4 Replies Latest reply on Oct 13, 2009 3:36 AM by Wolfen261

    Oracle Apex (Application Express) vs Flex

    Ansury Level 3

      Is anyone here familiar with Oracle's Apex application builder tool?


      I ask because judging from a recent Oracle conference there seems to be quite a bit of hostility to Flex (although particularly, hostility towards Java), and with the addition of Flash charting and new JavaScript/Ajax RIA style functionality for Apex, they don't seem to think Flex matters much.  One presenter, when asked about Flex development vs Apex, laughed and basically just said Flex "wasn't ready" and dismissed it as worth considering (although his ignorance of Flex did show--he should have refrained from commenting due to a lack of familiarity with Flex).


      Has anyone else encountered anyone with a similar attitude and hostility?  Is this thing really going to be a serious competitor to Flex in the next few years?  Should the "Flex community" be examining the capabilities of this Application Express tool to develop superior (i.e. true rich client vs JavaScript RIA hack) alternatives in the Flex world?  Or perhaps we should be looking into ways to integrate?

        • 1. Re: Oracle Apex (Application Express) vs Flex
          JeffryHouser Level 4

          Hostility towards ColdFusion hasn't hurt it's growth.  There seems to be a new "ColdFusion is Dead" thread every 3-6 months ever since I started working with ColdFusion about 5 versions ago.


          There will always be detractors against any technology; and most of them will be speaking outo f ignorance or misunderstanding.  Every once in a while you will run into a reasoned argument.


          I'm surprised there is hostility towards Flx in the Oracle world; I thought Adobe and Oracle did a bunch of stuff together in the past.


          The question I'd ask you is, does Flex work for what you need it to work for?  IF so, it does't matter what anyone else says.  As long as Adobe continues to focus on providing value for their current customers and providing value to win over new customers, I think the platform will be fine.  It is a strategy that worked well for ColdFusion--whose development community has tripled in the past 5 years.

          • 2. Re: Oracle Apex (Application Express) vs Flex
            EgorKDie Level 2

            I can't really see the Oracle hates Flex thing... especially as they've build a whole set of tools recently on top of Flex and LCDS.

            • 3. Re: Oracle Apex (Application Express) vs Flex
              Ansury Level 3

              Well, I don't think it's an official stance by Oracle (yet) at all, but in the "Apex subset" of Oracle this opposition does seem to exist.  And Oracle does have it's Java supporters as well, so it's not a matter of company policy.


              But still, after seeing the capabilities of this Application Express tool and the extreme productivity claims they make, it does make me wonder if the industry will eventually pick up on this thing and start going bat crazy with it.  It is pretty much Oracle's main highlight and hottest thing right now (other than the database itself).  Productivity-- for example, you can upload a spreadsheet to create an entire "template application" almost instantly.  Even with Flex, we have no way of generating an entire functional application within seconds. 


              So the productivity (if you have the skillset) is there, the cost is free, they claim massive scalability, and it eliminates the entire middle tier--saving on network bandwidth and hardware costs.  So it's not that Flex doesn't get the job done, and I still feel that Flex can develop a much better finished product, but in the "enterprise business world" where the quality of the finished product doesn't matter as much I do have some concerns that Flex may be prevented from taking off due to upcoming popularity of this thing.  (Particularly at my workplace as they have discovered Apex and have already realized the productivity of it.)  I have to wonder if we aren't focusing in the wrong technology, from a business world perspective at least.  Yes, this tool is that productive... but it's actually so productive that I'm afraid anyone who adopts it will end up with dozens of little disconnected "applications" all over the place, a nightmare to maintain and integrate.

              • 4. Re: Oracle Apex (Application Express) vs Flex

                I do a lot of develpement in APEX.  I have just about reached the limit of what I can do with the canned Flash charts, though.  I picked up two books to help me get tighter control of charts, and hopefully even printing:


                1. ADOBE COLDFUSION 8... I read in the intro and skimmed a later chapter about greater printing and chart creation control.
                2. ADOBE Flex 3.0... Seems like this is a compliment to APEX (tables, etc.), not competition (if I am wrong on this... see personal ignorance comments below).


                Basically you guys had it right when you said that you can create a "Templated" application (with a lot of flexibility, I might add) in seconds.  That is great for me, since I am supporting a very fast moving, fast changing operations (Distribution Center)... They do not need something next week... they really need something in about an hour.


                But when it comes to polishing an application that was created in the heat-of-the-momement, but then rises to the top brass, due to the fact that it just shows what is going on (real time) so much better than all of those update meetings, I need to get much tighter control than just templates.


                I have looked at Java (something I develped with over 7 years ago), but I really did not want to go that nuts-and-bolts if I did not have to (see "rediculous speed-to-market requirements" above).


                I have an advantage over those who are slamming Flex and Coldfusion... I am very versed in the APEX world, and I aknowledge my ignorance in the Adobe world... besides, about every year or year-and-a-half, I need to put a new tool in my belt, or I start to feel stagnant.


                I do have a question for this group, though, since I see some evidence of expertise (or, at least, ignorance that is less pronounced than mine).  Can ColdFusion, by itself fill my need, or do I need that and Flex (or even just Flex)?  I am simply trying to make interactive pages, that are printable, but also have strong charting, with very tight and flexible control of layout.  These pages are mostly dashboards, but I am finding a growing number of my projects require some data interraction, including entry and/or modification (APEX meets this last need, but does not allow much straying from the template path without some major work).


                Thank you,

                Sean (Wolfen261)