SCAN| T_IDX | 68437 | 54 (2)| 00:00:01 |
SQL> exec
dbms_stats.gather_table_stats( user, ‘T’ );
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed. codeLIstING 5: Plan using full table scan when OBJECT_TYPE is nullable
SQL> alter table t modify object_type NULL;
Now, if we attempt to count the rows Table altered.
in this table, the optimizer has basically
SQL> set autotrace traceonly explain
only one approach, as shown in Listing 3. SQL> select * from t where object_type is null;
Because OBJECT_TYPE is nullable
and indexes do not contain entirely null Execution Plan
key entries (if all columns in an index Plan hash value: 1601196873
key are null, no entry will be made in
the index), we cannot count the rows in ————————————————————————————————————————————
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU) | Time |
the table via the index—we have to use ————————————————————————————————————————————
a full table scan. If we tell the database, | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 1 | 101 | 284 (1) | 00:00:04 |
“OBJECT_TYPE IS NOT NULL,” the |* 1 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | T | 1 | 101 | 284 (1) | 00:00:04 |
plan will immediately change (for the
better), as shown in Listing 4. Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
But, what if OBJECT_TYPE were to —————————————————————————————
1 - filter(“OBJECT_TYPE” IS NULL)
permit nulls? Is there something else

62 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
row will, in fact, appear in the index. codeLISTING 6: Plan using an index when the index has a non-null attribute
Consider the plan in Listing 5.
SQL> select * from t where object_type is null;
That shows that if OBJECT_TYPE is
nullable, the optimizer will not (in fact, Execution Plan
cannot) use the index to satisfy “OBJECT_
Plan hash value: 470836197
TYPE IS NULL.” If we add an attribute
to the index that is not null, the plan ————————————————————————————————————————————————————
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
will change, however. Here I’ll add the
constant zero to the index. (Any not null | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 1 | 101 | 1 (0)| 00:00:01 |
column will do, and in this case, I just | 1 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID | T | 1 | 101 | 1 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 2 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | T_IDX | 1| | 1 (0)| 00:00:01 |
need something not null, and zero is very
small and known to be not null.)
Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
SQL> drop index t_idx;
2 - access(“OBJECT_TYPE” IS NULL)
Index dropped.

SQL> create index t_idx codeLISTING 7: Creating “big” EMP and DEPT tables and EMP_DEPT view
on t (object_type, 0); SQL> create table emp
Index created. 2 as
3 select *
4 from scott.emp;
Now, Listing 6 shows that the plan Table created.
can and will tend to use the index.
SQL> create table dept
2 as
Constraints, Primary Keys, and 3 select *
Foreign Keys 4 from scott.dept;
Now let’s take a look at primary and Table created.
foreign keys and how they might affect SQL> create or replace view emp_dept
the optimizer. In the following example, 2 as
we use a copy of the SCOTT.EMP and 3 select emp.ename, dept.dname
4 from emp, dept
SCOTT.DEPT tables—we pretend they 5 where emp.deptno = dept.deptno;
are large, using DBMS_STATS.SET_ View created.
TABLE_STATS to make the optimizer
SQL> begin
believe they are “big”—and we create the 2 dbms_stats.set_table_stats
EMP_DEPT view, as shown in Listing 7. 3 ( user, ‘EMP’, numrows=>1000000, numblks=>100000 );
Let’s also suppose that the EMP_DEPT 4 dbms_stats.set_table_stats
5 ( user, ‘DEPT’, numrows=>100000, numblks=>10000 );
view is used to query the EMP table, the 6 end;
DEPT table, and the result of joining 7 /
EMP to DEPT. When the view is used to PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.
retrieve data from just the EMP table, we
observe that the database accesses both
codeLISTING 8: Query on EMP_DEPT view accessing both EMP and DEPT
the EMP and DEPT tables in the execu-
tion plan, as shown in Listing 8. SQL> select ename from emp_dept;

Now, we know that access to the Execution Plan
DEPT table is not really necessary, —————————————————————————————
because DEPTNO is the primary key of Plan hash value: 615168685

