If, like me, you attended UK OUG’s Tech18 conference at ACC Liverpool  and have a particular interest in Application Express, you may well have attended Joel Kallman’s “State Of The Union” address.

This blog is a review of Joel’s presentation, and of the key messages that I took away from it.

For me, the key themes underpinning the presentation were that of ‘Community’ and ‘Education’, a message that chimed with the theme of the conference as a whole – #passtheknowledge.

Joel revealed that he has been asked how the APEX world’s strong sense of community had come about  The answer – “it just is”.

He provided a retrospective from the time he started at Oracle, delivering the first calendar app for Palm V using a new framework of Web DB (pre-cursor to APEX).  From that time to the current day, APEX has helped to change the perception of Oracle, as it is a more easy-to-use product, responding to the requirements of it’s user community.

Joel then went on to outline some of the key achievements made in the world of APEX this year and the objectives for the coming year.

Achievements in 2018

  • oracle.com – now a centralised resource for all tings APEX. Access to try APEX, to its documentation, educational and community resources and other information all now in one place
  • Versions 18.1 and 18.2 released – in line with the move to predictable 6 month cycle of releases. (Incidentally, if you are on version 5.1 or earlier and you’re thinking you missed a lot of releases, the version jumped from 5.1.4 to 18.1.0 to put APEX version numbering in line with other Oracle products, using releases based on year number.)
  • Oracle applications that have been developed in APEX and launched in 2018:
    • Oracle Internal Employee Directory
      • 60,000 users
      • Chat interface
    • oracle.com used as part of the Oracle 18c launch
  • APEX static resources on Content Delivery Network – reduce latency and improve performance by delivering static files from servers closer to the end-user.

Community-Related Achievements

  • Oracle APEX Talkshow – a series of podcast interviews about APEX created by the first ever APEX Distinguished Community member Juergen Schuster, actually been running since 2015
  • Launch of ASK TOM APEX Office Hours – fortnightly webinar providing direct access to question Oracle APEX product development team. Set to continue throughout 2019.
  • A new major APEX-only conference APEX Alpe Adria
  • Creation of Women In Apex Facebook group
  • Continuing growth and interest in conferences and meet-ups across the globe.

Education-Related Achievements

  • Oracle APEX Learning Path / Curriculum – a collection of tutorials, videos and other resource available on the Oracle Learning Library to teach skills in APEX
  • Numerous books across multiple languages written about APEX

What’s coming in 2019

  • Release of version 19.1.

Statement of direction: apex.oracle.com/sod highlights:

  • REST-enabled forms – extending REST-enabled SQL and Web Sources to Forms regions, allowing read/write access. APEX_EXEC API extended to support read/write
  • New Data Loading – new drag & drop interface in SQL Workshop to support loading of Excel, CSV, XML and JSON documents. A new public data-loading API available.
  • Oracle 19c XE – new free version of the database adopting annual releases
  • APEX and Oracle Database Multilingual Engine
    • PL/SQL and other languages executable inside the database
    • Available to try as an early adopter at https://apexea.oracle.com
    • Soon will be able to execute other languages such as JavaScript and Python from PL/SQL, or exchange data both ways between JavaScript and PL/SQL.
    • Opens up APEX to a wider development community
  • New apex.oracle.com
    • Using distributed architecture
    • Goal is to go from 2000 to 200,000 new sign-ups per week.
  • APEX to be made available everywhere by extending it to Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse and Autonomous Transaction Processing

Joel’s State of the Union keynote was really a celebration of the success and growth of APEX, despite its relatively low exposure within Oracle, in large part to the enthusiasm and commitment to APEX of its user community.  For the first time a marketing budget has become available for the social promotion of APEX.  As he points out, the success of APEX can, and should, be measured by the successful customer implementations of APEX applications.

Philip Ratcliffe Contributor
Oracle APEX Development Consultant , Explorer UK Ltd

Philip is a Development Consultant at Explorer. Building on considerable experience in development including using Oracle PL/SQL and supporting Oracle EBS, Philip is employing APEX to provide quality, bespoke software solutions to a range of organisations.