Oracle Database 18c Express Edition is Generally Available!

Oracle just released the new version of Oracle Database Express Edition (XE), a free edition of Oracle Database. This release means something special to me, as I have been closely involved in it and with the great team that brought us Oracle Database 18c XE.

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Creating an Oracle Database Vagrant box

Oracle recently launched a new GitHub repository for providing people with Oracle software inside Vagrant boxes. If you have ever setup an Oracle database inside a VirtualBox VM, whether it is as your sandbox environment, to explore Oracle database, or to use it as a full-on development environment, things have just gotten a lot easier for you. With Vagrant, you can now provision an Oracle database inside VirtualBox in a matter of a couple of simple steps.

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Creating an Oracle REST Data Services Docker image

Oracle has added Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) to the Docker build files family on GitHub, which means that you can now easily dockerize ORDS. If you don’t know yet what ORDS is, it’s a free technology from Oracle that allows you to REST-enable your Oracle databases. More specifically, with ORDS you can just fire off regular REST calls to modify or retrieve data from one or many Oracle databases without having to know how to write SQL; not that knowing SQL is a bad thing! 🙂 In modern application and microservices architectures REST has become more and more popular for exchanging information. ORDS enables you to easily exchange data from and to Oracle databases via REST without having to write lines and lines of code yourself.  For more information on what ORDS is and what it can do, check out Jeff Smith’s blog post about ORDS.

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Manually installing a Maven artifact in your local repository

I find myself once again in the situation that I have to install the Oracle JDBC driver into my local Maven repository. Usually this is easily accomplished via mvn install:install-file -Dfile=<path-to-file> -DgroupId=<group-id> -DartifactId=<artifact-id> -Dversion=<version> -Dpackaging=<packaging>, see Guide to installing 3rd party JARs for more details on that. However, this time I was thinking to go the extra mile and actually figure out a way of how to do it entirely manually. This comes in handy if you have, for example, Maven integrated in your IDE and the mvn binary not available to yourself in the command line.

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How to create small Docker images

Oracle_DockerWhen it comes to space efficiency Docker still isn’t quite as good as it could be. The layered filesystem used by Docker sometimes occupies more space than is really necessary. Over time, a couple of enhancements have made their way into Docker to allow the build of more space efficient images. The ADD instruction for example is smart enough to detect (unfortunately only) local compressed archives (and unfortunately only identity, gzip, bzip2 or xz but not zip archives) and directly adds the uncompressed contents into the image, unlike the COPY instruction that simply copies a file into the image. The downside of the latter is that space is occupied for the zip archive itself and the extracted contents of the archive, whereas the former will not occupy any space for the archive as it is never added into the image.

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