Build Applications Faster with Low Code - Full Event

Build Applications Faster with Low Code - Full Event

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[MUSIC PLAYING] JOEL KALLMAN: Hi, my name is Joel Kallman. And I'm senior director of software development for Oracle Application Express or APEX. Welcome to today's virtual summit, building applications faster with low code.

Here's what we'll cover today. In just a few minutes, you'll hear from Mike Hichwa, Senior Vice President for Oracle Database tools. Mike will interview Forrester analyst John Bratincevic about the trends in low code. Mike will then share Oracle's vision for application development and some of the challenges our customers face. He'll then describe the new capabilities we've recently announced to help our customers succeed. Then you'll hear some compelling stories that describe how APEX helps our customers meet their business objectives.

And you'll also hear from an Oracle partner how APEX helps them meet their customers' needs. I'll be back later in the program to provide you with a deeper look at APEX, which includes some common use cases, competitive advantages. And I'll also illustrate how APEX can help you respond quickly to ever changing business needs.

Later, I'll share a short demonstration of APEX and provide you with the next steps to help you get started with Oracle APEX. Next up is Mike Hichwa's interview with John Bratincevic from Forrester. [MUSIC PLAYING] MICHAEL HICHWA: Hi, this is Mike Hichwa from Oracle. And I'm joined today with John Bratincevic from Forrester. And we're here today to talk about low code. So we're going to dive right in.

And John, I know that Forrester coined the term low code. And I know that you cover this area very closely. And I'd like to know from your perspective, what do you think is driving the recent interest in adoption and just a lot of companies looking at low code and what problems are they trying to solve and what is causing all the excitement? JOHN BRATINCEVIC: COVID really concentrated the interest in low code.

Overnight, when people have to start working remotely, all the paper and spreadsheets that run a lot of businesses are broke. And there are a lot of new application needs that couldn't be met. Any other way than low code really like you needed a way to build and deploy this stuff quickly. And low code kind of really had its day quite dramatically. But I mean, the market's been kind of building up to this and primed for years, but just kind of concentrated the need and the problem.

There's a few things. One is we need to adapt software all the time and quickly, right? And low code is intrinsically adaptable. It's declarative. You can take a piece out, put it in.

So it allows you to change what you have for whatever businesses there are. Also, speed. Low code a lot faster than programming at a lower level language.

And we need new apps fast, all the time. We deliver them yesterday. We need to change them. And that's what low code is good at.

And then third, even if those other two problems could be solved with process or more modern technology in general, there aren't enough developers to go around. There aren't enough coders. So if you think about all this stuff the business needs to digitize all the paper and all the spreadsheets. And then, all the old systems, make new, and then connect it and everything. Like the only way to get it that is through some form of democratization, right? You need to involve other people in the software work.

Or it'll never get all done. So kind of all those things coming together means low code is a really big. MICHAEL HICHWA: So you've kind of introduce this topic of a broader development community that low code affords. And I wonder if you comment on citizen developers I mean, on one side you might think, hey, citizen developers, they're going to create insecure systems that don't scale at our enterprise or something. But also they bring maybe a lot of knowledge to the table, where they know the business.

They know intrinsically what you want. Where if you just have an IT professional that just codes all day long, they might not understand what a particular finance group or sales organization is really needing. And maybe you could comment on that sort of interplay between the pro developer, the line of business developer, or the citizen developer, and the different roles they might play.

JOHN BRATINCEVIC: The principal I always point to on this as we talk about being digital and being in the digital business and digitally transformed. So my simple way of putting it is, well, if everybody's in the software business, then business people need to do software work. Like if software is how you get things done and what you are as a business, that means software needs to be an expression of the business, which means business people need to be involved in the day to day. So I think the fundamental principle going on in being software driven sort of requires business people being involved in the work, not just as a contributing party in the form of requirements, but actually doing the technical work themselves, for a lot of the reasons we outlined.

But I mean, if you're software driven, business people do software stuff. So what we see happening is think of it as a spectrum. So low code kind of allows this. And products have their pros and cons and sit at different points on the spectrum and all that.

