Oracle APEX – A Feature-Rich Development Platform You Should Be Using

Jul 8, 2014

Oracle_APEXOracle Application Express (APEX), a standard component of the Oracle Database, is a feature-rich, modern, rapid application development platform for data-centric, web applications and everyone that owns an oracle database should seriously be looking at APEX for their development needs.

APEX has seen steady growth in features and capabilities over the years since it was first included as a standard component in the Oracle 10g database. Today, APEX is a mature development platform that is capable of creating complex applications supporting business solutions that can scale to serve thousands of concurrent users. APEX is currently being used by fortune 500 companies, government departments, universities, non-profits, and a variety of small and medium businesses.

Let’s have a look at the key features of APEX that make it a solid development platform worth considering.  Whether it’s for new application system development or for migrating existing applications, like Oracle Forms, APEX can provide you with a powerful, easy to support, and cost-effective development platform.

Key Features


The APEX framework uses SQL and PL/SQL on the back-end, and HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for the user interface. SQL and PL/SQL are solid and proven languages and they allow APEX developers to leverage the features of the Oracle database. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are industry standard components for building web applications.

Support for Multiple Authentication Schemes

APEX supports various authentication schemes such as LDAP, database, Single Sign on, Oracle Access Manager, custom, etc.  This makes it convenient to integrate with any existing applications and authentication systems.

Declarative Mobile Application Development

APEX is bundled with the popular jQuery mobile libraries and provides declarative support for building mobile applications. A special mobile theme provides APEX mobile applications with typical mobile features such as page transitions and gestures including swipe, pinch, and tap. Custom mobile themes can easily be created with the jQuery mobile theme roller.

Responsive Design for Optimal Viewing on Desktop, Tablet and Smartphones

APEX applications can be rendered on desktops, tablets, and smartphones by choosing a theme based on a responsive design. APEX includes a set of modern themes that are based on CSS3 and HTML5, and supports HTML5 charts, and HTML5 item types such as sliders and toggles.

Packaged Applications – A Full Development Suite

APEX is bundled with a suite of business productivity applications that can be freely used to assist with the management and control of projects. The suite contains applications for bug tracking, issue logs, checklist management, meeting minutes, group calendar, decision management, document management, and project management.

RESTful Web Services

APEX has built-in support for RESTful web services and allows applications to access data and services over the internet or intranet using standard web APIs. Database web services that implement SQL or PL/SQL can also be created. RESTful web services in APEX requires the APEX Listener, a J2EE based alternative for the Oracle HTTP server and mod_plsql.

Database Integration

APEX is a component of the Oracle database and applications build with APEX can utilize or benefit from any feature of the database such as advanced security, RAC, Spatial, Analytics, Multimedia, XML DB, Job Scheduler, utility packages, etc.  APEX uses SQL and PLSQL to interact with the Oracle host database.

Globalization Support

Applications build in APEX can run concurrently in different languages. Applications are developed in a primary language and can be mapped to a supported target language. Strings in the primary application are exported to a XML Localization Interchange File (XLIFF) where they are translated and imported and automatically used by the translated application.

Team Development

Team development is a built-in feature that allows a group of developers, working on a single application, manage new features, to dos, bugs, and milestones. Users of an application can provide instant feedback which can then be classified as feature, to do, or bug.


The APEX development framework supports plugins that allow developers to extend the functionality of their applications with reusable custom or third-party extensions. APEX applications can also be extended with custom HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.

Other Features

APEX is also stacked with other utilities and features that greatly improve developer productivity throughout the life of a project.

Version Control Support – Applications can be automatically exported into SQL script files where they can be included in a version control system. APEX provides an application exporter utility as well as an application splitter utility for splitting application into individual page scripts.

Error Handling – Developers can create a single error handling function that handles exception consistently across all pages in an application.

Oracle Forms Migration Tool – If Java/ADF is not for you, APEX is a viable option for converting Oracle Forms applications. APEX includes a forms migration tool to assist with the migration of Oracle Forms applications.

Accessibility – APEX applications have automatic built-in accessibility support. Applications can be rendered in high contrast mode or screen reader mode in order to meet accessibility requirements.

Utility Reports – APEX has a comprehensive list of reports that provide real-time information on applications. Some of the more useful reports are:

  • Change History – List of changes made by developers
  • Advisor – Quality control review of an application
  • Database Object Dependencies – List of database objects used by an application
  • Debug Messages – List of debug messages generated by an application
  • Recently Updated Pages – List of pages that were recently updated

DesTech – Oracle APEX Specialists

Developing sophisticated applications since 1991, the team at DesTech have utilized a variety of development platforms.  Our team has been very excited about the capabilities, ease-of-use, and development speed that APEX delivers.

Contact us for more information about both Professional Services and Training specific to Oracle APEX.

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