Undocumented new features in Oracle APEX 3.1

The Oracle Application Express (APEX) 3.1 Beta contains a lot more new features than just the Interactive Report Region. Some of the additional features like enhanced wizards, new themes, runtime installation, attachments for mails, … are mentioned in the Evaluation Feedback Application.

But actually there are a lot new properties in the existing features which are “undocumented”….

Ok, I have to confess that they are actually well documented when you click onto the label of the field. But

  1. I needed a good title for the posting 🙂 and
  2. because they are not documented in the Feedback Application, probably a lot of the beta tester missed them because we didn’t expect that the existing features got some tweaking too (without mentioning it).

So here we go with a list of properties/features I found when browsing around on the evaluation instance. Most of the text is from the online help.

Workspace Themes

Workspace themes allow you to add to the theme repository. They are available when you create an application or when you create a theme for an existing application.

You create a workspace theme by selecting a theme from within an application. Once created, it cannot be edited directly. To edit, create an application based off the theme, edit the theme within that application and then you can create a new workspace theme with the updated application theme (and delete the old, if you no longer want it).

Page Item – Display As – Hidden and Protected

Automatically set for all Primary Key columns by the wizard. The value send during a submit is ignored. The field is checksum protected. This will solve some potential attack vectors demonstrated by Anton Nielsen during an “Unconference session” at Oracle Open World.

Region Definition – Region Attributes

Region templates that contain the substitution string #REGION_ATTRIBUTES# will be substituted with this value.

Note to Dietmar: I think that’s something you where always looking for. It allows you to customize your template for a specific region. For example you could write


to set the width. No more special templates for a page, just to be able to set the same width for all regions on the page.

Report Attributes – Report Attributes Substituion

Same as above, just for the Report template.

Report Attributes – Enable Partial Page Refresh

Partial Page rendering for reports doesn’t require a special template (the PPR templates) anymore. It now works with every template.

Report Column Attributes – Include In Export

Use the attribute to define whether this column should be included in a report export, this includes exporting to CSV and printing to PDF, Word or Excel.

Note: That’s new for CSV. For PDF it was available before on the “Print Attributes” tab.

Report Print Attributes – Response Header

The response header is the information, that the server sends back to the browser in response to receiving an HTTP request. The response header contains the date, size and type of file that the server is sending back to the client and also data about the server itself.

The response header can be generated by Application Express based on your report settings or passed through from the print server. If you want to specify file name and content disposition, the response header needs to be based on your report settings.

Report Print Attributes – View File As

Using the View File As attribute, you can instruct the browser to either display a file open / save dialog when clicking on the report download link, or to display the report document inside the browser window. This selection is included in the http header of the document, using the content-disposition attribute.

Report Print Attributes – Print Server Overwrite

The Print Server Overwrite attribute allows configuring an alternative print server. A print server is typically configured centrally for all workspaces under the instance administration. Configuring an alternative print server at the report level allows for easier debugging and diagnosis of potential printing problems and also allows for the use of specific custom built end points to perform custom XSLT transformations.

Report Print Attributes – Total Width

Now showing the total of the column widths. Hurrah! 🙂

Report Print Attributes – Column Width Units

Use the Column Width Units attributes to specify whether the column width values define the width in percent or points.

Report Print Attributes – Recalculate

The Recalculate button recalculates the column widths based on their current values so that the total is below or equal to 100.

Process – Automatic Row …/Multi Row … – Runtime Where Clause

This SQL WHERE clause will be appended to all generated SELECT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements (e.g. DEPTNO = 10). Use this attribute to enhance the security of automatically generated SQL calls.

Page Definition – Include Standard CSS and JavaScript

Oracle Application Express typically requires specific CSS and JavaScript files. For some applications, such as mobile applications, you may wish to suppress the inclusion of these files in the HTML HEADER. Because suppressing the display of these files breaks typical applications, enabling this attribute is only recommended for advanced developers.

Report Queries

The wizard has changed a lot.

The definition page contains the new “View File As” property. You are now also able to derive the “Output Type” from an item.

There is also an export option available where you can download your report query as “XML Data” or as “XML Schema”, so that you are able to test your report with real data.

Have you noticed other new cool features?

Then let me/us know!

9 thoughts on “Undocumented new features in Oracle APEX 3.1

  1. These might be a bit interesting to you.

    [ Custom Item Types 😉 ]

    [ Global Form Arrays work with OnDemand Process’s ]


    [ Just making things easier ]

    Don’t worry about them being doubled up in the source that has been fixed

  2. Hi Patrick, I’m a newbye in the Apex’s world and I’m pürobably gonna develope an application able to manage csv to xml and viceversa application soon so I was looking for methods to translate an XML using Oracle XMLDB and I quite managed to achieve it using plain PL/SQL

    Now I read this one you wrote:

    >”There is also an export option available where you can download your >report query as “XML Data” or as “XML Schema”, so that you are able to >test your report with real data.”

    Does this mean that I can upload test data as XML or that there are XML functions built in Apex?

    Best regards,

  3. Thanks for the great info on APEX 3.1, guys! Do any of you know if the up/down row reorder controls, like the ones used in the Report Attributes.Column Attributes section of the APEX 3.1 development environment, can be implemented in a deployable Apex form/updateable report? It seems like it would qualify as an undocumented feature, if you can actually do this (I haven’t been able to find it.) Thanks!

  4. Hi
    I have a problem in apex
    Please follow the steps
    For example:
    Application 162/page33/under regions click report/column attributes tab/(click edit link image)mgr/message on top of the page  Report attributes updated.
    & If interactive report  Action Processed.

    Now why without change and press apply change page updates?!

  5. Hi
    tnx for guidance
    but I dont lend.pleas explain for me.


  6. Hi,

    With regard to the include in export flag(Yes/No) in the report column attributes :

    1) Is this feature available in interactive reports ?
    I don’t see it but any guidance on how I can not include it in the export ?


  7. Hi ,

    I case of Interactive reports, we can achieve by adding a condition for the report column that needs to be excluded from the csv export :

    condition type : request!=expression
    In expression specify CSV


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