Wednesday, November 17, 2010

APEX 4.1. A new Statement of direction

Oracle published its new statement of direction for APEX yesterday. Below the highlights with some comments.

Oracle Application Express 4.1

Oracle Application Express 4.1 will focus on enhancement to existing functionality and additional capabilities to support applications running on mobile devices. Application Express 4.1 is planned to incorporate the following:
  • Development for Mobile Applications – Include themes and HTML templates suitable for smart phones and mobile devices. 
This would be great. We already saw the iPhone template from Mark Sewtz.

  • Charting - Provide for chart rendering without using Flash (to enable display on mobile devices).
The last months we heard a lot of rumours about Flash and HTML5 initiated by Apple(?). Good to know that APEX is going to support it.

  • Error Handling - Improve error handling and user-defined exception processing.
Error handling is something which I personally was waiting for to come for many years. I emailed and talked a lot about it with the APEX team. See also my old post on the APEX forum.

  • Interactive Reporting – Allow multiple reports on one page and support pivot queries.
Multiple interactive reports is something customers often want to see. For example in a master detail page. Pivoting is also always a hassle.

  • Tabular Forms – Allow multiple tabular forms on one page and continue to expand tabular forms validations.
Also a nice feature. I think this is a lot of work for the APEX team.

  • Master-Detail-Detail – Allow the generation of pages to support master-detail-detail relationships.
Good feature. Maybe the master-detail wizard (and the new ones) could support generating all the regions on one page easier than the way it works at the moment.

  • Dynamic Actions – Enhance conditional processing and allow dynamic actions to be defined for tabular forms, reports, and buttons.
These web 2.0 features are making it to us developers much easier. I spent a lot of time making dynamic actions on buttons working (adjusting the button templates etc.).

  • Plug-Ins - Add plug-in support for additional components and enhance plug-in definitions.
 Plug-ins are potentially a very strong feature of APEX. More enhancements are welcome.

  • Use of ROWID – Allow usage of ROWID for Automatic DML processing (as an alternative to identifying the PK columns).
Just use an ID column for every table :-)

  • Modal Dialogue - Add ability to display a dialog on top of a page (the rest of the page will be grayed out).
Also something which is very welcome. We all make our own solutions now.

  • Websheets – Allow for greater control over user interface, new page section types, and enhanced spreadsheet / datagrid integration.
Websheets aren't getting much attention, but is also a powerful feature of APEX.

  • Data Upload - Enable end-users to upload data into an existing table (within an application).
Finally! I had a lot of projects in which I could have used it. We always had to build our own solutions.

  • Accessibility – Improve accessibility in existing themes and HTML templates.
  • Numerous functional and performance improvements.
 Last question: when are all these beautiful features coming?

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