2.1 Understanding Oracle Application Express Applications

Learn more about Oracle Application Express applications, the differences between database and Websheet applications, and the advantages of using the Create Application Wizard.

2.1.1 What is an Oracle Application Express Application?

An Oracle Application Express application is an HTML interface that exists on top of database objects such as tables or procedures. You create both database applications and Websheet applications using the Create Application Wizard. The main difference between these two types of applications is the intended audience. While database applications are primarily developed by application developers, Websheet applications are often created by end users with no development experience.

What Is an Application Page?

A page is the basic building block of an application. Every application consists of one or multiple pages. Each page can have buttons and fields (called items) which are grouped into containers called regions. Pages can include application logic (or processes). You can branch from one page to the next using conditional navigation; perform calculations (called computations); perform validations (such as edit checks); and display reports, calendars, and charts. You view and edit a page in Page Designer.

2.1.2 What is the Difference Between a Database and Websheet Application?

An Oracle Application Express application enables developers to manage and display data stored in an Oracle database. You build an application using App Builder. Using App Builder you can create two different types of applications: Database applications and Websheet applications.

About Database Applications

A database application is a collection of pages linked together using navigation menus, tabs, buttons, or hypertext links. Application pages share a common session state and authentication.

To create a database application, an application developer runs wizards to declaratively assemble pages and navigation. Individual pages are organized using containers called regions. Regions can contain text, custom PL/SQL, reports, charts, maps, calendars, web service content, or forms. Forms are made up of fields (called items) which can be selected from the multitude of built-in types (such as text fields, text areas, radio groups, select lists, check boxes, date pickers, and popup list of values).

Developers can also create their own custom item types using plug-ins. Session state (or application context) is transparently managed and the user interface presentation is separated from the application logic enabling developers to manage the look and feel of an application by simply selecting a different theme.

About Websheet Applications

Websheet applications enable end users to manage structured and unstructured data without developer assistance. Page sections contain unstructured data which can be edited using a WYSIWYG editor. Data Grids enable users to manage structured data without the need for writing SQL. Using runtime dialog boxes, users can add columns, rename columns, and validations. Each page and row of data grid data can be annotated with files, tags, notes, and links. Pages can contain sections, reports, and data grids and everything can be linked together using navigation. All information is searchable and completely controlled by the end-user.