Tuesday, March 11, 2008

APEX: Big Buzz for a Little Tool

Every time I turn around I find someone looking for help with their project to promote Oracle Application Express (APEX). First there was a podcast, then another podcast by a friend in product marketing, then David Kelly’s magazine article, then a flash demo with David Peake (who's blog is a great entry point into the blogesphere on APEX). Why all this attention to a small time tool in the database for writing simple Web applications?

A couple of reasons:

First there is a new release, APEX 3.1, about which Scott Spendolini has begun blogging. Scott was on the team that wrote HTML DB, the predecessor to APEX, and told me once that his team wasn’t sure if their product would ever find its way into Oracle’s product mix. Once APEX was live and customers started discovering the cool workflow and inventory apps they could throw together using this tool, it found a loyal fan base. (Scott eventually left Oracle and started this company building apps for departments and small companies using APEX.)

That brings us to the other reason for the all the attention to APEX. Oracle wants to stop the baffling practice by its enterprise customers of licensing an Oracle Database for its mission critical work and then licensing a competitors database for smaller departmental needs. With the new release and the accompanying buzz, Oracle is simply asking its customers, “why spend money on a less secure and scalable database when the best tool for your needs is in the database you already own?”

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