DEPT, and DEPT in the EMP table is, ———————————————————————————————————————————————————
in fact, a foreign key to the DEPT table. | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes |TempSpc| Cost (%CPU)| Time |
That is, when we join EMP to DEPT by ———————————————————————————————————————————————————
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 1000K| 31M| | 31515 (1)| 00:06:19 |
DEPTNO, every row in the EMP table |* 1 | HASH JOIN | | 1000K| 31M| 2448K| 31515 (1)| 00:06:19 |
that has a non-null DEPTNO value will | 2 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| DEPT | 100K| 1269K| | 2716 (1)| 00:00:33 |
have exactly one matching record in | 3 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| EMP | 1000K| 19M| | 27151 (1)| 00:05:26 |
the DEPT table. We know that it will
have at least one match because of the Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
foreign key constraint on EMP and at —————————————————————————————
1 - access(“EMP”.”DEPTNO”=”DEPT”.”DEPTNO”)
most one match because of the primary

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 63
ask tom

key constraint on DEPT. If we tell Oracle —we’ll see a query plan like the one the view. This style of optimization,
Database about these facts— in Listing 9. unnecessary table elimination, will have
See how the optimizer has removed a very positive effect on response time,
SQL> alter table dept add constraint the DEPT table from consideration, the especially when you’re using “generic
dept_pk primary key(deptno); HASH JOIN is gone, and a predicate has views” that join many tables together.
Table altered. been added: DEPTNO IS NOT NULL. When end users query these generic
The optimizer has recognized that, with views and do not need information
SQL> alter table emp add constraint the foreign key and the primary key in from all of the joined tables, the opti-
emp_fk_dept foreign key(deptno) place, the SELECT ENAME FROM EMP mizer will sometimes be able to elimi-
2 references dept(deptno); WHERE DEPTNO IS NOT NULL query nate the unnecessary joined tables—on
Table altered. is equivalent to the query contained in a case-by-case basis.
As a side note, this example also
codeLIstING 9: Query on EMP_DEPT view, with DEPT access removed demonstrates why SELECT * queries
should not be used in real life. If your
SQL> select ename from emp_dept;
queries are all in the form “SELECT *
Execution Plan FROM . . .”, you won’t benefit from this
—————————————————————————————— sort of optimization, and the optimizer
Plan hash value: 3956160932
will always have to access the DEPT
————————————————————————————————————————————— table, because it appears that you want
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | data from it. Always reference only the
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 50000 | 976K| 27152 (1)| 00:05:26 |
columns you need in your queries.
|* 1 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| EMP | 50000 | 976K| 27152 (1)| 00:05:26 |
————————————————————————————————————————————— Constraints and Materialized Views
Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
Another example of this query rewrite
—————————————————————————————— magic involves primary key constraints,
1 - filter(“EMP”.”DEPTNO” IS NOT NULL) foreign key constraints, not-null con-
straints, and materialized views. I
codeLIstING 10: Materialized view joining EMP and DEPT and computing count often refer to materialized views as the
SQL> create materialized view mv enable query rewrite “indexes of your data warehouse.” The
2 as goal, in general, of a materialized view
3 select dept.deptno, dept.dname, count (*) from emp, dept is to “preanswer” complex or long-
4 where emp.deptno = dept.deptno
5 group by dept.deptno, dept.dname;
running queries against detail tables, to
Materialized view created. save these answers in a persistent table,
and to later return these saved answers
SQL> begin
2 dbms_stats.set_table_stats
transparently when end users run ad hoc
3 ( user, ‘MV’, numrows=>100000, numblks=>10000 ); queries against the detail tables. Much
4 end; as an index is used in a transactional
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.
system to speed up queries, materialized
views are used to speed up queries in
codeLIstING 11: One query using the materialized view data warehouse/reporting systems.
SQL> select dept.dname, count (*) from emp, dept Using the EMP and DEPT tables once
2 where emp.deptno = dept.deptno and dept.dname = ‘SALES’ again from the above example, we’ll
3 group by dept.dname;
remove the constraints:
Execution Plan
—————————————————————————————— SQL> alter table emp drop constraint
Plan hash value: 1703036361
————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Table altered.
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 1000 | 22000 | 2716 (1)| 00:00:33 | SQL> alter table dept drop constraint
| 1 | SORT GROUP BY NOSORT | | 1000 | 22000 | 2716 (1)| 00:00:33 | dept_pk;
|* 2 | MAT_VIEW REWRITE ACCESS FULL| MV | 1000 | 22000 | 2716 (1)| 00:00:33 | Table altered.

