Oracle Application Express 3.0 Touts Access Migration
Oracle on Monday announced the availability of its Web-based application development tool, Oracle Application Express. The database software giant added a host of new features, including enhanced PDF printing functions, a Flash-based charting engine, improved reporting capabilities and Web services, and drag-and-drop application design.
Oracle on Monday released Oracle Application Express 3.0, a free, Web-based rapid application development (RAD) environment that allows users to build, deploy and manage secure Web-based applications.
Version 3.0 is aimed at companies looking for an easy-to-use, on-demand RAD process as well as those who want to migrate Microsoft Access databases to Oracle.
Access Migration Tool
The migration tool lets developers generate an Oracle Application Express application out of their Access database. It will likely appeal to organizations that want to move from Microsoft's database to Oracle and may also be concerned over Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, said Mike Hichwa, vice president of software development at Oracle.
Other new features include enhanced Adobe Acrobat PDF (portable document format) printing functions, a revamped charting engine that uses Adobe Flash, improved reporting capabilities and Web services, and drag-and-drop application design, according to the company.
The solution works with all editions of Oracle Database 10g and Oracle9i Database Release 2. In addition, it lets even inexperienced developers create secure Web applications that can be scaled to support up to thousands of users, the company said.
The tool also offers wizards -- such as event registration or report generation -- to ease development.
"We're committed to helping our customers get the most out of data stored in their Oracle Database," said Hichwa, who added that the company has "also taken a major step forward in helping customers migrate their data off of their desktops and consolidate it in an Oracle database, where it can be reliably managed and secured."
"Demand for fast-development of data views-centric Web applications continues to grow. Many users want to quickly gain new or better views on data and data-based processes," Dana Gardner, president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, told CRM Buyer.
"These improved tools broaden the capabilities of the developers that can turn those types of applications and views out. The tools also now provide richer features that provide productivity for the developers, as well as better interfaces and output options for the users," he said.
New enhancements and features in Oracle Application Express 3.0 include the following:
- PDF Printing -- export a report region to PDF in addition to Word, Excel or HTML;
- Flash Charts -- incorporate interactive Flash charts into dynamic Web applications;
- Microsoft Access Application Migration Workshop -- recover design of Access applications to generate Oracle Application Express applications;
- Drag and Drop Item Layout -- users can re-order items, change select attributes, and quickly add and delete items; and,
- Improved Web Services Support -- enhanced support for document-style Web services such as Oracle JDeveloper-produced Web services and Oracle BPEL Process Manager-produced processes.
The product's upgraded Web services engine now supports more loosely defined types and document-style Web services. Both enhancements make it possible for users to support JDeveloper-created Web services and Oracle BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) synchronous Web services.
In addition, there is now support for manually creating a Web service reference if the Application Express engine cannot correctly parse the WSDL (Web Service Definition Language) document for a particular service.
"With the new out-of-the-box PDF reporting and Flash charting, it's even easier for us to build the highly sophisticated, Web 2.0 applications our clients are demanding," said Patrick Wolf, senior solution architect of Sphinx IT Consulting.
"We're fans of the database-based repository used by Oracle Application Express, which enables easy access to the application's meta-data and makes it easy to enhance the Oracle Application Express core system with our open source ApexLib development framework, which runs on top of Oracle Application Express," said Wolf.
"Oracle recognizes that the better their users can access the data on their databases, the more valued those databases become. It's a win-win for Oracle, and another way for users to gain more value from their data infrastructure investments," said Interarbor Solutions' Gardner.