Oracle Apex 20.2 - New Reasons to Fall in Love with the #1 LowCode Platform (again)

5 November 2020
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By Dermot Murray, VP of Ideation at Inoapps

The end of October saw a flurry of activity across Twitter and LinkedIn as the latest update to Oracle Application Express was released by Joel Kallman and his fantastic team at Oracle. This update, labeled by some as an "Epic Release", includes a raft of new features and capabilities, and our development team was excited to get the new version installed and evaluated, ready for deployment out to our customers and projects.

The list of new features is well documented but here are the thoughts and insight from our team based on our first review:

Faceted Search 

In a previous blog article, I explored the new Faceted Search capability that was included in an earlier release. We had used this control to enable a range of powerful user interfaces to deliver intuitive E-Commerce type searching, which has been well received by our user community.

Well, APEX 20.2 has made it even better. It delivers more flexibility on search options, integration of "Cards" (more on these later), user entered search criteria and multiple checkboxes. The end result? A powerful toolkit to further extend corporate applications in line with the modern standards laid down by customer focused sites such as Amazon and AirBNB.

Apex 20.2 new faceted search

Enhanced Cards Region

We have frequently used Cards to provide customers with simple navigation controls. APEX 20.2 delivers a huge step forward for Cards, and we particularly love the integration of media link into a simple gallery of content (screen grab courtesy of Christina in the Oracle team). Going forward we can see real use for this type of control to deliver rich and immersive content across our applications.

APEX release 20.2

Redwood Theme

Love it or loathe it, Redwood UI is here to stay. One of the main use cases that we deploy here at Inoapps is the extension of Oracle Cloud ERP to deliver industry specific capabilities, and in that configuration we want the User Interface of our APEX apps to be aligned as closely as possible to the core styling of Oracle ERP. Up until now we have had to develop our own custom theme to match the UI of Oracle ERP, and then deployed that out to all of our applications as a master theme. However, the new capabilities will allow us to use standard Theme Roller to configure all of our applications with a standardized Redwood user interface. Much easier!

Redwood Theme APEX release 20.2
Report Printing

Of all the capabilities that we wished the Oracle APEX team would improve upon, out-of-the-box report printing has been top of our list for a long time. We have used a variety of tools in the past - BI Publisher, OACS, BIRT Server and most recently APEX Office Print - but have long been frustrated at the lack of a "pixel perfect" reporting printing engine, natively embedded into APEX. The latest release is a big step forward, with a range of new capabilities for Excel based outputs, formatted downloads, enhanced print API's, native downloads for Interactive Reports and a choice of print server capabilities. All of these will improve our capabilities to deliver report outputs without the need for third party extensions and print engines.

The Plumbing

Our technical team is particularly enthused about some of the new capabilities "below the covers":

• REST Data Source Synchronization
• Enhanced Code editor, providing a greatly improved developer experience
• "Lazy Loading" of Tree Views
• Built in "Automations" to enable conditional actions based on data updates
• And lots of other tweaks, tunes and enhancements.

On reflection, what is interesting about this latest release, is the combination of new user experience capabilities and developer focused enhancements. At Inoapps, we use Oracle APEX for two key reasons; firstly, it allows us to deliver beautiful business applications to extend and augment Oracle Cloud ERP. Secondly, it offers us a #Lowcode platform that enables our developers to rapidly deliver those applications using a powerful development framework. Oracle APEX 20.2 is a landmark release in both of those areas and has given us new reasons to fall in love with our favorite #LowCode platform all over again.

If your organization needs help with your Oracle APEX platform, Inoapps has 40 APEX professionals who are here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can support your team!

 

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