Part 1: The Future of -

Part 1: The Future of -

...and why we almost shut it down


11 min read

Hey guys,

My first blog post and probably not the last (I'm planning a review of every new APEX release and try to give my honest opinion as a first-time customer while being as fair as possible).

And for Daniel: Yes the second part is also part of this blog, you just need to scroll ๐Ÿ˜œ

In the last weeks, we were in the process of deciding if we still want to continue with - let me explain later why we struggled - but just as we all said: YES (but then we need to make great again) it crashed (XE limits).

We saw it as a good message because we were forced to literally start from scratch: new Server, new DB, new ORDS, new Everything. With the support from Daniel and Connor, Maxime brought everything back within 12 hours. It felt like "The Rise of the Phoenix from the Ashes." And with this spirit, we started to work on a new version since then.

This is what we plan to deliver in the next release:

  • First of all, we refactored the code. We built on APEX 5.0 more than 8 years ago, and now we use built-in features of the current APEX version, building a strong fundament for future updates.

  • Based on the new components there will be a facelift, making even more readable. I often hear, can't you make fancier and colorful? Yes we could, but we won't. It's not about the site itself, it's all about the content. You wouldn't like if your newspaper had colourful background images and colourful brand names. This would distract you from focusing on the content. So our goal is to get the UI for out of the way as much as possible in order for you to focus on the content. It's a little bit like dark mode. If you want to learn more about that, here is my video of how to become an APEX UX Designer within an hour.

  • We paid for the X (formerly Twitter) API and you will get the X-Lane back (without you logging in with your own account there). Here you get curated APEX tweets only, no spam, and no excessive marketing in a new Template Component, consistent with the other lanes which are also Template Components now.

  • Thanks to Martin, we also get REST access to the Oracle APEX forum. We all know Martin is a brilliant back-end developer, so we took the freedom to adjust the front end ๐Ÿ˜œ.

  • Thanks to Vincent and Jayson we also have REST access to the APEX Ideas App. For your convenience, we adopted their UI, we think it's easier for you to recognise it then. It's all about grabbing the content as fast as possible ๐Ÿ˜‰.

  • We are also planning a Subscription Model. For $1 a month, you become an subscriber / sponsor. You will get exclusive features and a nice badge. The whole idea behind this is, that we want to cover our operating costs and also give you the opportunity to become something like a shareholder. It was and is a community effort after all. Without you, there is no content to publish.

    For a start, subscribers can subscribe to email notifications for certain types of news. A certain category e. g. Plug-ins or a job posting in your country or city. Push Notifications. You will get a separate email address to contact us regarding changes and support (but let me be clear, we are not Oracle, we don't answer APEX questions. Use the forum or our Slack workspace or

    Another subscriber feature will be a subscription to a monthly Newsletter and an automatic refresh of the home page every x seconds. Besides of the last feature (to restrict traffic #ConnectionPool) every old feature will stay for free forever.

    All the new features coming in the future will probably be subscribers only.

  • We are also planning a "One more Thing" for another tier, the "Premium Subscribers", $2 a month. We are building " AI", based on chatGPT 4 turbo with a specialised bot that answers all kinds of APEX questions. We think is the right place for that and we welcome the challenge to make this work. For that feature, we are open to help from your side. For example, Wolf Beckmann from "Team" is helping us and Sunil is providing us with the right documentation knowledge of all AOx products. So If you have any experience in this area and want to support our effort or contribute your data, feel free to contact any of us who is closest to you.

  • Besides myself, you can contact:

We are planning the new release by April 2024 for Alpe APEX Adria and APEX Connect. "Safe Harbor" (I always wanted to say that - it makes you feel important ๐Ÿ˜…)

Part 2: Why did we want to quit?

Before I start to moan, let me clarify that all I'm saying is not just one old white guy shouting at a cloud (sorry Stefan ๐Ÿ˜Š) but 100% of the "old" community developers I'm still in contact with are confirming my views, maybe not publicly - out of various reasons - but that's good enough for me.

Let me start that there have been also improvements over the last few years too. The homepage has become very professional. I think the product managers doing a great promoting job. Good, free training is available. Lots of demo and sample apps. Remember the " On Air shows"? They have been replaced by regular Office Hours ๐Ÿ‘.

There is a reason that APEX is by far #1 in this huge "Low Code market":

Mike invented the Burger, Joel made McDonald's out of it and we lived from Burgers ever since, asking everybody why are you still spending hours in preparing meals that mostly burn in the end anyway and are hard to digest?

It was one happy family. We had direct access to the chefs and basically everything we wanted to add to our "Happy Meal" was delivered as soon as possible with a little extra. A perfect and crazy successful symbiosis.

It all came to an abrupt halt when Joel decided to move on and Larry finally realised what we tried to tell him for 20 years ๐Ÿ˜‰.

But still I don't understand why this unprecedented successful and envied customer relationship not only ended but got kind of reversed. I'm completely open to any conspiracy theory. Don't hold back, I can take a lot after 3+ years of COVID and what really happened behind the scenes. So it bothers me much more that I don't understand the 360-degree change in behaviour than the actual consequences. After all, I'm still a developer and I can't really have a good night's sleep if I don't understand the source of a bug ๐Ÿ˜Š.

