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  • October 14, 2020

Learn how Oracle used APEX to quickly launch its COVID-19 therapeutic app

Joel Kallman
Vice President, Software Development
This is a syndicated post, view the original post here


Register for the webinar on October 20 at 10:00 am PT.


As the coronavirus started spreading worldwide in March of this year, a large cross-functional team at Oracle was charged with building a system, called the Therapeutic Learning System (TLS), to track the efficacy of treatments then in the early stages of development. The purpose was to help healthcare providers gather data from patients being treated and track their status as they proceeded through various regimens. Ultimately, this information would be shared with U.S. health officials to help them make better-informed decisions about coronavirus therapies.

The initial deadline to build the TLS—from scratch, as no code had been written—was four calendar days. It was all conceptual at the time. We had no choice but to use Oracle Application Express (APEX), the low-code platform our company already had used to develop thousands of applications, many of them at enterprise-scale.

Oracle APEX enables developers to quickly build and deploy applications with far less code than a hand-coded solution. The developers of a low code platform can be citizen developers, line of business developers, or even simply power users. Low code platforms are easier to learn and more approachable by a broader domain of people. You can enlist more people in your enterprise to help contribute solutions, all the while maintaining governance over the applications and platform.

The first night, we stayed up until 2:30 a.m., collaborating with health science professionals within Oracle, crafting a data model for the information we wished to capture. Over the next three days, we developed the first set of APEX applications to register healthcare practitioners, enable them to manage their patients and treatments, and notify the patients (via email or SMS) with updates on their status.

After the first demonstration on Day 4, we were afforded more time to complete the solution, and we iterated these applications over the next five days, improving the flow, revising the user interface, and developing other applications for support, system monitoring, and an executive dashboard. All in all, we created seven applications comprising more than 200 pages.

While our APEX product development team was busy developing these APEX applications, other Oracle teams were preparing the necessary cloud services, performing testing, doing scalability analysis, assessing security, architecting and testing failover, and much, much more.  Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of all of those teams, we were able to go from a mere concept to a suite of applications on planetary-scale infrastructure—in just 12 days.

I firmly believe that no other company besides Oracle could have pulled off this monumental effort. I also believe that our choice of Oracle APEX was essential to our success in developing such a sophisticated system in as short amount of time.

At Oracle, we use our own cloud applications (SaaS) to run our enterprise. Like many companies, most lines of business have needs which aren’t completely addressed by the corporate enterprise systems, and developers often turn to APEX. There are literally thousands of Oracle APEX applications used throughout Oracle, almost exclusively developed by the respective lines of business.

Oracle APEX empowers developers to easily build compelling apps with superior functionality, performance, and end user experience. Oracle APEX can be used to build a wide variety of apps for any industry - from the simplest app that "webifies" a spreadsheet, to mission-critical apps which are used daily by tens of thousands of users.

Developing secure, scalable, attractive and functional applications usually requires many complex skills across the technology stack, including data management, performance, security, user experience, responsive design, and web. The goal of APEX is to provide you with all the tools you need to build deploy apps, in a secure and performant fashion, without requiring full stack development knowledge.

APEX is an included feature of Oracle Database and is also available on Oracle Cloud, in Autonomous Database, Exadata Cloud Service, and Database as a Service. Oracle APEX is also available on other clouds and from other hosting providers. Oracle APEX is “cloud-ready”. Your on-premises applications today are tomorrow’s cloud applications. The development and runtime experience are virtually identical.

At Oracle, there is an internal IT-managed corporate instance of APEX available for free to every employee at Oracle. Why do lines of business within Oracle turn to Oracle APEX for their internal application development needs?  Simple. They are provided access to a new service in minutes, they are provided an environment where they can load and manage data, develop and deploy applications, and monitor and manage these applications using nothing but their Web browser. APEX is easy to learn, and they are able to build functionally rich applications in far less time, and requiring far less knowledge of the complexities of full-stack Web applications.

If you would like to learn more about how we’re using Oracle APEX at Oracle, including how we developed our TLS in less than two weeks, please register for the webinar on October 20.

Register for webinar on October 20 at 10:00 am PT.




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