Oracle APEX Licences

There has been a lot of confusion over Oracle licensing with regard to APEX. Surely Oracle can’t be providing something that’s free?! What’s the catch? As an Oracle Partner we’re able to develop software using Oracle products under the OTN development license which means it doesn’t cost us, however, this only covers developing and prototyping software. We’ve used APEX for internal applications such as a Flash application to record annual leave requests and to schedule work but as soon as we wanted to use this in a live environment we fell outside the OTN license, which meant we had to pay for a license. This is something my company wasn’t keen to do for internal applications.

APEX is a free product from Oracle. As long as you have paid for Oracle support and have a current Oracle license to use their database programs then you’re free to use APEX on this database. If however, you develop under the OTN development license and want to use APEX in a live environment then you either have to pay for a current license for the database you’re running APEX on or find an alternative approach. The approach we took was to switch to Oracle XE.

Oracle XE is a cut down 10g database which comes with APEX. I can’t praise this enough for the purpose we’re using it for. Sure XE has its restrictions, but for internal applications used by only a couple of hundred people this database works fine. From a developer’s point of view Oracle XE isn’t cut down; all the same SQL and PL/SQL functions are available in the XE database and APEX comes as standard. With the release of APEX 3.0.1 you can even have the latest version of APEX on your XE database and all for free!

Installing XE on either Windows or Linux couldn’t be easier and there’s no complex configuration. OK, so there are DBAs I work with that nearly had a heart attack when they heard that a developer could install and set up the database without any help from them, but they got to tinker with it afterwards, just so they left their mark. (I’m still not too sure what they changed, but it made them happy).

For the official word on Oracle APEX licensing, visit the Oracle APEX download site and click the link or search in the forums as lots of people are asking questions in this area.

Sara

Sara Blair is a freelance Oracle developer with over 10 years Oracle experience. She has been working with Oracle APEX for nearly 4 years since htmldb 1.5, and is available to hire through Silvercore Solutions.

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