Expert Oracle Application Express

Front Cover

Expert Oracle Application Express brings you groundbreaking insights into developing with Oracle’s enterprise-level, rapid-development tool from some of the best practitioners in the field today. Oracle Application Express (APEX) is an entirely web-based development framework that is built into every edition of Oracle Database. The framework rests upon Oracle’s powerful PL/SQL language, enabling power users and developers to rapidly develop applications that easily scale to hundreds, even thousands of concurrent users.

The 13 authors of Expert Oracle Application Express build their careers around APEX. They know what it takes to make the product sing—developing secure applications that can be deployed globally to users inside and outside a large enterprise. The authors come together in this book to share some of their deepest and most powerful insights into solving the difficult problems surrounding scalability, globalization, configuration and lifecycle management, and more. You’ll learn about debugging and performance, deep secrets to customizing your application user interface, how to secure applications from intrusion, and about deploying globally in multiple languages. Expert Oracle Application Express is truly a book that will move you and your skillset a big step towards the apex of Application Express development.
Presents best-practices and development insights from leading experts in the field Addresses globalization, scalability, security, and other concerns of enterprise-level development Shows how to customize APEX for your own application needs

What you’ll learn Solve tough problems in scalability in order to serve thousands of users Design applications to sidestep performance problems and easily scale upwards Deploy applications globally while respecting linguistic and cultural differences Customize applications by exploiting APEX’s roots in PL/SQL Reduce the stress of managing application lifecycle and configuration Secure outwardly-facing applications and their data from intrusion Who this book is for

Expert Oracle Application Express is aimed at APEX developers who seek the deepest possible knowledge of Oracle Application Express and how to develop with it. Readers should know and be proficient with APEX, and be prepared to expend some mental energy in absorbing the high-end material in this book.

Table of Contents OHS, EPG, and APEX Listener Compared Oracle APEX 4.0 Charts Inside Out Tabular Forms Team Development Globalization Debugging Dynamic Actions Security Lifecycle Management Working with APEX Collections Plug-Ins Architecture Advanced Interactive Reporting
 

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Contents

OHS EPG and APEX Listener Compared
1
Oracle APEX 40 Charts Inside Out
73
Tabular Forms
155
Team Development
211
Globalization
241
Debugging
271
Dynamic Actions
309
Security
349
Lifecycle Management
377
Working with APEX Collections
423
PlugIns
441
Architecture
515
Advanced Interactive Reporting
533
Index
571
Cover
ii
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

John Edward Scott has been using Oracle since version 7 (around 1993), and has used pretty much every release since then. He has had the good fortune to work on a wide range of projects for a varied group of clients. He was lucky enough to start working with Oracle Application Express when it was first publicly released, and has worked with it nearly every day since (and loves it). John is an Oracle ACE Director and was named Application Express Developer of the Year in 2006 by Oracle Magazine. He is also the cofounder of ApexEvangelists (Apex-Evangelists.com), a company that specializes in providing training, development, and consulting specifically for the Oracle Application Express product. You can contact John at john.scott@apex-evangelists.com.

Doug Gault is director and co-founder of Sumneva, a world-class Oracle Application Express (APEX) consulting, training & solutions firm founded in 2010. He has been working with Oracle since 1988 starting with version 5.1B, SQL*Forms 2.0, and RPT/RPF. Since then, he has focused his career on Oracle's development technologies, spending the last decade on web based technologies, and the last six years specifically on APEX.

Prior to co-founding Sumneva, Gault was vice president of Sumner Technologies, which also focused on Oracle APEX consulting, training & solutions. Before that, he served as product development director for Hotsos Enterprises, during which time he was the lead architect/developer and product manager for two commercial products written exclusively in APEX. His 21 years of Oracle experience have taken him all over the world and involved him in some truly groundbreaking projects.

