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Announcing Oracle APEX 20.2

Joel Kallman
Senior Director, Software Development
This is a syndicated post, view the original post here

Oracle Application Express (APEX) 20.2 is now generally available! 

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. 

This release of APEX introduces several new features and enhancements to help developers be more productive than ever before.  From the all new Cards component, Automations, and REST Data Synchronization, to charts in Faceted Search, REST Connector Plug-ins, Report Printing improvements, Redwood Light Theme Style, and an exceptional code editing experience across all of App Builder, APEX 20.2 an epic release that has something for everyone.  Here are some of the feature highlights:

All New Cards Component

The new Cards component unlocks a powerful new way to present data and provides developers with the ultimate control and flexibility over the user interface.

The Cards region provides easy customization of nearly every aspect of the card UI, including the layout, appearance, icon, badge, media, advanced HTML expressions that support client-side templating, and for the first time, the ability to define multiple actions per card. This means that you can include any number of actions, such as links or buttons, on a single card, all without writing a single line of code.

You can visit the Cards page on the Universal Theme Sample App to see them in action.  You can also visit the Sample Cards application to see advanced usage of the new Cards component.

 

Automations

Automations are a conditional set of actions that are automatically triggered by changes that occur within database tables or remote data sources. They are used to monitor data and then perform the appropriate action (examples are auto-approving specific requests and sending email alerts). An automation can be triggered on Schedule or on Demand, by invoking the APEX_AUTOMATION API.

 

Faceted Search Enhancements

  • Bar or pie charts of facet value counts
    Quickly display a chart of facet value counts in a dialog or 'dashboard' area.
  • Groups of checkbox facets for Boolean columns
    Checking the facet will find records that match the 'yes' or 'true' value of the column.
  • Input Field facet type
    Input Field facet type supports comparing a user-entered value with the facet column. This enables faceted searches such as finding stores within a user entered number of miles or records where a column contains the user entered text.
  • Performance optimization for distinct value facets

 

Report Printing

  • Built-in PDF printing and Excel download
    Built-in APIs to print PDF and download Excel in interactive reports and classic reports.
  • Interactive Report - Send E-Mail
    All download formats can now be attached.
  • Enhanced integration with Oracle BI Publisher
  • New APIs to generate files
    Introduced new APEX_REGION.EXPORT_DATA and APEX_DATA_EXPORT APIs to programmatically generate PDF, CSV, Excel, HTML, JSON and XML files.
  • More language support
    Built-in PDF now supports Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages.

 

REST Data Source Synchronization

APEX supports data synchronization from a REST Data Source (formerly known as Web Source Modules) to a local table. Synchronization can run either on Schedule or on Demand, by calling the APEX_REST_SOURCE_SYNC package. Developers don't need to build custom PL/SQL code in order to copy data from REST services to local tables; APEX provides this as a declarative option.

  • More control over REST Source Data
    REST Source Data can be appended or merged to the local table. Replacing all local data is also supported.
  • Local or REST Source Data
    APEX components using the REST Data Source can be configured to use the local table instead.
  • Configure Technical Details
    Technical details like HTTP request limits, commit intervals or delete methods for the Replace mode are configurable.
  • Automatic Table Generation

 

REST Data Source Connector Plug-Ins

The APEX Plug-In infrastructure has been extended to support Connector Plug-Ins for external REST APIs. This enables APEX to fully leverage REST API features like result pagination or server-side filtering, often used with 3rd Party REST Services (note: APEX natively supports ORDS and Oracle Fusion SaaS Services today!)

  • REST Service Handling
    The Plug-In code handles REST service-specific implementation details like the pagination style or how filters are passed to the REST API
  • Automatically Pass Relevant Information
    When APEX invokes a REST Data Source (e.g. to render a report), the engine will invoke the Plug-In code and pass all relevant context information.
  • HTTP Requests
    The Plug-In code executes one or multiple HTTP requests and passes results back to the APEX engine.
  • Automatic Processing
    APEX processes the REST response received from the Plug-In.

 

 

New Web Credential Types

APEX 20.2 introduces new URL Query String and HTTP Header types for Web Credentials. This allows developers to use the highly secure and encrypted credential storage also for REST Services which expect an element (like an API key) as part of the URL. APEX makes sure that such sensitive parts are not written to debug or execution logs.

A web credential can now be protected by providing a URL pattern. APEX will only use the Web Credential for URLs starting with the given pattern; otherwise an error message will be raised. To change the URL pattern, the secret part of the Web Credential needs to be entered again.

 

Redwood Light Theme Style

Universal Theme now provides a new Redwood Light theme style for your apps, available via Theme Roller. This new theme style aligns with Oracle's new user experience design system, and provides the new design, color, and textures that extend across all of Universal Theme.

Refresh your existing apps to uptake the latest version of Universal Theme and this new theme style.

 

 

Developer Experience

  • Multiple Tabs in Property Editor
    Page Designer has been enhanced to support multiple tabs in the Property Editor pane, making it more efficient to access the attributes of a region.
  • Monaco Editor
    Oracle APEX now uses Monaco Editor to provide a vastly improved coding experience throughout the development environment. The new editor provides in-context code completion, syntax highlighting, and superior accessibility.
  • Inspect the SQL, PL/SQL and JavaScript code with Ease
    The Embedded Code utility allows developers to inspect the SQL, PL/SQL and JavaScript contained within an APEX application. Having the ability to view the embedded code makes conducting tasks such as code reviews, security evaluations or application tuning, far more convenient. Code can be saved to the file system from the App Builder, or using the APEXExport utility.
  • Quick SQL Enhancements
    Quick SQL now enables you to save and load data models, provides automatic primary key column defaults, and delivers far better coding experience with improved syntax highlighting and autocompletion for table and column directives.

 

New and Improved Items

  • New Checkbox
    This single checkbox offers an alternative to the Switch item type for Boolean columns. This works in Interactive Grid as well, even when not in edit mode. The previous Checkbox type has been renamed to Checkbox Group.
  • File Browse
    File Browse item type has been enhanced to support rendering as a drop zone, supporting the drag & drop of a file to be uploaded.
  • Rich Text Editor
    Rich Text Editor item type has been upgraded to use CKEditor 5 and now supports markdown output.
  • Text Field
    Field item type has a new Text Case setting to optionally transform the user-entered text to upper or lower case. The Text Field Trim Spaces and Text Case settings and Textarea Trim Spaces settings are now applied on the client as well as the server.

Additional Features

Below are a number of additional features you should familiarize yourself with.

  • Tree Region Enhancements
    Tree region type has been enhanced to support lazy loading and refresh without having to reload the full page.
  • New Interactive Grid Saved Report Static ID Support
    Linking to Interactive Grid saved reports should use the saved report static ID instead of the report name. With APEX 20.2, the APEX_IG API has been updated to require using the saved report static ID rather than the report name, when linking to Interactive Grids.
  • Web Source Modules are now named REST Data Sources

 

As in every APEX release, a number of enhancements and bugs fixes have been made to the productivity and sample applications.  Additionally, numerous bugs have been fixed in APEX 20.2, resulting in even higher quality and stability for APEX environments.

For more information about many of the other exciting new features in APEX 20.2, please see the Release Notes or visit the What's New page.

 

Additional Information

Application Express (APEX) is the low-code application development platform which is included with every Oracle Database and is also provided with every Oracle Database Cloud Service, including Oracle Autonomous Database and the Oracle Cloud Free Tier.  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 Autonomous Database, visit oracle.com/autonomous

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