Oracle Application Express (APEX) is a low-code development platform that enables you to build scalable, secure enterprise apps with world-class features that can be deployed anywhere. Using APEX, developers can quickly create and deploy compelling apps that solve real problems and provide immediate value.
During Quest Experience Week (QXW) 2021, Marc Sewtz, director of software development at Oracle, shared what’s new in APEX 21.1 and 21.2.
Brief Introduction to APEX
APEX is widely used in more than 140 countries across all industries. There are more than 2 million active apps and more than 3,000 apps being created each day. APEX is used by professional, work group, and citizen developers to aid with use cases such as opportunistic apps, enterprise apps, reporting and analytics, SaaS extensions, and spreadsheet replacements.
APEX is available in Oracle Cloud through Autonomous Database Serverless (Autonomous Transaction Processing or Autonomous Data Warehouse), Autonomous Database Dedicated, Database Cloud Service (DBCS), or through https://apex. oracle.com—on-prem or in any third-party cloud or hosting provider that supports Oracle Database. To learn more about getting started with APEX, go to https://apex.oracle.com/en/learn/ getting-started.
What’s New in APEX 21.1
In APEX 21.1, new features include maps, application data loading, faceted search enhancements, and more.
The all-new native Map component in APEX 21.1 allows users to add powerful, feature-rich, and interactive maps to APEX apps within minutes. They are powered by Oracle eLocation Services, so they are ready to use with no API key required.
Application Data Loading
With APEX 21.1, you can easily add data import capabilities to allow users to upload CSV, XLSX, XML, and JSON data formats to your applications with the new data loading process. Data loading is as simple as selecting a file to upload, viewing a preview of the data, and then loading it in. Data loading can be configured to append, replace, or merge data, perform data conversions using transformation rules and lookup queries, and even load data into tables or collections.
Faceted Search Enhancements
Faceted Search now supports maps and calendar region types and provides additional end-user flexibility for showing or hiding facets, enabling you to easily hide advanced or rarely used facets that can be made available on demand.
What’s New in APEX 21.2
In APEX 21.2, some of the new features include Smart Filters, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), theme and user interface (UI) updates, geocoding and maps, and several other improvements.
Smart Filters is a new search component that allows users to quickly narrow data with filters or search terms. Developers can use this search component to provide users with a simplified search experience that eliminates clutter and provides a single control to instantly find the information they are looking for. A powerful new search bar provides built-in auto-complete for filters, supports searching for multiple items, and provides easy keyboard navigation.
APEX apps can easily be defined as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to take advantage of advanced caching and improved performance. These apps can also be installed on your smartphone with device-specific installation instructions. PWAs leverage a special browser cache to store resources more efficiently, resulting in faster page load times. You can also make your APEX app installable on device home screens.
Theme and UI Updates
APEX 21.2 allows users to take control over their application’s user interface with additional component positions across page templates, modal dialog drawers, improved accessibility, smooth page loading, and more. The updated Reference App now provides live template option previews, documented CSS variables, and a new theme version menu in the header to quickly jump to Reference Apps for previous versions of the universal theme.
Geocoding and Maps
Geocoding addresses has never been easier, and, now with APEX 21.2, you can display a map as a page item. This new page item provides a list of possible matches to choose from when a user starts typing an address and returns the coordinates as well as the normalized address. The new Display Map item type enables you to quickly visualize a single coordinate on a map, which is ideal for displaying next to address information.
For a more comprehensive look at what’s new in APEX 21, check out the full QXW presentation at https://questoraclecommunity.org/ learn/recordings-presentations/apex-21-new-features.