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More On The Mysterious "OX"
September 26
, 2005
Mark Rittman

I've managed to find out a bit more about the mysterious OX application that appeared on OTN's OLAP homepage last week.

What it looks like is that OX was developed by the EPB team within Oracle as an alternative to the original, 9iR2 / version of Analytic Workspace Manager, as they had to do a lot of development work directly with analytic workspaces and OLAP DML. It's not a replacement for AWM10g, or an officially supported product, but something used internally within Oracle and now made available for partners and customers to use.

From what I can see, the reason that there's so little documentation is that essentially this is an internal tool that's now due to customer demand been made available externally, and therefore all the docs and mailing lists and so forth are internal to Oracle. I don't think you can get support for OX from MOSC, but from what I've heard it's likely that there will be some more documentation made available soon, or at least additions to the readme.html to give a bit more background to the product.

My understanding is that there's a bit more to the product that appears at first sight. The application's architecture is open and flexible, and it's designed as a full IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for analytic workspaces and OLAP DML, rather than just a point solution. There is talk of it being "open source" (though whether it's just open source within Oracle, and whether it's GPL'd or just free as in beer) with contributions and modules being accepted from other developers. Don't quote me on this bit though as I don't know the realities of how this works in practice. Also - the tool was developed over a year ago, before AWM10g, and therefore it may not be being actively developed/maintained anymore.

Last time I wrote about OX I mentioned something about there being an option to "Install OX Protocols". When you get this working (it always errored for me, with a file permissions error) this actually sounds quite interesting, with support for mouse gestures (for example, to attach an AW) - I don't know if this what the OX Protocols provide, we'll have to see what extra now works when I manage to get them installed.

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Other features of the tool include:

  • Intuitive navigator interface allows for easy browsing of attached analytic workspaces.
  • The Program Editor provides a real-time development environment. Features include dynamic expression evaluation, jump-to other analytic workspace objects, interactive compilation, online context-sensitive help for DML commands, and DML keyword formatting. Can also be used for editing models, formulas and aggmaps.
  • The Data Editor presents a standard table interface for displaying and editing multi-dimensional data. The display supports an unlimited number of dimensions, with basic pivoting functionality. Formula data can be viewed in read-only mode. Relation data can be edited by means of a list dimension value selector.
  • A Search utility allows for searching program, formula, model or aggmap definitions for strings. The results are linked to the actual DML objects.
  • The OLAP Monitor provides a familiar command-line execution model.
  • SQL Editor provides quick query execution and displays results in a tabular format.
  • Session sharing with applications built with OLAP Web Agent or OA Framework.
  • Persistent connection profiles allow quick access to Oracle.
  • Full internationalization support.

You also get feature such as code syntax highlighting, OLAP DML and SQL command line access.  From speaking to a couple of the guys in the office, it's not a tool that we're really going to use much - AWM10g is more polished, lets you edit multiple programs at once (OX limits you to a single program at a time), supports the model view, and has a better OLAP DML interface (the OLAP Worksheet). But it's interesting to see the tool, good of Oracle to release it and it could be interesting if other developers release add-ons for it. Thanks for everyone who got in touch about it.


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