Thursday 23 August 2018

Pseudo Radiogroup in APEX Report

I'd be surprised if you've ever tried to put a radio group in a report, but if you've ever attempted it you might come across a post from Vincent Deelan.

When it comes to checkboxes and radio groups, the nature of HTML haunts us.

So it turns out it's possible to do the same task within a report, and we can build it so we don't even need to submit the page. It really just depends on how you want the page to interact. The following example simply logs the rating selected, rather than a rating being stored as an attribute of Emp.

This is no doubt even easier with Interactive Grids, but I'm not there yet, and I'm sure others aren't either.
And it's fun using Dynamic Actions to make applications more interactive, and revive draft blog posts from a good 18 months earlier. (I've got a few of these...)

I built a traffic light style report once before, but leveraging off the Universal Theme made this effort so much easier.

Consider the template options for creating a pill button group using standard button components.

Button Template Options

If you create three buttons, all with first, inner, last button sets respectively, you get something that looks like this:

Pill buttons
I refer to them as such because if you use the Inspect Element tool on these buttons, the template option classes are named as such
Check out the UT button builder for more examples.

So to utilise this in a report, I'll combine three manually constructed buttons, levering other existing classes.
select EMPNO,
  '<span style="white-space: nowrap;">'
    ||'<a href="javascript:void(0);" data-emp="'||empno||'"'
    ||' class="high t-Button t-Button--success t-Button--simple t-Button--pillStart">H</a>'
    ||'<a href="javascript:void(0);" data-emp="'||empno||'"'
    ||' class="medium t-Button t-Button--warning t-Button--simple t-Button--pill">M</a>'
    ||'<a href="javascript:void(0);" data-emp="'||empno||'"'
    ||' class="low t-Button t-Button--danger t-Button--simple t-Button--pillEnd">L</a>'
    ||'</span>'  rate   
from scott.emp

If you remember to Escape Special Characters for the rate columnm you'll see something like this

Now you could slice and dice the dynamic actions in a number of ways, but here I created one for each type of button. So on click of the relevant class I associated with each button type, it will get the value from the data- attribute, put it in a hidden item, then insert a record.

The Set Value action would set some hidden item using the JavaScript expression
The subsequent PL/SQL process would submit this item to session state, and insert the empno/rating selection into the log table. The third action refreshes the Rating region so we can see the new data.

We can make the buttons more pill-like but adding a border radius
span a.t-Button {border-radius: 10px;}

To dull the colours a touch
span a.t-Button{border-color: lightgrey; box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px lightgrey inset !important;}

It would only take a few more lines of jQuery to turn this into a status, leaving the active button highlighted. Plus a slight tweak to the SQL to match the relevant record.

Obviously I had a demo of this, but this draft was so old I've forgotten where I put it ;p

Wednesday 1 August 2018

APEX 18.2 Statement of Direction

I've been thinking recently it's been a while since I remember seeing a revised Statement of Direction, and sure enough I see news of an update for 18.2.

It was back in 2015 that I last made my own conjecture about what each statement means (without the benefit of listening to as many conference sessions) and look at some of the outcomes now!

  • IG - well, I'm still a little late to that party, but missing out on early cuts & bruises ;p
  • Master detail detail - I was training people last week and it occurred to me this is another feature I don't really work with, but maybe should give a go.
  • New charting engine - well JET is going really well! Though I'm still experiencing teething issues with the data densification.

As for APEX 18.2, we now see:

  • Improved workspace provisioning wizard - not a big drawcard for myself, but I can see how some fresh attention in this space could be warranted.
  • New side-by-side master detail page type available in create page wizard - as I just noted, I need to experiment with recent master-detail development, to perhaps integrate with regular design patterns.
  • New dashboard page type available in create page wizard - Now I’m guessing this is just a wizard to help build an appropriate page – full of components already available to us, but used in an effective way. Either way, I'm interested.
  • Improved warnings with REST workshop to prevent loss of custom definitions - well, that sounds useful.
  • More comprehensive JavaScript API documentation - even more? I've barely had a chance at using the new set. I hope it comes with more examples. I think I saw a glimpse of Shakeeb's /ut application the other night with SQL examples inline for classic report variations. +1 from me.
  • Ability to update Font APEX stylesheets and font files independent of Oracle APEX releases - Maxime already showed us this was possible, and easy. I'm glad behaviour like this is enabled by the APEX team. 
  • Installing sample datasets now enables the creation of a complete sample application - well, that sounds intriguing.
  • EMP / DEPT sample dataset now available in different languages - sometimes I'm grateful my first language is English, but sometimes I really wish I was natively bilingual.
  • Updated productivity and sample apps - seems to go without saying now, but I haven't farmed them for ideas for a while.
They've always come through pretty well with these lists, plus a whole bunch of other extra stuff we find along the way. I also found this nugget from Oliver.

After recent experiences I thought I'd add a few examples of what I'd like to see, no doubt forgetting/neglecting some other needs & wants, includes:
  • IR - support for saved IR (& IG?) are still hidden away a few layers deep in a task menu. Saved IR are still inseparable from app_id. We could use some love here.
  • Excel2Collection - considering the efforts made in assisting Access & Forms users to migrate their information to APEX, perhaps it might be wise to integrate such a simple method of transferring Excel workbook content to a table in the database.
    The ORDS solution hung around for a while, and I find the data loading wizard somewhat clunky. 
  • PWA - Vincent recently published a comprehensive guide on turning APEX into a PWA. This technology is early days (certainly in my learning bubble), but I think APEX would benefit from internal support in regard to further penetrating the mobile market.
  • Native Super LOV - this one from Menno is great, but surely it's time this was baked in?
  • Dynamic Action support for inline modals - there are a few lines of JavaScript I repeat often that I'm sure could be replaced by declarative actions
Anything else? I've made wishlishs in the past (5.x, 4.2), but looking back they seem a little mundane.