Monday 30 June 2014

APEX 5 EA2 - Interactive reports

Finally a pivoting option is supported

Ohhh yea!!!!!

Since I have spent some time playing in EA2 version I managed to skipped one of the greatest news and new features of this version. 

If you create a new IR report under Actions -> Format option now there is a Pivot function. This is to me probably the best feature so far. So many times I had to implement these for our clients and so far we were dependent on help from great APEX plug-ins by but now it is finally included in APEX IR.


What else to say than great decision to make this part of this release, definitely something we all have been waiting for. 


Thursday 26 June 2014

My quick run through

APEX 5 EA 2 

Initial thoughts

As I submitted my request for a new workspace during last weekend I finally managed to find some time to 'dive-in'.

Please do note that some of these things might have been already a part of EA1 but I just happened to noticed them now. :)


Application "final-look and feel" comments


"Universal Theme" - Oracle decided to go with sort of bland color scheme where mostly predominant color is white similar to most latest trends in web design. 

Application now looks much lighter easier to read and I would dare to say design has been changed in a right direction. Even-though, with that said, it sort of feels like it needs slightly more responsiveness (color wise) when in action.  

Everything seems more mature now maybe it's my personal impression influenced by new page designer/developer environment and JQuery upgrade but definitely gives me hope and heaps to look forward to.
First round result - Well done Oracle team!

Overall changes in Application builder

The best is to start from top.

You can now access some of your preferences by going to the user link in top right corner. It will give you access to some useful and easily configurable settings.


Again things now seem more organized and well structured under all sub-menus.
From functional perspective the only major difference that I noticed are few newly added security features under Security Attributes in Shared Componnents: 

Rejoin Sessions:
and the new session state protection hash function which should help even more to make your application safer and secure. 

There is also nice way how we can now change Global Template options with ability to easily change styles of buttons and other application elements which I find very useful.

Page designer overview

I noticed cool little when you are in application builder -> page editing under top right Question mark sign there is a button that hides all page designer shortcuts. Some of them will be quite useful to know and probably will also require some time getting used to. 


In development space from cool new features I would like to mention nice error message that are shown when APEX detects an error or is missing some parts before it can save your changes. 


Once you select Messages tab in Page Designer you can clearly see what APEX has been complaining about.  

What I also found very helpful and as a great improvement is the right hand side properties once page item is selected. Now it offers lot more options for configuration and therefore gives us as developers even more design options which was always limited from default APEX perspective. An example Button item options or List options: 

As I have written in my first EA1 review these new features remind me of some other popular developer tools which is great to see as they make things for developers easier to get used to and provide us with opportunity for even quicker more efficient work.


Few development issues found

I am strongly convinced that these are just a minor tweaks that won't show in final version but wanted to mention them since they showed up in my trail run. 

Firstly, immediately as I started my antivirus software reported this error: 

 Not sure where and why I got this message but definitely was raised when I started my EA2. 

Second thing that I felt was limiting is the size of popup window when using Create Page Wizards. For some reason all of my modal windows were not resizable. Which was limiting as it forced me creating regions and pages in for me too tight space. It would definitely be nice to see this be expandable the way user likes to work with it.
Lastly when I was creating Classic Reports I wanted to change query by using create query wizard option under Page property editor for report region and my screen would completely freeze so I had to refresh the page where I would loose all changes done in wizard. Again I am sure this will be reported back to Oracle and fixed for final version of Apex 5.


By the first glace into APEX 5 EA2 I can say that Oracle continued to do a great work. All of us working with APEX will be looking forward to it's final version. Functional changes done if we skip Page Designer layout are not huge but are in right direction. Giving us more customizable item/region options, ability to fine tune themes but biggest step was definitely done in "look and feel" space where I feel APEX needed it the most. So for that I give it a really good 4.7 out of 5 mark.  
That would be all for now.