Oracle Forms is Oracle's long-established technology to design and build enterprise applications quickly and efficiently. Oracle APEX is the world's most popular low-code platform for enterprise apps and enables you to build scalable, secure enterprise apps, with world-class features, that can be deployed anywhere. Oracle APEX is a complete platform - it provides everything you need to build and deploy applications - data loading & unloading, database object creation, application development and deployment, REST API creation, and much more! Oracle APEX has a number of similarities to Oracle Forms, in both concept and purpose. This is why many Oracle Forms developers have learned APEX and are flourishing as APEX developers!
Are you an Oracle Forms developer and wondering how you can progress your career to modern web app development? Here are the top 10 reasons why Oracle APEX is an ideal development platform for Oracle Forms developers!
- Declarative development framework
Both development environments provide powerful declarative features for building fully functional applications with minimal code. With APEX you can add pages to your application from scratch or use the wizard in a similar way that you used to do it using Forms.
With APEX, you can modify a component's properties and attributes in a declarative way using the Page Designer. Page Designer allows you to review, drag-and-drop and edit components on your page.
In short, the transition of a Forms developer to the APEX framework is straightforward and effortless.
For Forms developers, APEX is a natural fit. But even if you are not a Forms developer, you will find that APEX is easier to learn, making you productive in days, not months.
Over the years, the APEX Development Team has added outstanding features in order to simplify and improve the developer experience. These features include:
- Create Page Wizard allows you to add components or features to your app by easily following the steps in the wizard.
Available component pages include Blank Page, Report, Form, Master-Detail, Plug-ins, Chart, Calendar, Tree, Wizard, Data Loading, and Dashboard Page. And some available features pages include About Page, Access Control, Activity Reporting, Configuration Options, Email Reporting, Feedback, Login Page, and Theme Style Selection.
- Quick SQL to generate SQL using shorthand, save and load data models, syntax highlight and autocompletion.
- Monaco Editor to improve coding experience throughout the development environment.
- Theme Roller allows you to style the application exactly as you need to, defining a number of settings to be used across the application.
- Template Options enables you to easily customize the appearance of any template-based component.
In general, APEX characteristics and features have a big impact on your daily productivity, allowing you to build apps 38x faster compared to traditional application development methods.
- Database-centric development
Most back-office business apps are data-driven, which is why Forms and APEX are used so heavily in these areas. Using APEX, you can quickly build apps based on table definitions - just like Forms. You can build forms, reports, charts, grids and more on tables, views or SQL queries.
As a bonus, with APEX, you can easily combine and synchronize remote data with data in your database, all done declaratively via REST Data Sources. REST Data Sources enable developers to access REST services or generic JSON data feeds in apps and use the data in APEX components such as reports, interactive reports, and interactive grids.
- Business Logic
If you have an existing investment in business logic in server-side PL/SQL, you can readily use this in APEX. For example, you already have all the procedures tested, designed for your requirements and working properly today. You can easily integrate this server-side logic directly into APEX, including PL/SQL packages, functions and procedures.
You can use your existing business logic throughout an APEX application. You can invoke a PL/SQL procedure when a button is clicked and the page is submitted. You can employ an existing PL/SQL function to validate data before a form is submitted. You can even call PL/SQL as a user navigates within a form, via dynamic actions, to perform rich client interactivity.
APEX also provides a set of tools called SQL Workshop, which you can use to create and maintain database objects, execute arbitrary SQL commands, and load & unload data.
- No client software
APEX doesn't require any client software to develop and deploy database web apps. Developers only need a modern browser to be able to:
- Model database objects
- Load / unload data
- Create REST interfaces on local data
- Build apps based on local, external or remote databases
- Run and deploy apps
And your applications are absolutely responsive, so they work on any tablet or mobile device, out of the box!
- Leverage your skills
- APEX is "cloud-ready"
APEX is available everywhere, on a laptop, on-premises, on Oracle Cloud or other clouds. Where you develop your apps doesn't limit you to where you can deploy your apps. Any applications you develop in APEX today can be deployed and run in the cloud, effectively unchanged. With APEX in the Oracle Cloud, you can easily create an Autonomous Database or an APEX Service, and within a few minutes, you will be ready to start creating and deploying your apps - completely avoiding installation, configuration, and patching complexity.
- Oracle Database
Forms and APEX are built on top of Oracle Database and you can take advantage of native database features like RAC, HA, end-to-end security and more. Also, Oracle Database is a rich application development platform. You can build applications against a wide variety of data types (relational, JSON, graph, spatial, text, blockchain, XML) - all using SQL. And you already know SQL!
- Productivity with choice!
You're free to use the language that best suits you, depending on your requirements and skills.
- The Community
And the best reason of all is the extraordinary APEX Community:
- There are tens of thousands of Oracle APEX customers and hundreds of thousands of developers. And growing every day.
- The community site apex.world was launched in 2015 and is a project from the community, to the community. This is an entry point for Beginners, Experienced Developers and Tech Nerds, as well as managers and recruiting agencies.
- There are hundreds of APEX consulting companies in the five continents.
- You'll find that APEX Developers are passionate about what they are able to deliver with APEX.
- There are more than 10 conferences with APEX Tracks or which are dedicated to APEX.
- In 2019 Oracle was recognized as a November Gartner Peer Insights Customer's Choice for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platform Market for Oracle APEX. And we're proud to announce that in 2021, thanks to the wonderful APEX community, Oracle APEX is again a customer choice for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms.
The answer is simple, you only need to choose where you're going to start building your applications with APEX:
How can I modernize my existing Forms application?
A while ago, I wrote a blog post series entitled Modernizing an Oracle Forms Application to an Oracle APEX Application, which allows you to see how to create, customize and enhance your APEX application based on the existing application requirements. You can run the APEX app to compare both applications and explore the different components you can create with APEX.
Should I immediately modernize all of my Oracle Forms application?
The short answer is no. Your APEX applications can readily co-exist with Forms applications, having both running against the same Oracle Database and using the same database objects. You can run this Should you modernize? test to determine what best works for you, either keeping Forms applications and creating new apps using APEX, or consider modernizing your entire set of Forms applications.
Now, the only question remaining is...what are you waiting for to start using APEX?