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Welcome to the Beyond Blog

As you'd expect from the winners of the Specialized Partner of the Year: Business Analytics at the Oracle UKI Specialized Partner Awards 2014, Beyond work with leading edge BI Applications primarily within the UK Public Sector. We intend to share some of our ideas and discoveries via our blog and hopefully enrich the wider discussion surrounding Oracle Business Intelligence and driving improved insight for customers

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Oracle APEX Exploitation - Part 1

I decided to write a short series of posts detailing some different mechanisms that a malicious user may use to "attack" an application written in Oracle Application Express (Apex) - note - "Attack" is used loosely here in that it is more of "making the application perform in a way it was not intended". These posts are not intended to be instructional, more they are intended to assist the developer in ensuring their applications are written to a standard which protects against such attacks. It should be noted from the outset that none of the techniques illustrated infer there is a security issue with Apex - Apex is secure for all intents and purposes - any security vulnerabilities are 99%+ of the time due to the developer not implementing appropriate defences. Some of them are quite obvious, however some may not be so. I won't be using any fancy tools - just a browser with developer plugins.
I'll try to explain a problem under a number of headings.

  • The mechanism of the attack
  • The implications
  • How to defend against it

It of course goes without saying that all liability is relinquished - anything you do to your own (or other's) applications is entirely at your own risk.

I am using a sandpit application on apex.oracle.com to demonstrate, which can be accessed here.
So with that said, the first thing I'd like to show is by far the most simple - URL Parameter Modification. I'll then work through more complex and intricate attacks in subsequent posts.

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Tagged in: APEX
in Techniques 158 0
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Data Visualization 12.2.3 ( aka v3 ) is now downloadable from here

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Blog1.png

What a great upgrade it is, absolutely packed with new enhancements to increase the functionality and make data discovery even quicker. 

The trendlines (as shown above) now allow for additional functionality such as a %age confidence. 

There's new data sources too - we can even connect to BI Applications subject areas as well as analysis and folders.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Blog2.png

There's even enhancements in the dataflow so we can perform more manipulation of the data as we load it

b2ap3_thumbnail_Blog3.png

I'd do a demo of all the features, but Oracle have already done that in a nice little video suite which you can find here - which shows an overview and then some specifics - all of which are worth watching.

If you've any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

 

 

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in Business Intelligence 457 0
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A while back I created a post describing how to produce an organization chart in Oracle APEX using Google visualizations. If you didn't catch that then go and take a look here first before reading on as it will provide the background reading to this post.

So in this post I am going to demo how we can do this in OBIEE - and it's actually quite easy because OBIEE has already done a lot of the work for us.

First we need a level based hierarchy (or even just a representation of a hierarchy as levels across columns). This is how all BI Applications hierarchies are implemented, for example the organization and position hierarchies. I am going to use SampleApp with the "Sample Sales"."Offices" hierarchy.

Columns

Then we simply select all the columns in our hierarchy into a simple analytic. As we have multiple top level nodes I have applied a filter to restrict to just one company, however this isn't necessary - if you have multiple top level nodes then you simply get multiple trees.

Analytic

If we use the default Table view then we see something like this. Note I have changed the column order in this view simply to make the hierarchy structure clearer.

Table Results

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Tagged in: OBIEE Oracle BI 12c
in Techniques 854 2
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Oracle have released the new Day by Day app for both iOS and Android and it's rather good.  There's a great 6min video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q4foZyYQJc which I highly recommend watching, but I thought I'd share my first experiment with it.

I connected to my demo Oracle Analytic Cloud instance to use the good old Sample App test data.  I then used the microphone to dictate into the app "Revenue in Americas for game station".  Yes - that's right - I just dictated - asked a fact ( the Revenue ) for a dimension value ( Americas which is in Regions ) for a specific Product (  Game Station ).

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_4943.PNG

If you see how that was interpreted, it replayed "America's" and "four" based on my diction and .... went and got exactly the right results!

I doubled checked this figure by actually going and querying it back using the traditional clicking about in the screens. 

I then thought that what would be interesting would be to ask Day by Day the same question but also extend it out to say "by Year" and see how it handles that.  Rather well it would appear.  It initially gave me a line graph that I was then easily able to toggle to a bar chart like this :

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_4945.PNG

Pretty cool.  I thought that I'd tell it that, so I pressed the "comment" button and commented on that

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_4946.PNG

I can then also share that with my "Crew" - or colleagues - as there's quite a bit of social engagement about it. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_4948.PNG

There's a lot to like about this - not just the fact I can ask it questions and get instant answers, but also that it can do location specific stuff and give me a feed of things I'm actually interested in and also share that information with colleagues.  I suggest that you do watch the video and if you need OAC/Day by Day setting up then please ask us!

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Tagged in: Day by Day Oracle
in Business Intelligence 533 0
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Oracle's APEX ships with some great plugins such as D3 Collapsible Treemaps.  The most immediate way to see these is to install the Sample Charts application and have a play with it.

Now it is then fairly striaghtforward to utilise this plug-in in your own APEX applications.  Here I simply exported the plugin from the Sample Chart applications and loaded it into my new application.  I then changed the SQL to drive from my own tables and here we are.  What is appealing about this visualisation is that it shows the number of children under each node before you click to expland.  For example, here I can see that 1200 has 5 children underneath it.

 

I have also used the "Tooltip" funtionality to give me a nice popup description when I "Mouse-over" the node. 

 

 

Also each node can be made as a link that can drill off to show the user further detail, so it does really become quite a useful visualisation that can be used quickly and easily.

The Sample applications that ship with APEX ( and I'm currently using the latest 5.1.1 ) come with quite a few plugins that show off the extensibility of the framework and should give you some ideas on how best to use them, so if you are upgrading from older versions of APEX and making the leap to 5.1 then i'd highly recommend installing  selection of the applications and see what's been shipped there.  Of course this is the release that has finally integrated JET charts and we will cover some of their use and examples such as drilling to detail in a later blog.

 

 

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Tagged in: APEX APEX 5.1 D3
in Business Intelligence 728 0
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