Authored by: John Hoefflin
You've heard me rant before about the joys of Oracle's Application Express (APEX) application development frame-work, and I'm going to do it again.
This time, it's the additional features and functionality included in release 18.1 that set me off. I'm going to run through a few of my favorites, but first a disclaimer: the features I'm currently excited about relate to projects I have in-flight right now. So something like REST Service Consumption, significant though it is, isn't on my list, simply because the apps I'm working on right now don't use REST.
So on to my favorites:
Application Creation Wizard - Jump into the App Builder and do a "Create" then "New Application". Explore the options available to you..."Appearance" (side-menu vs top-menu, for one) and "Settings" are a great start. But the value-adds included in "Features" (I particularly like "Access Control", and the authentication PLUS authorization model it implements) can help you create a fully-featured application starting point in seconds. Try that "Check All"...I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Interactive Grids - These are not new in 18.1, but they have been enhanced. And they are SO good I had to include them in my list. All of the searching and filtering capabilities of an Interactive Report, plus edit capabilities. What's not to like?!? Let's face it: Interactive Grids present the data to your users in that spreadsheet-like format they know and love, and the update capabilities are intuitive to them.
Tabbed Regions - I found this one while touring the "Universal Theme" sample application, and I really like it. Do you need to present multiple Interactive Reports that are closely related to each other? Want them on one page, but hate the idea of forcing the user to scroll down from one to the next? Well, check out the Region Display Selector. It allows you to present such regions in a tabbed format on a single page. This is a game-changer for me.
Charting - check out the sample application "Sample Charts" for dozens of ideas for visual representations of your data using the JET Charting Library. Take a look at the "Dashboard" page. You have to do something with page 1 of your application...I'd say dropping your authenticated users into a personalized dashboard is a good place to start!
It seems to me that Oracle's APEX gets significantly better with each new release, and it is relatively easy to migrate your existing applications to the new release.
I encourage you to explore the latest version of Application Express. Oracle hasn't raised the price (free) but they certainly have sweetened the offering!