Joel Kallman Day 2023 : It’s a Wrap! (#JoelKallmanDay)

Yesterday was an Oracle community day called the Joel Kallman Day (#JoelKallmanDay) 2023.

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to join in. Here is the list of posts I saw in chronological order. If I missed you out, give me a shout and I’ll add you. 

Thanks to everyone who got involved with blog posts, tweets and retweets. It all helps add to the buzz. We are not just an English speaking community, so it’s always good to see posts in different languages. If you want to read the non-English posts, Google Translate usually does a reasonable job.

Thanks again, and remember you’ve got a year to get ready for the 2024 event! 🙂



Oracle Application Express (APEX) has come of age #JoelKallmanDay

Oracle Application Express (APEX) has been around for over 20 years. You can read about the history here. For something so mature, why would I talk about it coming of age?

Why now?

If you happened to watch the Larry Ellison keynote at CloudWorld 2023, you will notice he talks about Oracle Application Express (APEX) quite a bit. Essentially saying Oracle have stopped developing new applications in Java, and instead are focussing on building new applications using APEX. Why? Because it’s low code, so they can get a lot more done in less time, and the end result is more consistent and secure. It was really nice to hear this, and its been a long time coming…

Many of us know that APEX has been a serious contender for a long time, but the fact it is a “no cost option” of the Oracle database means it doesn’t make any money for Oracle directly. Of course, you need an Oracle database and they make money from that, but you don’t have to buy a bunch of WebLogic licenses to run it. You can just run Oracle REST Data Service (ORDS) for free on some boxes to front APEX and you are good to go. I’ve written about the topology of APEX environments here.

We all know Oracle are about making money, and faced with promoting two solutions, one of which generates revenue and one of which doesn’t, you know which one they are going to pick right? That is why I was so surprised by Larry Ellison’s comments during his keynote. You can argue WebLogic is already dead, because I rarely hear of anyone wanting to do something new with it, but I was surprised by the change of direction. Happy surprised.

It’s a shame Joel Kallman was not alive to see this shift!

One tool to rule them all?

Of course, there is no one tool that is perfect for every situation. There will be projects where APEX is not the right tool for the job, but APEX has evolved a lot over the years, and the fact Oracle use it internally so extensively tells you it’s not a bit player.

I hope companies that either don’t use APEX, or skirt around the edges of APEX see the change in stance at Oracle, and take note.

It’s been a long time coming, but Oracle Application Express (APEX) has finally come of age!



Oracle VirtualBox 7.0.10, Vagrant 2.3.7 and Packer 1.9.2

Oracle VirtualBox 7.0.10

VirtualBox 7.0.10 was released a few days ago and I finally got round to trying it.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve installed it on my Windows 10 and 11 machines with no drama. For the previous release I had some issues with Windows 10. I had to uninstall then reinstall it to get it to work. For this release a straight upgrade was fine on both Windows versions.

Vagrant 2.3.7

At the same time I noticed Vagrant 2.3.7 had been released. All my test systems are built with Vagrant, so I grabbed it before testing my builds with the new version of VirtualBox.

If you are new to Vagrant and want to learn, you might find this useful.

Once you understand that, I found the best way of learning more was to look at builds done by other people. You can see all my Vagrant builds here.

I’ve already updated the relevant builds to include the latest versions of OpenJDK, Tomcat, ORDS and SQLcl. I’ll go through and add the latest round of Oracle database patches where necessary over the next few days.

Packer 1.9.2

With each new release of VirtualBox I rebuild my Vagrant boxes (Oracle Linux 7, 8 and 9) so they have the latest guest additions. These Vagrant boxes are the base for all my Vagrant builds. The boxes are built using Packer. I had a quick check and noticed Packer 1.9.2 was available, so I picked that up before starting my builds. The new version of the boxes can be seen here.

If you are interested in creating your own Packer builds, you might take inspiration from mine, available here.

How did it all go?

The new version of Packer worked fine with the new version of VirtualBox, and my boxes were built and uploaded in no time.

From there, all the Vagrant builds I’ve tried worked with no hiccups, so all versions seem to be playing well with each other.

I’ll be doing lots of testing over the next few days. I’ll update here if I notice anything unusual.

What about the VirtualBox GUI?

In the past people have asked me about issues they have had with the VirtualBox GUI after a new release, and my answer has always been the same. I don’t use it. I use Vagrant. As a result, when I say VitualBox is working fine I am never commenting on the GUI side of VirtualBox. For all I know it could be a disaster, but it wouldn’t affect me. I just do “vagrant up” and wait while the magic happens… 🙂

If you want my advice, try using Vagrant and you will never want to do manual configuration in the GUI again!



Happy Holidays!

