Developing applications in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure using Oracle Application Express

May 5, 2021 | 4 minute read
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This post was written by Jeevan Joseph, a principal solution architect on the Developer Adoption team in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

We’re pleased to announce a new Quick Start solution that demonstrates how to create an Oracle Application Express (APEX) application development environment on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Quick Starts are complete solutions that you can launch quickly on your OCI free tier account or trial account. They let you try real solutions while learning about the services and capabilities in OCI. This Oracle APEX solution shows you how to create a low-code application development environment to build and deploy applications quickly on OCI.

Low-code application development platforms help developers focus on solving business problems rather than worrying about the technology stack. APEX is ideal for various workloads from turning an Excel spreadsheet into an interactive visual dashboard application to building, extending, and modernizing existing applicators with customizations. APEX applications use responsive web apps suitable for both desktop and mobile devices. As a fully managed OCI service, Oracle APEX enables you to build scalable, secure enterprise apps in minutes.

The solution

The Quick Start solution provides the automation to provision the resources in your tenancy. OCI supports several industry standard resource management tools such as Terraform and Ansible. In this Quick Start, you use Terraform to create and manage the Oracle APEX environment.

OCI provides a managed Terraform service called Oracle Resource Manager. This free service makes it easy for teams to work with Terraform by integrating directly with various source control systems, providing infrastructure automation and managing the Terraform state. Oracle Resource Manager can help package Terraform configurations as stacks, which create and manage infrastructure components in a user-friendly and wizard-driven manner. Developers can apply the same steps presented here to build their own stacks for easy, consistent, and repeatable deployments.

This Oracle APEX Quick Start solution is open source, which enables you to use it as a sandbox or starting point for more complex deployments. The Terraform automation manages the components and is packaged as a reusable stack that you can later use to modify the topology and configuration. You can run the Terraform code published on GitHub in multiple ways. For a quick deployment, you can use the deploy button, which uses the Oracle Resource Manager. You can also choose to deploy the solution directly through the Terraform CLI in your development environment or in the Oracle Cloud Shell.

Expressing infrastructure as code using the methods described in this example gives you repeatability and consistency in your infrastructure and application deployments.

The solution architecture

Oracle APEX is a fully managed service based on the Oracle Autonomous Database, which supports relational, JSON, graph, and spatial data. APEX is an elastic platform that can scale up or down driven by real-time load and manage itself with patches, upgrades tuning, and backups.

Oracle APEX itself uses a three-tier architecture where requests are sent from the browser, through a web server, to the database. All processing, data manipulation, and business logic run in the database. This architecture guarantees zero latency data access, top performance, and scalability out of the box. Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) functions as a communications broker between the web browser and the Oracle APEX objects in the Oracle database by mapping browser requests into database stored procedure calls. You only need a web browser and the required URL. No extra client software is required.

A grpahic depicting accessing APEX architecture from your web browser.

The solution prompts you for the password for the administrative account and creates a fully managed APEX instance in your tenancy with a secure public endpoint. The solution preselects the APEX configuration and enables automatic scaling of the instance. The solution also provisions 1 TB of storage for the APEX instance by default. You can change all defaults to meet the needs of each use case.

Next steps

To learn more about the architecture, the automation tools and to build your own cloud native deployments, head over to the Quick Start GitHub repository. Here, we provide a “Deploy to Oracle Cloud” button that automates the resource creation and deployment process. You can also evolve your deployment to production scale using the advanced deployment patterns provided in our reference architecture published in the OCI Architecture Center. The OCI Architecture Center provides a catalog of cross-product reference architectures, solution playbooks, and best practices. APEX also offers a set of prebuilt solutions to get started quickly and learning resources and videos to build expertise.

If you don’t already have an Oracle Cloud Infrastructure account, you can get started using either the Oracle Cloud Free Tier or a 30-day free trial, which includes US$300 in credits to get you started with a range of services, including compute, storage, and networking.

Jeevan Joseph

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