When is a Bodge not a Bodge?

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. We have a complex forms product with a relatively strict framework. Also, we use Oracle Designer to generate all our forms which often leads to unpredicted problems and changes having to be made to fool the system into doing something else! I’m sure everyone has experienced this before. Even in just using the Internet I’ve used this mentality to get a website to do what I want it to do.

The example I wrote about previously to line up regions used templates to insert bits of HTML into the web page at strategic points to produce our desired result. This is a technique we are using in our first development project and I have explained it to the developers involved. Traditionally we would see this as a bodge; we’re fooling the web page into displaying regions in different places. However, APEX is just a tool to develop web pages; the end result is a HTML page.

I do not see the solution to insert HTML as a bodge. We are coding a web page, so is inserting HTML into a web page really a bodge? Using templates in APEX that only contain HTML, JavaScript or any other web development language is a powerful tool and we should not shy away from it. I’ve found it very difficult convincing our developers of this, but I’m sure once they’ve forgotten their rigid Oracle Forms ways they will agree and see APEX development in a whole new light.


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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