Oracle Announces General Availability of Oracle Application Express Release 3.2

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Oracle has announced general availability of the latest release of Oracle Application Express, a free, rapid Web application development tool for Oracle Databases. Release 3.2 of Oracle Application Express introduces the Oracle Forms Conversion, a significant new feature to help developers convert Oracle Forms-based applications into HTML applications running within an Oracle Database. Application Express Release 3.2 also introduces many security enhancements.

Oracle Forms Conversion automatically converts most user interface components and provides tracking capabilities to plan for and monitor the manual implementation of business logic post-generation. Once Oracle Forms source files are converted into XML, they are loaded into an Oracle Application Express conversion project. Developers can then specify which user interface components to generate, annotate all components, and produce an initial design.

Converting Oracle Forms-based applications to Oracle Application Express enables developers to exploit Oracle Application Express's HTML templating capabilities, declarative flash charting, and Web 2.0 style interactive reporting components; take advantage of Oracle Application Express's rapid development capabilities for quick modification or enhancement of applications; and, minimize developer re-training requirements as both Oracle Application Express and Oracle Forms utilize SQL and PL/SQL.

Application conversion is rarely a simple task, but with the new release, the conversion of Oracle Forms applications to native HTML is simplified and structured. "It is hard to convert from one technology to another, so we have simplified that with Application Express 3.2 by providing an automated tool that can automate part of the task, and then assist you on the manual conversion task," Mike Hichwa, vice president of Software Development, Oracle, tells 5 Minute Briefing. According to Hichwa, converting from Oracle Forms is a project where only some of the existing functionality can be automatically generated. As a result, he notes, a detailed tracking system in Application Express 3.2 provides capabilities to assist with project management.

The other major goal with this release was to provide capabilities to make it easier for developers and administrators to harden the security of their applications and the development environment. With this release of Application Express, Hichwa notes, Oracle has put significant effort into providing key security functionality out of the box. Security enhancements in 3.2 include declarative authentication timeouts by session length and idle time; reduced privilege of Oracle Application Express schema; declarative session state encryption; and, improved documentation on how to utilize the security features.

Oracle Application Express supports pre-built applications available for download from the Oracle Technology Network (OTN). These free, fully functional Oracle Application Express applications such as Asset Manager, Customer Tracker, and Timesheets, can be customized, deployed and shared within an organization allowing developers to jumpstart simple Web application development efforts. Oracle Application Express is integrated with all editions of Oracle Database 11g.

The new release is available for download from the Oracle Technology Network.