Gault has presented and participated in round table discussions at a number of conferences, including Oracle OpenWorld, UKOUG and ODTUG's APEXposed. He holds an associate's degree in computer science, and an honorary master's degree from the School of Hard Knocks, believing there is no replacement for hard-earned, real-world experience.

Raj Mattamal is co-president of Niantic Systems, LLC (NianticSystems.com). He started developing web applications at Oracle in 1995 with the very same people who came to create Oracle Application Express (APEX). In his more than 10 years with the company, he helped customers in a wide range of industries to deliver web-based solutions on the Oracle Database. In addition to helping customers with their applications, Raj developed numerous web applications for use internally at Oracle. Outside of database application development, Raj spent much remaining time with Oracle evangelizing Oracle Application Express. This entailed teaching Oracle software development and APEX classes globally, writing articles for Oracle Magazine, writing Technotes for the Oracle Technology Network, and assisting with the development of training material and workshops.

Having earned a bachelor's degree in decision and information studies, and another in marketing, from the University of Maryland, Raj continues to apply his knowledge of and passion for technology and business to real-world issues. Since leaving Oracle in 2006, Raj offers his services and training to customers in a wide range of business lines to help them get the most out of their Oracle environments. In recent years, Raj has been recognized by his Oracle professional colleagues as an Oracle ACE Director—an honor, indeed, to be earned among so many knowledgeable colleagues.

Anton Nielsen is president of C2 Consulting, a technology solutions firm specializing in Oracle technologies. Anton is an Oracle Fusion Middleware ACE Director and has presented at ODTUG Kaleidoscope, Oracle OpenWorld, and APEXposed. Prior to founding C2 Consulting, he was technical director at Oracle and an officer and scientist in the U.S. Air Force. Anton has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago and a master's from Northeastern University, where he concentrated in combinatorics, encryption and error correction codes. He has worked with Oracle Application Express since its inception and with various aspects of software security since 1982.

Martin Giffy D’Souza is co-founder and chief technology officer at ClariFit, Inc., a consulting firm and custom solutions provider which specializes in APEX and PL/SQL development. Martin’s experience in the technology industry has been focused on developing database-centric web applications using the Oracle APEX technology stack.
Prior to co-founding ClariFit, Martin’s career has seen him hold a range of positions within award-winning companies. Martin is also the author of the highly recognized blog, TalkApex.com, which boasts a multitude of posts on a wide array of APEX topics. He has also presented at numerous international conferences such as ODTUG, APEXposed, and COUG. Martin is an Oracle ACE and holds a computer engineering degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Dimitri Gielis has been working with Oracle Database since he began his career in 2000 with Oracle in Belgium. Dimitri was an early adopter and supporter of HTML DB, and later of Application Express. After many years honing his expertise with Oracle Database and Application Express, Dimitri joined with John Scott in 2007 to co-found APEX Evangelists. There, he focuses on training and development on the Oracle Application Express platform. Dimitri is an active member of the Application Express community. He routinely posts insights into Application Express on his blog at http://dgielis.blogspot.com. He is a frequent presenter at the Oracle Benelux User Group (OBUG) Connect conference, IOUG collaborate, UDTUG Kaleidoscope, the UKOUG conference, and Oracle OpenWorld. He is president of the OBUG APEX SIG. He is an Oracle ACE Director since 2008. He received the “APEX Developer of the Year” award from Oracle Magazine in 2009.

Roel Hartman has been using Oracle Database since version 5. At that time, he used Oracle Case*Designer, Oracle Forms 2.3, and other tools of the day. He has used all versions of those tools as they have evolved during the intervening years, giving him great depth of experience as an Oracle Database developer. Today he is a fierce advocate and user of Oracle Application Express. Roel holds a master's degree in business informatics from the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He is an Oracle ACE Director. He works for Logica in the Netherlands as a lead technical architect. Roel has presented at all major Oracle conferences, such as ODTUG, Oracle Open World, and UKOUG. He is a regular contributer to the OakTable Network APEX Forum.

