WordPress 5.3 “Kirk”

WordPress 5.3 “Kirk” has been released.

I guess many of the people out there are running on hosted solutions, so your upgrade will happen when your hosting company decides to apply it. For those that self-host, you’re just a button press away.

This morning I’ve updated 5 separate blogs, all hosted independently, and they all went through fine. At the moment the upgrades have to be manually initiated, but I’m guessing in a few days they’ll just run through automatically.

Since it was introduced, the Site Health feature (Tools > Site Health) has been improved with each release. It’s worth running this to check if there are any recommended security or performance settings. The new release picked up some things the previous release didn’t. My website was bounced a couple of times while I made changes to sort them.

If I’m honest, I can barely notice a difference. I’m not a “power user” of WordPress. I just write blog posts with it. There are allegedly improvements to the block editing, but I really can’t tell. A couple of the popup controls look a little different, but from the way I use it, that’s about all. I’m sure people with different usage patterns will have a different reaction to this release.

I was interested to see what the Twenty Twenty theme would look like. Not my cup of tea! 🙂

It wouldn’t surprise me if we get a couple of quick maintenance releases coming out soon, but I still think it’s worth pushing forward with this stuff. No point living in the past. 🙂

Happy upgrading…

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : Database Authentication

Today’s video is a run through the Database Authentication functionality in Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS).

As always, this is based on an article on the same subject.

There are better methods of authentication and authorization available from ORDS, which you can read about here.

The star of today’s video is Stew Ashton, who is barely audible over the noise of the bar. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Docker Birmingham – November 2019

Yesterday evening I went to the Docker Birmingham meetup, sponsored by Black Cat Technology Solutions.

This event was a single longer session by Matt Todd called “Make Data Science Great Again (Part 2)” I didn’t see part 1, but he gave a summary, so that wasn’t too much of a problem.

Matt started off by introducing the scientific method and discussed reducing variables when testing, so you know the impact of a change. The suggestion being that development and data science should be the same. What better way to reduce variables than to package up a data science lab to make sure everyone is working on the same thing, so there is no/less variability between researchers, and they can focus on their work, not piecing together the kit.

He then went on to discuss Cloud Native Application Bundles (CNAB), and how they can be used to more reliably package multi-container applications, guaranteeing dependencies to a level greater than that possible by using Docker Compose alone. As an example he demoed his Digital Scientists Lab, which is a CNAB bundle containing a bunch of common kit used by data scientists (Jupyter, Spark, Flink, Kafka, RabbitMQ, Nifi, Elastic Stack etc.), which he could in theory give to several people to run experiments. It’s just his playground, but it gives you an idea of what’s possible. Using Nifi to link stuff together looked cool!

I started to make a few mental connections when he discussed the relationship to experimental data, because I look after the infrastructure for a research publishing system, and being able to keep not only the published research, but also the experimental data and potentially a way to reproduce the research findings is pretty important. It keeps those academics honest, if you know what I mean. It’s funny how just a few links to something you know a little bit about, and other stuff starts falling into place.

It was all a bit mind-blowing, but in a good way. I’m still only scratching the surface of this stuff, but it’s really good to see what else is going on in this space. I’ve added a few more things to my list of things to play around with.

It’s a couple of months until the next event, but there’s a CNCF event next month, so watch out for that!

Thanks to the folks at Black Cat Technology Solutions for sponsoring and organising the event, and to the Matt Todd for doing a great session. See you soon!

Cheers

Tim…

APEX 19.2 : Vagrant and Docker Builds

I’m sure anyone who cares knows that APEX 19.2 was officially released on Friday. I did an upgrade of one of our development instances straight away and it worked fine. it’s subsequently gone to a bunch of other development instances. I’ll be pushing to get this out to production as quickly as possible.

Over the weekend I worked through a bunch of my GitHub stuff.

Vagrant : I’ve updated all my Vagrant builds to use APEX 19.2 and the latest versions of Tomcat 9 and OpenJDK 11. I was using newer versions of OpenJDK, but it seemed a bit silly, so I reverted back to the long term support release. I tried updating the base box to ‘bento/oracle-7.7’, but it kept giving me timeouts, so I’ve reverted back to ‘bento/oracle-7.6’ for the moment.