But you have the hardcore developers on one side handling the big, gnarly, complicated stuff that requires code and big architectural concerns and need to be closely guarded, right? But there's a whole lot of stuff outside of that. We call it the long tail. They might be apps of significance. Or they might be less significant. But there's a lot of them.

And they add up. So what we're seeing in terms of best practices for governance and kind of mixed teams is you have a local platform or maybe more than one to feel that the different personas, depending on how they're set up. You have the pros sitting in IT, who work on the big projects. They coach people in local departments, who are kind of champions on trickier projects, or who want to learn, or whatever.

And maybe they co-build. And then those champions work with local people who either build small things themselves or contribute to people their projects their champion's working out or whatever. So think of it as this federated spectrum of governance, all kind of in a local environment. So I expect we'll see a lot more of that because I mean, there's just so much technology need. And so much need for business to be expressed in technology. And this idea of well the technologists sit over here and everybody else is in business.

And you just feed them what you want. I just don't think that's sustainable. MICHAEL HICHWA: It's the new normal. It's a mishmash of everyone together, sort of. JOHN BRATINCEVIC: It's a done deal. We just got to catch up.

And some people are doing it quite actively and aggressively and experiencing really good results at scale. MICHAEL HICHWA: So I see low code used in many different ways. But I was just wondering if there are specific areas where you just see as the lowest hanging of fruit.

Maybe it's bespoke or custom app development. Maybe it's SAAS extension. Maybe it's a legacy system, modernization, digitization, analytics, data reporting. Is there something that like, when your customers call you and talk, are they more concerned about one use case or less? Is there anything, any specific area that's driving low code more than another area? Maybe not, maybe it's everything. JOHN BRATINCEVIC: It's a little hard to answer because the platforms that are pretty mature can do a lot, right? Because if the tooling includes data in databases, interfaces, process design and automation, security, reporting, I mean, you can make a lot of-- MICHAEL HICHWA: Those are the building blocks of all applications, right? It's not just for SAAS extension or custom apps, or rely on business apps. JOHN BRATINCEVIC: Where's there's a really like it's just if you're not doing it this way, it's really silly, like it's just a profound gap is just digitization, just the business of taking all the crap that runs a business behind the scenes, like in reality, for so many enterprises, and turning that into apps.

Like you're not going to go out and buy 1,000 SAAS apps for doing all those things. You want to take all the stuff that's in-- all the workarounds, and turn them in at a minimum. Like that's like if company doesn't do at least that, that's just a gigantic gap.

But in terms of the way the platforms are used, these are everything from core modernization for like big apps or big companies to replacing spreadsheets and the whole spectrum patterns between them. MICHAEL HICHWA: So one thing I've noticed being in low code for a long time is that it used to be when you build an app, you would spin up a team. You would have a project plan. You'd have a project leader. You'd have a year time horizon.

You'd have a big budget. And you'd build that app. And it's like building a bridge, right? You're going to buy the supplies.

You're going to build the bridge. But more and more for low code, what I see is developers just try something. Like you could be a citizen developer.

You have no idea. But there's no reason why you just can't dive in and start developing. And I was wondering if you've seen that.

You've talked to people that do that. And this idea that there's just low barriers, just go for it. And if it works, it works.

It doesn't, just toss it out and try again. There's sort of a lower barrier entry to build an app. You don't need a big team. You could go solo if you wanted to, maybe. JOHN BRATINCEVIC: So what I've seen-- and this supplies both the development teams, but also citizen development, so especially citizen development, I feel-- it's kind of like rocket fuel for innovation and continuous improvement.

So exactly what you said. Like there isn't a lot of investment or difficulty in prototyping or making a minimum viable product or just trying something. So it happens naturally, as people get used to this idea that they can do that. They just start doing it. So I've talked to companies where that was exactly one of the benefits they identified, when they scaled low code and made it available to a lot of people.

There's tons of innovation and ideation but expressed in software, not just on a whiteboard somewhere. And they would even make disposable apps. Like hey, we just need it for a few months.

