Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Oracle Application Express!



Happy birthday, Oracle Application Express!

In January 2004, Oracle Database 10g was released.  And bundled with the Oracle 10g Database distribution was an additional disc called the Companion CD, which included both Oracle HTTP Server, mod_plsql and this new tool called Oracle HTML DB 1.5.  This was the date of the first officially distributed and supported software from Oracle which has grown into today's Oracle Application Express.

To recap the years:

  • 2004  HTML DB 1.5 - Initial release
  • 2004  HTML DB 1.6 - User interface Themes
  • 2005  HTML DB 2.0 - SQL Workshop
  • 2006  Application Express 2.1 - Embedded with Oracle 10gR2 Express Edition (XE)
  • 2006  Application Express 2.2 - Packaged Applications
  • 2007  Application Express 3.0 - Flash Charts, PDF printing, Microsoft Access migration
  • 2008  Application Express 3.1 - Interactive Reports, runtime-only installation
  • 2009  Application Express 3.2 - Oracle Forms to Oracle Application Express conversion
  • 2010  Application Express 4.0 - Plug-ins, Dynamic Actions, Team Development
  • 2011  Application Express 4.1 - Data Upload, improved Tabular Forms, Error Handling
  • 2012  Application Express 4.2 - Mobile support, mobile and responsive themes, RESTful Web Services

Oracle Application Express has been delivered with every version of the Oracle Database since 2004.  Beginning with Oracle Database 11gR1, Oracle Application Express moved to the database distribution and was treated as a "standard" database component.  Beginning with Oracle Database 12c, Oracle Application Express is installed by default in every Oracle database.  Oracle Application Express is the development framework for both Oracle Audit Vault and Database Firewall and the 12c Multitenant Self-Service Provisioning applications.  apex.oracle.com, the customer evaluation instance of Oracle Application Express, keeps chugging along - with an average of 1,000 new workspace requests per week.

In 2004 / 2005, customers would "dip their toe in the water" with HTML DB.  Today, Oracle Application Express is an approved development framework in countless large enterprises, managing literally hundreds of applications on a single Oracle Database instance.

To say that Oracle Application Express has matured over the past 10 years can be a bit misleading.  Some perceive maturing as "getting old".  I would much rather characterize this as adapting and evolving...and growing.  The story with Oracle Application Express is far from over.  Not only are there vast improvements which need to be made in the framework itself (especially with respect to developer productivity and enterprise deployment), but we need to improve in many other ways - documentation, examples, videos, communication, usability, and a plethora of excellent customer-provided enhancement requests.  The industry is constantly changing and evolving as well, and Oracle Application Express must adapt and evolve and, in some respects, lead.

For now, though, let me just offer a simple "Happy birthday!"

13 comments:

Mike Hichwa said...

can't wait until APEX becomes a teenager! But before then APEX 5.0 will have some amazing new capabilities; can't wait to see the final 5.0 released into the wild.

StevenFeuerstein said...

A nice reminder - history and context. And we should also celebrate the success of APEX in the context of the fact that Oracle has tried many times over the years to build RAD frameworks and editors, with very mixed success. Now we see APEX and SQL Developer turning into solid, widely used, and enjoyed tools. Congrats to a fine team for their commitment, vision and (lest we forget) excellent programming.

Byte64 said...

I must say I always enjoyed working with HTMLDB/APEX since its first version and my oldest web site, initially developed for HTMLDB 1.5 is still running today with a few cosmetic changes after going through each and every upgrade of the tool without significant incidents.
Reliability is one of the top reasons for loving Apex.

Congratulations guys!

Flavio

Denes Kubicek said...

Hello Joel,

Congratulations to you and to your team. Great work and it is always fun to work with you.

Regards,

Denes Kubicek

Dimitri Gielis said...

Congratulations to the entire team.

It has been fun to see APEX (HTMLDB) evolving over time. I remember in the very beginning we went to a small restaurant with the development team and user group where we chatted about features. The population at the user group has increased immensely, but still it's one of the most active, friendly and helpful communities out there.

It has been a pleasure to develop with APEX the last 10 years, and I look forward to the next 10!

APEX changed my life, thanks so much...

Christian Rokitta said...

Congrats to the APEX Team and thanks for being so accessible for the APEX community. It is always a pleasure to see and speak one of you in person. Keep up the good work.
APEX makes my work fun!

Cheers,
Christian

John Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Scott said...

Many (many!) thanks to the whole APEX team, both present and past, it really has changed the course of my life.

I remember getting a 'lightbulb moment' all those years back when I first saw the product and thinking I should get more involved with it.

Looking forward to many more years with APEX

Dietmar Aust said...

Yep, congrats from me as well. I can only confirm what John said, APEX truly changed my life as well.

I remember the time when I first committed to APEX solely (back in 2006) people (who knew me and the Oracle market) would tell me:

"who is going to spend a lot of money for consultancy for a free tool?"

I am really pleased that I was right and they weren't :)

Especially when Oracle XE shipped with APEX 2.1 I couldn't sleep for two days … out of excitement :).

Cheers,
~Dietmar.

Learco Brizzi said...

Hi Joel,

Thanks for this wonderful tool. 10 years ago I couldn't imagine what it would bring to me. For me it's a life changer as well. I can't wait for version 5.

See you soon!
Learco

Juergen Schuster said...

I'm proud to be there from the beginning, the best development environment I have ever seen, curious for the next 10 years :-)

Holger Schweichler said...

Congratulations - I've been using it ever since the first version (in fact, I messed with the WebDB packages even before 1.5 ;-)) Keep up the good work, I'm enjoying working with APEX every day.

Scott Wesley said...

I've just spotted this announcement - congrats to everyone involved in the APEX team, and the wider community.

I joined the bandwagon around 3.1 after plenty of Forms experience and experimentation with mod_plsql.

I look forward to the next 10 years!