Oracle just came with an update on its “Statement of Direction” for APEX. Once again Oracle confirms that APEX will continue its efforts to enhance this development platform, which should not be a surprise, but there were often doubts (especially from IT management) whether APEX will be a platform to base long term planning on, preferring ADF as the framework primarily promoted as the-way-to-go. Apex is mature, and will become more mature with the announced enhancements in this SOD.
- Oracle continues to invest in the development and support of Oracle Application Express and new versions of Application Express will be released at least annually.
So, version 4.1 should not be too far away from being released, as 4.0 is almost half a year “old” now (not taking into account the time the EA release was available).
Oracle lists some features planed for the upcoming version, and I just would like to comment on some of them:
- Development for Mobile Applications – Include themes and HTML templates suitable for smart phones and mobile devices.
Creating an APEX GUI for mobile devices using themes and templates is already possible with the current release, in fact, was possible with earlier releases as well. So I’m very curious what the Apex team comes up with, as I’m currently migrating a web application to Oracle/Apex which must be accessible from both: mobile and PC-based browsers.
- Charting - Provide for chart rendering without using Flash (to enable display on mobile devices).
iWhatever users will be very thankful ;-).
- Interactive Reporting – Allow multiple reports on one page and support pivot queries.
Great! Finally a pivot feature in Apex. I believe, this is the number 1 missing feature in Interactive reports, which keeps business users from using Apex as “Excel-replacement” analysis tool. Hopefully the user will be able to customize the pivot report just like in Excel.
- Tabular Forms – Allow multiple tabular forms on one page and continue to expand tabular forms validations.
- Master-Detail-Detail – Allow the generation of pages to support master-detail-detail relationships.
Not being able to have multiple tabular forms on one page (out-of-the-box) is one of those annoying things almost every developer has experienced when starting to develop with Apex. Developers and customers/users will appreciate this enhancement.
- Use of ROWID – Allow usage of ROWID for Automatic DML processing (as an alternative to identifying the PK columns).
So a developer will be able to choose between ROWID and (manually identifying) PK columns? That would definitely be nice.
- Modal Dialogue - Add ability to display a dialog on top of a page (the rest of the page will be grayed out).
This is possible now too, but only by using some JS library or writing your own DIV based layout. A build-in functionality would be of great help, as this often is a wanted functionality.
- Data Upload - Enable end-users to upload data into an existing table (within an application).
I bet there are numerous Apex applications which have just this functionality. So, no need to come up with custom solutions anymore? Wizard based? How customizable will this feature be? I’m very curious.