The Benefits of APEX for Small Development Teams
I recently completed a piece of work which really shows the benefits of adopting APEX within a company with a small development team.
The client faced a situation where the company’s head office had decided to move away from their existing Oracle Forms applications to a whole new platform that will be developed in one place. This left the client wondering what their role in the business would become as prominently an Oracle Forms developer.
The client decided that the best course of action would be to learn a modern development technology and quickly re-develop one of the most used Forms applications to demonstrate the team’s worth to the company. With a small development budget, the client saw that the best way to achieve this to be to undertake APEX training courses with Explorer and then work alongside Explorer to redevelop the application in a short time frame, with a view to continuing development past version one on their own.
The application to be redeveloped was a system to allow internal users to book transport between two addresses. This transport can be either a taxi or courier, and for each booking, a pickup and destination address is required. It is also possible to view previously booked journeys and edit or cancel them. The application saves the details of the bookings which are then ordered with the taxi and courier companies by a separate transport booking team.
With the increase in quality of online transport booking applications, particularly with regards to address search and map features, users were now finding the internal Forms application to be a little outdated. So, the final requirements were to redevelop the old Forms application as a web based application with a modern looking front end and address lookup and map features – on a small budget.
The first version of the application was developed quickly using Theme 26 to allow the client to add his own CSS and skin the application to look like other modern applications in the business. We also developed an address search that combines Google Places, Google Geocode and database addresses to give a comprehensive UK address search without breaking the bank. Further details on the method we used can be found in my previous blog here.
This is where the approach taken by the client really worked. APEX by its very nature offers rapid development of web facing applications, with modern looking themes which include all the relevant hooks for the latest browser features. So for the client to learn how to develop in APEX and then work alongside Explorer who developed the first version of the app allowed his team to hit the ground running and continue development on a second version and also begin converting other internal applications in the business.
A few months on and users across the business have adopted the new transport booking application and have provided great feedback. The client’s team have been working on their own APEX applications based on the training and examples given by Explorer, and have been able to overcome many difficulties that users have been having trying to use the new system implemented throughout the company by their head office. They are currently looking to redevelop their internal reports to use APEX and ORDS with the same combination of training and collaborative work with Explorer.
Craig is a Senior Development Consultant at Explorer. Craig has an MSc in Computing Science and is an experienced software engineer, utilising development tools such as PL/SQL and APEX to provide bespoke ERP software to both UK and international businesses. Craig has experience developing solutions to connect Oracle systems to a wide range of existing external applications within business environments.