Predicate Information (identified by operation id): So, we have just the EMP and DEPT
—————————————————————————————— tables now, and the optimizer believes
2 - filter(“MV”.”DNAME”=’SALES’)
they are large (based on our telling

64 M ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
it that by using DBMS_STATS). We’ll that and used this view to quickly instead of counting individual employee
create a materialized view that joins answer the query. records in EMP, the query could have
EMP and DEPT together and computes However, if we ask a slightly different summed up the DEPTNO-based count
the count of employees by department, question, as shown in Listing 12, we’ll in the materialized view—in much less
as shown in Listing 10. see that the optimizer does not rewrite time. We know that this could have
Now, if we issue a query of the form the query to use the materialized view. been done because we know that
in Listing 11, we can see that the opti- As you see, the optimizer chooses ■ DEPTNO in DEPT is a primary key

mizer avoids the detail tables altogether to do a full table scan of the EMP table, ■ DEPTNO in EMP is a foreign key

and accesses the materialized view. count the rows, and return the results. ■ DEPTNO in EMP is a NOT NULL

Rather than joining EMP to DEPT for Now, you know and I know that it could column
the SALES department and then count- have chosen a full scan of the much We know that, but the database does
ing the rows, the optimizer recognized smaller materialized view and summed not. If we tell the database that—
that the materialized view already did up the precomputed count. That is,
SQL> alter table dept add constraint
codeLISTING 12: One query not using the materialized view dept_pk primary key(deptno);
Table altered.
SQL> select count(*) from emp;

COUNT(*) SQL> alter table emp add constraint
emp_fk_dept foreign key(deptno)
2 references dept(deptno);
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor); Table altered.

——————————————————————— SQL> alter table emp modify deptno
SQL_ID g59vz2u4cu404, child number 1 NOT NULL;
Table altered.
select count(*) from emp

Plan hash value: 2083865914 —then the next time we ask that same
question, we’ll see that the optimizer
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Cost (%CPU)| Time | rewrote the query to access the smaller
———————————————————————————————————————— materialized view (instead of the large
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | 27142 (100)| |
EMP table), as shown in Listing 13. ■
| 1 | SORT AGGREGATE | | 1 | | |
| 2 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| EMP | 1000K| 27142 (1)| 00:05:26 |
———————————————————————————————————————— Tom Kyte is a database evangelist in Oracle’s Server
14 rows selected.
Technologies division and has worked for Oracle since
1993. He is the author of Expert Oracle Database
codeLISTING 13: Postconstraints, query now using materialized view Architecture: 9i and 10g Programming Techniques and
SQL> select count(*) from emp; Solutions (Apress, 2005) and Effective Oracle by Design
(Oracle Press, 2003), among others.


SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);
PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT Tom Kyte answers your most difficult technology ques-
——————————————————————— tions. Highlights from that forum appear in this column.
SQL_ID g59vz2u4cu404, child number 2
select count (*) from emp READ more about
Oracle Database 11g
Plan hash value: 1747602359

READ more Tom
————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Expert Oracle Database Architecture: 9i and 10g
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | Programming Techniques and Solutions
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 2716 (100)| |
| 1 | SORT AGGREGATE | | 1| 13 | | |
| 2 | MAT_VIEW REWRITE ACCESS FULL| MV | 100K| 1269K| 2716 (1)| 00:00:33 | DOWNLOAD
————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Oracle Database 11g
14 rows selected.

