A "hidden" gem of Oracle Application Express

Oracle Application Express (APEX) has a “hidden” gem (ok, there are a lot of others too) which in my opinion isn’t widely used by the developers.

Be honest, how often do you use the little “View” select list on page definition?

You should, because it has several useful entries which can make your life easier! But let’s have a quick look at the different options.

Events

That’s a really useful feature for Oracle APEX beginners, because it shows you for the current page the flow of events when a page is processed or rendered. If you check the “View All” radio option it even shows you the events which would fire if you would have defined them. That helps you to identify which event you have to use so that it’s executed at the right time. I think that’s an invaluable feature to get used to the different events of Oracle APEX!

BTW, it also incorporates the events of page 0 and from application level. I’m not sure if that was always the case, but at least in 3.0.1.x everything is included to get a complete picture.

A screen capture of one of the pages of the ApexLib demonstration application showing the different events.

Objects

Need to know which tables, views, packages, … are used/referenced by the current page? That option will show all of them. The function is really clever how it get the effected objects. It’s creating temporary stored procedures for all the code blocks and checks the data dictionary to get the references to the different objects.

Another nice side effect of this function is that you can determine if all your PL/SQL and SQL code is compilable, because it will also show you all the code blocks where a parsing error occurred.

History

Quick info who last modified the page. Very useful in a multi developer environment.

Export

Have you screwed up the page? Use the export page feature in combination with the “As of x minutes ago” feature to get the old version back.

Enhancement request: Why not add an option “Undo” with the “As of x minutes ago” which restores the page to that point in time?

Groups

Are you using the page group feature? If you don’t, you should! Create them with the “Page Groups” link in the “Tasks” sidebar of the overview of all the pages. The assignment is done in the page attributes. But back to that feature. It will allow you to quickly navigate to the other pages which are in the same group!

Referenced

Shows you all objects which are referencing this page. But be aware that it doesn’t show all of them, there seems to be a bug with report column links and it will not show you the reference if you have created a manual link in an HTML region or in a SQL statement.

Last visited pages

The last few entries of the select list contain the last few visited pages for quick navigation.

So what do you think? Have I raise your attention to take a closer look at this feature so that you use it more often in your daily development?

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4 thoughts on “A "hidden" gem of Oracle Application Express

  1. Glad you reminded me of that one. I actually wrote that feature a few years ago when I was on the APEX team, forgot about it, and haven’t used it for at least a year! It is a great view for beginners and one I’ll be sure to point out in future workshops.

  2. Just to clarify, I can only take credit for the “Events” view and the “Export App / Page As of x minutes ago” features. I’m going to mention the export feature in a flashback blog post later this week…it’s all about UNDO_RETENTION!

  3. Hi Jason,

    you are welcome!

    I will add your blog to my APEX blog section as soon as I see some postings. But at least you are already added to my Google Reader :-)

    BTW, go to the OTN APEX Community page to get listed in the blog section.

    Cheers
    Patrick

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