Tuesday, 11 August 2015

APEX 5.0 websheets 

Data grid and computation refresh?

They say it is never to late to start with new things in your life and since I had some extra time I decided to play with APEX websheets. 

I have seen many blog posts out there dating from 2010 where people are either pleased or they did not like a general idea of it. So far my impression is that it is very usable for internal team data that is usually maintained as Excel files somewhere on company drives. 

What is the biggest challenge with websheets is to decide when to go for them and when to go for standard APEX application? Unfortunately I will not try to address this now as there are many factors to consider - who are your users, what is the expectation and what kind of functionality is needed.

They definitely get some things more over Excel but again not all of them will jump on board and see these benefits.  

I believe any standard Excel file could easily be replaced with websheets and it doesn't take long to get into it even for non IT users. 

Why I decided to write this post is something else that I picked up during a demo run today. 

Let's say you for the ease of demonstration install Sample Websheet - AnyCo IT Department. In there there are 3 data grids that I started to play with.

For System Maintenance I created two additional columns called compute1 and compute2 where I wanted to store new values calculated from any two pre-existing columns like Purchase price * Annual cost. 

Now to get to the problem - conceptually this should act as a tabular form or excel spreadsheet  right? 

If you decide to change value for Annual cost in row3 what I was expecting is that new Compute1 column would automatically changed without me having to refresh the page.

Of course this is not the case and I feel this might be a huge issue to end users. 

Seems like a simple thing but we will have to wait if Oracle will address this at some point. Till then changes will be effective once you refresh the page. 

Also a useful "nice to have thing" would be support for keyboard navigation so that we don't to use mouse for it. Same applies for Tab after you entered or changed the value. To give it more Excel like look and feel. I love that you can change values on the fly without having to go into detail row each time but somehow I miss this "live-refresh" of the region.

To be on the safe side here I will say I only tried this on apex.oracle.com and Firefox so not sure if same things occur in other browsers.

If anyone knows how to get around these please do let me know.


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