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 65
c o m m e n t IN THE FIELD By Ia n a Br am son

Mixing It Up
There’s never been a better time to get involved through networking.
s the world changes, the way meetings on Skype, and other online to create an environment where a more
people interact with each other communications technologies, IOUG professional community, focusing on
evolves. How do you define can build a network that blends the business connections, can thrive with
your professional network? face-to-face Oracle technology commu- the addition of an IOUG group relation-
Do you include friends, acquaintances, nity with the virtual community. In the ship. Finally, we look forward to seeing
Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, old days (less than 10 years ago), IOUG how the Twitter Oracle community
Oracle Mix people, or even the buddies offered only an in-person conference. comes together.
on your hockey team? Today, more than Now, there are Webinars, blogs, listservs, All these methods work. If everyone
ever, our network is far-reaching: we online chats, and teleconferences that takes part, our community will network,
know people around the globe, people bring IOUG members together. grow, and thrive all year long. In chal-
with shared experiences, and people A recent customer satisfaction survey, lenging economic times, it is more
who have unique and useful knowledge. run by IOUG and Oracle, showed that important than ever to have a robust
Despite the ease of communicat- customers who were part of the user network. It’s time to get involved. ■
ing with newer technologies, retaining community—specifically IOUG—are
some of the time-honored networking more-satisfied customers. That’s because Ian Abramson ( is president
methods is still important. Peer-to-peer this community is involved. of IOUG and an Oracle data warehousing expert
networking, for example, continues to with more than 20 years of experience. Based in
be invaluable for discussing challenges stay involved Toronto, Canada, he is the director of the Enterprise
and learning new solutions. To help us all stay more involved all Data Group for Thoughtcorp, a technology consulting
Independent Oracle Users Group year long, IOUG has established groups company. Ian has written numerous books on both
(IOUG) leaders and members believe on popular social networking sites that Oracle and data warehousing and is a frequent
that face-to-face communication is a we invite everyone to join. These sites presenter at Oracle and industry conferences and
leading benefit of joining the user group. include Oracle Mix, Facebook, LinkedIn, seminars. He is coauthor of Oracle Database 11g
IOUG now has a network of more than and Twitter. The groups that we have Beginner’s Guide (Oracle Press, 2008).
23,000 Oracle technology professionals. set up will aid the members of our com-
This number may not seem large com-
pared to, for example, Facebook’s 150
munity in finding each other in these
venues. We expect that these groups nextSTEPS
million members. But IOUG’s members will prove to be valuable communica- JOIN IOUG
have an unsurpassed knowledgebase tion channels within the community
of information and solutions that relate and will allow people to leverage their CHECK OUT
directly to everyday technical issues. You professional networks. We are excited to
can’t measure that expertise by numbers become part of the fabric of these com-
the IOUG/Oracle customer
of members alone. munities and to aid technology profes- satisfaction survey
In-person events remain a critical sionals to come together informally.
way for people to communicate face- One such forum, Oracle Mix, is a
to-face, and IOUG continues to facili- platform that helps Oracle IT profes- Oracle Mix
tate opportunities for that. The annual sionals communicate with each other
IOUG’s group link on Facebook
COLLABORATE conference is one such and with Oracle. Recently, enhancement
opportunity where attendees have a voting and paper selection for Oracle .php?gid=2329868812
chance to rub shoulders with some of OpenWorld were both accomplished IOUG’s group link on LinkedIn
the greatest Oracle technologists in the through the Oracle Mix interface.

world. Networking possibilities like that On the social side, IOUG looks at the Official Oracle Wiki
are both rare and priceless. Facebook as a way of growing our com-
Online networking has augmented munity and providing an interface that FOLLOW
IOUG on Twitter
face-to-face conferences, events, and is not always technical but is always
meetings. With discussion forums, interesting. With LinkedIn, IOUG wants

66 m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9
c o m m e n t ALL Secure By m ary an n davidso n

