Friday, August 26, 2011

Where did the online help go in APEX 4.1?

This morning, I responded to an inquiry from Oracle Support (on behalf of a customer) about the lack of "online help" in Application Express 4.1. There is also a current thread on the Oracle Technology Network discussion forum that is asking the question "where did the help go?"

This is not an oversight. This was intentional by design and for the following reasons:

  • This gives our documentation team greater flexibility in correcting documentation and online help issues. Here is a great example of why this is beneficial to us and our customers.
  • Many customers would never use the online help and use Google Search instead.
  • The online documentation is searchable.
  • This dramatically reduces the overall distribution size of APEX 4.1 as well as the size of the content loaded into the XDB repository (if you're using the embedded PL/SQL gateway).
  • This removes the complexity associated with indexing the online help files, especially if your instance is accessed over SSL and/or the database is behind a firewall that cannot get to the Web server.
And what about a customer who cannot get to the Internet, if they are disconnected or at a facility (like a military customer or government intelligence) where access to the Internet is blocked? Well, this customer can download the entire documentation, stage it somewhere, and then adjust the URL that is used when clicking the 'Help' link from within Oracle Application Express. this "improvement on the wrong side" as one customer suggests? I personally don't think so.

1 comment:

Jari Laine said...


I think this is good improvement.

Maybe you please note to Apex download page that say archive do not contain documentation? And customer remember download e.g. install instructions.