APEX has always had a strong link to spreadsheets: it was originally marketed as an easy way to turn spreadsheets into fully functioning applications. But some people just don’t want to give up their spreadsheets! Recently I was approached by APEX Home to develop functionality, using APEX, that allowed users to drag data from a spreadsheet into the application. I’m really pleased with the solution; it makes the most of a number of key features of APEX, is wonderfully user-friendly and provides something of true benefit to end users. For more information and to see a demo click here.
For the past four years I’ve been working with Oracle APEX and this blog demonstrates just some of the things I’ve done. After working as an APEX contractor for a year, I’ve decided to go it alone and establish myself as a freelance Oracle APEX developer trading as Silvercore Solutions Limited.
There are various benefits to using freelance developers, and APEX lends itself perfectly to this model. As a rapid development tool, APEX allows you to develop a fully functional application in just a few weeks; recruiting an APEX contractor can take much longer. With contractors you are often tied into a long-term contract and also have to pay high agency fees. As a freelance developer I don’t have any of these drawbacks. You can hire me for anything from a day upwards, there are no agency fees and no lengthy contracts and because my overheads are so low my rates are very competitive. In fact, there are so many benefits to using freelance developers I’ve written an article on it here.
I recently decided to treat myself to a new laptop (and I also decided to start blogging again as I’ve been a bit busy recently). I’d previously been using a rather old Dell desktop running APEX 3.2.1 and Oracle XE on Windows XP Home edition. Although not officially supported, Oracle XE was running rather happily on Windows XP Home edition. And I’ve heard all the horror stories about Windows Vista, so when I had to choose Vista or Windows 7 I decided to try Windows 7. I was already running XE on an unsupported version of Windows, so why not try another? So I ordered my shiny new laptop with Windows 7 Professional.
My other aim was to use as many open source programs as possible. I’d done my time with Microsoft, my Office version was very old, I haven’t used IE in years (other than for testing purposes) and I wasn’t convinced about iTunes. I also wanted an easy installation and I knew I would need to upgrade APEX which I hadn’t had to do for a few months. I know I was asking a lot, but I was hopeful. Did it work?
I’ve been working with APEX for the past 2 years on internal development, but as a company we’re only just starting to develop commercial applications.
Traditionally our development has been done using Oracle Forms or more recently using a multi-tiered JBOSS environment (which seems too complex and convoluted to be practical). In preparation for the new development projects using APEX I held a 2 day internal training course. This was extremely well received and everyone involved was incredibly positive and excited. No one on the course had used APEX before so we were starting from scratch, but by the end everyone had created a new application, had used substitution variables, the APEX APIs and PL/SQL to generate web pages using the HTP package.
Using Oracle Forms we are used to using a ‘bodge’ or having to ‘fudge’ code to get the results we wanted. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m still trying to figure this one out and I suppose a bit of background will help. I work for a software house and the development department that I work in has two main products. One is Forms 10g sitting on an Oracle 10g database and the other uses the same database but has a front-end written using Java, eForms and Hibernate. There’s around about 100 designers, developers, testers and managers in this department and until about 2 years ago our internal processes were from the dark ages! We were requesting leave using a MS Word document and keeping track of schedules in a spreadsheet. We were developing fancy products for our customers, but internally we hadn’t progressed since the 90’s. Then someone mentioned Oracle Application Express, then called HTMLDB and I was asked to look at developing some internal applications. Read the rest of this entry »