07 May, 2011

APEX 4.1 Early Adopter Available.

The APEX team has once again surpassed expectations and has released the Early Adopter version or APEX 4.1 on http://tryaxpexnow.com.

A list of what's new appears in the Feature Description application, but both Joel Kallman and David Peake warn that there is likely to be more in the final production release.

After having a look at the features, here are some that really stand out to me:

  • Declarative Support for Buttons to Trigger Dynamic Actions - The initial version allows you to use any IMAGE or HTML button to trigger dynamic actions. Theme based buttons will currently only work in Theme 21, but I'm sure that will be expanded for the production release.
  • Dynamic Lists - The ability for a list to be based on a SQL statement or a PL/SQL function returning a SQL statement is huge. This will make it way easier to create menuing  systems (even CSS based tabs) based on dynamic content stored in tables or gleaned from meta data.
  • Improved Error Handling  - The features listed here are two-fold.
    • Settable Error Display Location for Processes - For OnSubmit type page processes you can now set the "Error Message Display Location" to either a "Separate Error Page" or "Inline in Notification".
    • New Error Handling Function - A new function has been provided  that allows developers to modify or log any errors which occur in apex. (I wonder if they used Tyler Muth's Logger Package).  Patrick Wolf is slated to let us know more soon!
  • Plugin Enhancements - There are several plug-in enhancements but the ones that caught my eye were
    • Adding Plug-in Support for Authorization Schemes 
    • Increased number of custom attributes to 15
    • New Plugin Attribute type Checkbox
  • Enhanced Tabular Forms  - APEX 4.0 introduces HUGE leaps forward in Tabular forms and that theme has been continued in APEX 4.1.
    • Validations - Tabular forms now support all validation types. Bind Variable syntax, substitution syntax and Column name are now available depending upon what type of validation you're implementing.
    • Processes   - Processes can now be defined for tabular forms as well. These processes allow for easier processing of the each row's items without having to deal with the apex_application g_f0X arrays.
    • Use of ROWID  - You're now allowed to use ROWID as the primary key for Automatic DML Processing in tabular forms.
  • Consistency of Item Based Buttons - Item based buttons have now been brought in line and now offer the same behavior has Region based buttons.
While I can't wait to get my hands on some of the new features, this also means that there will need to be some updates to our training material... *Sigh*, it never ends!