Monday, March 13, 2017

Fixing Skillbuilders Super LOV (v3) in APEX 5.1

We have already migrated some of the existing applications to a new version of Oracle Application Express - 5.1. After few weeks in production I can just it :). But when doing an upgrade there is always a possibility that you will hit some issues. For me one of the issue was Skillbuilders Super LOV (v3), and it looks like I'm not alone (

So what is the issue? 

When you select a value (Super LOV item) and try to save a form then the value is not submitted. Now if you are lucky, then your item is mandatory and you will see the error - end users will tell you right away that something is not working. If your item is not mandatory then you might see this error much later, with complaints that some data is not saved correctly.

Value is selected
After submit, value is cleared and we see an error

After a bit of research I have found a quick fix, that you can use, until the plugin is fixed by original authors. What has to be done is just one small change in plugin's render function. Search in the source for line with disabled="disabled" (should be somewhere in line 157, if you haven't done some changes)

THEN 'disabled="disabled" onfocus="this.blur();"'

and change it to:

THEN 'readonly="readonly" onfocus="this.blur();"'

Notice the change is line 157 and 158

It looks like that something has changed from version 5.0 to 5.1. If you have an item with a property disabled="disabled", then after submitting the page you will not see value for this item.

To test this, I have created an After Submit Process with the code:

apex_debug.error('Value of P2_LOV : %s', :P2_LOV);

I have tried this on version 5.0.4 and 5.1 and after checking the debug there is a clear difference:

Debug in APEX 5.0

Debug in APEX 5.1


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Using APIs to set Application and Build Status in Oracle Application Express 5.1

In Oracle Application Express it is possible to specify application-level attributes: Build Status and Application Status. With Build Status we can prevent that an application is being modified by other developers. With Application Status we can specify whether an application is available or unavailable for use.

Topic of this blog post is not to talk in detail about this two attributes (if you want to know more, then check the official documentation), but to mention how we can use APIs to manage this attributes in Oracle Application Express 5.1

Build Status

For setting build status we can use the following procedure:

     p_application_id IN NUMBER,
     p_build_status IN VARCHAR2);

For p_build_status we can specify RUN_ONLY  and RUN_AND_BUILD.  More details about this API can be found here.

Application Status

For changing the status of the application, we can use the following procedure:

        p_application_id IN NUMBER,
        p_application_status IN VARCHAR2,
        p_unavailable_value IN VARCHAR2,
        p_restricted_user_list IN VARCHAR2); 

I don't want to do a copy/paste from the official documentation, so please check this link for parameters description and examples. 


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Look & Feel for Radio Group in Oracle Application Express 5.1

With Oracle Application Express version 5.1 we are getting lots of new features. Among most notable or exposed are for sure Interactive Grids, JET Charts and Live Template Options. But we can also find some smaller (and really nice) enhancements. One of this is new look and feel of Radio Group item. We can spot this for example when we use Create New Page wizard in Page Designer:

So what do we need to do, if we want to have this look and feel in our applications. Just adding combo box item to our page is not enough, it will have the same effect as in version 5.0. It will look like this :

Basically we need to change three things.

  • Number of Columns: should match number of elements in group or you can also set it to some bigger value (for example 100)
  • Display Null Value: NO 

  • Template Option -> Region Group Display: Display as Pill Button

After this three small changes we now have new look and feel for our radio group:

For me personally the same page looks much nicer now. And if you want, you can also try all the other template options (do it with Live Template Options, so that you see the effect on the fly) for radio group item and tweak the look and feel even further.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Change image prefix when using ORDS in standalone mode

In Oracle Application Express we can specify instance wide image prefix ( we provide this when installing APEX or later if we run apex/utilities/reset_image_prefix.sql ). Purpose of this blog post in not to explain what image prefix is, but if you would like to know more about it, then I recommend that you read a blog post from Joel Kallman - Image Prefix changes in Oracle Application Express 4.2.2

My blog post is about what we need to do, if we are changing image prefix and at the same time we are using Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) in standalone mode. If we need to change image prefix, first thing is to run apex/utilities/reset_image_prefix.sql script and here we specify new image prefix - for example /i_test/

After this change when accessing APEX login page we will see this warning:

I find this warning very useful. It's telling us that we have to verify that we have copied images directory to right location and also that our new path is /i_test/. In case when we are using ORDS in standalone mode there is no need to copy anything, but we need to adjust standalone.static.context.path parameter in ORDS configuration file.

After this change, do a restart of ORDS and that is it.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Application authorization scheme

When building an application in Oracle Application Express, we can restrict access to pages, regions, buttons, items,... by using Authorization Schemes. In this blog post I will focus on applying scheme to (all) pages.

For example, I can create a simple scheme, which will just check if I am a valid user:

After that, I can go to a page in my application and I can apply this scheme:

If I log into the application with user that is not ALJAZ and I go to the page with this scheme, I will see following message:

In general, if we want that our application is secure, then we should apply authorization scheme to all pages. Normally our application starts with just a few pages, but in time it will just grow. And sometimes, it can happen that we forget to add authorization scheme to newly created pages. By doing that, every user that can log in in the application has access to this pages. But at least users must still login to access this pages, right? What about if we are using Single Sign On to allow access to our applications? In this case, once I'm logged in (and authenticated) into my company's network, I have access to all unprotected pages in all APEX applications.

We can agree that it is a good idea to check our applications, if there are unprotected pages. To do that, we can simply use Advisor Utility and it will check this (among many other useful checks). For example in my demo application page 1 is unprotected and I can see this result:

One option that we have is that we go to all those pages and we apply authorization scheme. But this still does not solves the original problem - that we might forget to apply scheme on newly created pages. But there is one really nice feature/setting in APEX that will solve exactly this problem - Application Authorization Scheme. We can find this setting, if we to Edit Application Security Attributes ( Edit Application / Security Tab )

By setting Application Authorization Scheme, we are applying this scheme to all unprotected pages in our application (if page all ready has an authorization scheme, then scheme on a page will be used). Additional setting that we can specify, is if this scheme is also applied on public pages. 

In this way even when we create new pages, this pages are protected.