Tuesday 20 October 2015

APEX 5.1 revised SOD and

Two big announcements, one awesome product.

Statement of Direction

Today I think David Peake saw the wave generated by the announcement of and decided to also announce a revised Statement of Direction (SOD) for APEX 5.1, or he could try convince me it was a coincidence.

Not long after I started blogged I decided to follow these documents to try keep a feel of what's going on. It seems there have been a few adjustments since the initial iteration of 5.1 direction.

  • Interactive Grid - I'm glad they've finally settled on a name, because I didn't think "multi-row edit region type" was really gonna slide. This will no doubt be the talk of 5.1, speaking of which I think someone's been waiting to do a presentation on this for years. I think with the quality of solutions now coming out of the APEX team this will surely impress. I envisage a widget where declarative settings and built-in dynamic actions replace a lot of jQuery, plus JSON magic for communication with the database.
  • Master detail detail - this has been included in the statement of direction at least since 4.1. I can't say I'm in a rush for it, but I could be swayed. 
  • New Charting Engine - this is probably the most interesting announcement of all. A new JavaScript based charting engine developed by Oracle which produces responsive and accessible HTML5 charts. That's a lot to digest. First, AnyChart is on the way out. The AnyChart version was not upgraded to HTML5 enabled library in APEX 5.0, and I remember a discussion at Kscope15 suggesting it was not the library for the future. Plenty of plug-ins are being produced in and out of Oracle using the D3 reporting engine, but posit they will build their own? Perhaps using as an existing framework as a basis? A feature that may have held the AnyChart engine back was the ability to export to PDF/Image, which may extra work with a HTML5 solution, but hopefully on the list. Maybe the biggest advantage of an in-house solution is the tighter coupling to the database, I can't wait to hear more.
    Update - some information from Patrick Wolf.
  • Page Designer - I didn't really understand this sentence about the integration of the component view, nor the comment about attributes moved from rendering pane to property editor. I think I need a picture to paint these words, though Christian's post describing a UKOUG event help fill some gaps.
  • Improved Wizards - Wizards are like propellers, continuous refinements over time make them even better and more efficient (but we'll always have steps/blades). Keep them coming. Though have you noticed how infrequently you're using wizards now? Add a shortcut key for Duplicate, please!
  • Declarative RTL support - common question in forums, bring it on for those in the world that need it. I think Universal Theme has already made steps towards this, it just needs more refinement. Hopefully we'll see even more improvements and templates with the Universal Theme itself, I've already noticed some.
  • Packaged apps - over time these updates seem to migrate to being baked into the product. They're also full of design ideas, and comparable to design solutions elsewhere in the market so consider that has confirmation of the Oracle finger on the community pulse, if you will.

Unless you're living under a social media rock, Juergen and friends in association with ODTUG announced To summarise, it was noticed at conferences that only the minority utilised social media tools like Twitter, even though they are a great resource of information, collaboration and light hearted humour. Other tools like Slack out there are appear to be used by engineering communities (among others) for collaboration, and I'm already hooked. 

Twitter is an open platform, you don't need to be a member to read most feeds. Integration options are out there for other sites. brings this information to one site, hopefully filterable in such a way that you get what you need.

On top of this, it opens the invitation to be the new home for APEX plugins, integrating very elegantly with github. A job market has also been included in the initial release.
Plenty of ideas are flowing in for expanding it as the one-stop-shop for other repositories. I suggested including a list of sample APEX applications, something I started once upon a time and planned to continue next year, but opportunity beckons for a more fitting home.

All built on Oracle tech of course, with plenty of community help integrating a number of services. Great work gang!

update - 5.0.2 now available

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