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Members of the Traust team enthusiastically attended ODTUG Kscope 2022 held June 19–23 in Grapevine, TX — the first one to be hosted in-person since 2019. ODTUG Kscope bills itself as “the premier educational conference for Oracle technology users,” and it attracts Oracle experts from all over the globe. No other conference in the Oracle world features as much development-specific training and content, including case studies, lessons learned, and hundreds of opportunities to discover new development techniques. ODTUG Kscope offers a dynamic experience, with over 200 technical sessions, hands-on training, all-day symposiums, and networking with Oracle experts.

While Kscope 2022 offered tracks on Oracle Core & Database, Oracle EPM-Hyperion, and Oracle Analytics, our team was primarily focused on the Oracle APEX sessions. Here at Traust, we’re passionate Oracle APEX developers, using it to build enterprise applications for clients in manufacturing, logistics, life sciences, and higher education. So we were excited to see that Oracle is continuing to invest in the APEX framework, and the features roadmap continues to push the solution to a point where it is highly competitive with the industry leaders.

In fact, our key takeaway from Kscope 2022 is that while APEX is typically portrayed as a low-code platform, that’s probably not the best way to think about it. The phrase “low-code” often implies limited functionality that even non-developers can access. Users of typical low-code platforms can collect data via forms, build out workflows, and produce a handful of pre-built reports. These are all good things, but low-code platforms are not normally able to go beyond this limited functionality.

It’s better to think of Oracle APEX, however, as a rapid development framework. Developers using APEX need a firm understanding of relational database concepts and Oracle’s PL/SQL language. When working in APEX, they can use complex code as needed to achieve their desired results. APEX just makes it much easier and quicker to do so. In fact, a recent study from Pique Solutions suggests that Oracle APEX can help developers build applications 38x faster than with JavaScript frameworks.

As highlighted at Kscope 2022, the declarative tools within APEX (i.e., the low-code platform) can be used to build forms, pages, reports, and custom workflows. This includes standard data tables, but also interactive reports, card-based layouts, faceted search, a variety of charts and graphs, and even multi-layer maps.

At the same time, developers can also connect to any number of highly-complex database and REST resources and use custom PL/SQL queries to manage that data. Developers can use dynamic actions to implement a wide variety of automations, such as scheduled code execution or actions in response to client-side behavior. APEX can even connect to pre-trained machine learning (ML) sources via REST to create predictive models and smart data extractions. And all of this functionality can be wrapped into Progressive Web Apps (PWA) that can function natively on both desktop and mobile devices.

For developers looking to further increase their efficiency and capabilities, even more customization can be unlocked using a variety of developer tools. Kscope 2022 featured a number of sessions on the numerous plugins and options built by the dedicated Oracle APEX community.

And if that wasn’t enough to get you excited, Kscope 2022 also featured the amazing Emerald City Band at Wednesday’s Silver Anniversary Party!

The COVID-19 pandemic has further solidified the use cases and benefit of leveraging rapid development tools like Oracle APEX as a base framework for custom application development. Further, Oracle is ramping up efforts to raise awareness of APEX and how it can be used to help clients achieve their digital transformation goals. As a direct result, the APEX team has grown by 3x since 2018. After an amazing week in Dallas with our fellow coding geeks, the Traust team is confident that APEX will continue to be a great development platform for the foreseeable future. We also believe it will grow to be a requested technology stack among our customer base — even over solutions like React and Power Apps.