Francis Mignault is chief technology officer and co-founder of Insum Solutions. He has been working with Oracle Database for more than 23 years and is a certified Oracle database administrator. Francis began his work with APEX in 2004, when it was called HTML DB. He and his team have developed bilingual software as a service application that is now used by over 60,000 active users. Francis is deeply involved in the APEX community. His first-rate PL/SQL and APEX expertise led to becoming the first APEX instructor in Quebec. He has presented at several APEX seminars and conferences in the United States and Canada, including Oracle Open World, IOUG Collaborate, ODTUG Apexposed, ODTUG Kaleidoscope, and Ora*GEC.

Dietmar Aust is a freelance consultant in Germany, focusing on Oracle Application Express and Oracle XE. Starting in 1997, he worked for three years as a consultant for Oracle in Germany. Since then, he has helped numerous leading companies in Germany successfully deliver Web-based applications based on the Oracle product stack, especially involving the Internet application server, Oracle Portal, and Oracle Reports. Dietmar is a regular presenter at various Oracle conferences (ODTUG, OOW, DOAG), conducts training classes on APEX, and recently co-authored a book on APEX best practices in German (Oracle APEX und Oracle XE in der Praxis). You can reach him at Opal-Consulting.com or http://daust.blogspot.com.

Michael Hichwa is the original developer and architect of Oracle Application Express (APEX), aka HTML DB. Michael created APEX as a 100% rewrite of an earlier browser-based application development tool he also created, called Oracle WebDB. He had invaluable technical assistance and guidance from Tom Kyte and the addition of Joel Kallman as a co-developer. Michael and Joel have led APEX developments efforts since 1999. Michael remains committed and fully engaged in Oracle APEX design and development efforts. He also leads the development teams responsible for Oracle SQL Developer, SQL Developer Data Modeler, Migration Tools, the Oracle development tools for Visual Studio .NET and other data access technologies. Michael also leads APEX-driven Oracle internal system development efforts, including the Oracle online store.

Denes Kubicek is chief executive officer and founder of bi-Cubes. He has been working with Oracle more than 12 years. Denes is an Oracle ACE Director, and was APEX Developer of the Year in 2008. Denes is also a coauthor of the first APEX book in German, Oracle APEX und Oracle XE in der Praxis. You can reach him at bi-Cubes.com.

Dan McGhan is a senior developer and instructor with SkillBuilders. He suffers from Compulsive Programming Disorder, which is believed to be linked to his balding. Having started his development career in the land of MySQL and PHP, he was only too happy to have stumbled upon APEX. Since then, he’s dedicated his programming efforts to learning more about Oracle and web-based technologies in general. Dan is an Oracle Application Express Certified Expert, an Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate, as well as an Oracle ACE. In addition to his "day job," he is one of the top contributors to the APEX forum, maintains his own Oracle and APEX blog, and is a regular presenter at various events, including ODTUG Kaleidoscope and APEXposed. He also presents at meetings of the New York, New England, and Suncoast Oracle User Groups. His most recent addiction, as you may have guessed, is developing plug-ins for APEX. When not programming, Dan may be found studying languages other than those used for development, notably Spanish and Italian. He’s also been sighted at various venues dancing salsa with his fiancée, Sonia, and even enjoying an occasional cigar, a time when Sonia prefers not to be around.

Sharon Kennedy is part of the Application Express development team. She likes to stay behind the scenes, working on release management isues, supporting early adopter releases, and working on special projects (both internally and externally). She also has a hand in core development and bug fixing. Sharon has been with Oracle for more than 20 years, and has been part of the APEX team for more than 10. Prior to her work on APEX, she was part of Oracle Consulting and responsible for delivering custom applications to the healthcare, navy, and intelligence industries. Her working life before Oracle began at Grumman Data Systems, which is where she got handed an Oracle 5 reference manual one day while being asked to "help out" on a project.