Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Glimpse of APEX 4.2



Yesterdays OGh APEX day in Zeist (NL) was a great success. The probably largest APEX-only congress (almost 300 APEX enthusiasts) was packed with 3 parallel tracks of presentations covering a wide variety of APEX related subjects.


The OGh organization committee again managed to invite well known APEX experts as speakers: Dimitri Gielis and John Scott (the dynamic APEX Evangelists Duo), Roel Hartman, Alex Nuijten, Patrick Barel (all ACE or ACED so far). Iloon Ellen Wolff, from Oracle NL, gave us some previews on Oracle’s Cloud Service, mostly slides and video’s. A live demo wasn’t possible, because there is something going on at Oracle and we may can expect some exciting news very soon.
The highlight, in my eyes, was Patrick Wolf’s keynote presentation, talking about the recent enhancements of 4.1.1,and, much more exciting, giving us a glimpse of what will come in the long awaited 4.2 upgrade. After showing the usual “Oracle Save Harbor Statement” the conference participants were treated with some live demos of the Oracle Application Express teams work on the new version. As far as I can tell now, they are doing a great job, especially in integrating the jQuery Mobile framework into APEX in a way that perfectly fits the “declarative way” you would expect from building applications with APEX. To mention just a few highlights (well, you know: everything mentioned might OR might not be a feature in a future version of APEX):
Multiple theme support in one application: means you can create mobile and “standard” pages in one application. This enhancement would take away the need to build and deliver separate applications for targeting different devices.
  • HTML5 Form Input Type support
  • This is a really essential feature for mobile support. APEX 4.2 will (or may not) support sub types for (Text) input elements.
  • Declarative Configuration
  • If you have taken a look at the jQuery Mobile framework already, you know that its components configuration is done by adding additional “data-” HTML attributes. In the screens I saw, these attributes where translated and integrated as element/region properties, just as you are used to from other APEX builder screens.
  • List-Views
  • One of the main components in jQuery Mobile with respect to presenting data on a mobile device will be (or may not be) very well integrated and support (or may not) all the major features the jQuery Mobile framework has to offer in a declarative way, like List Dividers, Count bubble and Search Bar Filter.


Pity I didn’t take any photos of APEX Builder screens during Patrick’s presentation. I was too busy modifying my own presentation about jQuery Mobile usage in version 4.1 that was scheduled later that day. I just had to refer to his presentation somehow. Integration jQuery Mobile “manually” looks so clumsy, compared to what we can expect from Oracle Application Express 4.2. I’m looking forward to the first (EA) releases of 4.2. When will that be? That’s the one question Patrick didn’t answer, not even under “Save Harbor” conditions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

themes4apex - custom UI for your APEX application

This short article is actually a shameless plug for my new service and website. So, if you are looking for some technical info on APEX: do not read any further. But if you want to provide your APEX application with a custom UI design without having to dive into HTML, CSS scripting and creating graphical components yourself, pay a visit to my brand new website: themes4apex.com.

Define

I offer to design and implement APEX themes and templates based on your specifications, whatever these are: an existing web page, concepts created in PowerPoint  or any other image reference or prototyping tool.

Design

I like to keep things simple. So your custom APEX UI design will be based on HTML and CSS, DIV-based and guaranteed to tested and working in all current browser brands and versions.

Deliver

You will receive your custom theme ready to import into your APEX environment together with a demo application using the theme.

Interested? Visit themes4apex and contact me.