During this event, I ran into a gentleman I worked with 20 years ago, where he and I were both in the same product development organization. This gentleman, "Mr. G", was a smart guy 20 years ago and is a smart guy today. Today, "Mr. G" works for a large financial institution where he is an architect for corporate IT. After glancing at my name tag which said "Oracle", he asked what I was doing and I gave him the 20-second story of Oracle Application Express. I even went so far as to say that his own company is running over 100 internal applications, all built with Oracle Application Express. I was expecting a positive reaction. That's not what I got.
In a rather abrupt and candid response, "Mr. G" said that he learned of Application Express just a couple weeks ago. He said it was stupid. It's RAD and RAD is bad. It's for "quick and dirty applications that don't scale". When I told him what organization was a primary user of APEX in his company, he referred to them as "the business users", and of course they'd use APEX. He wasn't surprised. They tend to use one of everything, whether or not it's the IT standard. He went on - a problem with APEX, like other frameworks, it's that it's a black box, and when there's a problem with the black box, you're stuck. Of course, I asked him if he doesn't use any framework, since presumably all frameworks are bad - but of course they do.
Another problem he had - he said I'd be surprised if I looked at what crappy systems the "business users" run these systems on. Then, when they fail, it becomes an IT problem. I had to point out that this wasn't a criticism of Application Express but a flaw within their organization.
So I asked him what alternatives are provided by "corporate IT". He said they have a bundle of software, some of it open-source, that is the official development platform distributed amongst the various businesses, which corporate IT can support. When I asked him if this can be used by the "business users", of course he said no. To which I concluded that he'd rather have the business users not solve their problems.
This went on for a few more minutes until the beer and testosterone kicked in. I finally blurted out how he was arriving at conclusions based upon no knowledge or experience. Surprisingly, "Mr. G." agreed. I offered to come to his place of business and give him a personal demonstration, being as honest and forthcoming as I can be about the positioning of Application Express and its strengths and weaknesses.
When the dust of Oracle Application Express 4.0 settles, I'll be visiting him.