How to gain your company’s buy-in to use Oracle APEX

A rather common challenge we keep hearing about at conferences, meetups or in 1-on-1 discussions with other Oracle database professionals: How do I convince my company’s management (or even some of my fellow developers) to try / start developing with Oracle APEX?

While the typical myths surrounding Oracle APEX have been debunked in various articles which you can easily find online, how to you get the buy-in from your management (and fellow developers) remains an open-ended question.

Here are 5 key points that you can use to inform, educate and get the internal buy-in about using Oracle APEX as a development tool:

 

1. It comes with the Oracle database, at no additional cost

This one’s a bit iffy:

1. If your company is already using the Oracle database, then APEX comes pre-installed and ready to use. You essentially have access to a powerful development tool at no additional cost. Why not take advantage and get the most bang for your buck?

2. If your company doesn’t use the Oracle database – worry not: you can still get the Oracle Database Express Edition (XE). It is a free, small footprint version of the Oracle database that has been around since 2006.

Although it is limited to 11GB of user data, 1GB of memory and using no more than 1 CPU on the host machine, it’s a good starting point to begin developing your first app(s) with APEX. The Oracle Technology Network has plenty of articles on how to set up Oracle XE in different environments.

Note: we do not explicitly endorse one or the other option. Ultimately, it is up to you & your organisation to decide what setup fits your requirements best.

UPDATE: One day after we published this article Oracle announced the release of the Oracle Database 18c XE (https://oracle.com/xe). Among other, this new release comes with a bunch of nice upgrades such as:

  • a maximum database size of 12GB
  • up to 2 GB of database RAM
  • up to 2 CPU threads
  • up to 3 Pluggable Databases

 

2. Build a prototype

Speaking of developing your first APEX application. One of the best ways you can introduce Oracle APEX internally is to build an app prototype. Either start from scratch or simply use one of the packaged apps and tweak it to your organisation’s internal needs.

In addition to getting familiar to the key concepts of developing with Oracle APEX, you’ll be able to produce useful applications much more faster than you could with using other development tools.

 

3. Leverage your skill set

If you’re working with the Oracle database you already know how to work with SQL and PL/SQL. These skills will give you a big head start when in comes to building applications with Oracle APEX.

So, why should management care?

Think of it like this: it could save your company valuable time and money with (re)training the development team if they decide to change development technologies – especially if your company already has a team of Oracle Forms developers.

 

4. Its functionality can be easily extended with plugins

One of the great things about using Oracle APEX is that you can extend its functionality with: either free plugins like those provided by the community on apex.world, or commercial plugins such as our own solution – FOEX Plugin Framework or the APEX SmartPivot Plug-in if they meet your requirements better.

Should your users’ requirements evolve and become more complex, using plugins is a great way to provide extra features without needing to write & maintain the functionality yourself.

 

5. The APEX community

This one’s probably a no-brainer, but seriously, check out the community that is being built around Oracle APEX. In addition to the official Oracle page here are some other resources to get you started:

  • Twitter – use #orclapex when asking an APEX-related question and chances are that you’ll get an answer pretty quick
  • apex.world – there you’ll find a wealth of info & resources: slack channels, job postings, conferences, meetups, trainings, free plugins and much more
  • BuiltWithAPEX – a community-powered website showcasing apps developed with Oracle APEX, that are being used around the world
  • Conferences – throughout the year you can attend different events where the APEX community gathers to share their knowledge. Although this is not a comprehensive list, check out at least one of the following events: APEX World, APEX Connect, APEX Alpe Adria, Kscope, DOAG, UKOUG and take the pulse of how APEX as a development technology continues to improve.
  • Blogs & Books – there’s plenty of technical APEX know-how shared by the community. If you face an issue while developing an APEX app, chances are there’s a book chapter or blog article out there providing the answer. Either that, or go on Twitter and ask your question!

Why should management care?

A well supported tool and an active community are key to getting as little headaches as possible when developing new applications, especially if you are transitioning from other technologies.

 

UPDATE: It was suggested by the community that we add a list of apps that Oracle itself uses and have been developed with Oracle APEX. For a detailed answer we recommend that you reach out to Joel Kallman – the Senior Director of Software Development for Oracle APEX.

For a not so detailed answer, check out the following apps:

 

We’d love to hear from you and how you’ve introduced APEX to your organisation. Let us know what worked in your case in the comments below.

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