Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) 22.1 : Article Updates

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the big changes that have come with version 22.1 of ORDS (here). I mentioned that the changes meant I had to revisit a bunch of my content. I think that process is done now.

As I predicted, there are three new articles so far. I mentioned the first of these in my last post.

These had changed so much is made sense to do them as new articles, rather than trying to cope the “pre-22.1” and “22.1 onward” approaches in one article.

Since the changes are in the configuration, rather than feature usage, most of the other articles needed less work. Typically just references about how to enable/disable features. I’ve worked through all the articles now and I think I’ve sorted everything. I’m sure over time I’ll spot other things I want to add or edit. 🙂 Here’s a link to all the ORDS articles on my website.

ORDS : All Articles

Cheers

Tim…

ORDS and APEX 22.1 : Vagrant and Docker Builds

I was on top of the recent ORDS 22.1 release, but somehow I managed to miss the APEX 22.1 release. Here’s an update on what’s been going on with my builds…

Vagrant Builds

A number of my Vagrant database builds include APEX. Those that do have been updated to use APEX 22.1. You can find them here.

They had already been updated to use the latest versions of Java, Tomcat, ORDS and SQLcl where appropriate, so the APEX upgrade was a small change. The ORDS update was done 11 days ago. It was a bigger update, as the installation process for ORDS 22.1 has changed quite a bit. I wrote about that here.

You can read my beginner’s guide to Vagrant here.

Docker/Container Builds

I have some ORDS containers that include the APEX images, so those image builds have been updated to use ORDS 22.1 and APEX 22.1 images now.

APEX is also included in the database builds. You can find them here.

I was a little slow to add the updates to the Docker builds. The Tomcat and SQLcl changes were done a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve only added the Java, ORDS and APEX changes today. I held back a little on the ORDS 22.1 changes, as I was rewriting a bunch of articles that were affected by the installation and configuration changes.

You can read my Docker/Container articles here.

Real Life

We probably won’t be putting APEX 22.1 live until the next patching cycle, which will be July. In the past I could be quite aggressive about the upgrades, but as APEX is becoming more important in the organisation, the rollout of updates has to be a bit more considered. 🙂

The same will probably be true for the ORDS 22.1 rollout. We run ORDS in containers, so it’s really quick and easy to replace all the infrastructure, but I wanted to be a bit cautious because of all the changes in the new version. Having played with it a bit now, I’m feeling a lot more confident, but at the time we were starting our patching cycle I was too nervous to include it.

As far as home systems are concerned, I only use the latest and greatest, unless there is a compelling reason not to. 😉

Cheers

Tim…

Technology Evolution : What does “the best” even mean?

I was watching a Twitter thread develop, where people were discussing which of two pieces of technology were “the best”, and I found myself thinking of evolution and selection pressure. I’m going to speak in simple terms, so I apologise in advance to folks with an education in this stuff, who are irritated by my simplifications…

Selection Pressure

Organisms evolve because of selection pressure. There is something about their environment that makes certain changes advantageous. Take the case of the peppered moth. To cut a long story short, it was a pale moth. Being pale was good camouflage as the places it hung around were a similar colour, so predators found it hard to spot them. Any mutations that made a peppered moth darker, made it more likely to be spotted and eaten, so mutations that caused the darker moths were unlikely to get through to the next generation. If you get eaten, you are less likely to breed. So there was a selection pressure in favour of being a pale peppered moth. Then along came the industrial revolution, which covered trees and walls in soot. All of a sudden, being pale made it easy for predators to see you and reduced your chances of breeding. Any moths with a mutation causing a darker colour were at an advantage, were more likely to breed, and quickly the predominant colour of peppered moths in industrial regions changed. The selection pressure was now for darker peppered moths.

In contrast, alligators have remained relatively unchanged since before the extinction of the dinosaurs. Sizes vary, but they look pretty much the same. Why? They are already the perfect design for their lifestyle, so there is no selection pressure forcing a change. If some new mutation happens, but it doesn’t give an advantage that affects the alligators chances of breeding, it’s unlikely to spread through the population. The selection pressure is low for the new mutation.

So what’s this got to do with technology? I’m hoping that’s simple for you to see.

If you invent a really smart bit of technology, but it has no major advantages over the existing technology out there, it’s unlikely to obliterate its competitors. Even if there is a technical benefit, that benefit has to be sufficiently large to make people stand up and take notice.

When we look at the database market, relational databases are the alligators. They are really well suited for the role they play. Every time a new non-relational engine comes along, it’s easy to get excited and think of it as the RDBMS-killer, but they are typically targeting different problems. The biggest threat to a specific relational database at the moment is other relational databases…

Survival of the Fittest

When people read “survival of the fittest”, they often forget that “fittest” relates to ability to breed and pass on your genes. The male peacock has stupid tail feathers that slow it down and put it at a higher risk of predation, but the peahens are all about the crazy tail feathers, so the physical disadvantage of the crazy tail feathers is a breeding advantage. Effectively the “least fit” for survival becomes the “most fit” for breeding…

But what about the peacock’s tail feathers in technology? There are a number of factors that make a technology attractive apart from technical excellence, so it’s not always “the best” that wins. For example:

