Feedback on teaching Oracle APEX

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Posted by Hafed | Posted in apex(htmldb), oracle | Posted on 22-06-2011

Today, I  finished the spring session teaching Oracle APEX to 2 groups of students. The majority had prior experience with Oracle Forms with some having more than 7 years experience developing Forms application.

Most had a desire to explore APEX as a tool since they read a lot about it but were unsure whether they could transition smoothly to developing APEX web applications.

So, the first problem we had is that there is this apparent impression that with APEX it is just a matter of clicking and clicking in wizards and through magic, the application will build itself.

The students were provided with a 420 pages workbook that shows every facet of APEX when designing and building a small Oracle-based application.

The course was 90 hours long and lasted from January to June 2011. Each lecture was 4 hours long and there was roughly 1 hour lecture with 3 hours of lab work. The APEX version used is the 4.X version currently available on apex.oracle.com

I divided the course in two parts with part I designed for APEX introduction and part II being the advanced APEX stuff.

Here is the breakdown for each lecture:

Part I

  • Lecture 1: Introduction to apex and schema creation
  • Lecture 2: Developing Forms with APEX
  • Lecture 3: Items and Components in APEX Forms
  • Lecture 4: Dynamic Actions
  • Lecture 5: Navigation in APEX applications
  • Lecture 6: Validations
  • Lecture 7: Computations
  • Lecture 8: Security in an APEX application

Part II

  • Lecture 9: HTML & CSS in APEX
  • Lecture 10: HTML & CSS in APEX II
  • Lecture 11: Javascript in APEX
  • Lecture 12: Designing themes in APEX
  • Lecture 13: Using jQuery in APEX
  • Lecture 14: Using Plugins
  • Lecture 15: Creating plugins for APEX
  • Lecture 16: Designing multi languages applications
  • Lecture 17: Processes in APEX
  • Lecture 18: Reporting in APEX
  • Lecture 19: Using BI Publisher for PDF report layouts
  • Lecture 20: Application Export and deployment
  • Lecture 21: Migrating Oracle Forms applications to APEX

A number of students quit as soon as we reached lecture 11. What I was told is that APEX did require them to be familiar with a number of technologies (HTML, CSS, javascript, jQuery, BI Published, Apache FOP, theme design, plugin design and last but not the least PL-SQL) and they were not ready for that.

While it was fully understood that the overall objective for the course was to get acquainted with APEX but not necessarily to become an expert in the above mentionned technologies, there is this impression that a number of my students are not ready to jump ship and start developing in APEX.

However, there were some hardcore Oracle Forms developers that performed very well and understand that it is just a matter of time before they are asked to switch to APEX.

Two books were used for this session:

  • Beginning Oracle Application Express  by Rick Greenwald – WROX Publishing
  • Oracle Application Express 3.2. The Essentials and More by Arie Geller, Packt publishing

I will be posting some of the plugins and the themes that were developed by the students. Some are very impressive.

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