Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Adios Clamshell and Other Random Thoughts

Most of this post is off topic, but I hope it's still interesting...

Adios Clamshell

Last week, I finally bid a fond adios to my beloved trailing-edge Nokia clamshell phone. My wife gave me an iPhone as a "no special reason" gift...yup, the woman's a keeper. I really think she did it due to fatigue from my incessant whining about the need to be fully connected all the time. I've only had the iPhone for six days and I'm already wondering how I ever lived without it. If nothing else, the iPhone may encourage me to stop being such a "Twitter slacker" (I follow lots but don't tweet much - have yet to figure out why).

Web-Based Apps Experiment

I actually began this experiment a few weeks before receivng the iPhone gift, but getting the iPhone just makes this idea that much more interesting. On March 1st, I began an experiment of attempting to go an entire month without using locally-based apps for anything. That's right, 30 whole days without Excel, Word, or PowerPoint. Instead, I've been working with web-based apps such as ThinkFree and Zoho (in fact, I'm actually writing this post from scratch on Blogger).

The iPhone adds a new twist to the latter half of the experiment, as I'm narrowing the field to only those apps that will allow me to generate content via the iPhone. That eliminates ThinkFree and Google Docs entirely, as well as the spreadsheet and presentation software from Zoho (although Zoho's Writer still qualifies). I'm starting to use EditGrid for spreadsheet work, but I'm still looking for a PowerPoint substitute. I suspect I'll conclude that the iPhone is a great appliance for staying connected but not so hot for generating content (translation: I can leave my laptop computer home on short trips, but I'll still need it for anything longer than about two nights on the road - that's the max amount of time I can go without generating some type of spreadsheet, doc or presentation).

Whatever Happened To Oracle Discoverer?

With all the recent acquisitions, BI servers and reporting tools, I have yet to hear anything official on the fate of Oracle Discoverer. It doesn't mean that there isn't anything official from Oracle, it just means that I've looked but have been unable to find anything official. Anyone have any reliable information on the future direction of Oracle Discoverer?

Flexing The E-Business Suite

Anybody doing any work with extending the E-Business Suite using Adobe Flex? I'm getting a bit interested in Flex and my mental gears are churning out some possible ideas, but I just haven't found the time to integrate Flex with the Oracle apps server and try any of those ideas out. I'd really like to get a hands-on feel for the differences between Flex and AJAX, and how those differences might apply in an E-Business environment. If anyone out there has done anything like this, please let me know.


David Welch said...

I'm a Java developer that spent the past year battling with Ajax tools and all I have more gray because of it. I won't go into the toolsets that I used, becaus it's irrelevant.

The tools are either a) too young, b) not well thought out or documented, or c) require you to know too much about Javascript and DOM to be productive.

I started learning Flex with 3.0 beta, and, it's about like going from a Nokia to an iPhone.

The API is extremely robust, tested, documented. There are excellent toolsets available (FlexBuilder, Eclipse plug-ins, etc., others), backend Api's (Blaze DS, others), great 3rd party support, and, you can do ANYTHING in Flex graphically.

Try to say that for Ajax.

fteter said...

@david: Sounds like you've spent more than a few hours working through the Ajax & Flex comparison. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Jake said...

Congrats on making the iPhone jump. Yes, it still rules.

I'm pretty sure Google Docs has an iPhone version, but I've not used it. Why did you rule them out of your iPhone experiment? Is it because of poor UI?

fteter said...

@Jake: Google does have a version of Docs optimized for viewing on the iPhone. However, I want to be able to edit and even generate original content in a pinch - don't believe Google docs can do that.

justadba said...


Good move. Now you can show me how to use my iPhone...:-) It's light years ahead of my Blackberry and a lot more productive.

On Discoverer - I'm on a fairly large government medical contract and we use Discoverer, XML and Reports. We have a POC on OBIEE and BIAPPS going on and when we had the dog and pony show, it was clearly stated that Discoverer was not going away soon BUT that there would be tools and migration paths to get your Disco reports into OBIEE.

That's all I know for now.

See you at the show.


Gareth said...

Hi Floyd,
New statement of direction firmly planting Discover's place in the BI suite here.


fteter said...

@gareth: Thanks. Good to finally have something official on the future of Discoverer.