Wednesday, 28 November 2012

APEX 5.0 Statement of Direction

The Oracle Application Express statement of direction was just announce by David Peake, I thought I'd share some initial thoughts.
  1. Modal dialog - the use of Dan McGan's modal dialog plug-in has been an integral part of a recent project. For me the ability to declaratively define these would be akin to what dynamic actions has over writing JavaScript. I think it will important for workflow design particularly in tablet applications - but mobile/desktop will benefit in the reach-ability.
  2. Drag and Drop Layout Editor - Introduced in 3.0, removed in 4.2 (probably as a result of component view re-design) I didn't use this much, but with the advent of the grid layout, this feature will probably evolve into something quite useful.
  3. HTML5 Capabilities - many mobile presentations last year rightly commented on the importance of HTML5. The 4.2 release is a little under-cocked when it comes to native capabilities, so it will be interesting to see what they include. 
  4. PDF Printing - external reporting options have always been lean with APEX. It seems now the APEX Listener is evolving, so can the cohesiveness for FOP support.
  5. Web Services Support - another area that improves with the growth of the APEX Listener.
  6. Tablet User Interface - perhaps I was too forward thinking when I suggested TVs might be the next interface. Tablets are seemingly more ubiquitous than laptops these days, and it seems the three major devices sizes (in regard to screen/workflow design) are mobile; tablet; desktop - so it seems prudent to have a UI and features applicable to tablet devices.
  7. Packaged Applications - going hand-in-hand with the Oracle Cloud Service, of course this will improve. No doubt the APEX team also uses these applications as practice/alpha testing for future releases.
  8. New multi-row region type - wow. I'm racking my brain trying to imagine what this may look like - I have a few ideas, but I'll just keep re-reading their sentence: "Define a new region type with a modern UI for updating multiple rows of data and allow multiple regions on one page"
  9. Master / Detail / Detail - provid the ability declaratively define these - sure, why not. David seems to like them.
  10. Multiple Interactive Reports - I think this has been a long time coming for a few people, and it was only yesterday I imagined an a need that interested me - multiple smaller regions utilising only the Detail View.
  11. Application Builder Security - I heard David mention this at the APEXposed conference in Melbourne. I can see the yearn, but I don't particularly care. Though I'm sure I'd use it if it was there.
  12. Numerous functional improvements - they're usually the ones that quietly surprise us as we move around the builder.
Another thing to consider as David mentioned, if you have any particular features you would like in the next release - there is a APEX Feature Request application. Get in there - I've submitted a few myself. Maybe hit up the wish list forum thread for ideas.

If you read the PDF document linked on the SOD page, it also talks about Future Investment. Oracle APEX is the standard development tool included with Database Cloud Service, so APEX has an important future within Oracle. That an the ability for Larry to analyse his yachts...
BMW Oracle Racing Trimaran 
What happens when someone uses ADF on the boat </joke>
APEX is also a standard feature of the Oracle Database, therefore the support guidelines for APEX are similar to those for the DB.

Check out the support policy, too - for example, premier support for APEX 3.x expired in Feb 2012.

If you're interested, I've commented previously on this for 4.2 and 4.1, since this is now my predominant tool of choice. Maybe I'll look at those later and see how things have panned out.

Happy APEXing!

Scott
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