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Checking out the competition: Workday January 22, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Oracle, PeopleSoft.
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A colleague spotted that the Workday website has some online demos posted.

For those unfamiliar with Workday it’s the next project of Dave Duffield, the co-founder and ex-chairman of PeopleSoft.  See http://www.davesnextmove.com/

Some of the UI is pretty new (the org charts, related items and inline analytics are nice) but some of it is really reminiscent of a more ‘web 2.0’ style of PeopleSoft (the stars for required fields, the prompts, the date lookups etc).

Workday_screenshot

It’s interesting they’ve used Adobe’s Flex/Flash to enhance the UI rather than Ajax or Microsoft’s Silverlight, and they’re using the ‘home page’ as more of a functional than a structural portal – definitely a step in the right direction.

The demos are here:
http://www.workday.com/resources/product_previews/index.php

BEA acquired by Oracle January 16, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Fusion, Oracle, PeopleSoft.
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On the same day as Sun’s purchase of MySQL, it seems Oracle has finally managed to purchase BEA for $8.5 billion. Not as much as BEA wanted, but more than Oracle’s ‘highest offer’.

Press Release on Yahoo News

“The addition of BEA products and technology will significantly enhance and extend Oracle’s Fusion middleware software suite,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. “Oracle Fusion middleware has an open “hot-pluggable” architecture that allows customers the option of coupling BEA’s WebLogic Java Server to virtually all the components of the Fusion software suite. That’s just one example of how customers can choose among Oracle and BEA middleware products, knowing that those products will gracefully interoperate and be supported for years to come.”

Multi Rowset Output from Query for XMLP January 15, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Oracle, PeopleSoft, PeopleTools, XML Publisher.
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One of the issues with using PSQuery to generate the XML for an XMLP report is that you can only get a single rowset from a query, meaning your report had to be fairly simple. In the past, for more complex reports I’ve just created an App Engine instead as it gives me greater control over the XML generated.

Another method exists however …

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Materialized Views January 10, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Oracle, PeopleSoft, SQL.
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A materialized view (aka Snapshot) is a sort of ‘summary table’, the use of which allows you to reduce the processing time and complexity of some queries.

It’s a view where the data is defined via a SQL statement, but the resulting dataset is actually stored in the database (which can then be indexed, analysed etc). Depending upon the parameters chosen Oracle can keep the data in your view in sync with that in the tables upon which it is based. They were originally designed for replication (i.e. holding local copies of remote tables) but they’ve been adapted for performance tuning and reporting use.

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XMLP and Checkboxes in PDFs January 2, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Oracle, PeopleSoft, PeopleTools, XML Publisher.
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I’ve been having problems getting checkboxes to print correctly when creating PDFs using XMLP. I was faced with tiny little diamonds like those on the left here, when I was expecting ‘standard’ checkboxes like those on the right:

Checkboxes

It turns out that the XML Publisher default PDF output font does not include a glyph to represent a checkbox and this is an issue faced by one or two Oracle people already (Tim Dexter has written about it here). I thought I add a quick write-up as I’m tackling the issue from a PeopleSoft perspective.
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UKOUG RoundUp – Part 1 – Tuesday December 19, 2007

Posted by Duncan in Fusion, Oracle, PeopleSoft.
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This is probably going to be a bit wordy, but here’s a quick overview of the sessions I attended at the UKOUG held in Birmingham a week or two ago.

I attended the following:

  • Synchronous Messaging and Web Services in PeopleTools 8.48
  • Getting a file into PeopleSoft for processing
  • Developing a strategy for PeopleSoft Global Payroll bundles
  • Operational Excellence with PeopleSoft Version Control
  • PeopleSoft Application Classes – Easing the Path to Fusion

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Shared Pool December 13, 2007

Posted by Duncan in Oracle, PeopleSoft, SQL.
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Oracle Databases contain a ‘shared pool’, which is a repository for recently run SQL. If you attempt to execute the same piece of SQL repeatedly you’ll probably notice that the execution time decreases, this is because of how Oracle parses the SQL (i.e. it’s a soft parse, not a hard parse) and the execution plan is already calculated for the SQL. I’ve spoken about this before in an App Engine context here.

This cache (or to use the correct term the ‘Shared Pool’) is all very useful, but what if you’re trying to tune a piece of SQL? You want to get a ‘natural’ idea of how long it’ll take to run, not the artificially quick result you’ll get if it’s in the shared pool. (Execution Time is of course not the only measure to consider when tuning, examining the execution plan is critically important.)

We need to flush any mentions of our SQL from the shared pool. DBAs can clear it by issuing the ‘ALTER SYSTEM FLUSH SHARED_POOL’ command, but us un-privileged developers don’t have that luxury (and neither would we want to clear the entire cache).

Instead, re-calculating the statistics on a table means that “all shared SQL areas that contain statements referencing the analyzed schema object are flushed from the shared pool”.

A fuller (and slightly more expertly worded) explanation is available here:

http://download-west.oracle.com/docs/cd/B12037_01/server.101/b10743/memory.htm

Fusion in 2009? December 12, 2007

Posted by Duncan in Fusion, Oracle, PeopleSoft.
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According to the Oracle Apps User Group, we won’t see the first version of Fusion until 2009 (edit: the validity of this statement has been questioned, read the comments below for more). How many companies then purchase version 1 is another question, but it really is starting to seem as though Fusion is a long, long way off.

http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2007/12/11/oracle_fusion_delivery_2009/

Not being n Oracle Apps person, I’m not sure what the absence of mod_plsql in Fusion means … with PL/SQL being Oracle only, could it be a pointer that Fusion is going to be database-independent after all?

Finally, is the reliance on Java and XML going to leave us with a product that’s a real drain on hardware? John Stouffer (co-chairman of the OAUG’s Fusion Council) recently warned of exponential database growth.

Interesting …

Portal Navigation December 9, 2007

Posted by Duncan in Oracle, PeopleSoft, SQL.
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I would imagine many of you are familiar with the PSPRSMDEFN table as it is tremendously useful. I would gamble most have a SQL snippet tucked away somewhere that will query it to find the PIA navigation to any given component. However Jim Marion has posted some SQL on his blog that is the tidiest I’ve seen to date (it’s Oracle specific BTW).

Most SQL snippets use multiple joins to the table, I’ve seen one before that used connect_by_prior, but this one is the smallest script yet.

Thanks Jim!

Edit:

this slightly more succinct version may be even better.
select distinct rtrim(reverse
         (sys_connect_by_path(reverse
         (portal_label), ' > ')), ' > ') path
  from psprsmdefn
 where portal_name = 'EMPLOYEE'
   and portal_prntobjname = 'PORTAL_ROOT_OBJECT'
 start with portal_uri_seg2 = :1
connect by prior
         portal_prntobjname = portal_objname

Oracle Survey Results December 3, 2007

Posted by Duncan in Fusion, Oracle, PeopleSoft.
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I’m off to the UK Oracle User Group tomorrow, but here’s a quick survey conducted on UKOUG attendees in the meantime:

http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2007/12/03/oracle_uk_users_survey/ 

Apparently “Customers’ opinion of Oracle’s licensing has hit a new low in the UK while the company’s Fusion plans remain a mystery to half of its users”.

The good news is that satisfaction with PeopleSoft is still very high (up to 75%).