Developers Demand, Oracle Delivers

Mike Hichwa, vice president of Oracle’s database tools group, answers the need for hosted browser-based applications with Oracle Application Express 5.0.

By Tom Haunert

September/October 2015

Oracle Magazine sat down with Mike Hichwa, vice president of Oracle’s database tools group, to talk about application development challenges, developing hosted web applications within a browser, and Oracle Application Express 5.0.

Oracle Magazine: What are businesses looking for in data-driven application development today?

Hichwa: Businesses are looking for four key things. First, they are looking for consistency—consistency with existing in-house skills and with current investment. Consistency makes it easier for ops to manage and easier for your developers to maintain applications.

[Oracle Application Express] provides a rapid and elegant way to visualize your Oracle Database data in a web application.

Second, businesses are looking for developer productivity. Today, productivity is realized by leveraging existing open source frameworks and design patterns. In my book, the most relevant design pattern today is HTML5 and responsive design.

Third, businesses are looking for architectural elegance in their data-driven application development. If a system is faster, users will like it more, and it will need less hardware. Well-designed security is elegant, too. Building an application using a least-privilege model is always a good way to reduce security risk.

And fourth, businesses are looking to deliver a strong user experience in data-driven applications.

Oracle Magazine: Let’s talk about Oracle Application Express. What is it, and how does it address the needs of application developers?

Hichwa: Oracle Application Express is a tool for building database-centric web applications. It provides a rapid and elegant way to visualize your Oracle Database data in a web application. The tool is designed to build opportunistic web applications declaratively, and it features powerful built-in capabilities so you don’t have to write, test, and maintain HTML and JavaScript code to get robust data interactivity.

Oracle Application Express is a browser-based application development tool, so your integrated development environment [IDE] is your browser. With browser-based development, every computer and tablet becomes an application development platform, working in the cloud is easier, and every new HTML5 widget can benefit not only the application users but also the application developers.

Oracle Magazine: Oracle recently announced the availability of Oracle Application Express 5.0. Tell us about the release and what’s important in this release for developers.

Hichwa: Oracle Application Express 5.0 is a major release, following the previous release [4.2] by more than two years. Why the release is so important and why it took the time it did are because we reworked some major product capabilities.

For Oracle Application Express 5.0, we rewrote the rendering engine that drives all the application pages. In this release, we provide a universal theme, which is not only more modern and more responsive but much more declarative. With the universal theme and a small number of templates, you can easily get the application behavior you want. What’s important about the universal theme is that it provides modern, responsive, and accessible HTML.

With responsive design, pages developed with Oracle Application Express 5.0 will fit the browser height and width on the device screen. With the universal theme, application pages respond to your application user’s browser dimensions.

Oracle Application Express 5.0 also includes a new page designer. It looks and works like a modern client-server IDE, right in the developer’s browser. The page designer is the IDE for Oracle Application Express 5.0—one place from which developers can do anything.

The page designer layout includes a navigator on the left, a code editor in the middle, and properties on the right. You can drag and drop; you can multiselect. It’s a very modern and sophisticated way to build applications, and it runs in a browser.

Oracle Application Express 5.0 is definitely something better visualized than described, so check it out with no cost or obligation at

Next Steps

 LEARN more about Oracle Application Express.

 REQUEST a hosted Oracle Application Express workspace.

 TRY Oracle Database Cloud Service.


Photography by Glenn Carstens-Peters,Unsplash