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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oracle updates free Application Express developer tool

Oracle says the newest version of its free Application Express software makes it easier for developers to build applications for Database 10g using nothing but a Web browser.

The newly released Oracle Application Express 2.2, which first debuted as HTML DB in 2004, promotes the reuse of Web applications by letting users bundle applications and dependent objects like tables, images and seed data into one file. The database giant says this makes for a plug-n-play scenario because those bundles can then be quickly installed into other Oracle databases running APEX.

Other new features of APEX include an item finder that lets users search within applications, the ability to conduct component-level export, and an Access Control Wizard for controlling who gets access to applications.

"What we liked about it was that all you needed was a brain and a browser," said Larry Foster, vice president of technology with Fairpont, N.Y.-based Paetec, a software company that uses APEX to build its Pinnacle Communications Management Suite. "In the beginning, when it was HTML DB, you had to install it separately, but now it installs with Oracle 10g and up."

Foster said that early incarnations of APEX were too lightweight and of little use to Paetec, but as the technology matured, newly added features made the software worth a second look. Today, he says, Paetec's customers are pleased that most of Pinnacle's functionality resides within the database, making it easier to support and customize the suite.

APEX now supports standard software deployment requirements such as the ability to export not only applications but individual windows, Foster said. The vice president said he's also pleased that the software includes a development environment for SQL and that creating sophisticated forms is now an easier process.


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