Good Reporting, Good Governance
Measuring “How are we doing?” in Oracle Software Security Assurance
ost of us are list makers or that almost everyone in development has are on the left, and the “later elements”
“list takers.” When we were to take. Developers are seemingly always are on the right. We provide not only
kids, it was summer reading busy: there is always another release to a key (the degree to which a group is
lists and back-to-school lists. plan, code, test, and deliver, so manda- compliant is coded by color) but also
Now that we’re adults, it’s New Year’s tory training is hard to fit in. Mind you, an attachment describing how teams
resolutions, grocery lists, and life goals. we already tracked who had to take it, can become compliant. The report—
The only thing that changes is that we who had taken it, and who had passed, which goes to the highest levels of the
use more gadgets (a smartphone) to and we reminded groups often that they company—has had a galvanizing effect
create lists than we did in days of yore needed to “get on with it.” What kicked on development groups: everyone wants
(the back of an envelope). Lists work by the program into high gear was collat- to be an A student (or solid green). That
helping you prioritize (Must, Want, Like) ing all that information into a bar chart said, the “report to management” is
or sequence (1, 2, 3 . . .) what needs and presenting it to senior management, intended to be, “Here’s how we’re doing,”
doing, and they help you track whether who could then see each development not (primarily), “This team is bad.”
you did those things or not. That last group’s training status and also which Good governance is really just man-
bit is important, especially when you groups had the highest completion rates aging well, and that includes giving
manage work not entirely under your and which had the lowest. When we people the tools they need in order
control or must show someone else what first created the bar chart, there were a to do so. My team strives for absolute
you have done, both of which are ele- few groups that were “noncompliant” accuracy in reporting, and we ensure
ments of governance. (below 75 percent complete), most were that development security leads receive
Oracle has recently put more gov- “making progress” (between 75 percent the report—and have a chance to raise
ernance structures around Oracle and 95 percent complete), and a few any concerns—before it goes to senior
Software Security Assurance. A very were “compliant” (at or above 95 percent management. We want the people doing
sharp manager on my team wanted to complete). Within six weeks of present- the work to be the first ones to see their
know how consistently and broadly ing the chart to senior management, all report card, and we also highlight to
teams across all the Oracle development but one group was compliant. That out- senior management the groups that have
groups (including teams we’ve added via lying group created an action plan, and really improved and the individuals who
acquisition) were following our secure six weeks later, that group was compliant have made that happen. As my mom
development practices. He wanted to too. Governance—a management-level always says, “You catch more flies with
measure progress—clearly, a brand-new synopsis of “Are we doing what we say honey than with vinegar.” ■
acquisition cannot change overnight to we are doing?”—works. (So does report-
do things The Oracle Way. In particular, ing leaders and laggards to the boss.) Mary Ann Davidson is the chief security officer of
he wanted to identify teams that were Training is merely one element in the Oracle, responsible for secure development practices and
slower to adopt Oracle Software Security larger Security Assurance Compliance security evaluations and assessments. She represents
Assurance so we could target them for Scorecard, in which we track compli- Oracle on the board of directors of the Information
more assistance. The Security Assurance ance by development group for major Technology Information Security Analysis Center (IT-ISAC),
Compliance Scorecard he developed is elements of Oracle Software Security has served on the U.S. Defense Science Board, and is on
a tool that enables us to manage what Assurance, such as use of automated the editorial review board of SC Magazine.
needs doing, in priority order, and how tools, secure configuration, and inte-
well we are doing it. What none of us
expected was how powerful the idea
gration into the critical patch update
process. We are also breaking down each nextSTePS
of governance—of what we say we do, element into smaller compliance steps LeArN more about
intend to do, and are doing—would turn for reporting consistency and to measure Oracle Software Security Assurance
out to be. Report cards, I had forgotten, incremental progress. The scorecard is

are another kind of list. presented left to right—the first Oracle reAD more Davidson
Our first success was the mandatory Software Security Assurance elements
class on secure development practices that development groups generally adopt

oracle magazine m ay / j u n e 2 0 0 9 67
c o m m e n t ANALYST’S CORNER BY david Baum

