Traditionally EBS-extensions are built in tools like Oracle Forms, Reports and BI Publisher. Most E-Business developers master these traditional skills (e.g. PL/SQL, workflow).
Oracle now propagates a shift towards Java (Oracle Applications Framework (OAF) and Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF)), however this requires to refocus of the current E-Business developers toward java development (object orientated). If the developer’s background are the basic Oracle skills (SQL and PL/SQL and even Oracle Forms), then APEX is the perfect tool to web-enable your skills. No Java knowledge needed.
At the moment alternatives like APEX are not widely used in the E-Business area. Maybe due to the following reasons:
- E-Business customers are not yet aware of the possibilities of APEX within E-Business;
- E-Business customers are not yet aware of the lower costs of APEX development in e-business;
- E-Business customers are not yet aware that the tool is free as it comes pre-installed with Oracle XE and 11g;
- APEX consultancy companies do not have the E-Business knowledge.
Since the very beginning we, at iAdvise, believed in the possibilities of APEX as a valid “alternative” platform for building cost-effective, open, reliable E-Business customizations and extensions.
We think of different use-cases where APEX can be used for custom development:
- Custom data collection, for which today Excel is often used
- Building New applications, in support of business processes not covered by standard APPS
- Reporting and data analysis, when necessary with real time access to EBS data
- Modernization of custom Oracle Forms applications
Already in 2008 we did a modernization exercise for existing APPs functionality. The customer wanted a more efficient way for manually introducing invoices in the system. We developed a small Quick Entry application, in APEX 3.0. Via a small wizard, the user can enter the necessary data. Following screenshot shows Step 2 of the wizard where one or more order lines could be defined.
When pressing Finish at the last step, the newly created invoice is added in the APPs tables via the standard APIs. We have also foreseen the possibility to switch to the ‘Open Interface (OI)’ mode: instead of using the APIs, the data is in inserted in the available Open Interface tables.
Since last year, Oracle also officially declared APEX as a valid tool to extend Oracle APPs by publishing the already famous white paper that gives a very good explanation how you can integrate both environments.
In the BeNeLux the interest is growing for this combination. Therefor we are happy with the OBUG initiative to organize on the 15th of February an APEX-EBS combi-SIG. You can subscribe for this event via the OBUG site.
We will be there !