I’ve noticed that Application Express sometimes seems a bit ‘lacking’ in the kind of 3rd party plugins and libraries that you can use to extend and improve the original product, I’m not entirely sure why this is when you compare it against the sort of community development going on with Ruby On Rails and some other development environments.
There are packaged applications you can download from the Oracle OTN, however there don’t seem to be that many independent applications, frameworks or libraries available out there at the moment, perhaps people are doing lots of development on their own and can’t/won’t share their code?
However, there are two people out there who have done some great work that you can incorporate into your APEX applications, the first is Patrick Wolf who is developing the ApexLib Framework which includes a whole host of features (too many to list here!) which can make your life easier when working with APEX applications, you can also view an online demo which shows off some of the features. I find this sort of framework very exciting and interesting and I’m sure if more people shared the work they were doing then it would help all of us in the long run. Thanks Patrick!
The second thing that has caught my eye lately is the work done by Denes Kubicek in providing a framework which allows you to incorporate Maani Flash Charts inside APEX easily. Denes has written some packaged functions which simplify working with the Maani flash components and has also provided an online demo which shows how it works.
By all accounts Application Express 3.0 is expected to include significant enhancements to the standard charting, including native flash charts, however there will undoubtedly be many people who won’t be able to upgrade to the latest version of APEX immediately (I’m aware of quite a few sites out there still running APEX 1.6) so the work Denes has done will help those people immensely.
I think it’s great that the APEX community is doing work like this, long may it continue!