Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oracle VirtualBox experiences

As an APEX developer it's always interesting to have a small environment on your laptop for demonstrations or tests.
Many people in our company used VMWare as a primary virtual system platform. In nower days oracle has it's own virtual technology named Oracle Virtual Box.
You can find the client tool for using a virtual system on www.virtualbox.org. The last version is from 28th. of february in the version 4.2.8 and has 96MB. When installed it needs about 132MB on your local storage took 10minutes to install. As usual the installation needs admin rights, because a virtual network adapter and some other stuff will be installed.

One big advantage of using virtual box instead of vmware is, that oracle has predifined some images with nearly all current versions of software. You can find the images on http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/community/developer-vm/index.html. If your focus is developing apex applications the first image called "Database App Development VM" would be the right one. The download "Oracle_Developer_Day.ova" is 4.2GB huge and contains the Oracle Enterprise 11gR2 database with APEX 4.2. (even if there stands APEX 4.1 the APEX version in the image is "")

After you have installed the client and downloaded the image it has to be imported into the client. This importing process takes 15-30minutes and extracts 2 files with 12GB out of you 4.2GB download files. These files will be placed per default in "C:\Users\<user>\VirtualBox VMs\Oracle Developer Days". As far as i can see, there is no option where i can change this default extract destination. That could be a problem for people who have a small first partition, only for your os.
After the extraction it's possible to move the files into another directory. Close your client before and move the folder "\Oracle Developer Days" to another directory. After restarting the virtual box client you have to remove the old image and add the new folder. Now you choose the extracted "*.ovf"-file and after that you can use the image.

The two image files are not completly used in the image (7.5/12GB and 4/12GB).
This image uses apex listener 1.1.4 on port 8888 for APEX. So you can start developing apex under http://localhost:8888/apex. Log in under Workspace internal/ user: admin/ password: oracle and configure your own workspace.

If you are interested in using the last version of apex, this blogposting (Ronald van Dijk) can be interesting how to patch to apex 4.2.1.
Further on if you wanna configure your virtual machine, that you can call the apex url from other systems this blogposting (german description how to configure the network) might be interesting.

Overall it's an easy way to develope apex on a local system, even for people who havn't big knowledge with linux machines.
Keep in mind that installing virtual box beside vmware will cause problems with the different images and the network adopters. So deactivate the other network when using your virtual device.
And as always the command line is configured to american english, so for german developer it might be interesting to adjust that configuration.
As last note: The command "ifconfig" has to be called with /sbin/ifconfi

I hope you will enjoy developing on this machines and let me know if there are any more tricks or interesting points while using virtual box or apex :)

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