Oracle Application Express is an easy-to-use application development environment built on the Oracle technology stack. There are two aspects of that previous sentence that you may find jarring—that Oracle, a company widely known for its database technology, has an application development environment, and that Oracle, a company thought of as delivering high-end, enterprise-ready technology, has anything that is easy to use.
But, as this book will show, the introductory statement is completely accurate. Oracle Application Express, commonly known as Oracle APEX or simply APEX, does benefit from the long-established enterprise-class robustness that is the hallmark of Oracle technology. The applications you build will be able to support hundreds of users and many terabytes of data, scalability far beyond even the imagination of most other development environments.
This book is aimed at a particular group of users—those who are not familiar with Oracle Application Express. The book assumes that you have a basic knowledge of application development, the type you could get from playing around with a personal database such as Access. In fact, this book was written with an Access developer in mind—an Access developer looking to step up to a more scalable and reliable environment, with reduced maintenance overhead and greater integration between application systems.
This book covers the use of Oracle Application Express. Although the book is based on the 3.5 version, you can use the book with older versions as well. However, since the book will use a hosted version of Oracle Application Express, and since both the Oracle database that support the product and the product itself are available as free downloads from http://otn.oracle.com, you should be able to use the latest version easily.