Today we have guest blogger - Joel Kallman - Senior Director, Software Development
Oracle Application Express (APEX) 18.1 is now generally available! APEX enables you to develop, design and deploy beautiful, responsive, data-driven desktop and mobile applications using only a browser. This release of APEX is a dramatic leap forward in both the ease of integration with remote data sources, and the easy inclusion of robust, high-quality application features.
Keeping up with the rapidly changing industry, APEX now makes it easier than ever to build attractive and scalable applications which integrate data from anywhere - within your Oracle database, from a remote Oracle database, or from any REST Service, all with no coding. And the new APEX 18.1 enables you to quickly add higher-level features which are common to many applications - delivering a rich and powerful end-user experience without writing a line of code.
"Over a half million developers are building Oracle Database applications today using Oracle Application Express (APEX). Oracle APEX is a low code, high productivity app dev tool which combines rich declarative UI components with SQL data access. With the new 18.1 release, Oracle APEX can now integrate data from REST services with data from SQL queries. This new functionality is eagerly awaited by the APEX developer community", said Andy Mendelsohn, Executive Vice President of Database Server Technologies at Oracle Corporation.
Some of the major improvements to Oracle Application Express 18.1 include:
It has always been easy to add components to an APEX application - a chart, a form, a report. But in APEX 18.1, you now have the ability to add higher-level application features to your app, including access control, feedback, activity reporting, email reporting, dynamic user interface selection, and more. In addition to the existing reporting and data visualization components, you can now create an application with a "cards" report interface, a dashboard, and a timeline report. The result? An easily-created powerful and rich application, all without writing a single line of code.
Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) REST-Enabled SQL Services enables the execution of SQL in remote Oracle Databases, over HTTP and REST. You can POST SQL statements to the service, and the service then runs the SQL statements against Oracle database and returns the result to the client in a JSON format.
In APEX 18.1, you can build charts, reports, calendars, trees and even invoke processes against Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS)-provided REST Enabled SQL Services. No longer is a database link necessary to include data from remote database objects in your APEX application - it can all be done seamlessly via REST Enabled SQL.
APEX now offers the ability to declaratively access data services from a variety of REST endpoints, including ordinary REST data feeds, REST Services from Oracle REST Data Services, and Oracle Cloud Applications REST Services. In addition to supporting smart caching rules for remote REST data, APEX also offers the unique ability to directly manipulate the results of REST data sources using industry standard SQL.
APEX includes a completely rearchitected REST Workshop, to assist in the creation of REST Services against your Oracle database objects. The REST definitions are managed in a single repository, and the same definitions can be edited via the APEX REST Workshop, SQL Developer or via documented API's. Users can exploit the data management skills they possess, such as writing SQL and PL/SQL to define RESTful API services for their database. The new REST Workshop also includes the ability to generate Swagger documentation against your REST definitions, all with the click of a button.
In Oracle Application Express 18.1, wizards have been streamlined with smarter defaults and fewer steps, enabling developers to create components quicker than ever before. There have also been a number of usability enhancements to Page Designer, including greater use of color and graphics on page elements, and "Sticky Filter" which is used to maintain a specific filter in the property editor. These features are designed to enhance the overall developer experience and improve development productivity. APEX Spotlight Search provides quick navigation and a unified search experience across the entire APEX interface.
APEX 18.1 introduces a new native authentication scheme, Social Sign-In. Developers can now easily create APEX applications which can use Oracle Identity Cloud Service, Google, Facebook, generic OpenID Connect and generic OAuth2 as the authentication method, all with no coding.
APEX 18.1 introduce many new UI components to assist in the creation of mobile applications. Three new component types, ListView, Column Toggle and Reflow Report, are now components which can be used natively with the Universal Theme and are commonly used in mobile applications. Additional enhancements have been made to the APEX Universal Theme which are mobile-focused, namely, mobile page headers and footers which will remain consistently displayed on mobile devices, and floating item label templates, which optimize the information presented on a mobile screen. Lastly, APEX 18.1 also includes declarative support for touch-based dynamic actions, tap and double tap, press, swipe, and pan, supporting the creation of rich and functional mobile applications.
Font APEX is a collection of over 1,000 high-quality icons, many specifically created for use in business applications. Font APEX in APEX 18.1 includes a new set of high-resolution 32 x 32 icons which include much greater detail and the correctly-sized font will automatically be selected for you, based upon where it is used in your APEX application.
APEX 18.1 includes a collection of tests in the APEX Advisor which can be used to identify common accessibility issues in an APEX application, including missing headers and titles, and more. This release also deprecates the accessibility modes, as a separate mode is no longer necessary to be accessible.
If you're an existing Oracle APEX customer, upgrading to APEX 18.1 is as simple as installing the latest version. The APEX engine will automatically be upgraded and your existing applications will look and run exactly as they did in the earlier versions of APEX.
"We believe that APEX-based PaaS solutions provide a complete platform for extending Oracle’s ERP Cloud. APEX 18.1 introduces two new features that make it a landmark release for our customers. REST Service Consumption gives us the ability to build APEX reports from REST services as if the data were in the local database. This makes embedding data from a REST service directly into an ERP Cloud page much simpler. REST enabled SQL allows us to incorporate data from any Cloud or on-premise Oracle database into our Applications. We can’t wait to introduce APEX 18.1 to our customers!", said Jon Dixon, co-founder of JMJ Cloud.
Application Express (APEX) is the low code rapid app dev platform which can run in any Oracle Database and is included with every Oracle Database Cloud Service. APEX, combined with the Oracle Database, provides a fully integrated environment to build, deploy, maintain and monitor data-driven business applications that look great on mobile and desktop devices. To learn more about Oracle Application Express, visit apex.oracle.com. To learn more about Oracle Database Cloud, visit cloud.oracle.com/database.
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