I realise the world is a big place and depending on which hemisphere you live in, the scene you associate with this time of year will be quite different.

I just wanted to say have a great holiday break. Be safe and enjoy yourselves! If you have a little spare cash or spare time, please try to help out some people who are not as fortunate as yourself! It doesn’t take much to make a big difference!

Let’s hope next year will be better for everyone!



Joel Kallman Day 2022 : Announcement

Since 2016 we’ve had an Oracle community day where we push out content on the same day to try and get a bit of a community buzz. The name has changed over the years, but in 2021 it was renamed to the “Joel Kallman Day”. Joel was big on community, and it seems like a fitting tribute to him.

When is it?

The date is Tuesday October 11th. That’s two weeks from today!

How do I get involved?

Here is the way it works.

  • Write a blog post. The title should be in the format “<insert-the-title-here> #JoelKallmanDay“.
  • The content can be pretty much anything. See the section below.
  • Tweet out the blog post using the hashtag #JoelKallmanDay.
  • Publishing the posts on the same day allows us to generate a buzz. In previous years loads of people were on twitter retweeting, making it even bigger. The community is spread around the world, so the posts will be released over a 24 hour period.
  • Oracle employees are welcome to join in. This is a community day about anything to do with the Oracle community.

Like previous years, it would be really nice if we could get a bunch of first-timers involved, but it’s also an opportunity to see existing folks blog for the first time in ages! 

The following day I write a summary post that includes links to all the posts that were pushed out through the day. You can see examples here.

What Should I Write About?

Whatever you want to write about. Here are some suggestions that might help you.

  • My favourite feature of {the Oracle-related tech you work on}.
  • What is the next thing on your list to learn.
  • Horror stories. My biggest screw up, and how I fixed it.
  • How the cloud has affected my job.
  • What I get out of the Oracle Community.
  • What feature I would love to see added to {the Oracle-related tech you work on}.
  • The project I worked on that I’m the most proud of. (Related to Oracle tech of course)

It’s not limited to these. You can literally write about anything Oracle-related. The posts can be short, which makes it easy for new people to get involved. If you do want to write about something technical, that’s fine. You can also write a simple overview post and link to more detailed posts on a subject if you like. In the previous years the posts I enjoyed the most were those that showed the human side of things, but that’s just me. Do whatever you like. 

Do I have to write in English?

No! It’s great to see people contributing to their own community. Google Translate does a pretty good job of translating them, so we can still read them.

Do I need to write about Joel or APEX?

I’m sure people would be happy to read stories about Joel, or content about APEX, but you don’t have to write about that. You can write about whatever you want, so long as it has an Oracle spin…

So you have two weeks to get something ready!



Oracle Support : Please give feedback on your Service Requests

I mentioned in yesterday’s post I was having a call today with the Senior Director of Global Support Services from Oracle. I’ve just come off that call…

I’m not going to go into lots of detail, because ultimately none of it matters unless I see things improve. I was honest in the call. My previous rants were over 2.5 years ago, and it’s hasn’t improved, so why would I assume it will this time?

One big factor that I think is worth mentioning is about feedback on SRs. I was told Oracle Support are driven by customer satisfaction reports, based on the feedback surveys they ask you to fill in when you close a SR. We discussed my current employer, and we have completed almost no feedback surveys, so support can’t tell if we as a company are happy with support or not. Most of our SRs relate to Oracle Cloud Apps, not the core tech stack, so I’ve messaged some folks involved in that side of things asking them to encourage people to fill in the feedback surveys.

I’m lucky in that I have direct access to many people in Oracle, so I don’t have to raise many technical SRs, but from now on I will make it a point to fill in the feedback on every SR. I suspect my rating for the SR that sparked these posts will be something like this.

Stars: The minimum I can give.
Comments: There was no suitable problem type for my SR, so I got forced into an automation that sent loads of irrelevant requests for information. The automation is “too chatty”, sending many messages when a single one would suffice. I’m giving this a low rating mostly because the process was very painful!

I would advise you to give feedback on every call. Be positive when it is positive, but be critical when it sucks.

Update: I got the survey and filled it in as I said I would above. Interestingly, the survey messages are picked up as spam by our company spam filter, and are converted to plain text, so the links don’t work. You have to manually paste them into a browser. I suspect this is one of the reasons why Oracle are getting very little feedback from our company…



PS. The guy on the call was nice. This is not about individuals. It’s about the service!

Happy Holidays and See You Next Year!

Just a quick post to say I’m ending the year here. I don’t plan on doing anymore videos this year, and I’m going to do my best to stay clear of social media until next year. I’ve found 2020 a very difficult ride, and probably not for the reasons you are thinking. I normally do an end of year review, but I might not this year. Better to look forward than back.

