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End of an era …

Four years ago I wrote about a little volunteer project that my partner did.  A small association that provided outdoor experiences and facilities for kids with physical impairments needed a system to record member and volunteer details, plus a few other bits and pieces.  We built an Apex solution running on XE.  This week, they became part of a larger government initiative, and thus their Apex application was no longer needed and the information migrated to a centralised service.  There was a tinge of sadness about that, but I also was pleased with the outcomes of this “project” namely:

  • It ran for 4 years with virtually never an outage besides those related to power etc.  (After all, their “server” was just a PC in the secretary’s office Smile)
  • Their PC’s etc went through several iterations of patching, upgrades, replacements etc and the system was unaffected because it was entirely run in the browser
  • We never had a single issue with the database
  • Minimal maintenance needed.  In fact, the only “serious” bit of work needed after go live was when we discovered that their external drive (where we stored our database backups) was from time to time removed to be used for offsite file transfers, and when it was re-attached they would assign it a new drive letter.  So we adjusted our backup script to cycle through drive letters to “find” the disk and adjust the RMAN backup details accordingly.

That’s one of the great things with Apex, and a database-centric model.  It is just so well insulated from all the things that change most frequently, that is, those elements closest to the client.

So yesterday I took a final datapump export of the system as a “just in case” measure, and uninstalled the application and its dependencies from the PC.  But for four years, they had a successful application that provided all of their data entry needs and all of their reporting needs, and besides checking an occasional email to ensure the backups were working ok, took very little of my time. And surely that’s what all IT applications “aspire” to be – stuff that just plain works.

It never let them down and never cost them a cent.  You can’t tick any more boxes than that Smile