But why wouldn't we? Why would we use some analog workaround to get this done? Or why don't we try out this product idea or whatever? So it's kind of intrinsic to the model, once you get used to it. Like once you wrap your brain around it, there's like this place beyond just agile, which is built around a technical team works with business people and iterates and all that. There's like another place where like it's just like the speed of thought almost. And the working patterns change.

And then I mean the experimentation, the continuous improvement and the innovation. It just explodes. MICHAEL HICHWA: So another area of low code which I find particularly interesting is this whole data visualization, analytics, dashboard.

I mean, it has a whole spectrum. But the way I kind of view the world. I work for database company. But there's a lot of data out there. And the data doesn't get in the hands of the people that need it this conveniently or quickly or with as high fidelity, as it always can. And I see this is like a prime area where like citizen developers can really have at it.

And just when they gain access to their databases their corporate information, they can start doing all kinds of really cool stuff with low code. And so sometimes people think of application, they think of systems that you enter data. And then you get it back or whatever. But there's also this whole class of data reporting and such. I was wondering if you kind of see a mix between that sort of like OLTP versus issues and support. JOHN BRATINCEVIC: Oh, man, I mean, I mentioned earlier the use cases for the industry are kind of universal.

So I mean, reporting apps are probably more a minority. Because the business intelligence type platforms tend to do especially well at that. But there's definitely new reporting style apps. Usually, what you see is like there's some operation. And it could be anywhere in the business that is in bad software or is manual, even if it's very, even if there's a lot of money running through or whatever. That's digitized.

That produces data, which is then reported on, right? And then they continuously improve on the process that was digitized. And like that's a very common kind of use pattern. But it includes all those things, right? I mean, if you look at our data, it's like customer-centric use cases, internal use cases, mobile use cases, reporting, core systems, like headless stuff. Like it's just anything. So yeah, I mean using the data in creative ways or creating the data, creating new data sources, of which there are many that need to be created.

Those are all kind of in scope. MICHAEL HICHWA: So one last topic, I'd like to talk about it governance some. And my perspective is that, for example, if I want to build a system. It can be hard sometimes because there's so many rules and so much complexity.

There is what if maybe you're getting click jacked. Maybe you're going to have a denial of service attack. Maybe you can have a SQL injection of your cross site scripting. Maybe you're using an open source library this old. Or maybe you have some HIPAA compliance or some other standard that you've never even heard of, an issue. And so you're always very worried about these things, and maybe it's kind of like an adage with lawyers, saying no is a safe answer to this.

Just don't do it. But I'm just curious. What kind of guidance do you get? Because there's sort of pros and cons. Like you don't you don't want to you don't want to be fast and loose with your data and your governance and your security and your corporate information. But you also don't want to hinder innovation.

And I was wondering how you strike that balance and what type of guidance you give on a governance perspective. JOHN BRATINCEVIC: On data governance or on low code governance, in general? MICHAEL HICHWA: Both. I mean, I understand they're different. But maybe low code, since we're talking low code. But the governance because certainly, you're building an application.

And applications you can have vulnerabilities. They can expose data. They can be vulnerable. JOHN BRATINCEVIC: I suggest to people. I basically say, approach this with the goal.

So if you want lots of people to develop lots of apps because that's really where the big governance questions come in. Approach this with the goal of creating a frictionless experience for the business people to solve the style problems, right? Like they want to use these digital tools to solve problems. To do that, you have to separate the actual serious risks from the lesser risks or the imaginary ones, of which there are many. So for example, something that doesn't integrate or only integrates to innocuous data sources or through some sort of innocuous pattern, right? Like that should not be subjected to checklist hell.

People should be allowed to self serve to some degree. As kind of like with spreadsheets they can today, this is just way, way better. And then it's visible. You can see what they're doing on the platform.

And you can put some process into the development and deployment. And it's like it's a way to direct all that positive energy. So they can do way better work. And you can see what's going on. Then for more sensitive things, that smaller list of real risks basically, that's when you can kind of put tiers of developers in, where they have access to certain data sources or access to sources in a certain way. And you can then segment the development processes to say like, oh, you need an approval before deploying an app that has this kind of data.

