Recently I use Oracle application express to develop a partner management applications, The more I use it , the more I feel that it is really great tools that we all should learn to use it to develop small applications to improve productivity of our daily work.
It is easy to learn and most of the functionality is wizard guided. It surely serve as a great Excel replacer or Excel enhancer , most important of all , it is free!
The problem of Excel is that information is inside different excel file. For example, we usually store each year or each quarter s data for different department in separate Excel file. Which make it difficult to trace data back to previous year or prior several years for data analysis or data consolidation.
What is Apex?
This kind of problem could be easily resovled using database technology, once we put the data into database, we could use a lot of tools to do a lot of data analysis for nearly every purpose.
But the problem of database is that database is something designed for IT professional and drawing data from database to present on the web require professional skill of programming like java. and this has make database a nightmare for ordinary business people who want to leverage the power of database.
Oracle Application Express is a tools to bridge the power of database to ordinary buisness professional. It is easy to learn and totally java-free, all the definition and report building is on the web page. but to be honesty, some knowledge of database will help you understand it better.
The installation of Apex do require knowledge of database, so just have IT professional to install Apex for you.
Hello word! for Excel user
The easiest way to understand Apex is through an example. Apex provide easy data upload from Excel file, We could use copy and paste to upload the excel data into Apex to make our first Apex application.
After login into Apex, Click the Application Builder , then click Create to create our first Apex applications. We will select Create from Spreadsheet here; Then we just use the default Copy and paste to copy data from excel into Apex.
Remember there is a checkbox that indicate the first row of our pasted data is Label of the data.
In the next screen, we will come to the database table definition , Although Apex usually define right data type for the pasted data, we can still have the opportunity to change data type for each column.
We could also rename the Label that is going to appear in the web page in the screen. and there is screen for summary definition and we will select Dept for summary by department
The summary effect will define in the report of following summary and chart.
we could also define aggregated by salary in the next step. this step will add aggregated salary information which has been show in the above graph.
The final step is to define what does the application looks like for selecting application visual style. Then we will have a applications looks like:
Play with the small application we just build, you could also click the column label to see what will happen, The application come with powerful data query, filter functionality and we could also edit the data or add more data. It is easy and interesting!