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Oracle Forms Item Placement in APEX

Oracle Forms Item Placement in APEX

When I first started looking at APEX one of the early challenges I encountered was how to place items exactly where I wanted them on the screen. In Oracle Forms, this is achieved by setting canvases at specific dimensions, placing items on screen at specific X, Y locations with each item having an individual height and width attribute. You can place items exactly where you want them but it doesn’t scale (or respond) to different screen sizes.

In APEX you place items relative to each other, i.e. the next Page Item starts in the next column or row to the previous text item. You have also access to 12 grid columns and various template defined place holders to standardise item placement, for example button positions.

Once items are placed, they can be customised through their attributes, template options, Theme Roller or through your own CSS. You’ll pick up some basic CSS concepts as part of your APEX learning; for example being able to modify the height, width, padding, margins, font settings and colour however by no means do you need to be a CSS master.

My ideas are illustrated in the video blog which shows the placement of Page Items with a region. I then change the size of the items and the button position. I then add some of the types which are unsupported (as native components) in Forms such as the Rich Text Editor and Colour Picker.

Before (Oracle Forms)

After (APEX)

APEX has several advantages over Forms.

  • Highly responsive to all screen types and dimensions
  • Native Page Designer for Mobile applications
  • Interfaces for Mobile & Desktop applications
  • Extremely modern interface using latest web technologies
  • Clean uncluttered interface removing the default menu bar
  • Icons use the highly popular Font Awesome library
  • Theme and templates provide a consistent look and feel
  • Native Support for 19 item types, extendable through plugins

Matt Mulvaney Contributor
Senior Oracle APEX Development Consultant , Explorer UK Ltd

Matt is an experienced APEX solution designer having designed numerous complex systems using a broad range of Oracle Technologies. Building on his previous experience of Oracle Forms & PL/SQL, he is entirely focused on providing functionally rich APEX solutions. Matt promotes APEX as a software platform and openly shares best practises, techniques & approaches. Matt has a passion for excellence and enjoys producing high quality software solutions which provide a real business benefit.

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