Last December, Oracle announced Oracle Application Express 5.1. What a Christmas present? Many of us expected it would arrive sometime after the first of the year. Anyhow, we’ve had two months to play around and work with some of the new marquee features of the product. We’re impressed. Our CTO, Francis Mignault, highlights our excitement at Insum,
“We are very excited with the upcoming APEX 5.1 release. The new declarative Master-Detail-Detail capabilities, possible using the new Interactive Grid, will greatly assist many of our clients convert legacy applications to Oracle Application Express. I am not even mentioning the hundreds of new improvements that the APEX team delivers with each new release.”
APEX 5.1 has given our team and clients a huge boost in functionality and productivity. I asked a few of our top APEX minds to highlight their favorite new features and share why you should upgrade to APEX 5.1:
The Theme Roller is a great time saver enhancement that allows a developer to visualize different Template Options live. It will work the same way that we could already switch colors and see the results in the running application, but for Template Options.
Did you ever scroll through properties over and over looking for that one option? Well, now you can search it! For us developers, it’s often about the little things. From the builder, you can now search within an element’s properties.
My personal favourite is the Interactive Grid (IG). It is the Interactive Report and Tabular Forms combined plus more. IG features that stand out include user-friendly grid-based editing, Oracle Text support, scroll pagination and support for “Warn on Unsaved Changes”. Say goodbye spreadsheets!
I, too, say it’s the Interactive Grid (IG), but for different reasons. I think the IG will make it compelling particularly for Forms customers to migrate to Oracle Application Express (APEX). Forms users have grown accustomed to a multi-record edit. For those individuals, the Interactive Grid is a home run.
I love the fact that we can now customize the position of the developer tabs by dragging and dropping the tabs without corrupting my browser with yet another extension. On a large monitor, this reduces the amount of mouse and eye movement during development. For me, this saves time and reduces eye strain.
REST services to retrieve Application Express statistics
There are some new features that are not major, but that are very interesting and useful. In APEX 5.1, it is now possible to get statistics from your APEX environment using REST services. This can be particularly useful for cloud environments.
To turn this option on, go to the REST Administration interface section in the instance administration (internal) workspace.
This will surely be used for other reports or functionality in future releases. And, it is secure using OAuth2 for the communication to the REST services.
Submitting Pages & Page Validation
In the past, when users submitted a page and a validation failed the page would be reloaded and the error message was displayed. This is how most web applications work however it does have some negative side effects such as:
- Page has to reload and re-run reports
- If a password field or a file uploaded then their values would be reset and users would need to re-enter them along with fixing the validation
Starting in APEX 5.1, the default behaviour for submitting pages has changed. Instead of reloading the page for failed validations, an AJAX request is made to first validate and then process the page. If any validations fail or errors occur as part of the page processes, then the error message(s) is returned and displayed to the user. During this entire process the page has not been reloaded so it reduces an unnecessary page load and preserves all field values for the user.
If you’re upgrading an existing application, you’ll need to change the Reload on Submit page option to Only for Success to enable this feature.
Joel Kallman, Senior Director, Software Development at Oracle, says it best, “Oracle Application Express 5.1 is a great leap forward in end user productivity and introduces powerful new declarative features, enabling you to develop, design and deploy beautiful, responsive, database-driven desktop and mobile applications using only a browser.”
Consider upgrading to 5.1 to take advantage of these new updates. Download Oracle Application Express 5.1 here.
There you have it. For a supposed “minor” release, the APEX Dev Team has delivered in a major way. If this article has you thinking about moving to APEX 5.1, give us a call. We’d love to add you to our list of satisfied customers. Already on APEX 5.1? Share some of your favorite features by leaving a comment!