Or you need a code review to do it or some other parameter about the app, the size or something like that, suggests that you need to hand this off to us or whatever, right? But is the core of it is-- go ahead. MICHAEL HICHWA: I was going to say that your recommendation, you don't want to have the process per application. You want to have a policy and a standard. And when you do this, then you fall. And when you cross this line, you go through this process.

You're over here, you're all good. Just use a certified platform. And you recommend that IT department get their act together and get a low code standard in corporate policy in place. Is that the way to think of it? JOHN BRATINCEVIC: With the philosophy in mind that there's a lot of stuff that doesn't require a lot of oversight.

You're not delegating. You're not delegating IT. That is not what you're doing.

You're trying to jumpstart a digital problem-solving culture that's going to get wonderful things done. And you don't want to get in the way that, or they won't do it. Like if it's hard and onerous and-- MICHAEL HICHWA: They'll just do it in a spreadsheet.

JOHN BRATINCEVIC: Right, I won't do it. I'm going to go back to my spreadsheet or my access database. Or I'm going to go buy a platform that you didn't buy me right on my credit card and do it myself. I mean that IT will just continue to grow unless you rehabilitate it. Like that's basically what it is. You're trying to direct all that positive energy in a pragmatic way.

It has to be pragmatic and aim for a frictionless experience that people can take care of business. And you can unleash all that stuff. I've seen it done. But that requires carefully segmenting out the actual risky things from the much less risky things, the big bucket of stuff that you need to sort of handle. MICHAEL HICHWA: I agree with that completely. That that's the critical factor, I think, there.

JOHN BRATINCEVIC: There's a lot of teaching. It's teaching design thinking and problem solving and continuous improvement. And then technical things, like architecture and best practices and things like that. But it's this mentoring thing that we want you to go do these wonderful things. That's our goal.

MICHAEL HICHWA: So is there anything we've missed sort of in talking about that you can think of about low code or something that's important with low code that we haven't really addressed? Maybe in terms of business processes or CI/CD or-- JOHN BRATINCEVIC: I think probably the most important thing to bear in mind is when people approach this subject, I think they think of it in terms of just, well, we're going to make some series of apps in an easier way. And that's kind of it, right? And there's that. And they kind of put this lower tier of development, a very specific tier development. And that pattern works. And it can be effective.

But I think what I'm seeing, what I expect, is that this idea of declarative development, like where it's matured to this point. We call the code, right? It's going to be baked into everything. It's going to be baked into package applications.

It's going to be baked into sweets. It's going to be baked in specific software categories. And this idea of software just changing all the time, the only way to really do that, concretely, is some sort of practical development, where the interoperability is guaranteed.

And there's quality checks and like it's all on a platform, right? So my expectation and my recommendation, in general, is that low code should be seen as kind of a first class development approach in your software a strategy. Like this isn't just we're going to play spreadsheets kind of thing. This is all our software has to have some low coding to some degree or another. And we might even choose to write an app in low code as opposed to by an app off the shelf because it can reflect exactly what we need.

And we can continuously improve it and change it and adapt in an ongoing way. And the costs and difficulties of doing so are so much lower than writing it in the code. So I see it as getting to the point where it's quite disruptive to kind of everything in software. It's not in this little bucket anymore.

MICHAEL HICHWA: Thanks very much, John. Thanks for talking low code with me today. And I wish you the best. JOHN BRATINCEVIC: Thanks for having me, Mike. MICHAEL HICHWA: Next up, we're going to talk low code.

We're going to continue our little code conversation. We're going to talk about Oracle APEX and low code. And specifically, we're going to talk about the Oracle APEX application development service, which is brand new from Oracle.

And so the APEX service has multiple benefits. And so one of the benefit is low code development. So the APEX low code development platform, you can build applications more rapidly than you could if you hand coded them.

