Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Language Preference of the Application Development Environment in APEX 4.0

A customer filed a Service Request with Oracle Support, asking the following:

In Apex 4, Irrespective of the Client OS / Locale / Browser Language settings, the Language picked up the interface shows as “ Language: en “ . Where as from the same browser/client if I login into Apex.3.2.1, it shows the correct language as "DE" , "TH", "FR", etc.,

Has anybody seen this issue? Am I missing something?

This is expected behavior. In Application Express 4.0, the development environment uses the new "Session" language derivation, bringing it in line with modern Web applications which do not use the browser language as the primary language preference. This new language derivation type is documented briefly here and additionally in the item-level help.

If you go to the Login page of, you’ll see the language bar at the bottom. This language list is determined by the translated versions of Application Express which are installed in the instance. You can change your language preference from this language bar or within Application Express too. The language preference is "remembered" via a persistent cookie.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oracle Application Express 4.0 is released

Oracle Application Express 4.0 is now available for download from the Oracle Technology Network here. What began in 2008 has culminated in the most ambitious release of Oracle Application Express since the very first version of Oracle HTML DB in 2004. Major enhancements include:

  • Websheets
  • Dynamic Actions
  • Plug-Ins
  • Team Development
  • Improved Charts, including Maps and Gantt Charts
  • Support for RESTful Web Services
  • Enhanced Interactive Reports
  • Dramatically improved themes/templates
  • Tabular form validations
  • Dynamic calendars
  • and many more...

You can read about the new features of Application Express 4.0 here.

If you wish to kick the tires of Oracle Application Express 4.0, feel free to sign up for a free workspace at We're currently averaging around 600 new workspaces per week on, so the interest in the APEX Community is growing every day.

Our thanks go out to the thousands of customers who participated in the three different Early Adopter releases since December 2009. Your feedback, bug reports and suggestions have all made this a far better release in terms of quality and functionality.

Friday, June 18, 2010 upgraded to APEX 4.0, version

Tonight, I patched to version This is our proposed final release candidate of the software.

All translated versions have been installed too, which includes German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. Unlike previous releases of Application Express, the language for the Application Builder is no longer determined by your browser language setting. You can simply choose your language from the Login page or from within the home page in Application Express (after you login).

It has proven extraordinarily useful to upgrade and gather the feedback prior to release. There were a number of bugs which were uncovered and fixed that would have otherwise been missed. Thanks to all who reported any issues.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oracle Application Express and the Corporate IT Architect - Part I

A few weeks ago, I attended an event in Columbus, Ohio called "IT Martini Hour 10: Agile of All Trades", sponsored by IT Martini. It's a very well organized event, gathering a few hundred people from the local IT community. I also was interested in going because a friend of mine from Pacejet was part of a discussion panel, hosted by Amazon Web Services. We've had such smashing success with Amazon Web Services in the hosting of, I just simply wanted to meet them and thank them.

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.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Oracle Application Express 3.2: The Essentials and More

Last week, Packt Publishing shipped the book Oracle Application Express 3.2: The Essentials and More. This book is authored by my friend Arie Geller and Matthew Lyon. Many people have been helped by Arie on the Application Express discussion forum on OTN for years, and I can easily say that Arie is one of the foremost experts in the world on creating multi-lingual and globalized applications in Oracle Application Express. I've even learned a few things from Arie about properly developing applications which support RTL (right-to-left) languages like Hebrew and Arabic.

Friday, June 04, 2010 upgraded to Oracle Application Express 4.0

Oracle Application Express at has been upgraded to a pre-production version of Oracle Application Express 4.0. There's nothing like upgrading an instance of 8,000 workspaces and 31,000 applications to ensure that the upgrade works perfectly and what used to work in Application Express 3.2 continues to run flawlessly

As most users in the APEX Community have come to realize, this is one of the final milestones in our development cycle before release. So we're getting close. You can read about what's new in Application Express 4.0 here.

The participation of the thousands of people in the Early Adopter program since December has been overwhelming. We are grateful for all of the work and feedback and suggestions and bugs reported by everyone. The APEX Community is alive and well...and growing!