In this post I am going to outline some the the new features anticipated to be part of the upcoming Oracle Application Express (APEX 20.1) release. I say “anticipated” with because in truth I have no real certainty of any of this. You can’t assume that anything I highlight here will in fact be included in the release.
Since 2018 APEX has aligned with Oracle’s twice-yearly release cycle. Many had thought that with the frequent releases that there would not be many significant changes in each release. This has not been the case. Each release has contained some great new and significant features such as the faceted search that came with APEX 19.2. This should likely be no different for the upcoming release.
One of the big changes is that there will no longer be an Early Adopter as of 20.1. However, the workspaces on apex.oracle.com will be upgraded very quickly after the release so that developers can start testing their applications in the new release and take advantage of the new features.
Let’s start with what will no longer be in APEX 20.1.
As of APEX 20.1, support for IE11 is being deprecated. This means that the support for IE11 will still be available in 20.1 but after that the support will not be a part of APEX.
JQuery UI in APEX is being deprecated. You may want to be concerned about any reliance on the JQuery UI in your applications. Also, some plugins may have issues if they have relied on the library. Basically APEX will be taking advantage of new JET components.
Enhancements to the APEX Export Utility
For years APEX has always come with something called the APEX Splitter. It was basically a command line utility that you could run to split out the components of an application into individual files. It was not very easy to use especially if you were not comfortable with command line utilities.
Well, and this is for sure, APEX 20.1 will see great enhancements to the export functionality.
In APEX you have always been able to export an application using the export utility as part of the App Builder. With this utility it is easy to create an export of your application. The utility creates a single SQL file for the entire application.
In APEX(Application Express) 20.1 the export utility in the App Builder will allow us to export the application as a .zip file. This file, when unzipped, will contain a single SQL file for each page and some other components such as navigation. With this, it will now be easy to apply some level of version control of your APEX applications. How long have we been waiting for this? It will be a great addition to APEX, and when combined with a version control system like SVN, it will now be easy to monitor and manage application changes.
Still focusing on exporting applications, in 20.1 it will be possible to export to a remote server. If, for instance, you are using a REST enabled SQL server such as the Autonomous Database, you will be able to export directly to that remote REST enabled server.
New focus on PDF generation features.
Generating PDF output of reports in APEX has never been easy without some sort of third-party solution. As a community, we have always wanted some sort of printing capability within the framework. This will begin to change in APEX 20.1, at least in a minimal way. You will be able to download an IG, with grouped data and control breaks, into a PDF document. I suspect the layout will be good and bring a much-needed improvement to document generation. From the Statement Of Direction it is clear that improvements in PDF generation will be a standard part of APEX.
APEX has always used a pretty ugly URL. Things like “f?p=101:12:454751…” has never been very attractive. In APEX 20.1 friendly URLs will be introduced. It will be as simple as enabling the functionality and the rest will be handled without any other development.
APEX Gets The Redwood Branding
Just prior to Oracle Open World last year, Oracle began to roll out a new corporate look. It is called Redwood and features warmer colours and less of the bright red. Redwood was applied to apex.oracle.com some time ago. APEX 20.1 will also adopt this new branding.
Is There More?
The Oracle APEX Development Team has always been a bit guarded about what actually is in a release. That makes sense as some features may still be under development or testing and may not make it into the release. Almost always there have been new features that have not been talked about. It will be interesting to see what is actually included in 20.1.
Much of the content for this post has come from a recent session of Oracle APEX Office Hours. You can find a recording of that session at apex.oracle.com/office hours.