And additionally, you can have them developed by a broader range of developers. You can have citizen developers, lines of business developers, professional developers, sort of the whole gamut. And where the APEX service really shines is at the APEX service is built on autonomous infrastructure.

So what that means is that you as an application developer, don't have to worry about the deployment of the application. The application is deployed on this fully managed autonomous infrastructure. So it's not of your worry. You don't need to have a DBA. You build your application. And you deploy it autonomous.

Another distinguishing characteristics of the Oracle APEX application development service is its lower cost than other ways you can get the Oracle APEX. And so what Oracle has done is they've put APEX development front and center with this new APEX Development Cloud service. It's $358 per month, which is fully elastic. And so you can scale independently of the storage and the compute power. So the compute starts at $240 per month.

And you can have an auto scale. You can turn it off, if you don't want to pay, you don't need it for night, or maybe it's a development or test system that's not being used, you can turn that off. And then you can scale the storage as well to petabytes. And so it's really quite capable.

It can scale from like a small departmentally used case to a large mission-critical application, maybe even to millions of users. 128 CPUs is a lot. And so what's different about the Oracle APEX service versus Oracle APEX is an autonomous database. And so when you get Autonomous database, you have a database experience.

When you go to the Cloud console, you click on Database. And you see a database console. The APEX service reverses it. So it's not a database.

It just happens to have an APEX application development, a framework within it. It is an APEX application development framework, targeting developers that just happens to have an Oracle database in it. So when you launch on the Cloud service, either for free or paid in APEX service, you get APEX. You get APEX screens. You see your console is APEX centric.

You're just a click away to get a database console, if you want that. But it is focused on the developer, focused on the APEX low code developer, specifically. Now there is a difference.

The lower cost is because the APEX service is pretty much identical to the full autonomous transaction processing service with the exception of the user experience, which I just mentioned. But also, that you get SQLNet. So with the autonomous database, you can get SQLNet. You can connect through JDBC. You connect through Python driver or something like that. But with the Oracle APEX, since APEX doesn't use SQLNet, it connects over HTTPS, you do not need it to run APEX apps.

And therefore, Oracle is able to provide the APEX server on autonomous database at a lower cost. OK, so APEX is all about low code. And this is from Wikipedia. This is my favorite definition of low code. It kind of gets all the support things that I think are most relevant. It broadens the types of developers who can be productive and build out applications.

It reduces the time. It reduces the expense. And it really is changing how applications are built across the world. And so let's take a look at this. So almost all use cases for low code are addressable.

All use cases that you might need in your department or your enterprise. So you might want to extend applications. You might need to modernize a legacy system.

You might need to build a new system from scratch. You might build a custom system just for your department. You might build a system that's just kind of temporal just for a month. You might build a system that you want to last for 10 years, could be enterprise scale, could be just for you, personally, could be for your work group.

So there's a wide variety of use cases for low code. And what low code, because you can build the applications more rapidly, you can create perhaps more sophisticated and compelling components than you would be capable of coding by hand, maybe because you're not the world's best programmer or you don't have every programming skill. You're just not a genius. Then APEX can help that from a low code perspective.

So let's talk about the broader types of developers. So traditionally, your applications are built by people that are professional developers that build applications day and night. That's what they do.

And so new with low code and how low could is used, is that it's so easy to use that lines of business developers can use it. Citizen developers can use it. Data scientists can use it. So there's more developers that come there.

But these other developers, they bring other perspectives. A line of business developer has deadlines and the line of business in mind when they're building their application. They have knowledge of that line of business that might be harder to transfer to a professional developer, that might not be in the line of business.

Likewise, with citizen developers, people are more tech savvy than they used to be. And they use social media. And they use e-commerce.

And they can leverage those skills to build out applications and to build out innovations within their companies and address the types of problems and digitization that can benefit their companies. And that's where this application development and low code thing really kicks in. So what Oracle did is we contracted a firm to do a time and motion study. So we took an accomplished React developer. React is the industry standard, JavaScript development framework. So that is your benchmark, sort of high control, coded solution.

