Monthly Archives: June 2011

HTTPS access with UTL_HTTP on Oracle XE. Has anyone managed to do this?

I’ve posted a tweet on  #orclapex a while agon (June 21st), asking if anyone managed to access HTTPS resource using the UTL_HTTP package, on an Oracle XE database. Still, I have no answer to that, but I’m getting closer to the inevitable answer: it might not be possible!

First of all, when wanting to connect to an http site using the ssl protocol (HTTPS), you need to create and setup and encrypted PKCS#12 container called Oracle Wallet. Oracle Wallet Manager (OWM) is a tool to manage public key security credentials on Oracle clients and servers. Why does HTTPS connection need this wallet manager? Because when initiating an HTTPS connection from the database (with UTL_HTTP), the identity of the public key holder (read more about SSL here) must be verified through authentication by a Certificate Authority, that issues a public CA certificate. This is stored inside the wallet, a file stored on the disk, or in the Windows registry. So all HTTPS connections done with UTL_HTTP will use a wallet containing the public certificate, so that the connection will be verified as a trusted on. Web browsers do this by default!

The main issue with wallets is that Oracle XE does not come with Oracle Wallet Manager!

But, according to Oracle documentation, even if Oracle Wallet Manager is part of Oracle Advanced Security (OAS), that is not free and not shipped with Oracle XE, Oracle Wallets can be deployed on clients, middle tiers, and database servers free of charge. So using a previously created wallet (on Oracle SE or EE) on a XE database, to initiate HTTPS connection from the database to a HTTPS resource, might work on XE and is free o charge! There is discussion about this on OTN. But has anyone managed to make it work?

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Create a mobile web application from your RSS feed

The easiest way to create a mobile version of your web application (particularly, your APEX web application) is to use a tool to generate it using the RSS feed. Presuming you already developed an APEX web application with an RSS feed, you can use of the may (free or not) tools to generate the mobile version of your website in just a few minutes.

A list of some of these tools is available here: http://spyrestudios.com/10-great-tools-to-create-a-mobile-version-of-your-site. We’ll use Mofuse (a 14 day free trial version) to demonstrate how we can create a mobile version in just 5 minutes for www.apexninjas.com. Our RSS feed is available at http://localhost:8081/apex/rss.

Using the simple wizard available at Mofuse.com, create a trial account, log in, create a new website, at a RSS element, choose a layout and design and that’s all! Just check out http://apexninjas.prohost.mobi on your mobile (available on free trail 14 days beginning in June the 14th). The result is a mobile app generated from the RSS feed, that looks like this:

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Great APEX translation tool by Peter Raganitsch!

Every APEX developer using the embedded translation mechanism (a white paper on this, relevant for APEX 3.x versions, here: http://localhost:8081/apex/f?p=100:1:2::::P1_ARTICLE:1560) must check out the tool developed by Peter Raganitsch called ApexLib XLIFF export tool. You can read all about this tool and download it here: Create better XLIFF Files for Oracle APEX Translations.

The simple picture goes like this: When translating an APEX application, using the embedded mechanism (Application Builder -> Shared Components -> Translate Application) you will export the meta data (the translatable text) from your application in the XLIFF format, translate it, import it back into APEX and then publish the translated version of the application.

Currently, APEX exports a XLIFF version 1.0, making it rather difficult to use a Translation Memory tool (such as the industry's leading SDL Trados Studio), because the translator doesn't know the relevance (the application screen, page name etc) of the string he/she is translating. But XLIFF 1.2 version stores all this information, so when translating a string that says "Please enter your username", you will also have the relevant information that this string appears in the login screen from page 120, for example. Something like this (the application structure in the "Editor" screen, the translatable text in the center panel):

Peter Raganitsch developed the aforementioned tool that integrates with APEX Application Builder and exports the XLIFF in the proper 1.2 version, making the translation of APEX meta-data a lot easier. I recommend dowloading Peter's ApexLib XLIFF Export Tool and then give it a try using SDL Trados Studio. You can get a SDL Trados Studio 2009 30-day free evaluation license from here: http://www.sdl.com/en/language-technology/products/translation-memory/studio-downloads/sdl-trados-trial-version.asp