Monday, January 2, 2017

Always read the latest documentation

Something that stuck in my mind from a presentation I saw several years ago was:

Always read the latest documentation, even if you're not using that version

- Connor McDonald

 So just before Christmas APEX 5.1 was released, giving me some new APEX 5.1 documentation to read over the break. Yeah - "get a life" I here you thinking.

Where I'm currently working we're already pretty current (Oracle 12.1 database, APEX 5.0), so I'm hoping I can convince the DBA to upgrade to APEX 5.1 reasonably soon. For me the case to upgrade is pretty simple - the application was built in 5.0 using declarative development as much as possible, has legacy features switched off, and only went live a few weeks ago, so not much data or users just yet.

Obviously reading the latest documentation is completely relevant in this situation, but why would you read the latest documentation if you're unlikely to upgrade for some time?

Here's a couple of reasons:

  • documentation improves with new releases just like code does, so you will often see better examples, improved content, or features that were previously un(der)documented.
  • by knowing whats in newer versions of APEX, you can make better decisions on how to build your application and thus future proofing todays solutions
  •  APEX 5.1 has quite a few deprecated features and desupported features, so knowing what they are allows you to start pro-actively removing them from your application now, even before an official application upgrade project kicks off.
I'm sure you can think of more/better reasons, so now you have no excuse - get reading!!


Connor McDonald said...

Thanks for the shout out

You'll be pleased to know that I still make that point. In fact, at the UKOUG conference just gone, my opening slides were "Even if you are not on 12.2 database, use the 12.2 doc"


StevenFeuerstein said...

Excellent point, Jeff.

I like to point to the function result cache (introduced in 11.1) as a great example. Even if you were on 9 or 10 and wouldn't be moving "up" for a while, knowing that the result cache was an option in the relatively near future should have you thinking about when and how to put logic and queries into functions, so as to be ready to take advantage of it.

Thanks, Steven