Getting Grounded in the Cloud
Developers find challenges—and opportunities—in new architecture.
racle Magazine spoke with Al willing to let somebody else be the custo- Services for business users are prob-
Hilwa, program director of applica- dian of your data. In some cases, compa- ably the most-popular cloud offerings.
tion development software at IDC, nies are putting their intellectual property In the last couple of years, we have
about new types of cloud computing out there in the cloud. In response, seen the emergence of infrastructure
architectures and how they affect enterprise service-level agreements [SLAs] and user offerings from Amazon and other
software deployments. license agreements have become much vendors in which applications can be
Oracle Magazine: What does cloud comput- more systematized and granular. They hosted and run within virtualized envi-
ing mean to today’s enterprises? permit CIOs to buy into multiple levels ronments in the cloud.
Hilwa: Cloud computing is a broad topic, of service and support with agreed-upon Oracle Magazine: What should developers
so let’s start by defining our terms. IDC quality, availability, or scale. do to prepare themselves for these cloud
defines cloud services as “consumer and In addition, there’s a loss of control computing models?
business products, services, and solutions over the future configuration and longev- Hilwa: Cloud services imply new types of
that are delivered and consumed in real ity of a particular service. You have to automated computing APIs. Developers
time over the internet.” These include IT define tight rules of usage, ownership, have to learn a whole new set of services,
services—like software as a service [SaaS] sharing, security, and so forth. We’ve seen APIs, and platforms that are now avail-
and storage or server capacity—and steady evolution in cloud service contracts able only in the cloud. That’s definitely a
non-IT business and consumer services. as well as the ability of service providers challenge, but it’s one that most develop-
Cloud computing is an IT development, to manage these new types of SLAs. Like ers are already familiar with.
deployment, and delivery model that the selection of any IT software, the selec- The application development indus-
enables real-time delivery of products, tion of a cloud service provider must be try has seen a steady evolution of lan-
services, and solutions over the internet. done with the same diligence. Concerns guages, frameworks, APIs, and platforms
It encompasses all elements of the IT about financial stability and longevity of for hosting applications. So this is just
stack that enable the development, deliv- the service provider should be addressed one more transition that developers
ery, and consumption of cloud services. by other means, such as the availability of have to go through. Many developers
Oracle Magazine: What motivates CIOs to on-premises alternatives that can be rolled have already been exposed to these APIs
consider these new architectures? out on short notice and with minimal dis- without knowing it. ■
Hilwa: There are two fundamental drivers. ruption. These dynamics favor the estab-
The first is a desire to lower costs by lished software providers, who may well David Baum ( is a freelance
reducing the amount of infrastructure get first right of refusal on the upcoming business writer based in Santa Barbara, California.
that a company has on premises, as well cloud services marketplace.
as the responsibility for maintaining Oracle Magazine: What kinds of applica- IDC ( is a global provider of market
and upgrading that infrastructure. The tions and services lend themselves to intelligence, advisory services, and events for the
second is speed to enablement. Since cloud computing? information technology, telecommunications, and
cloud infrastructure and applications Hilwa: The most-effective applications consumer technology markets.
are already in place in the cloud, getting delivered through the cloud are those
up to speed with a particular offering,
service, or implementation is generally
that require minimal configuration—
essentially applications oriented toward
much quicker. In some cases, it’s simply a end users. Application development in the VISIT the Oracle Cloud Computing Center
matter of adding a new company or sub- cloud is fairly new, but some interesting
DOWNLOAD Oracle Secure Backup
scription to get started. movements are afoot, buoyed by the open Cloud Module
Oracle Magazine: What are key concerns source community. Packaged applications
when considering cloud computing solu- such as customer relationship manage- READ about
tions run by a third party? ment [CRM] and enterprise resource plan- the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
Hilwa: Clearly there is some loss of control ning are strong contenders, as we’ve seen
associated with cloud services and with with offerings like Oracle On Demand Oracle On Demand
outsourcing in general. You have to be and Oracle On Demand for Siebel CRM.

68 m aY / j u n e 2 0 0 9
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