Here’s the latest batch of “.com” clips from the videos this year. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

I hope everyone has a happy holiday season, and I hope 2021 is the polar opposite of 2020.



Video : Multitenant : Running Scripts Against Multiple Pluggable Databases Using

In today’s video we give a quick demonstration of using to run scripts against multiple pluggable databases (PDBs) in a container database (CDB).

The video is based on one section of this article.

You can find loads of information about living with CDBs and PDBs in the following articles and the YouTube playlist linked below.

The star of today’s video is my long suffering wife Debra Lilley. Clearly suffering because of her social isolation, which of course means not seeing me. 🙂



Social Distancing : My Experience

The UK has started to relax *some* of the lock-down conditions, so I thought I would write down some of my thoughts related to social distancing…

The Good

First and foremost, social isolation and social distancing is predominantly a good thing for me. I live alone, and as I’ve said many times before I like it that way. There is a “work Tim”, a “conference Tim”, a “with friends/family Tim” and a “home Tim”, and it’s the “home Tim” I’m most comfortable with. I’m not talking about some schizophrenic thing. Just different aspects of my personality that I use to cope with different situations. The only authentic me is when I am home alone.

I keep saying to people I’m living my best life at the moment.

The Bad

Having said all that, it’s not been plain sailing. One thing I’m really struggling with is work-life balance. Before this I mostly worked from the office, and my computer at home was for doing my own thing, like the website and blog etc. Since I’ve been working from home the working day has stretched, which has been made worse by some weekend work. When I do eventually switch off, the thought of doing my own thing is really difficult. I feel like I want to walk away from the computer, so that’s what I’ve been doing a lot. I think the solution to this is to define some different phases of the day and try to stick to them. Things have improved since I’ve been actively trying to do this.

Exercise is another issue. The gym is closed, and I find it really hard to be motivated to do anything other than go to the gym. I’ve done very little exercise, which is really not good as I’m a fatty, and being a fatty is not good at the best of times, but it’s even more problematic at the moment. This week I’ve been going on some bike rides at lunch time. Nothing big. Just getting out of the house and moving a bit. Once again, it’s about trying to define phases of the day.

I started the social isolation/distancing thing about a week before most people in the UK. I go to the shop every few days, and go to pick up a prescription once a month. Apart from that I stay home. I think it’s going to remain this way for quite a long time for me, regardless of what the government suggest.

I feel sorry for people who live alone and don’t like it. I feel sorry for families with kids who are going stir crazy. I can’t relate, but I can sympathise.

The Ugly

What this whole thing has taught me is there are some selfish fuckers out there who should go fuck themselves. People who blatantly ignore the rules, without thinking what impact they are having on others. I kind-of expect this behaviour from young people, as they think they are indestructible and are too dumb to think about the bigger picture, so I give them a free pass. What really pisses me off are adults who don’t seem to give a shit.

You don’t know anything about the people around you. You don’t know what their risk factors are. You don’t know if they are worried about relatives they live with that are vulnerable. It is not your position to judge, and you have no right to put them and their families in danger.

Now I admit some people take it too far, like walking in the road when there is nobody on the path, but for the most part people are being sensible and considerate. For those that are not, see my first sentence in this section!

The Good… Again

Despite that there have also been some really positive things.

  • On the whole people seem friendlier and more considerate at the moment.
  • It’s quieter. Lawn mowers are working overtime, but most of the time things are quiet.
  • Life seems a little calmer.
  • I’m not using petrol.

The Future

Some random thoughts from me.

  • I can’t see myself working full time in an office again. I’m not saying I will never go in, but I don’t see myself doing a 5 day week again. My company used to have some issues with working from home, but now we’ve been forced to do it for a few months, I can see a lot of people never going back to the old ways. I’m not sure how they could justify not allowing working from home on a mass scale now.
  • I think it will be quite some time before I consider travelling again, if ever. I had already scaled back my conference stuff, but maybe it’s over for me now. I may change my mind. Time will tell.
  • I want to consume less. Both from a food perspective, and everything else. I’m not a very materialistic person, but I can still cut back. I want my life to be as minimalist as possible.
  • I understand there will be economic hardships as a result of this pandemic, but I hope it has taught people something about themselves. Life doesn’t need to be some dog-eat-dog race. You don’t need as much as you think you do.

OK. The random bullshit is over for now.



Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : RESTful Web Services Handling Media Files

In today’s video we take a look at RESTful web services handling media files built using Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS).

This is based on this article.

There is more information about related stuff here.

The star of today’s video is Katrina Shallahamer, who is one of my favourite people to meet at an event. She’s such a positive person to be around, and makes me wish I was a nicer person. It’s clear she’s the real brains of the OraPub operation, but don’t tell Craig I said so! 🙂