  • Brand : I guess this is the obvious one. Apple is a premium brand. People will often spend extra money for a technically worse product because of the attraction of a brand. There is a reason companies spend big money on advertising and promoting their brand.
  • Community Support : If a product has a vibrant community, where it’s easy to get answers and support, it will be more attractive than a product with bad support and a weak community. Why intentionally put yourself at a disadvantage?
  • Staffing : It doesn’t matter how good a product is, if you can’t get staff with those skills, it’s probably not a great idea to base your future on it. This can be a problem for new technologies, but it also goes for old technologies that are falling out of favour. I wouldn’t be starting a new project using COBOL, even if it were well suited to the task.
  • Cost : There is a reason Android phones have a bigger market share than iPhones. They are cheaper, and therefore more attainable. Cost should be judged on total cost of ownership (TCO), not just the headline price tag…

I know this post has rambled a lot, but coming back to my original point, when I hear someone arguing about technical merits of a product, I find myself wondering if that’s actually relevant at all. Maybe it’s only a small fraction of what really matters…

Cheers

Tim…

PS. The first picture is a crocodile, not an alligator. I know they are different, but I liked this picture… 🙂

Video : Ansible Playbooks : Files and Templates

In today’s video we demonstrate how to use handlers in Ansible Playbooks.

The video is based on the following article.

You might find some useful stuff here.

The star of today’s video is Dan Norris, who is looking to the heavens for inspiration. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Ansible Playbooks : Handlers

In today’s video we demonstrate how to use handlers in Ansible Playbooks.

The video is based on the following article.

You might find some useful stuff here.

The star of today’s video is my dad, Graham Wood, who spend most of his time galivanting and spending my inheritance, which I’ve been waiting patiently for!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) 22.1 : All Change!

You may have heard version 22.1 of Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) has been released. For the versions between 3.0 and 21.4 the installation process was pretty much the same. From version 22.1 it’s out with the old and in with the new…

I’ve put out an installation article, but remember it’s early days for me, so I will probably be revisiting this over the coming weeks as I learn more.

The Big News

  • We no longer run commands using “ords.war” directly. Instead we use an “ords” script/executable in the “bin” subdirectory. That kind-of makes every installation or configuration article you’ve ever read wrong.
  • The above change means standalone mode is also different, so even starting and stopping ORDS has changed.
  • The configuration location is no longer written into the “ords.war” file, so you have to make sure standalone, Tomcat, WebLogic knows where to find the config.
  • The contents/structure of the configuration has changed, so once again anything you’ve read about configuration has probably changed.

It all sounds quite dramatic, and it certainly confused the hell out of me, but I think a couple of weeks down the line I will forget it was ever any other way. 🙂

I’ve updated one of my Vagrant builds to use the new version. I’ll do the others over time…

Over the next few days/weeks I’ve got to visit all my ORDS content (over 30 articles) to check how these changes have impacted it. Off the top of my head I think I’ve got about 3 rewrites to do, and some corrections of other articles.

Don’t Panic

From a usage perspective, ORDS looks the same, so there is no need to panic. It’s just one of those administration evolutions you expect in the lifetime of a product.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I’ve been making Jeff Smith‘s life miserable regarding the documentation. Thanks for the feedback and changes Jeff. 😉

VirtualBox 6.1.34

VirtualBox 6.1.34 has been released.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve installed it on Windows 11 and macOS Big Sur hosts with no dramas. Some time in the next 24 hours I’ll upload updated versions of my Oracle Linux 7 and Oracle Linux 8 vagrant boxes.

This is going to get plenty of testing as I run all my Vagrant builds using the latest Oracle patches.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Ansible Playbooks : Host and Group Variables

In today’s video we demonstrate how to use lists and loops in Ansible Playbooks.

The video is based on the following article.

You might find some useful stuff here.

The star of today’s video is Toon Koppelaars, famous for The Helsinki Declaration (IT Version), which you may know better these days as the SmartDB approach to building applications.

Cheers

Tim…

Operating Systems for Oracle Databases, Including Windows This Time… (Poll Results Discussed)

Last week I put out a post about operating systems used for running Oracle databases.

Operating Systems for Oracle Databases (Poll Results Discussed)

This was the first question from the previous post.

Which operating system are you using for your Oracle database servers?

Unfortunately I forgot to include Windows. A number of people contacted me about this, asking if I would ask the question again and include Windows this time, so I did. Also, this time I was explicit about production systems, because I suspect some people were answering about their home setup… 🙂

So here we go for the second time…

Which operating system are you using for the majority of your **production** Oracle Databases servers? Not demo kit on your PC at home. A repeat of last week, but remembering to include Windows this time…

We can see Linux is still the clear winner, with UNIX and Windows battling it out for the second place spot. Going back to my statement from the last post, there is no point in purposely making yourself a minority, which would clearly suggest Linux is the place to be. Windows is a slight exception to that, because if your company has no experience on Linux, but a good grounding in Windows administration, it might be a good idea for you to stick with Windows, rather than doing a bad job with Linux. I can’t imagine there are many places with good UNIX skills and no Linux skills, so I’m not going to give the same “get out of jail free card” for that. 🙂

So as I said before, Linux is dominating, so you can see why there is so few posts about Oracle on other platforms these days…

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Ansible Playbooks : Lists and Loops

In today’s video we demonstrate how to use lists and loops in Ansible Playbooks.

The video is based on the following article.

You might find some useful stuff here.

The star of today’s video is Øyvind Isene, who took a break during coffee time to let me film this clip.

Cheers

Tim…