Oracle Application Express (APEX) 21.1 is now generally available!
Oracle APEX is the world’s most popular low-code platform for enterprise apps and enables you to build scalable, secure apps, with world-class features, that can be deployed anywhere.
This release of APEX introduces a brand-new Maps component, Application Data Loading, support for Calendars and Maps with Faceted Search, and several major enhancements to REST Data Sources, Reporting, Security, Universal Theme, Theme Roller, and a far superior developer experience.
In addition, we are also announcing the APEX GitHub repository where you will find starter apps, sample apps, and plug-ins that you can try, learn from, use, and experiment with in Oracle APEX!
Some of the major improvements in Oracle APEX 21.1 include:
Displaying spatial data within your APEX apps has never been easier. The all-new native Map component allows you to add powerful, feature-rich, and interactive maps to your APEX apps within minutes. They are powered by Oracle eLocation Service so it is ready to use, no API Key required!
- Oracle Spatial Support
GeoJSON, simple numeric columns, or columns of the SDO_GEOMETRY type can be mapped with ease. Also leverage Oracle Spatial features such as Spatial SQL functions, indexing, coordinate transformations, and much more.
- Fully Customizable
You can easily customize the look and feel of your maps, use the built-in color schemes for thematic visualizations and heat maps, and select from a variety of built-in SVG shapes and marker icons to make your maps shine.
Application Data Loading
You can easily add data import capabilities to allow users to upload CSV, XLSX, XML, and JSON data formats to your applications with the new Data Loading process.
- Easy to use
Data loading is as simple as selecting a file to upload, viewing a preview of the data, and then loading it in.
- Powerful Capabilities
Data Loading can be configured to append, replace, or merge data, perform data conversions using transformation rules and lookup queries, and even load data into tables or collections.
- Advanced Column Mapping
Vastly improved the end-user data loading experience by using simple names or regular expressions to pre-assign column mappings.
- Data Loading API
The new apex_data_loading API provides you with all the hooks needed to handle custom Data Load processing.
Faceted Search Enhancements
Faceted search now supports Maps and Calendar region types, and provides additional end-user flexibility for showing or hiding facets, enabling you to easily hide advanced or rarely used facets that can be made available on demand.
- Show or Hide Facets
Facets now support Display Toggling, allowing users to easily show or hide facets. Facets that are hidden will not be counted and do not have a performance impact.
- Maps and Calendar Support
Your faceted search now supports Calendar and Map regions.
UI and Theme Roller Updates
Take greater control over your application’s user interface with the new icons in Font APEX, modernized CSS in Universal Theme, performance improvements, and more.
- Font APEX 2.2
There are 95 new icons to pick, including several icons for medical apps, several map markers, new file types.
- Universal Theme CSS Modernization
The style sheets have been completely refactored and now use CSS variables, grid layout, flexbox, among other things, to provide a more modern and robust user interface.
- Improved Performance
We have updated Universal Theme to rely less upon JS for layout, and have also reduced the CSS file sizes for Universal Theme by 15%, to help with page load and rendering performance.
- Refreshed Redwood Light Theme Style
Redwood Light has been updated to even closer align with Oracle’s Redwood Design System, and now supports customization options using Theme Roller.
- Row and Theme Style CSS Classes
You can now define CSS classes for Grid Rows and Theme Styles to provide additional flexibility for creating complex page layouts.
Improvements to REST Data Sources
- CSV Data Support
You can now define REST Data Sources based on CSV data, enabling you to treat any CSV file on the web as if it were a table. Build reports or charts directly on the REST Data Source, or use the Synchronization feature to schedule data loading to a local table.
- REST Data Source Conversions
Similar to Data Loading, REST Data Sources now supports a number of built-in data conversions, including converting to upper or lower case, trimming whitespace, or fetching a lookup value from another table. This enables you to prepare your REST Data Source for easy consumption within your APEX application.
Native Markdown Support
Markdown support has been vastly improved in this release, including a new PL/SQL Markdown parser, and enhancements to display markdown formatted content in items and columns.
- PL/SQL Markdown API
The new apex_markdown API enables you to easily convert Markdown shorthand to HTML.
- Markdown Formatted Items
The Display Only item type now supports a new Format setting to display formatted Markdown content.
- Markdown Formatted Columns
The Markdown column type has been renamed to Rich Text and is now available in both Interactive and Classic Reports.
New Date Picker Item Type
The Date Picker item has been completely revamped and supports additional display modes, time selection, dynamic minimum and maximum date ranges, and several user experiences and accessibility improvements.
- Different display modes
Supported display modes are JET-based Popup, Inline, and Native HTML. All display modes support both Date, and Date and Time.
- Show Time Attribute
Time is enabled through a new dedicated attribute ‘Show Time’.
- Dynamic Minimum and Maximum dates
The New Date Picker item is able to define date ranges between items (e.g., ‘From’ and ‘To’).
- Improved UX
Improved UX on year and month selection, additional appearance options (e.g., ‘Show Week’ and ‘Days Outside Month’), and a few other new attributes.
- Escape Special Characters in Application Items
There is now an attribute for Application Items that allows you to escape special characters. This setting is applied when accessing application items via substitution syntax.
- Referrer-Policy HTTP Header
APEX now sends a default Referrer-Policy HTTP header so session IDs are no longer sent with the Referrer header on external links.
- Markdown Format Default for Rich Text Editor
The Rich Text Editor now defaults to output in Markdown format to provide the best out-of-the-box security.
- Maximum Session Idle Timeout
The maximum session idle timeout has been increased from 12 hours to 24 hours.
- Import Application Exports as ZIP
You can now import zip files of application exports, including zips of applications split using the APEXExport utility.
- SQL Workshop Enhancements
SQL Workshop now includes a new Create Spatial Index wizard.
- Application and Page Checksums
You can now find application and page checksums for easy comparisons across different environments.
- Code Editor Improvements
There are numerous improvements to the code editor within the App Builder, including toggling between upper and lower case using Ctrl-Alt-C, marking of non-existent page items, and several additional editor options for Minimap, Show Suggestions, Show Line Numbers, Show Whitespace, Accessibility Mode, and more.
- Lazy Loading
Classic and Interactive Reports now support Lazy Loading, where report data is not loaded until the page has been rendered, or the current tab has been activated. Enabling the Lazy Loading toggle improves initial page load speed, primarily for pages containing reports with long-running queries.
- Report Printing in Arabic and Hebrew
Report printing supports complex text layout languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic, when exporting to PDF.
- Variable Height Rows in Interactive Grids
Interactive Grids now support variable height rows by setting the ‘Appearance: Fixed Row Height’ property to Off.
- Dynamic Action Enhancements
You can now define Client-Side Conditions, Server-Side Conditions, Authorizations, and Build Options for Actions of Dynamic Actions.
- Improved Number Field Page Item Type
The Number Field page item type now does automatic formatting according to its format mask and client-side validation.
- Updated Color Picker Page Item Type
The Color Picker page item type has been updated to utilize the Oracle JET Color Spectrum component and contains new functionality for different display modes, color presets, contrast checking, and multiple value return formats (HEX, RGB/RGBA, HSL/HSLA, or any CSS color value).
- Client-side Validation Improvements
The client-side validation messaging is more consistent with server validation messaging, and no longer displays the error pop-up.
- APEX API Enhancements
There’s now GeoJSON and SDO_GEOMETRY support in the APEX_JSON and APEX_EXEC packages.
As in every APEX release, numerous bugs have been fixed in APEX 21.1, resulting in even higher quality and stability for APEX environments.
For more information about many of the other exciting new features in APEX 21.1, please see the Release Notes or visit the What’s New page.