The start of the end for Apex 4.2

In October 2017 (just 3 months’ time), Premier Support for Oracle Application Express 4.2 will end. This ultimately marks the end of the APEX 4 era and coincides with the fifth anniversary of the 4.2 launch.

A lot has changed in those 5 years: we have had two more major versions of APEX – with the latest being APEX 5.1.2. In addition, browsers have come on a long way too. I use Chrome for everyday development; for me it is quicker than other browsers, the developer tools are exceptional and I like the array of extensions available which makes development that much easier.

After re-reading the 4.2 release notes it states that Chrome 21 and above is supported; however, this week whilst working on a customer’s 4.2 application, I have noticed that compatibility with Chrome 60 is not 100% anymore.

Yep, I am using Chrome 60, which is 39 versions higher then when APEX 4.2 was launched.

The problems occur when I click the Apply Changes on a Page Template

The issue is related to increased security in the Chrome browser. A Page Template typically contains many snippets of JS, HTML & CSS code – therefore Chrome has detected “unusual code” in the way the APEX 4.2 page is rendered and decided to block the page submit. There is a thread on the subject here.

For completeness, I tried the same thing with APEX 5.1 and it worked correctly. This is expected as Oracle APEX 5.1 supports the current and prior major release of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.

I now have to switch browsers to work on Page Templates in APEX 4.2; however, I do wonder at what point other browsers will “catch-up”, it will then become very difficult to work on APEX 4.2 page templates.

Chrome dominates the browser market share – therefore with so many developers potentially affected, I also wonder what other area Google will modify its engine further, which impacts further on older versions of APEX.

Browser dependency is already a big deal for Oracle Forms deployments whereby the JAVA NPAPI plugin Oracle Forms relies on can no longer be deployed in Chrome. Firefox also ended their NPAPI support in version 52 (two versions ago at time of writing). Explorer have consolidated the issues with Oracle Forms in a two-part blog here and here which, if you are currently using Oracle Forms, it is an essential read. Explorer are seeing more and more businesses moving away from Oracle Forms and we are redeveloping their applications in APEX – just read our case studies.

Luckily, for our client on APEX 4.2 – they will be upgrading to APEX 5.1 in the coming months and this will be one of many application upgrades performed by Explorer.
Most of the time upgrading to APEX 5.1 using the applications “legacy” theme works very well with only minor changes required. This application is no different with some minor layout issues to resolve on a single page.

Bear in mind that using a legacy theme will not give the users the makeover they are expecting – remember a lot has changes from the “Productivity Applications -26” theme. Noticeably the introduction of Shakeeb and the Universal Theme 42.

Moving to the Universal theme not only gives a modern, responsive and accessible interface to your application but also gives developers modal dialogs and live template options – more power to the users.

APEX 5.1 is also a perfect fit for the Oracle Cloud. You will be on a supported platform, using the latest, fasted and greatest version of APEX. Premier Support for APEX 5.1 extends until Dec 2021 so for now, there is plenty of years ahead.

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About the Author

Matt Mulvaney

Senior Oracle APEX Development Consultant

Explorer (UK) Ltd – Oracle awarding winning Platinum Partner and UKOUG Database Partner of the year 2015

Matt is an experienced APEX solution designer having designed numerous complex systems using a broad range of Oracle Technologies. Building on his previous experience of Oracle Forms & PL/SQL, he is entirely focused on providing functionally rich APEX solutions. Matt promotes APEX as a software platform and openly shares best practises, techniques & approaches. Matt has a passion for excellence and enjoys producing high quality software solutions which provide a real business benefit.

APEX, Blog, Cloud, Oracle Forms / upgrade

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