Monthly Archives: December 2017

The new Excel-killer from Oracle

For a long time, APEX was Oracle’s Excel-killer. With the ability to upload a CSV file and create a matching table and then build an application on top of that, this was the easiest way to convert a spreadsheet into a secure multi-user application.

Visual Builder Cloud Service (VBCS) has now appeared as a serious challenger, offering some improvements over the way APEX handes Excel files. For example, the December 2017 version of VBCS has the ability to import Excel files directly without having to turn them into CSV files first. Separate worksheets in the Excel files become separate business objects. During the import, you can also define reference relationship for lookup values. This allows you to upload an Excel file with one master worksheet and a number of value lists as separate sheets, and produce a business object with all lookups in one operation.

Creating lookups

(image from Oracle VBCS documentation)

VBCS is one of Oracle’s cloud-native applications, so it only runs in the cloud and requires a subscription. But if that is not a problem for you, I encourage you to take a look. If you are already using VBCS, I’d love to hear from you.

 

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How cool is Oracle?

In my short DOAG video, I opined that the APEX community wants to be cool. Many APEX developers took umbrage at that.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be cool. But as Oracle developers, we must realize we start at minus 10 on the coolness scale.

Oracle has never been a first mover in development tools, and have never made any serious effort to promote their tools. That’s a major reason why Oracle is seen as uncool in the wider developer community.

However, using cool tools is beside the point. Being an Oracle developer is about solving a real business problem in the fastest possible way. Historically, we used Oracle Forms for that. Today, many use APEX. Some use Oracle ADF, and some are starting to use Oracle JET.

What I like about the Oracle community is the focus on solving real problems, even with “uncool” tools. And that is cool.

 

This post originally appeared in the Oracle Tool Watch newsletter. Sign up to receive a free copy of my whitepaper “What Oracle is Doing Wrong (and Right) in the Cloud“.