Wow, it's been how long since I posted? Sorry about that! In my defense, life's been rather busy. And I'm finally allowed to talk about part of the reason it's been busy (since Joel announced it): APEX 4.2 is available for testing/evaluation now. So, go try it out, and let us know (the feedback system is the best way to do that) what you think!
…wait, you're still here? Ok, then I guess I need to talk a little bit about what's new in 4.2. For the full details, you should really check here; I'm just going to highlight a few of them.
- First and foremost: Packaged Applications. Built into APEX 4.2 are a slew of pre-built applications that you can, with a couple of clicks, install and be up and running. These are similar to the sample applications that used to be available for download from Oracle's website, but they're significantly more robust–and hopefully more immediately useful to users. Once an application is installed, of course, you can poke around and see how it does everything, and customize it to fit your needs. This is the area I've been most heavily involved in, incidentally.
- Secondly: Mobile support. Having just gotten on the smartphone bandwagon recently, I hadn't realized how painful it is to browse most websites on one; the few that have a mobile version are very nice to find (usually; when the mobile version lacks a lot of the functionality of the original, not so much). And while you could wrangle APEX 4.1 into supporting mobile development, 4.2 has drastically expanded that support. It's very cool, and I look forward to updating this site & WriteTrack with the new mobile functionality. Yes, I've held off on building mobile versions waiting for the 4.2 release. They're coming, though!
- Thirdly: HTML 5, especially charts. This is kind of tied to the mobile support mentioned above–iPhones and iPads don't support Flash, so APEX charts don't work on those. With 4.2, however, we're adding in charts that are built using HTML 5, so as long as your browser supports it (most everything does), you'll be able to see your charts. Yay! And, additionally, you can use HTML 5 fields for input–if you want a phone number, for instance, you can set it so that your users' phones will present the numeric keypad instead of the normal alphabet keyboard by default (people using normal browsers won't notice a difference). I've done a little of this on WriteTrack already, but I had to use a plugin to get it to work.
There are lots of other improvements as well–again, please try out the EA release!