The team grew literally by a magnitude and we hoped for even more output. But it didn't come. Then we were told next release, it takes time to integrate the new staff, but even 2 years later, I am not just seeing an inadequate output but what we get is 90% stuff we never asked for and would probably never use, while at the same time no brainer features we asked through various channels for years are suddenly completely ignored. When you see the new features you would think, hey we have 100% customer satisfaction. We actually have to invent something fancy ourselves because everybody is totally happy ๐Ÿ’….

What about the amazing FOS Plug-ins? 25 I guess. Every single one of them was exactly what we needed for many years and basically a slap in the face. Now a year later after you bought the whole company and the IP we get exactly how many of them in the product? Yes ZERO! Are you kidding me? This would have pushed APEX from version 23.2 to 30.1 ๐Ÿ˜‰. Oh wait, there is this new image upload ๐Ÿ‘? Oh yes, it only has half of the functionality of the former FOEX Plug-in, no annotations, etc. and yes it was not used at all, it is a new implementation ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ. So the whole FOEX merger turned out to be a huge loss for us the real customers. By now we would have at least another 10 amazing and free FOS Plug-ins. Well crafted, tested, documented and even supported.

And I don't see any reason at all, why not satisfying Larry and Gartner with "Checkbox-Features" while keeping the real customers happy by implementing their little reasonable no-brainer requests ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ?

Please somebody tell me that there is a dark conspiracy going on ๐Ÿฅน.

Besides the quality of many components is often beta status and there is no common UX design. It looks like every developer can come up with his own ideas. For me, it's totally clear if you just hire offence football player and have basically your defence outsourced in a different country who don't even know the game ๐Ÿ˜”.

If it were my company, instead of hiring 100 developers, I would have hired 80 developers and 20 high-class testing people who are part of the team and part of every dev meeting, responsible for the quality with an attractive commission if the quality goes up.

Remember the old "Request App" aka. "The Graveyard"? It got replaced with a new Graveyard with a much better UI ๐Ÿ™„. The ideas went up to 1200. A hundred of them have been from me. So I really tried, but after 1,5 years of total ignorance and then automatic closing, I gave up. They simply don't want to know ๐Ÿ˜”.

It's great that obviously Vincent had mercy with us and took over and brought it down to almost 100. Huge effort ๐Ÿ‘ but this can't be a "one guy has mercy decision". Customer relationship has to be at the centre of every company. In my 35 IT years, I have never experienced that any request has been completely ignored and then automatically closed. That's a slap in your face and I would never buy from such a company ever again, would you?

And it's not good enough to let people vote for some ideas, it's not a popularity contest. There are parts of APEX that have been bleeding for years. You shouldn't have to have enough votes to dress these wounds. Don't choose some arbitrary ideas and use them as a fig leave to say "see we hear you, we implemented 10 of your ideas". Fine but we would have needed the other 10 ๐Ÿ˜‰. Talk to us, listen to us!

I remember that Shakeeb announced an Advisory Board in some Office Hour almost 2 years ago? It seems it was fake news. There is no way that you still know what we really need without talking to us. If you are not at the front in an Oracle hostile environment (thanks to the stupid and still arrogant Oracle sales), fighting every day with APEX against stupid political decisions and "preferred implementation tools" you simply can't know what we really need. If you are out just for one year, you lose it and you become operationally blind. I would lose it and a lot of you have never been to the front ever. You may think you know but you don't - trust me. And no, implementing apps in the company you created the tool does not count. A military training maneuver has nothing to do with a real war, it's just a game, no casualties.

If it were my company, easy fix. Let's talk to the real customers just once a month. Martin would be a perfect moderator, he was one of us, he can talk, he knows what to say and what not to say. 10 people from the old community who are still actively fighting. 90 minutes a month, problem solved. But wait, then you actually need to still care right, sorry forgot that ๐Ÿ˜‰.

The last meeting I had with Joel he said: "Well the new popularity of APEX is a double-edged sword". Looks like it is used with the wrong side.

And since APEX is the hottest thing now inside Oracle, this does not only attract "good people" like it was in the old days ๐Ÿ˜‰. Now there will be career-obsessed "managers" who don't care about APEX at all but use it for their personal career steps, even if they hurt the product. That is happening everywhere, APEX won't be an exception there especially now.

If there is no strong counter-movement from the inside - which I don't see at all - the APEX we all knew and loved is lost in my opinion. You may not see it yet, because you are still drunk by the sudden "success". But once you have sold your values and standards and acting naively like everything is fine, it's a decline from there and soon you will hit the point of no return. I will never understand, why this is happening right before all our eyes and nobody seems to care? But at least this is congruent with all topics happening in the world right now.

Now you may understand, why we wanted to quit If they don't care anymore, why should we and spend our free time to even support this?

But the day before we wanted to decide - and we all knew internally this will end in a "call it a day" - I listened to a webinar from Jon Dixon. I was so impressed by his preparation and due diligence to cover this topic 100% from all angles that I realised, that there is still the old spirit out there. This was my personal tipping point not to fight for APEX anymore but for the spirit we all had the privilege to experience in the purest form by Joel

... it's with my faith that I view every person as having infinite value...