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Filtering in the APEX Interactive Grid

Remember Oracle Forms?

One of the nice features of Forms was the use of GLOBAL items. More or less comparable to Application Items in APEX. These GLOBALS where often used to pre-query data. For example you queried Employee 200 in Form A, then opened Form B and on opening that Form the Employee field is filled with that (GLOBAL) value of 200 and the query was executed. So without additional keys strokes or entering data, when switching to another Form a user would immediately see the data in the same context. And they loved that.

In APEX you can create a similar experience using Application Items (or an Item on the Global Page) for Classic Reports (by setting a Default Value to a Search Item) and Interactive Reports (using the APEX_IR.ADD_FILTER procedure). But what about the Interactive Grid? There is no APEX_IG package ... so the first thing we have to figure out is how can we set a filter programmatically?

Start with creating an Interactive Grid based upon the good old Employees tab…
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Caution when using Suppress Change Event on an Interactive Grid Column

There are some, maybe rare, use case when you want to set the "Suppress Change Event" switch of a Dynamic Action to "Yes". Usually that's only necessary when the Dynamic Action is fired On Change and executes a Set Value with the same field as a target. There might be a chain of events leading to this or just one. If you forget to set it you'll end up in an endless loop and your browser will choke.
That works all fine and as expected with regular Page Items.

However ... when you apply this to a column in an Interactive Grid something unexpected happens. When you set the Suppress Change Event of a Dynamic Action that fires on change of a column to Yes, the value of that item seems empty when you leave that field (column)! If you navigate back into that field, the (new) value does show up...

You can call it a feature, you can call it a bug, but bottom line it is unexpected and undesired behaviour. The solution is to call the Grid method SetActiveRecordValue …

Adding items to your Interactive Grid Toolbar

The APEX Interactive Grid uses the Toolbar widget to create the default Toolbar showing the Search box, Actions menu, Save button etc. And since quite a while there is a nice Plugin "Extend IG Toolbar" by Marko Goricki that makes it very easy to add additional buttons to the Toolbar.

But what if you need more than a button? 
Inspecting the contents of widget.toolbar.js, you can easily spot there can be added more to the Toolbar than just a button: The type of control, available values:
"STATIC", "TEXT", "SELECT", "BUTTON", "MENU", "RADIO_GROUP", "TOGGLE".
The first example will show a way to easily switch from one filter to another. Of course we could use the standard functionality and create two different Report views, but using a Radio Group on the Toolbar gives a more "Tab" like user experience.

So how can we create a Radio Group that looks like a switch in the Toolbar?
In the Javascript Code …

Startup your ORDS container after your Oracle DB container is ready

If you are using multiple containers to set up your Oracle Development (or Test or Production) environment - as I described here - you probably ran into the issue that your ORDS container was started before the Database was started up. This results in an ORDS container that is not working - at least not as you need to.

Using Docker Compose you can specify a depends_on option, for instance in the ORDS container configuration you specify (where "oracle" refers to the container that holds the Oracle database) : depends_on : - oracle but this only means the ORDS container will start after the "oracle" container has been started. That does not mean the Oracle database inside the container is started and available!

So how do we tell the ORDS to configure itself in one container to wait for the database in another container is ready to use?
Step 1: Start the Oracle database (container), connect to it and enable a port - in this example 8080 - in the Oracle database 
begin   d…

Some conditions are more equal than others ...

Imagine you have a nice APEX application, but on a certain day your client asks you to remove a column from the application. So after a thorough dependency analysis it appears that that column is only used in two pages : One Interactive Report and one Form. 

So you go ahead and start with the hard work and delete the column from the table. Now you only have to fix the application, right? So - just in case of "you never know whether the client will change his mind again" - you decide to set the "Server Side Condition" of the column in both the Report and the Form to "Never". That should do the trick!
Of course you do test, and fire up the report. Works as expected, the column is not shown on the report anymore. Then you click the little pencil link to open the Form. 
And an error pops up:
WTF? I was pretty sure I set the Condition to Never! So why is it still trying to fetch that column?
Luckily there are more ways to not show an Item on a Page, so I creat…

Kscope18 flashback

After a few nights of good sleep (that means more than the average 4 to 5 hours at Kscope), it is time to sit back and evaluate what happened last week. I arrived on Thursday night before the event, just in time to catch Danny Bryant at the bar for "just one last beer" (I don't know how often I heard, and used, that phrase last week).
The whole Friday was filled with an all day Board Meeting, mainly discussing the future of ODTUG, a reception and a fine dinner. Since a couple of years, Saturday is the Community Service Day. This year, an impressive number of people showed up and were transferred to "Up Orlando", to make its easier for them to help the people that really need some help. All kinds of different activities were done, like cleaning, filling shelves, painting chairs etc.
 After that there is another tradition: bag stuffing. All those (about 1500) bags didn't get delivered with all those goodies in there! A number of volunteers created the most e…

apex_application.g_f0x array processing in Oracle 12

If you created your own "updatable reports" or your custom version of tabular forms in Oracle Application Express, you'll end up with a query that looks similar to this one:
then you disable the "Escape special characters" property and the result is an updatable multirecord form.
That was easy, right? But now we need to process the changes in the Ename column when the form is submitted, but only if the checkbox is checked. All the columns are submitted as separated arrays, named apex_application.g_f0x - where the "x" is the value of the "p_idx" parameter you specified in the apex_item calls. So we have apex_application.g_f01, g_f02 and g_f03. But then you discover APEX has the oddity that the "checkbox" array only contains values for the checked rows. Thus if you just check "Jones", the length of g_f02 is 1 and it contains only the empno of Jones - while the other two arrays will contain all (14) rows. So for processing y…