Oracle Autonomous Database and Application Express - Express Yourself
By: Francis Mignault On: November 7, 2019 In: Business Solutions, Cloud Comments: 0

Unless you were hiding under a rock somewhere during the last few weeks, you’ve surely heard about the new Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud Services. The official announcement was made during Oracle OpenWorld last September by Larry Ellison during his Keynote speech and it was all over the press.

This is super great news! Why? Well, for many reasons. Let me explain.

What is Oracle Autonomous Database?

Oracle has been a database company since its foundation in 1977. Even if it has diversified its offering over other technologies along the years, such as, for example, ERP software, Cloud services, Hardware and the Linux Operating System, the database remains the central common piece of their business. And, Oracle remains the leader in the database market to this day.

The new generations of the Oracle database use Artificial Intelligence. This new Autonomous Cloud database is able to tune, patch and secure itself. And although competitors like IBM and SAP want you to think otherwise, Oracle has once more created a precedent in Database Technology.

But, (and this is the point of my article) AI or Autonomous isn’t the only technological innovation Oracle has included in this latest version of its database.

Oracle Autonomous Database & Oracle Application Express

The Autonomous Database comes with a set of development tools to leverage its capabilities. One of these tools stands out from the rest: Oracle Application Express, or, APEX. Oracle has described it as “World-Class and agile development platform” and as an “industry-leading low-code application development platform”. In part, it’s Oracle’s answer to the growing IT trend towards Low-Code Development. But it’s also much more. Oracle chose to include it free with its Autonomous Database Cloud Service.

As a longtime Oracle developer, my reaction to Oracle’s announcement was like: “Wow. Wait. What? You mean Oracle APEX is now officially the tool of choice for building applications on the Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud? Hell yeah!”

If you are new to APEX and you are reading this blog post I have to immediately tell you that APEX is already included free with the latest database releases, on-premise or on the cloud, with every Oracle database edition, starting with Oracle Express up to Oracle Enterprise Edition. In other words, if you use an Oracle database, you have access to this game-changing tool.

By the way, the version of APEX on the autonomous database is also autonomous. This means less time patching or upgrading and more time improving your business processes. Autonomous Database means Autonomous APEX.


So why did Oracle select Oracle APEX as part of its database strategy? Oracle chose APEX for many reasons. APEX has been available for several years and thanks to a highly talented development team (one of the best at Oracle), it has kept pace with the many changes in IT Technology and developed into a complete modern development framework. It is a web-based development tool. It is declarative, which is what makes it a Rapid Application Development framework.

Rapid Application development, which is pretty much the same as Low-Code is gaining in popularity. Businesses now see the benefits of solving business problems or improving a business process much, much faster than before. Also, more and more companies are turning to Low-Code because of cost-savings, and the flexibility it provides.

APEX is used by tens of thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of developers across the Oracle world, and even outside it. It has a super enthusiastic and supportive community. It is easy to start with (Low-Code) and perfect for very intensive production applications (High-Code).  On top of that, it can be used in many different situations.

APEX can be used for many different things:

  • Oracle Forms Modernization
  • Enterprise-level applications
  • Departmental application (Access and Excel replacement)
  • ERP extensions (EBS, Oracle SaaS / Fusion, Netsuite, etc.)
  • Cloud-based development
  • Interactive reporting (Check out APEX 19.2 Faceted Search)
  • Legacy systems modernization (Ex: Cobol, Adobe Flex, Lotus Notes, FileMaker, Discoverer, PowerBuilder, etc. – We’ve seen them all.)

APEX can’t replace everything but can be used with everything

I like to say that APEX cannot replace everything, but it can definitely be used with everything. It can be used to link and extend your enterprise’s existing systems. It can be used for many of your current systems requirements and help solve those “last mile” problems. By “last mile” I mean those missing functionalities that would make your system complete. Those miscellaneous pain points you need to eliminate, to glue everything together.

Why so excited?

Ok, I was telling you earlier that Oracle has selected APEX to be in its core strategy with the Autonomous database. This means Oracle is committed to continue improving and supporting APEX. Oracle is also confident enough to promote it as its Low Code offering for enterprise applications, may it be on the cloud or on-premise.

There are now no reasons for every Oracle Database owner not to use Oracle Application Express. Period.

Great value you can unlock right away

It is really simple for your team to start expressing themselves using APEX. Right now. Today. Here are different options:

  • Developers and Business users can go to APEX.ORACLE.COM for a free workspace, and start building applications for free. Keep in mind this is not a production environment, but it’s the easiest way to get started and get familiar with APEX’s capabilities. You’ll also have access to tons of documentation and information about APEX, directly from Oracle.
  • Your team can use the free-forever autonomous database, APEX included. Oracle now offers a free cloud autonomous database. You get 20GB of disk space and APEX installed. And the beauty is that the database and APEX are autonomous. No need to patch, secure, manage, etc. Just start it up and use it. This environment can be used for production. Be aware that if you are planning on a production usage, there might be some configurations required for backups. Contact us for more details.
  • Install APEX on your existing Oracle Database, for free! If you have Oracle database licenses, you can download APEX from APEX.ORACLE.COM for free and install it in your database. We can also help you with that if you wish. Also, the very latest version of APEXwas released just last week!

Here are some additional details on getting started with APEX from Oracle APEX’s learning page.

We’re Leading Experts and We Can Help

At Insum, we’ve focused on APEX since it’s inception. We are Oracle specialists, APEX experts. Insum has collaborated with many different companies to help them use APEX to its maximum potential. We have helped hundreds of companies save anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars by leveraging APEX with their existing systems and by solving their business issues. Sometimes by extending EBS, or by modernizing Oracle Forms and other legacy systems. Other times by building mobile and secured applications. Or some other times by simply providing help and support to maximize their usage of APEX.

As I explained in a blog post many years ago, APEX changed our lives.

Over the last 15 years, we have been investing in the APEX technology by building utilities, developer tools, and methodologies. We have been big supporters of the APEX community by presenting at and sponsoring many different events and conferences, hosting on-line webinars and writing blog posts and by creating some of the most used APEX open source projects.

If you want to start on the right foot, avoid costly mistakes or just need some help with your existing projects, we’re there to help.

What’s Next

Stay tuned, as this is the first of a series of posts about APEX and how this tool can be used in your organization. If you want to learn more, better understand what it can do or even get the latest on APEX, this blog series is for you. We’ll cover how APEX is a Low Code Development Platform for the enterprise, how it can help you bridge your company’s technology gap and how it can help you address security challenges.

In other words, you’ll learn how to Oracle Application Express Yourself.

Curious about how Oracle APEX can improve your business processes? Let’s talk.

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