And we asked them to build a typical application with various screens. And the development time for someone who is very skilled and React versus Oracle APEX was substantial. So it's 38 times faster for someone that knew React well to create the similar functionality to what you could do with APEX. And likewise, the line of code, there was far less code that was required in the API solution than was required in the React solution. So this shouldn't come as a surprise.

And if you're interested in the details, we published it on the link below. So Oracle APEX is all about this productivity. And one of the ways it gets this productivity is it allows you to build your entire app just in your browser.

It's not just an application developer. It's a lot of things. It allows you to build your data models. It allows you to create, REST, and consume REST APIs. It allows you to have a task list that allows you to solicit input from your users during testing and search to see if they like your application or if they have feedback for you, if they're experiencing problems. And of course, it allows you to build your application in low code.

So having one tool and one cloud service makes it very easy because there's not this integration. You don't have to learn different user interfaces or different identity management. It's all just one experience. So let's look at part of that experience. So frequently, when you create applications, if you're not just consuming REST APIs, which you might do but frequently, you're going to have local tables. And you can create your local tables, store procedures, store your business logic, et cetera.

And you can do that in the school workshop, which comes with Oracle APEX, just a click away. And in fact, if you have a table and you want to create an application on it, you just click a single button. You can create an application on that, a great way to get started. You can look at your tables, add new tables, create views, create all the database components. You can do data modeling, data generation. A lot of power here.

When it comes to the application development, the application development typically starts with a wizard, where you just going to follow a wizard. Say I want to create an application. And you click on add a few pages, choose some features, choose a user interface to start with, which you can customize from there. And once you have your application, you can add additional pages, remove pages, and develop it in this rapid low code style.

So Oracle APEX lets you build this application very easily. And you can see these screens are pretty straightforward. So for example, if I wanted to build this faceted search, which is on the left, I could do so using declarative, no code. So that the general philosophy is use no code when you can. And only use code as an exception.

And when you do need to use code, try to use as little as possible. Maybe just a little snippet of code. Maybe just a little bit of business logic.

Maybe a little bit a SQL. And so APEX is particularly good at this. And it can let you build out these rich components by just setting properties. And what's interesting is that when I work with developers, I've done so for my entire career, is that if you can hand things people, don't like or find it hard sometimes to edit other people's code because they code in a different style. They think in different ways.

They modularize their code differently. Maybe they invent differently. They name their variables differently.

But with low code, it's just property. So you're setting a property of whether you want to show the counts or how you want to sort your facets. There is no difference between developer one and developer two. So another distinguishing characteristic of Oracle APEX is the architecture. And so as we said, the Oracle APEX service, the architecture is fully managed. So the middle tier is fully managed and the database is fully managed.

But what's unique about Oracle APEX is it puts the Application Engine in the autonomous database itself. So the Oracle database includes the APEX engine, which provides a lot of benefits, performance benefits, as well as high availability benefits. And so let's drill down into some of those. So specifically, because APEX is not a code generator.

It's a model driven execution engine, which means it generates data from metadata stored in the Oracle database. Oracle database is really good at storing data. And so when customers make requests from their web pages to Oracle APEX, the request can be serviced. Lots of different business processes can be invoked. Screens can be developed and rendered. And because it's in database, you don't have to do any network traversing.

You don't have to traverse a network from mid tier to the database tier, then back to that mid tier then back the database tier. You're all in the same computer, in the same memory structure, on the same server. And it is kind of counterintuitive, but it does provide substantially faster performance. Also interesting about Oracle APEX it's available in different ways.

So you can get Oracle APEX on-premise. You can get Oracle APEX on-premise for free with Oracle XE or Express edition database. You can do your development on-prem and deploy it in the Cloud. You can do your development on the Cloud, and deploy on-prem. You can deploy on-prem. And then when your company moves to the Cloud at a later date, you can deploy there.

You can deploy your APEX apps on the Oracle Cloud. You can deploy your APEX apps on third party clouds. And so there's a lot of opportunities to work with Oracle APEX. You can build APEX on Windows. You can build APEX on Linux.

