The Kscope16 APEX Sunday Symposium is entirely dedicated to the upcoming 5.1 version, naturally.
Most of the information on APEX 5.1 has been presented at conferences earlier this year, but here at Kscope there are 7 sessions from APEX Development team, entirely dedicated to APEX, which makes this the single most important one-event source of APEX news.
Here a short summary of the, in my opinion, highlights from the presentations of the Oracle APEX development team´s presentations.
1) Shakeeb showing improvements and new features in Universal Theme 5.1
- Font APEX icons replacing Font Awesome. That is: you can choose, but the APEX team did a wonderful job on the APEX Font, like adding declarative icon modifiers (an icon with an additional small icon in the lower right corner) in a different color. This is not only easy to use and very beautiful, but very useful too. I like this a lot.
- Themeroller like enhanced inline modifying of template options of Page Items, Regions, …
- An integrated button builder! Are you kidding? Love this.
- easy upgrade from UT 5.0 to 5.1, if you left your applications UT copy subscribed. Custom components will be left untouched.
- The UT sample application has been refurbished to reflect all the new feature. Very nicely done. This is one of my most favorite references, next to APEX API guide.
The direction the APEX dev team took when developing UT is continued with these improvements, making the APEX developer life more and more easy. There is a lot (very much!) you will get out-of-the-box with UT in APEX.
2) Marc talking about Page Designer (enhancements):
- Component view is now integrated with the new Page Builder IDE as a tab and not a separate page anymore. Legacy Old Component View will be deprecated in 5.1, de-supported and removed in 5.2. The new component view component is fully integrated in the Page Builders client-side mechanism.
- except for some improvements in UI of the attribute tab there are not a lot changes, as far as I can notice. I really would have liked to see some of the features that are currently provided by the browser-plugin-name to be integrated in this release, as these have been proven to be very handy and just give you this extra bit of productivity. The Page Builder, after all, is very click-intensive and will let your mouse run a lot of miles/kilometers and every additional shortcut is welcome.
plans for Page Designer beyond 5.1:
- components options tab in attributes pane instead of item in tree
- more intuitive editing when creating new components, instead of error in item/region, like having to enter a query.
- chart plug-ins with D3.js, Flot and JustGage libs in new packaged chart sample applications. Very impressive demos. Use as reference (for additional JS functionality too)
- declarative support for most Oracle JET Chart components, entire library included, so special charts, not decoratively included can be coded manually.
- Jet charts are default option in builder. Responsive! Query in region source enables multiple series to be based on it.
- upgrade path from AnyChart to Oracle JET-Charts, … with tools, not the plug-in examples
Charts in APEX 5 very powerful and nicely integrated with Page Builder.
4) Interactive Grid, Patrick
one most talked about and awaited feature of APEX of 5.1, the multi-row edit, next level user interaction component in APEX. The Interactive Grid (IG) is so packed with features, I will only log the highlight, which is still a lot:
layout and reporting features:
- simply configurable
- but still possible to write advanced customization
- multiple IG in one page (no limits), master-detail possible, master-multi detail, master-detail-detail, group by formatting
- utilize standard item types in grid columns
- using application upgrade wizard to convert/upgrade from standard tab-form and IA reports to IG
- can be used as report or tab-form. IA features/options brought down to a minimum, based on usage experience for IA
- functionality is fully accessible with keyboard
- column resize
- deferred query changes, allowing to modify multiple filters, etc and afterwards re-query the data
- attributes to tackle common performance problems decoratively
- responsive, to some degree
- edit mode enables row menu (delete, duplicate, add, refresh row …) and multi row selector
- changes (edit, delete, updates, adds) are not immediately submitted to server, user has to submit all changes at once.
- tab to navigate next/previous cells and up-/down-keys to navigate vertically
- textarea popup
- final release is planned with row cascading select-list capability. Yeah!!!
- improved inline-validations error handling
There is a IG sample application. Have a look at it!
This component is a mayor step forward for creating applications with APEX. End users have been asking and waiting for this feature. Developers have spend (far too) much time, trying to build just a fraction of these functionalities, resulting in avoiding tabular forms, and loosing the build-in features. I´m very excited to finally be able to use the IG in my projects. Very well done, APEX team!!!
5) Other New 5.1 Features
- inline error validation improvement: no page refresh
- client side validation for required items
- warn on unsaved changes, default enabled (for new pages), disable for items possible
- client-side data model, will be accessible in future
- asynchronous Ajax calls for dynamic actions and declarative client side (page item) conditions
- HTML5 multiple file upload with file type restriction possibility
- nice Yes/No item as switch (button group) and not select lists anymore
- build in dynamic actions for calendar component: (date/event selected, view changed); sample application has been updates with new demos
- calendar keyboard navigation
- Interactive Grid Item Type plugin support
- RequireJS included in APEX
- Read-only administrator role in builder
- remote Trace and Debug (handy for admin to check error at user session)
- Build Options default ¨excluded¨
- improved error page
Many of these features will makes the life of an APEX developer so much (MUCH) easier. I myself have implemented some of these features in every recent APEX project. Now these features are available declarative is great and proves that the APEX development team is growing and expanding APEX with the real-life development in mind. Bravo!