Oracle Application Express
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Release 2.2 New Features

Below is a summary of the new features in Oracle Application Express 2.2.

Oracle HTML DB has been renamed
With release 2.2, Oracle HTML DB has been renamed to Oracle Application Express. All APIs have also been renamed using the prefix APEX_. Note that previous API names are still supported.

Creating a packaged application
This release includes a new feature that dramatically simplifies the steps needed to export and install an application in another Oracle Application Express workspace or instance. Using the Supporting Objects utility, you can define an application's images, CSS, JavaScript, database object creation scripts, and seed data. Upon application export, the application definition and supporting objects are packaged into a single file. This enables users to install an application and all supporting objects by uploading a single file and then navigating a simple installation wizard.

New Item Finder search tool
Numerous pages in Application Builder feature a new icon, resembling a flashlight. Clicking this icon displays the Item Finder window. You can use this handy tool to search for items, pages, queries, tables, or PL/SQL objects within the pages of an application.

Page Definition Enhancements
The Page Definition page has a new look and several new features.

  • You can reduce the amount of information that appears on the page using icons at the top of each section of the page. By clicking an icon you can focus on specific controls, components, or application logic. Plus, you now have the ability to copy more components of a page including computations, validations, process, and branches.
  • Page attributes now display directly on the Page Definition.
  • There is now a wysiwyg page display that allows you to reconfigure page components. This allows you to reorder regions within a page, buttons within a region, items within a region, and navigation bar entries. For items, this new popup allows you to change the colspan and new line, new field attributes. Look for the light green down/up arrow icon that will be displayed whenever you have more than one of these components on a page.
  • Computations, Validation, Processes and Branches can now be copied.
  • Certain Shared components can now be copied directly from the Page Definition, e.g. Lists of Values and Navigation Bar Entries.

New Navigation Control on Attribute Pages
Just as on the Page Definition, you can selectively show and hide sections on attributes pages by clicking the navigation buttons at the top of the page. When you select a button at the top of the page, the selected section appears and all other section are temporarily hidden. To view all sections of the page, click Show All.

Copy a Page from Another Application
You can now copy a page from one application into another. During the copy process, you can also copy referenced shared components or change the mappings to shared components in the target application.

Dictionary Views of Oracle Application Express Metadata
This releases contains the debut of data dictionary views that expose metadata for applications. Examples of these views include APEX_APPLICATION_PAGES and APEX_APPLICATION_LOVS. These allow users to write custom documentation, perform ad hoc metadata reporting, and to access metadata from within applications. A list of all APEX data dictionary views is available by querying the APEX_DICTIONARY view.

Application Logo
Rather than needing to create an image for your application logo, you can now choose to include text instead. If you select Text, you can specify a style or class to be associated with your text. For your image or text to be used, you must have the substitution string #LOGO# in your page template.

Customizable Date Picker Icon
You can now associate a custom icon with each theme to be displayed whenever an item of type date picker is displayed. If an icon is not specified, the default one will be used. For the icon, you need to include a fully qualified path name or use one of the three standard image prefixes (e.g. #IMAGE_PREFIX#, #APP_IMAGES#, #WORKSPACE_IMAGES#).

Access Control Wizard
The Access Control Wizard enables you to create an Access Control List and control access to an application, individual pages, or page components. The Access Control Wizard creates a new page named Access Control Administration. You can use this page to select an application mode and assign privileges to users.

Comment on applications, pages, or group of pages
Use the Developer Comment icon to add comments to an application, a page, or a group of pages. The Developer Comment icon resembles a green balloon and displays on any page in Application Builder that is related to a specific application.

Component-level Export
You can now export shared components or components of a page. You can use this new feature to backup a component before editing or to create an export that can function as a patch to another Oracle Application Express instance.

Timestamp Datatype Support
In release 2.2, you can build forms and calendars on tables that have columns of type TIMESTAMP.

Improved Create Page Wizards
All create page wizards enable you to create the breadcrumb for a page when you create the page. Existing breadcrumbs are displayed in a hierarchal report so you can easily identify a new pages breadcrumb. This new functionality helps you incorporate new pages into existing navigational controls.

Improved Copy Region
When you copy a region, you can now choose to also copy buttons and items within that region.

Improved Popup Lists of Values
In release 2.2, you can now control Null return values in Popup list of values definitions. The list of values attributes for items with a display type of Popup List of Values now fully supports the Display Null attribute. Note that this may slightly alter the behavior of applications created in previous versions of Oracle Application Express.

Enhanced Debugging
You can now debug Application Express Accept Page processing in addition to Show Page processing. Previously when you posted a page that then did a branch using a redirect you would loose the debug messages generated by the Application Express engine's Accept Page processing. Now when you branch in this manner, you will see the Accept Page processing debug output available on the next page view.

New Themes
Six new themes have been added.

  • Theme 13 - Blue Gray
  • Theme 14 - Modern
  • Theme 15 - Light Blue
  • Theme 16 - Dark Blue
  • Theme 17 - Greyscale
  • Theme 18 - Simple

New Shared Components Reports
There are many new and enhanced Shared Component reports and the Shared Components Reports page has been reorganized to mimic the Shared Components page to make it easier to locate reports.

Enhanced and Refined Application Reports
Application reports have been enhanced and reorganized to make them easier-to-find and easier-to-use. There are also a few new Calendar report such as a Page Modification Calendar.

Utility Changes
Key components within the user interface have been reorganized and redesigned to enhance work flow and ease-of-use, including:

  • Generate DDL Object Selection, includes Check All option.
    The Generate DDL function under Utilities now has the capability to check all the objects for the selected object type(s).
  • Data Unload, can limit rows.
    While using the Utility for unloading data to text or xml, you can now include a SQL where clause to limit the rows that are unloaded into your resulting file.

User interface Changes
Key components within the user interface have been reorganized and redesigned to enhance work flow and ease-of-use, including:

  • Application administration tasks now appear on a list on the Workspace home page.
  • The Application home page also features a new Tasks list.
    Use these handy links to delete and copy an application, manage page groups, manage page locks, and view application reports.
  • Your workspace name and user name now display at the bottom of each page.
    In previous releases this information appeared in the upper left corner.
  • The Workspace home page also features a new Utilities icon.
    Use Utilities to import and export data from the database, generate DDL, view object reports, and restore dropped database objects.

New online Help user interface
Procedural Help in this release features an improved user interface. You can browse through topics using a expandable table of contents. In addition, each help topic includes a breadcrumb trail at the top of each page.