Mythics Blog

Happy Anniversary Oracle Application Express!

Posted on July 30, 2011 by Greg Mika

Tags: Application Express, Oracle, Business Intelligence

Greg's World a blog by Greg Mika

Hello everyone... I am excited to kick-off our new Blog here at Mythics "The Daedalus".  Our goal is to have some fun, pass along some information and create a Mythics community with a focus on Oracle Technologies and Oracle Knowledge. First I'll introduce myself, my name is Greg Mika and I am one of the Technical Directors here at Mythics, I run sales engineering and our Mythics Software and Tools business unit.  I have a lot of hands on experience with most of the Oracle Product stack and consider myself a guru with the Oracle Database. 

I am posting today to say happy (unofficial) anniversary to a powerful tool included in the Oracle Database called Oracle Application Express (APEX).  The early days of what became APEX recently turned 10 years old, including a really rich 4.0 of APEX available today.  I use APEX every day, and I’ll always remember my first APEX application.  It wasn’t called APEX back then, back then it was called….FLOWS.  I’m sure a lot of people thought that the original name for APEX was HTMLDB, but before it was released to the public with Oracle DB 9.2 as HTMLDB it was known inside Oracle as its original name: FLOWS.

I started developing with Oracle in 1997 using tools that most web developers these days probably never head of: Vi, the Oracle Database (7.3.4), and PL/SQL.  Today I still use all three….and amazingly the code I wrote 14 years ago for the Navy would work unchanged on the latest Oracle 11g and Fusion Middleware of today.

When I joined Oracle in 1999 I was introduced to Web DB (which would later become Oracle Portal).  It certainly had some good points about it but I felt that it was more of a content management system then an “app” builder.  In 2001, my technical group merged with another group and we became known as Technical Marketing…to celebrate we had an all day meeting and all got sweatshirts (and to this day it is still the most comfortable sweatshirt that I own).  That day I was also introduced to a “mad professor” named Mike Hichwa and his crazy idea called FLOWS.  The finished product looked pretty slick and I was told if you like PL/SQL you will love this tool so I decided that the next time I developed something I would use it.

A few months later I was asked by my manager to build a web site for our sales team to keep track of the reps as they qualified for a sales trip, so I thought…I’ll use that slick FLOWS tool that I saw at the meeting.  Needless to say, I almost went back to hand coding the site with straight PL/SQL.  It was clunky and quirky and (no pun intended) didn’t follow the flow of how I liked to create sites.  All I remember about the site was that it had a “marquee” scrolling the names of the top sales reps and it played a MIDI music file when you opened the page and a bunch of those difficult to set up “tabs”.

Today, APEX 4.0 of 2011 is light years ahead of FLOWS of 2001, but its value proposition to Mythics and Oracle customers is still the same:

  • It’s Free included in every version of the Oracle Database
  • Its 100% web based….My laptop, your desktop, my wife's iPad, my kids phone….I can develop using any of them, anywhere
  • It runs in the database: Which makes it fast, scalable, secure, easy to back up, and can do all of those things that the database can do
  • It runs in the database:  I know I already said that but its so important I had to say it again

We leverage APEX to build critical tools that help us run and scale our business here at Mythics and also use it as a foundational tool for many of our engagements within Mythics Consulting.  Next time you have a requirement for a rapid web development tool, think of APEX you won't regret it!


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