Thursday, 15 April 2010

Apex 4 - Tree vs Component View

The first time I logged into Apex 4 and clicked onto a page of my application to see all my page items in the tree view which I had never seen before live was definitely an experience with such a major change. Having heard of the new tree view but not read any documentation it was very different and took a few minutes to get my head round. I have outlined some of the pro’s and con’s of each view below.

Tree View
Although this is very different once I began to play around with it a little you soon realize it is actually very versatile. The layout once you have worked it out is definitely better. You can customize which elements of the page you want to see at any one time. You can access your report columns directly from the tree, it saves you time digging into the report and then selecting that column. This makes editing the columns much quicker and also easy to see columns in multiple reports at one time.

Another great addition is the ability to right click on anything within your page and get an action menu. From this action menu you have the ability to very easily create computations and validations on page items without having to dig down into multiple menus. The right click is a vast improvement saving you time in a number of areas.

So the bad things about it. It does take you a while to work out where all the page regions are now located. You have to open regions up with plus icon each time, you do have the expand all option but this can make your page rendering section quite long.

Component View

This view is very simple to understand, I think previously using Apex is a big part of the reason however. It’s very simple to edit any items on the page with a single click. All the items on the page are under their individual regions which makes easy viewing. Each region has a plus icon next to its header which allows you to quickly create items to go within that region.

So the cons, you nearly always have to scroll to see the things at the bottom of the page. To edit your report column you first of all have to click on the link for that report and then click the edit Icon to make changes. To copy items also takes 2 clicks to first of all select copy and then choose your item.

Initially I did find the tree view a little more daunting having used Apex in the past and it looking so different. As I’m someone who enjoys playing around with new things I looked on it more as a challenge than a problem as I imagine will most developers. For a new user it won’t make any difference at all as they won’t have used either so will have to learn both views.

I will definitely be using the new tree view as it saves you vast amounts of time with the new right click menu. Your not constantly scrolling from top to the bottom of the page. The layout allows a lot more customization allowing you to view only certain elements of the page.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

My first blog post

Well where do I start. It's been a hectic last 8 months to say the least. I completed my 2nd year in university last June and left to complete a work placement year before I return this September to finish my degree.

I started working with John Scott and Dimitri Gielis from the Apex Evangelists in July 2009. I thought I had a reasonable understanding of Apex and SQL before I started. How wrong was I, I hadn't even touched the surface. Since then I have been working on a number of projects learning a variety of new skills and how to make Apex work for me.

I have learned far to much to write in this post but I will try and blog some of it over the next few months.

One of the most high profile projects I have been working on is the PL/SQL Challenge.

This was an idea thought up by Steven Feuerstein in association with Finn Ellebaek Nielsen. It is set to launch well in a few hours, it has been an ongoing and challenging project putting together the application and all the different elements that were associated with it. It is now ready to go and we are looking forward to the launch.

I advise everyone who knows even the basics of PL/SQL to have a go, test your knowledge and win cash prizes. It's well worth a try.

I'm not going to talk any more now.

I hope to post more in the near future.

You can also catch me presenting at ODTUG this year.