Oracle Application Express or just APEX is a low code development environment included in every version of the Oracle Database, from the free Oracle XE all the way up to the very powerful Oracle Enterprise Edition. All you need to develop modern Web Applications is Oracle Database. No big bloated IDE is required, you develop directly in a browser. There are no Web/Application Servers to deploy the application as there are no application files (war, html, etc.) and no need for extensive web development skills.
The goal of this post is not to discuss the abilities and the technical characteristics of APEX, but rather to clarifying how APEX can enable your business objectives in a very short time.
More details on Oracle APEX abilities and tech characteristics are always available here if you need more attention to that.
Before I dive into the weeds and explain why Oracle APEX should be your first choice for Application Development let me take step back and give a bit of background information.
Historically, Oracle has been seen, predominantly, as Database, RDBMS product. But Oracle is much more than Database company. As a matter of fact, Oracle Database although flagship product of the company, it is only one of the many products the company offers. Today Oracle offers Databases, Middleware, Software Solutions, Application Development, Engineered Systems, File Systems, Operating Systems, etc., including, and this is a game changer, Database Cloud Services.
Now, let’s go back to APEX and see how the before mentioned perception is no longer true and what else is out there that can actually make any company, even a company that does not own Oracle Database at the moment a success.
Let’s put two virtual categories of companies into the visible field: Companies that already own Oracle Database and companies that do not.
For the first category of companies it just makes obvious sense to use APEX as a main development platform to deliver highly functional and user-friendly applications in a very short period of time. The reasons for that are follows:
- You can embrace the current skill set of the human capital (Pl/SQL mostly)
- You can use the existing Oracle Databases already deployed
That would literally mean that the investment in new skills and new appliances is next to $0 or at least very minimal.
For he second category of companies also makes sense to choose Oracle APEX as a main development platform but it is not so obvious. Hopefully this will clarify that.
Here we go:
Saves Money, Great for Startups.
With the introduction of the Oracle Database Cloud Services the licensing politics have almost disappeared. The fee structure is rather flat and pretty much you pay for what you use. And it is competitive.
There is one characteristic that makes Oracle Database Cloud Services quite unique when it comes to Oracle APEX. When you buy any of the Oracle Database Cloud Services, Oracle APEX comes right out of the box for you. Installed and Configured. As Oracle APEX lives in the database you don’t really need any middleware that will run your application. That is done for you by the database, renders all pages in HTML and serves them to the browser. When you buy Oracle Database Cloud Services the classical need of DBAs is diminished as in most of the cases your Database is managed by Oracle.
Fast setup of environments. In minutes.
Oracle APEX embraces a concept of workspaces that can be mapped to one or more database schemas and keeps the environments decoupled under one instance of APEX. Production though, as a best practice is suggested to be run on separate APEX instance.
Oracle APEX comes with lots of predefined modules (types of pages) that will allow seamless interaction between the application and the data in the database. No need for DAOs or any other layer between the UI/front end and the DB/back end and it includes built-in RESTful implementation. The deployment of the application is via single SQL file that is exported/imported from one environment to another.
There is Oracle XE.
If you choose not to use any of the cloud services and instead use local resources, but also don’t have the need for an extensive and massively transactional system, Oracle offers a free database (even for production use) with almost all enterprise characteristics - Oracle XE.
There is an estimation of 400,000 developers around the globe and enormous number of communal resources. The central hub around which all those gravitate is APEX.WORLD. Oracle itself is also extremely accessible via the personal activities (speaks, blogs, meetups, twitter, etc.) of the main developers and product managers behind APEX.
APEX applications can be built as both Desktop and Mobile applications. Both interfaces have numerous themes that one can choose from making the applications very slick, clean and responsive.
Most of the features that come out of the box can be customized directly in components of the pages, themes and classes of items. It also has the ability to be extended by building your own plug-ins to deliver functionality that does not exist. There is a robust collection of plug-ins available.
Free Packaged Applications.
APEX comes with about 35 packaged applications that can be used right from the get go. Even for production and to satisfy a business need. They can be also edited and used as a starting point for a product.
There are many other reasons why you should at least give it a shot, but those are my top 10 that I share with clients.