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Radically faster and simpler application development using the new APEX service

Manish Kapur
Director, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

The pandemic has increased our reliance on technology. Zoom video calls have seen a dramatic increase in usage, but so have the number of productivity and back-office applications being developed and adopted. Digital transformation is happening at an astonishing pace. Because of the current economic conditions and the pandemic’s widespread impact, organizations are looking for ways to rapidly accelerate their digital transformation journey and focus on cost-cutting to sustain their businesses.

While developing new applications faster is key to meeting these organizational goals, a shortage of experienced developers is constraining their ability to succeed. Many companies are adopting low-code development platforms to build applications rapidly and reduce their operating costs. Oracle APEX is a popular low-code application development platform for building and deploying modern data-driven applications.

Faster and simpler application development is now a reality

Oracle’s newly announced APEX Application Development service, or simply APEX service, is a fully managed, low-code application development platform that can radically reduce the time to develop and deploy applications. APEX empowers citizen and professional developers to build enterprise applications much faster with much less code. This service provides a browser-based low-code approach that enables any developer to build responsive apps for any device quickly and without having to learn complex full-stack technologies.

To prove that APEX service is radically faster and simpler for application development, Oracle commissioned Pique Solutions to perform an independent time and motion study that involved building an application using APEX and JavaScript. Pique Solutions developed the same application using the APEX platform and Docker containers as a cloud native application on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Using a time and motion methodology, they defined and broke down the development activities for both environments and tracked the time and lines of code written for both application modules. The developer who designed and ran the study is a professional developer with 25 years of experience using various development tools and languages but, by design, had no prior experience with APEX low-code platform.

Pique Solutions conducted a study comparing a low-code application development approach using APEX with a traditional JavaScript framework approach for understanding the quantitative and qualitative differences in developing two real-world application modules: interactive grid and faceted search. Specifically, Pique Solutions compared development on OCI using Oracle APEX with a traditional approach using a JavaScript framework (ReactJS), while using existing libraries and writing code to produce comparable deliverables to the greatest extent possible.

The study found the following key points:

  • APEX is more than 38 times faster than using a JavaScript framework approach, based on the average of our two development projects: an interactive grid and a faceted search.

  • From a context perspective, the application delivery time for APEX, including setup and module development, took only 44 minutes versus 3.5 days using a JavaScript framework.

  • 20 times less code was required, on average, in the APEX applications scenarios versus commensurate applications developed using a JavaScript framework.

  • With the time and code benefits, APEX also was found to have numerous advanced enterprise capabilities that are taken care of in its platform, compared with what a JavaScript framework offers, such as security, concurrency control, reporting, save as capability, and large dataset handling.

  • From a developer skill-set perspective, more sophisticated developer skills are required to architect and develop a code-based solution, compared to architecting and developing the same applications using APEX.

  • From a business perspective, companies using APEX can lower the cost of developing applications, get to market much faster, and use a wider pool of developer resources to implement new capabilities.

A graphic depicting the difference in development time and lines of code when using ReactJS versus APEX.

APEX service is so easy to learn and fast to develop and deploy applications because of its unique fully managed architecture that includes the Oracle Rest Data services (ORDS) and database tiers. The Autonomous Database that powers the APEX service includes the APEX Engine. This inclusion provides a lot of benefits such as performance, high availability, and highly efficient execution. The beauty of APEX is that it doesn’t require any client software, it’s a meta-data model execution engine, it’s easier to maintain than code generation, and it’s one of the most efficient execution engines on the planet for Oracle Databases.

A graphic depicting the APEX service working with Autonomous Database, ORDS, and your browser.

For more details, read the detailed report from Pique Solutions. The report includes code excerpts for both the applications and comparison tables for the time and code needed to build the applications.

We welcome you to try developing applications using Oracle APEX service and see the results for yourself. APEX service available is part of the Oracle Cloud Free Tier. You can get started in minutes using the 30-day free trial and build cool applications to become a hero in your company.

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