Oracle on the Web, Part 2 - Oracle 10g's HTTP Server and HTML DB

Wednesday May 25th 2005 by Steve Callan
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Continuing our series on Oracle 10g's HTTP Server and HTML DB, part two looks at how the HTTP server has changed with respect to how you get it and how you use it. Part of the process is very easy, and other parts are somewhat confusing. If you were hoping for a clean, 'one CD type of install and there it is' situation, the result is a mixed bag.

In part one of this series, the installation and basic configuration of Oracle9i's HTTP Server was covered. This part of the series looks at how the HTTP server has changed with respect to how you get it and how you use it. Part of the process is very easy, and other parts are somewhat confusing. If you were hoping for a clean, "one CD type of install and there it is" situation, the result is a mixed bag.

Framework for getting the 10g HTTP server

Unfortunately, the installation is not just one CD. The HTTP server component, along with other products, is on a companion CD. Oracle10g Standard Edition One and the companion CD, like virtually every other Oracle product, are available at OTN. However, another way you can get the CD set is to ask for the Oracle 10g Resource Kit (click on the advertisement seen on several Web sites is one way).

The kit includes three CDs: one for SE1 (the RDBMS software), a companion CD, and a study guide CD. There is a requirement to register online (the Web address is shown in an OUI window) to receive a registration code, and then you enter the code before OUI will continue.

In case you have not installed 10g yet, the installation footprint is a bit different in terms of what you would expect from OFA standards in the past. Additionally, if the installation s and you need to clean the registry, the "HOME" key begins with "KEY" instead of HOME under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Oracle.

As another tip, if you encounter a failure related to OracleCSService (the clustering service), the DBCA assistant will fail (which means no database to play with later). Turn off or disable any anti-virus or firewall software, stop any 10g services, delete the files, and clean out what you can from the registry, focusing on the DBConsole and the CSService.

After SE1 is installed, the Enterprise Console will appear. Take a tour of that, and then exit.

End of Installation info window


The Enterprise Manager Console

Insert the companion CD and start (or autorun) OUI again. This part of the installation requires a separate ORACLE_HOME - by name and location. You can choose either companion products option, but only one at a time. At the "Select a Product to Install" window, pick the bottom option to get the two items of interest for later on: Oracle HTTP Server and HTML DB.

Tip: Do not have TNS_ADMIN set because a net configuration assistant creates its own tnsnames.ora file using "HTMLDB" connecting to the name of your target database. If the assistant cannot connect to the HTML DB, the setup will fail.

HTMLDB =
  (DESCRIPTION =
    (ADDRESS_LIST =
      (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = D2JW5021)(PORT = 1521))
    )
    (CONNECT_DATA =
      (SERVICE_NAME = db10)
    )
  )

Be sure to record the password for the HTML DB DBA.

Take note of the URIs at the end of the installation. More than likely, the port will be 7777.

What makes the HTTP server so important is that it is your gateway to the HTML DB - which leads to a thought: name as many different types of DBA's you can think of. No doubt, you thought of production, development, applications (as in Oracle Apps), data warehouse, and jobless (ouch!). It is time to add one more type to the list, and that is the HTML DB DBA.

The HTML DB

From Oracle's HTML User's Guide:

Oracle HTML DB is a hosted declarative development environment for developing and deploying database-centric Web applications. Oracle HTML DB turns a single Oracle database into a shared service by enabling multiple workgroups to build and access applications as if they were running in separate databases. Thanks to built-in features such as design themes, navigational controls, form handlers, and flexible reports, Oracle HTML DB accelerates the application development process.

The Oracle HTML DB development platform consists of the following components:

  • Application Builder
  • SQL Workshop
  • Data Workshop

These components, by way of the HTTP server, are what make the Oracle HTTP Server and HTML DB so useful.

How to connect to the HTML DB

After the HTML DB is created, (it takes around 35 minutes on a fairly fast XP), your first stop is the Service Administration site. From here, you can manage workspaces and developers.

The generic URI shown in most of Oracle's documentation has

http://server:port/pls/Database Address Descriptor/htmldb

The missing link here is what replaces the DAD. Assuming the port is 7777, the URI is

http://server:7777/pls/htmldb/htmldb ("htmldb" replaces the DAD).

At the Service Administration URI (change the end part of the URI to htmldb_admin), you log in as a privileged user (the HTML DB DBA who assigns workspaces). Two key functional areas are managing the DB service and managing the workspaces. HTML DB comes with several sample schemes, but they cannot be accessed until you create/provision a new workspace and then log in to it. Select "Create New Workspace" on the page (similar to what is shown below).

Tip: When provisioning the new workspace, be generous and assign a larger space quota. If you select "Medium: 5 Megabytes," you will not be able to run/load all of the demos. Finish provisioning the new workspace and then exit the service administration interface.

Navigate to the non-admin URI and enter the name of the workspace, username, and password. OTN has other sample HTML DB's you can use. One of their examples uses a workspace and username of "obe." Part way through the installation - especially if you are having technical difficulties - it is not hard to imagine that "obe" was short for "overcome by events."

The page you see after logging in:

Once you are in as a user, look at the "Review Demonstration Applications" link on the right side.

The first one has already been installed you for.

One other administrative chore

Everything installed by OUI in the two sessions has a service property of starting automatically. One essential component that must be manually restarted is OPMN. This part is nearly identical to starting OPMN in Application Server.

Navigate to ORACLE_HOME\opmn\bin of the companion products and run opmnctl startall. You can also check the status via opmnctl status.

In Closing

There are quite a few steps needed to reach the basic HTML DB demonstration examples. The two-part installation is similar to what is required of Application Server, and at the end, you have an extra ORACLE_HOME to manage. Because applications and data can be manipulated or altered through the HTML DB interface, the idea of an HTML DB DBA (or administrator) makes sense. In the next part of this series, we will look at using the workshop components.

» See All Articles by Columnist Steve Callan

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