Oracle APEX – The Skinny on this Skinny App
Oracle Application Express (APEX) is a web-based software development environment that runs on an Oracle database. It is considered a “Low Code” application. APEX permits developers to go from no code to low code to more code (https://blogs.oracle.com/oraclemagazine/from-low-code-to-high-control & https://apex.oracle.com/lowcode/ ). Oracle APEX is fully supported and comes standard as part of all Oracle Database editions. As of Oracle 11g, APEX installed by default as part of the core database install.
Official Oracle APEX Site:
Oracle APEX includes an integrated suite of productivity and sample apps that provide point solutions and demonstrate key functionality. These apps are a supported feature of Oracle APEX and are available for you to try, learn, use, and experiment with as you see fit. (https://apex.oracle.com/en/solutions/apps/)
Several of the many Apps included with APEX are:
- Data Reporter: Knowledge Management, Tracking, Project Management
- P-Track: Project Management, Team Productivity, Tracking
- Opportunity Tracker: Tracking, Team Productivity
Oracle APEX is a FREE development environment that runs on an Oracle database. If you have Oracle Database, you already have Oracle APEX.
Originally called Flows. First released in 2004 as HTML_DB, APEX was created by Oracle, after the development of another product called Web DB started to diverge from the original vision. APEX shares some functionality with Web DB, however it was developed from scratch and there’s no upgrade path from Web DB to APEX. Early builds of Flow had no front-end so all changes to an application had to be made in SQL*Plus via inserts, updates and deletes.
Oracle APEX has gone through many name changes since its inception in 2000, which include:
- Oracle Platform
- Project Marvel
- HTML DB
Oracle APEX can be installed on any Oracle database from version 9.2 or higher and starting from Oracle 11g it is installed with the database by default.
Oracle APEX 5.0 and higher can be installed on all editions (SE1, SE, and EE) of the Oracle database, 188.8.131.52 or higher with a valid Oracle Database Technical Support agreement; it can also be used with Oracle Database 11g Express Edition (XE) but is supported through the Oracle Technology Network discussion forum, and not through Oracle Support Services.
- Discoverer reports can be converted to APEX reports
- Migration available to convert applications from Oracle Forms to Oracle Application Express (https://docs.oracle.com/database/apex-18.1/AEMIG/preface.htm#AEMIG119)
- Easy to deploy
- Available in the Cloud
- Server-side processing and validations
- Basic support for group development
- Free hosting of demo applications provided by Oracle
- Oracle APEX applications can run on the free Oracle Express Edition (XE) database
- Individual components of an application can be retrieved or identified using SQL, facilitating customized reports
- Oracle APEX can only be hosted in an Oracle database.
- Oracle APEX applications are limited in their choice of webhosts. Very few webhosts offer APEX (Oracle Database) on their hosting service package
- There is no built-in version control and all components must be edited through the web interface.
Potential Licensing Implications:
- When you develop an Oracle APEX application for an Oracle database that is NOT Oracle Database Express Edition (free version), then you will need to license that database.
- When you develop a new Oracle APEX application and no version of the new application exists is in production, then you do not need to license the Oracle database; however, when your new application goes into production it will require a database license. Additionally, from that point forward, any Oracle Databases that you support, test, and develop will need to be fully licensed.
Oracle Discoverer Replacement?
Yes potentially. Oracle Discoverer was essentially an Ad Hoc query tool. Oracle Discoverer users will have the option to continue to use an unsupported version of Discoverer. However, you might find that the supported Oracle APEX app can meet many of the requirements you used Discoverer for, and possibly more. For one example, Oracle APEX can be a replacement for DBA’s which had used Oracle Discoverer to develop Ad-Hoc reporting. Many DBA’s find the application ‘Data Reporter’ included with Oracle APEX to be very useful in this aspect alone.
“Data Reporter provides business users with ad-hoc reporting capabilities on pre-approved data sources without granting developer or write access. Users can easily design their own reports, calendars, dashboards and more using simple wizards” (https://apex.oracle.com/en/solutions/apps )