Skip to main content

The buzz around APEX 4.0

During last weeks ODTUG Mike Hichwa presented APEX 4.0. This seemed to be the best attended session (apart from the 'real' keynotes) with over 200 attendees, so a lot of people wanted to know where their favorite development environment is heading!
Mike demoed some really cool new stuff - I will discuss these later on - and skipped (even more) nice features, with Declarative Tabular Forms, AJAX Client-Side Validations and Improved Error Handling make the top 3 of most interesting ones. See the pic of the slide for a complete list.

There has been more blogging about Websheets last year, even with movies. But every time you see it live, it is amazing. Just copy data from a CSV, paste it into the APEX Builder and you're done! No Tables, Triggers, Primary Keys, etc needed: everything is automatically managed in APEX$xxx tables. You can update the data in line (like a Tabular Form), you can do mass update, create an LOV on the fly and add columns. You can also add Attachments, Notes and Tags to a record. The history is automagically kept, so auditing is out-of-the-box. You can define the properties of a column, move columns up or down, define column groups and even validations: all at runtime! So the (already thin) line between the Builder and the Runtime version of an application will get more vague.
But even Websheets will have its limitations: The Page Flow is limited and also the control over the Look & Feel is less exhaustive as with 'normal' APEX Pages: No use of Themes and Templates (more or less similar with the Interactive Reports).

Dynamic Actions
With Dynamic Actions you can Enable/Disable and Show/Hide Items dependent on the values of other Items. Things you nowadays need to code in (one line) of Javascript, will be declarative. That means not only less manual code, but - more important - easier maintenance, because these declarations will be stored in the APEX Repository and thus be available through APEX Dictionary Views.

In APEX 4.0 all charts will use the - much better looking - AnyCharts 5.1 version. Not quite clear if also the new chart types (like Gantts) can be declaratively created.

REST Web Services
In APEX 4.0 you also the use of REST Webservices is declarative. There was a short - but impressive - demo how to use Yahoo Maps within APEX.

Another main new feature are the Plug-Ins (previously called 'Custom Item Types'). You can compare these Plug-Ins to Widgets or - in the good old Oracle Forms environment - Pluggable Java Components (PJCs). Just register it within the Repository and you can use it wherever you like. The idea is that there should be a central 'Plug-In Registry' where every APEX Developer can register his Plug-In and make it available for download (free or for a fee). Oracle has no plans of managing / checking / controlling that registry due to legal restrictions (although just referencing source files didn't help Napster or The Pirate Bay ;-) ). The demo showed just registering / uploading a sql file containing the Plug-In (an Amazon style star rating) and the absurd easy way to use that Plug-In in a Form. Soon Patrick will be blogging about the technical details.

Improved Application Builder
Also the APEX Application Builder itself is revamped. The navigation is more intuitive, Interactive Reports are used all over the place and there is a general 'Search' function. That'll make developing with APEX even more productive...

Improved Interactive Reports
And even the, already fantastic, Interactive Reports got a make-over, with added functionality, like e-mail notification, compound filter expression (so you can use brackets and OR's in a filter) and - one long lasting request - shared saved reports!

Release Date??
As I can see for the search terms that hit my blog, "APEX 4.0 Release Date" is a very hot topic. Of course the Oracle APEX posse didn't gave a fixed date. And if they did, there is always the 'safe harbor'/disclaimer page as the first slide of the presentation. But in one of the presentations a 'date' was mentioned: End of 2009! So I will set my expectation to 2010Q1...

Popular posts from this blog

Push changed rows to an Interactive Grid

For pushing changes from the database to the end user, the regular solution is using websockets. A change in a record is detected - using a trigger or using the CQN (Change Query Notification) feature - and a notification is send to a websocket server. That websocket server broadcasts the notification over a channel to all browsers that are tuned in to that websocket channel. Then the browser reacts to that notification, usually showing an alert or refreshing a report. This trick is described on multiple sites, just Google for "oracle apex websockets" or similar.

So back in the old days, we used that notification in the browser to refresh the (interactive) report. But along comes the Interactive Grid (IG). While he full-refresh mechanism still works for IG, an IG has also the option to refresh just one row.  So wouldn't it be awesome that just the changed row(s) get refreshed upon a change in the database, instead of the whole report? Can we do it ... yes we can!
First i…

A review of APEX World 2017 - Day 1

Last week the SS Rotterdam was the beautiful location of the largest gathering of APEX Developers worldwide. With around 380 (!) attendees a new high was set. And they came from all over the world : I spotted people from The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, UK, Ireland and the USA. And I even might have missed one or two ….

The event started with a presentation by the “father of APEX”, Mike Hichwa, talking about "Oracle APEX Past, Present and Future”. Of course everyone is curious what the APEX future might bring: Friendly URL’s, automated testing, more JSON, concurrent APEX versions, third party Oauth 2 authentication (think Facebook, Google), APEX app diff and more, a lot more, REST capabilities. And now we have to wait for APEX 5.2 … and that might take a while! 
After this keynote, the conference split up in three tracks. After the coffee break I returned to to big theatre where Geertjan Wielenga talked about "Finally Javas…

Dockerize your APEX development environment

Nowadays Docker is everywhere. It is one of the main components of Continuous Integration / Continuous Development environments. That alone indicates Docker has to be seen more as a Software Delivery Platform than as a replacement of a virtual machine.

However ...

If you are running an Oracle database using Docker on your local machine to develop some APEX application, you will probably not move that container is a whole to test and production environments. Because in that case you would not only deliver a new APEX application to the production environment - which is a good thing - but also overwrite the data in production with the data from your development environment. And that won't make your users very excited.
So in this set up you will be using Docker as a replacement of a Virtual Machine and not as a Delivery Platform.
And that's exactly the way Martin is using it as he described in this recent blog post. It is an ideal way to get up and running with an Oracle database …