You can build APEX in a VM inside of a Mac OS on Linux. And so having this option gives you a lot of options for the future. APEX is APEX no matter where you are. But you can have it hosted in different ways. So since APEX lives in the Oracle database and Oracle APEX is able to natively interface with the data structures within an Oracle database, for example, the SQL language, it also takes advantage of the converged nature of the Oracle database. So all the applications I've been building in the last few years have all been what we call converged.

In other words, they have multiple different types of data. So for example, with the applications we're building for this COVID pandemic, they all have a spatial component where you get your vaccination, where you live, et cetera, where is the closest pharmacy, et cetera. And so you might have a text component.

Maybe there's JSON documents. Maybe you need to do some analytics. Maybe you need to do other technologies. And what's nice is the Oracle database comes with that built in. So Oracle APEX, it's used a lot, over 500,000 developers, millions of applications are created, over 6,000 applications are created every day.

We've got lots of partners. It runs on mobile. This is a live application in Ghana that has been used by over 73,000 people to get vaccinated. It's quite exciting and really interesting technology. And if you want to learn more, I strongly encourage you to go to and you can view our tutorials and videos.

So that's it. The Oracle APEX application development service, lower cost, more developer focused. That's the Oracle APEX application developing cloud service.

There's a lot more information on [MUSIC PLAYING] FRANK HOOGENDORN: My name is Frank Hoogendorn. And I am the Chief Data officer at MineSense Technologies. We build the technology for the mining industry. So at MineSense, I'm responsible for the digital products and services, our data infrastructure, data science and machine learning team, as well as a team of really smart geoscientists. We service the mining industry, as I said.

And right now, we that our clients are copper clients. The big problem that's facing the mining industry and particularly, the copper mining industry right now, which is that the grades, the average grades, that are being mined right now are about 1/2 of what they were 20 years ago. We've mined all the easy stuff. And now the grades are a lot deeper in the ground.

So there's more underground mining, which is a lot more costly. But there's also a lot more awareness around environmental sustainability and social license to operate and those sorts of things. And so that's driven up the costs of mining. Mines need to start mining smarter, not harder. And so what they're doing is turning to technology to do that.

And the type of technology that we provide, we have to liberate and democratize the data. And by the way, we need to do that really, really quickly because a company is growing quickly and we're getting a lot of demand for the product. And the question I'm always asked is this, why are you guys using Oracle? People know about AWS. They know about Azure and so on. But not a lot of people hear about the Oracle Cloud.

It's doesn't have quite a large footprint. And I would answer of course, Oracle is the best database in the world, that Cloud is great and so on. But there's really one key reason why I choose the Oracle product. And that's this, Oracle Application Express.

What it allows you to do, basically, is build and develop and deploy applications, completely living within the database all within the platform. We don't have to install anything else and so on. So the reason I love this tool so much is this, it's speed to value. It's that speed that I love about APEX. I love this quote.

From this is from the former president of Google enterprise apps. "I've long believed that speed is the ultimate business weapon in business. All else being equal, the fastest company in any market can win." And recently, I heard a talk.

And the speaker said this, which I 100% believe is true, is that "velocity is the new measure of satisfaction between business and IT." So if we look at APEX and why does it enable us to go faster, why do low code tools, in general, enable you to do it faster? Again, this tag line here is ripped off from the APEX site, eliminate 98% of the hand coding. I think that's really what drives it is the less code means just fewer bugs and better quality.

And also, it's a comprehensive framework. And so that keeps, I believe, keeps developers out of the ditches. So the security is built in the application, professionals at Oracle have given a lot of thought to security. When you can rapidly prototype something, it surfaces requirements a lot faster. So a lot of times, if you look at development projects, it's the gathering requirements that's really the time consuming part.

And part of the reason is because users don't necessarily know what they want until they see it. And so when you look at the complexity that I have to deal with, we are very quickly able to build stand up prototypes, get them in front of the users, and so on. I saw this quote the other day or a few weeks ago.

