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Oracle Application Express is an easy-to-use application development
environment built on the Oracle technology stack. There are two aspects of that
previous sentence that you may find jarring—that Oracle, a company widely known
for its database technology, has an application development environment, and
that Oracle, a company thought of as delivering high-end, enterprise-ready
technology, has anything that is easy to use.
But, as this book will show, the introductory statement is completely
accurate. Oracle Application Express, commonly known as Oracle APEX or simply
APEX, does benefit from the long-established enterprise-class robustness that
is the hallmark of Oracle technology. The applications you build will be able
to support hundreds of users and many terabytes of data, scalability far beyond
even the imagination of most other development environments.
And Oracle APEX, with its declarative, wizard-driven methodology, is truly
easy to use. In the course of the few hundred pages of this book, you will not
only learn about how to use APEX, you will create a usable order entry system.
The fast learning curve presented in these pages is a consequence of many years
of development and refinement of the APEX product, which began life almost a
decade ago within Oracle.
By the end of this volume, you will know enough to create your own
applications, as well as having the knowledge and understanding of Oracle APEX
and the world of Oracle technology to explore further refinements on your own.
Best of all, you can use APEX with absolutely no cost—either in a hosted
environment, as suggested in Chapter 1, or with a free version of the Oracle
Welcome to the world of Oracle Application Express!
This book is aimed at a particular group of users—those who are not familiar
with Oracle Application Express. The book assumes that you have a basic
knowledge of application development, the type you could get from playing
around with a personal database such as Access. In fact, this book was written
with an Access developer in mind—an Access developer looking to step up to a
more scalable and reliable environment, with reduced maintenance overhead and
greater integration between application systems.
This book covers the use of Oracle Application Express. Although the book is
based on the 3.5 version, you can use the book with older versions as well.
However, since the book will use a hosted version of Oracle Application
Express, and since both the Oracle database that support the product and the
product itself are available as free downloads from http://otn.oracle.com, you
should be able to use the latest version easily.
This book is structured to give the reader a gradual introduction to the
essentials of development with Oracle Application Express. The book contains
Welcome to Oracle!— This contains an overview of Oracle Application Express,
as well as instructions on how to set up a hosted development environment for
performing the exercises used in the book.
Jumpstart Oracle Application Express—Y ou will leap into creating
applications with Oracle Application Express and finish a simple application by
the end of this.
Extending Your Oracle APEX Application— This will introduce you to the
options in Oracle APEX that let you ensure that your users will enter correct
data while using your application.
Validation, Calculation, Navigation, and Lists— This continues the
exploration of the aspects of APEX that help you to ensure that data used in
your application is correct. Additionally, this covers basic navigation options
for your application.
Reporting and Charting— This covers the powerful and flexible reports you can
create with Oracle APEX, and introduces you to the graphical capabilities of
Components Working Together— This extends your work with charts, showing how
you can create charts that link to a more detailed view of the data they
represent. You will also learn how to create a calendar page with links to the
data shown as part of the calendar, and how to add images taken from the
underlying database to an Oracle APEX report.
Customizing User Interfaces— This explores advanced options for customizing
user interfaces, on individual pages as well as across your entire APEX
PL/SQL— This introduces you to PL/SQL, the underlying language used to
implement your APEX application, and demonstrates how to use the power of
PL/SQL to extend the logic in your application.
Security— This covers how security is implemented for your APEX environment.
Deployment and Administration— This covers the options you have for deploying
an APEX application to another environment and walks you through one of those
options. Additionally, this introduces you to the administrative functionality
you can use to monitor and manage your APEX applications.
Packaged Applications— This gives an overview of packaged applications
available for Oracle Application Express, with a more detailed look at a select
Migration— This describes how to migrate applications from Microsoft Access
to Oracle Application Express.