Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Inspecting Oracle APEX Packaged Applications (Part 1)

Oracle Application Express (APEX) provides a set of built-in Packaged Applications that you can install and use in your environment. There are two types of packaged applications: (1) Sample Applications that highlight certain APEX capabilities such as Charts, Dynamic Actions, and so on; and, (2) Productivity Applications that are fully supported by Oracle as long as you don't unlock them.

With every new release, the APEX Team put a lot of effort upgrading these applications to take advantage of new features introduced on that release. For that reason, every time Oracle releases a new APEX version, I like to spend some time exploring some of these built-in Packaged Applications looking for design and functional ideas that I can use in my own projects. Once I find something I like, it's very simple to inspect how they've done it (if it's one of the Productivity applications, it must be unlocked first before you can inspect it on the Page Designer).

For this article, I'll show the step-by-step on how to implement one design and functionality that caught my attention in the latest APEX 5.1, located on the Customer Tracker application, Page 59 - Customers.

Whether possible, I tried to use declarative methods, e.g. Dynamic Actions instead of writing pure JavaScript code, this way I keep things as simple as possible. This is the print screen of the page I'm referring to:

It has three features that I liked and I will explain each of them on separate posts due to the length of this implementation:
  1. Fixed Page Title with Icon and a Description.

  1. A Classic Report with Cards Template and a Faceted Search Left Side Bar.

  1. "Display As" Pill Button with Three Options: Cards View, Logo View, Report View.

I setup a demo application with the final results, login using the credentials Demo/Demo. You can also go there and copy the script to generate the sample database objects and data If you want to follow along this demo.

Let's start with the fixed page title with icon and a description.
  1. On your Application, create a new page:
    • Select a Page Type: Blank Page
    • Page Number: 4
    • Name: Movies
    • Breadcrumb: - don't use breadcrumbs on page -
  2. On Page 4, create a new region:
    • Title: Movies Report
    • Text: Track and Manage Movies
    • Position: Breadcrumb Bar
    • Template: Hero
    • Icon CSS Classes: fa-film
    • Region Display Selector: No
Optionally, you could use one of the images located on the following directory inside the APEX installation folder: apex\images\apex_ui\img\icons_src\pkg-apps, e.g.
  • Icon CSS Classes: app-script-planner

For this to work, you'll have to go to your application's Shared Components, User Interface Attributes. Select the Desktop interface, under Cascading Style Sheets add the following File URL:

That's it for this part. On the second part with are going to create a classic report using the cards template with a faceted search left side bar.

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