Docker : Same as above, I’ve updated all my Docker builds to use APEX 19.2 and the latest versions of Tomcat 9 and OpenJDK 11. I noticed oraclelinux:8-slim was behaving a little strangely. I thought it was a PATH issue, but I need to spend some time to understand what is happening. It seems you can’t run basic commands like dnf during the build phase. It’s probably something stupid I’m doing, but for now I’ve switched from oraclelinux:8-slim to oraclelinux:8. Just making that switch made everything work as expected.

My Docker builds within the company have gone through a similar process, so as I’m rolling out APEX 19.2 to the databases, I’m also switching the ORDS containers over to the new images. You gotta love containers!

I guess I’ll be working through all this again when the next version of ORDS and SQLcl drop. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Midlands Microsoft 365 and Azure User Group – November 2019

Last night I went to the Midlands Microsoft 365 and Azure User Group. It was co-organised by Urfaan Azhar and Lee Thatcher from Pure Technology Group, and Adrian Newton from my company.

This event was focused on Microsoft Teams, which is the MS version of Slack. If you don’t know what Slack is, you probably need to come out from under that rock…

First up was Matt Fooks speaking about “Microsoft Teams, the death of email!” We use Teams at work, but I’m a bit of a noob at it and I don’t get involved in any of the administration side of things. The session started with an overview of what Teams does and how it is organised. We spent some time speaking about culture related stuff, which may well be a bigger factor than the tech side of things with regards to transitioning from email to Teams (or Slack) as the primary communication channel. In addition to security and organisational stuff, there was a discussion of integration and applications available from Teams. The first session ended with Urfaan Azhar discussing some of the recent innovations in Teams, covered here.

After food and drinks it was Kevin McDonnell with “Using Bots in Azure/Teams for Automation”. Following the theme of the event, this was a remote presentation over Teams. 🙂 An interesting point raised at the start was how social functionality can help drive adoption and engagement in the company. As an example he showed a daily challenge bot, which allowed people to guess the location of today’s Bing image. It’s not “work”, but it got people engaged in the product and communicating. Amongst other things, there was a quick demo of Power Automate, the new name for Flow, which now has RPA functionality in preview. There was also a demo of Bot Framework Composer, which looks like a pretty easy way to generate the basics of a bot from a simple designer. There was also a mention of Virtual Agents for creating conversational bots (chat bots), which looked pretty cool.

As I’ve said before, I’m not involved in the administration of M365, Azure and Teams, but this is all about context and possibilities for me. My company has some of these products, so it’s good to know what they can do, and maybe take advantage of some of them from some of the stuff I do have a hand in.

Thanks to everyone who turned up to support the event, the speakers, and the sponsor Pure Technology Group. See you at the next event.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : REST Enabled SQL

Today’s video is a run through the REST Enabled SQL functionality in Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS).

I wasn’t originally planning on doing this video yet, but the subject of REST Enabled SQL came up a couple of times in the last few days, so I thought I would alter my schedule.

This video is based on the following article, where you can find a lot more examples than are present in the video.

There is a lot more information about ORDS generally in these articles.

The star of today’s video is Emrah Mete, who finished up with an crazy grin. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

APEX 19.2 Download Available

Yesterday evening Hildo Haenen tweeted that the APEX 19.2 download was available. You had to use the direct file URL and you had to have agreed to the license agreement on another download, as pointed out by Markus Hohloch, for the URL to work, but you could get the software. Of course, I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing (I totally did…).

Today it seems the download page has been updated and you can get hold of the software in the normal way.

Happy installing/upgrading folks!

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Some people may still see the download page as a 19.1 download. I guess it’s just a matter of waiting for the CDN in your region to update…

PS. First upgrade done… 🙂

“Thank you for installing Oracle Application Express 19.2.0.00.18”

PPS. Joel Kallman just made the official announcement here.