We are happy to announce the roll out of the latest version of Oracle Visual Builder - version 19.3.1 - which contains many new features in every area of the service. In this blog entry we are going to highlight some of these new features - but for a fuller list see our "What's New" documentation. Here are the key new capabilities:
You can now point Visual Builder to an existing Oracle Database in the cloud which will be used to host the tables maintaining the data for business objects created through Visual Builder. This allows you to store larger capacity of data (beyond the 5GB limitation that exist on the embedded DB in VB). Since the tables are created in your own database - you can also access them directly using SQL and do DML operation from outside VB. With the introduction of the new "Free Forever" layer of Oracle's cloud services you can get a free 20GB Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP) database instance and point VB to use it.
While Visual Builder is focused on giving you a visual approach to create your applications, one of the key benefit it provides is direct access to the actual HTML code of your pages in a code editor from your browser. This editor just got richer with the ability to use the component palette, property inspector, and structure pane while working on code directly. You can, for example, drag a component to your code, reposition it with the structure pane, and change its properties through the property inspector - all while working in "code" view. Also note the new right-click menu option that will show you the list of all the keyboard shortcuts you can use while editing code in Visual Builder.
You'll notice updates to the other editors as well. For example the action chain editor has a new preview area, allowing you to easily navigate long action chains. It also no longer opens in a separate tab - keeping you in the context of the scope you are workin in. Another example is the business object diagram editor which now allows you to choose specific objects to show in the diagram.
Visual Builder provide a great solution for building on-device mobile applications packaged either as native apps or distributed as Progressive Web Apps (PWA). New features allow you to access the device location, use the share functionality, and take videos with the camera in a declarative way with built in actions. New events allow you to handle your app being paused or resumed on the mobile device. We also improved the caching used by PWAs to speed up loading of apps.
When you create mobile or web apps you'll notice new templates that offer various navigation approaches in mobile apps, and a new responsive + navigation template for web apps. In addition when creating mobile pages you'll be able to select from a wider choice of mobile optimized page layouts. As always you can further customize those templates and create your own layouts.
The new version of Visual Builder leverages Oracle JET version 7.1 out of the box. In addition new functionality allows you to specify specific JET versions for specific apps you create - giving you better control on their behavior. In addition new feature support coding with ES6 and ECMA2018 standards (while still able to degrade gracefully to support old browsers such as IE11).
Visual Builder keeps expanding to new data centers across the world as the Oracle cloud expands - you can already find VB in Zurich, Tokyo, Seoul, and Mumbai in addition to existing centers in the US, Canada, and Europe.
There are many many other enhancements you'll find all over the tool, from new declarative ways to define search criteria in your queries, new UI components, improved CI/CD support, and better ways to manage app authorization and security.
Take Visual Builder for a spin and let us know what you thing on our community forum.