Internet Explorer 10 and E-Business Suite

In case you hadn’t noticed, Microsoft started pushing out Internet Explorer 10 to Windows 7 customers back in early March.  Internet Explorer 10 is, at this point, not certified with any versions E-Business Suite.

You can read more about it on the E-Business Suite Technology blog (otherwise known as “Steven Chan’s Blog”).  A link to that posting can be found here.

Useful desktop tools for the EBS Consultant (and DBAs)

This is a short list of some of the tools that I (and others) depend on when we’re working at clients.

Snag-IT! Commercial ($49.95). (Windows & Mac) Excellent tool if you have to document graphically intensive tasks. Provides nice ways to highlight and circle captured images, also allows you to quickly capture just the active window (or a pre-defined region of the screen), dump multiple captures into a directory, and even sequentially name the files.

Toad Commercial ($955.00 and up). (Windows only) For many developers and implementation consultants, Toad has a virtually religious following. It is an excellent SQL query/development tool and allows you to easilly save query results into Microsoft Excel format (which will keep Oracle Support plenty happy).  [Full disclosure:  Those of you that have worked with me in the past know that I don’t use Toad (or TOra, or SQL Developer, for that matter) for a variety of reasons (which will be explained in a later posting).]

TOra Open Source (Free). (Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris) Has many of the same core features as Toad.

Oracle SQL Developer Commercial (Free-ish). (Windows, Linux, others). Also has many of the same core features as Toad.

VirtualBox Open Source (Free). (Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris) Do you want to run a Virtual Macine on your laptop? Maybe you’re running Windows 7 and need a copy of Windows XP and an old version of IE so that you can test things and support your users? What if you’d really rather be using Linux but still have to run some Windows software? VirtualBox provides an easy way to create and run a VM of another operating system. Literally run Linux in a Window! (Or even fullscreen).

SecureCRT Commercial ($139.99) (Windows, Mac, Linux) This is a very nice ssh client. It works very well and has a very nice user interface. Unfortunately, it’s fairly expensive. Other (free) choices (on Windows) include: PuTTY, BitVise Tunnelier, OpenSSH for Windows, and Cygwin If you’re on a Mac or Linux system (or running a copy of Linux in a Virtual Machine), then you already have a built-in ssh client.

— James

URGENT BULLETIN: Disable JRE Auto-Update for All E-Business Suite End-Users

This notice just came out on Steven Chan’s blog. If you’re not following it, you definitely should.

The issue at hand is not that Auto-Update in itself causes problems. The real issue is that Oracle is going to push (through Auto-Update) the JRE 1.7 update. The JRE 1.7 update is NOT certified with E-Business Suite (any versions) at this time.

So, in order to keep your user’s desktops on JRE 1.6, you MUST turn this auto-update feature off!

The update for JRE 1.7 could be pushed as early as July 3, 2012. The update WILL definitely be pushed after September 7, 2012 (after the release of JRE 1.6.0_35).

Steven Chan’s blog has more information (including instructions on what you can do to undo the JRE 1.7 update if you get hit by it). The full link to the posting on Steven Chan’s blog can be found here:

– James

Spreadsheet Risk (and why ad-hoc reporting tools make me twitchy)

First, let me say that I’m a DBA, not an accountant. We tend to trust databases to hold and organize data. We use applications and reports developed by professional developers to retrieve that data. Those applications and reports go through a software development lifecycle for a reason: to make sure that they are accurate.
Despite this, many professional developers aren’t writing “well-tuned code”. They’re generally happy to get the right results and, as long as it isn’t painfully slow, performance is either an afterthought or the DBA’s problem.  I’ve got news for you… some 80% of performance issues are caused by poorly tuned code!  

This is not to denigrate developers.  I’m saying this mostly to prove a point:  if you can’t reliably expect well-tuned code from a professional developer, you’re insane if you expect anything better from end-users with an ad-hoc query tool.

This is one reason why tools that allow end-users to produce their own reports (Discoverer, ADI, et. al.) have always made me (and, I’m sure other DBAs out there) somewhat nervous.
The other reason I’ve always been a little twitchy about those tools is accuracy. With professional developers, they understand the need for testing and accuracy. End-users, however, frequently don’t have that same appreciation. So, when you allow end-users to develop their own queries and reports, or to extract and manipulate data in a spreadsheet, what kind of risks are you taking?

CIO Magazine has a thought-provoking article on this. Definitely worth a read.

– James