Oracle APEX: a solution to the information management problem (II)

Is there any solution beyond the standard?


Several companies have an information management problem regarding their collected data. Many times this problem is misregarded, and it is confused with a lack of information problem. Then, these companies go for a search of additional data and they start a long, and eventually expensive, process of obtaining additional data, that afterwards is forgotten in an obscure table in the database. Still, sometimes, this issue is known by the companies dealing with it, and they try to find a solution on the market to that can help them with their information management problem. They try to find solutions that help them to deal with the information and also to obtain valuable conclusions out of it. In the market, usually, you may find two different types of solutions:


  • “Plug and play” solutions: that allows users to install an application and with a minimum (knowing already that is not going to be as minimum as it seems) configuration or integration, they can provide us with valuable knowledge and statistics. Still these solutions usually come with a set of limitations at the time of working with out-of-standard data, or at the time or making more personalized analysis for too particular situations.


  • “Blank page” solutions: that are work environments that provides all the freedom at the time of generating solutions to either particular or standard situations. These solutions usually require from a higher level of expertise to work with them and be able to exploit their full potential.


However in the business world, not everything is black and white. This solution market seems to give us only two options: Should we go for a standard solution and give up efficiency and leaving without solution to some particular needs, by obtaining an easier application maintenance and modification? Or should we take a difficult path, a path that provides us an absolute freedom for our solution, but that as a company will require from us a bigger effort, and where we sure will find some unexpected circumstances that may be difficult to deal with?

It seems there is no exit to this duality. Still, I think we may have found a possible alternative to it.


The Oracle APEX solution: Out of standard solution through PL/SQL and JavaScript

As we know Oracle APEX may function as a “plug and play” solution, thanks to the use of templates and thanks to its “drag and drop” interface of webpage edition, it also have certain characteristics that allows it to go beyond the standard: PL/SQL procedures and the incorporation of JavaScript code to the webpages.


PL/SQL procedures

Oracle APEX allows to use PL/SQL to work on our database that can be wither use “on demand” (for example by clicking a button) or in each of different process stages of the webpage:



However, this seems to point out APEX as a solution inside the previously defined category of “plug and play”. In one hand the possible events that fire the procedure are predefined by the application. In the other hand, buttons are created statically by the web designer, and even if we have freedom to make them appear or not, under certain circumstances, it seems there is no option to create this buttons in a more dynamic form, based on a more complex circumstances. For example, we may wish that there exist a button per each row of a table that allows us to assign a default value to a certain column data. Or we could want to display a different type of chart regarding the amount or type of date of a table. These are only two examples, but I am sure each user have in mind which are their particular situations “out of the standard”.


JavaScript as an answer

However, one APEX characteristic is that the PL/SQL procedures can be easily integrated with JavaScript code within the webpage. This code can be executed in the same way as we saw for the PL/SQL procedures (“on demand” or event driven) but it can also be added explicitly to the web page, inside a static region:



This allows the user to obtain full freedom on the behaviour and final result of the webpage. Now the user can create the webpage dynamically through this JavaScript, and user can call SQL procedures, stored in the DB that will allow us to read and modify DB data and adapt our webpage to these results and modifications.


Related post: Oracle APEX: a solution to the information management problem (I)

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