We work at the limit of our tools. And the tools we choose have such a big, can have such a big impact on the outcome. And some of you may have seen this article that was floating around for example, elsewhere on Twitter, a couple of weeks ago, where "Scientists had to rename the human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misleading them as dates." So here we have an example where the tool is 100% definitely impacting the work, impacting the business.

And it's creating limitations. So again, what I like about local tools is a lot of that goes away. You can work very, very quickly. And if you choose the right tools, I think we improve that velocity of meeting business requirements.

[MUSIC PLAYING] JOEL KALLMAN: Now we're going to take a deeper look at Oracle APEX application development. Oracle APEX is something that senior vice president Michael Hichwa and I started more than 20 years ago. And I think it's important to understand that first and foremost, we are application developers. And our passion has always been about creating and deploying real applications that scale and look beautiful and take advantage of Oracle database.

We initially built this platform to help us create and deliver applications as quickly as possible with the least amount of code and effort. I'd like to provide a very brief overview of Oracle APEX and how APEX can benefit organizations of any size. Oracle APEX is a low coat application development platform from Oracle. Using only a modern web browser, you can quickly design, build, and deploy beautiful and powerful enterprise applications. APEX enables you to build applications that look great on a desktop computer. And the same apps look great on a tablet or smartphone.

You can do this without any code. Most business applications are data driven. And it's extremely easy to build APEX applications to maintain data via a report in form or a grid and also, to create beautiful visualizations from dashboards, Gantt charts, bubble charts, gauges, and many more. And you can do all of this without requiring any HTML or CSS knowledge.

Lastly, if a little bit of SQL, you can flourish in APEX. There's no better language on the planet for data manipulation than SQL. And in APEX, anything you can express in SQL, you can use an APEX, from analytics to pattern matching to spatial data queries.

It's all easily accessed via SQL. And you can put an elegant user interface on this with Apex. Oracle APEX is one of the industry's leading enterprise low code platforms. It's used for solutions both large and small across every geography and virtually every industry. There are more than 500,000 APEX developers around the globe and more than 50,000 customers using APEX today. There are millions of APEX applications in existence and more than 6,000 new APEX apps are being created every day.

There's a large network of partners who are proficient in delivering solutions with APEX. And they are around the world. APEX is a comprehensive platform. Everything is fully managed and preconfigured and ready to go. All you have to do is access your service via browser.

And you're ready to start creating. But beyond fully managed, APEX is a complete platform that provides all of the necessary tools you would need for any type of modern application development. One area where APEX excels is the functionally rich application components that make it very easy for developers to quickly deliver very powerful applications to their end users. This ultimately translates into increased speed of development. A great example of a feature rich component, in APEX, is something called interactive grid.

The developer, you, simply needs to create an interactive grid on a table or viewers SQL query. That's all. At most, one line of code. And as a result, your end users get a wealth of functionality at their fingertips.

And users can filter results, perform aggregations, download to Excel or PDF, duplicate rows, send a report as an email, and a lot more. You, the developer, you have to maintain that single line of code. And everything else is out of the box.

You can do a lot with the Oracle APEX platform. And I tried to highlight some of the capabilities here. For example, you can easily create executive dashboards, using beautiful visualizations. And these are kept up to date in real time.

Often, customers simply want a way to collect data. It could be for scheduling an event or providing feedback. And you can effortlessly deploy a secure web forum with essentially no code. These are common and easy development tasks with APEX. Oracle APEX is really an ideal platform to deliver solutions for a wide variety of use cases from the smaller solutions, like opportunistic applications and spreadsheet replacement, to medium size problems like external data sharing or departmental reporting. And finally, up to enterprise-breadth applications.

If you wish to convert your Oracle forms application to a modern APEX UI or modernize your legacy apps, which may be used across the enterprise. Or even just provide an extension or reporting interface to your ERP or SAS Enterprise system. APEX is used today by customers for all of these use cases. And I'd like to drill down into a few of them. Where APEX shines is in the design and development of opportunistic applications and also, the digitization of otherwise manual business processes. The past year has highlighted the need for platforms, which aid the development of opportunistic applications, where the requirements are evolving and the need is immediate.

With APEX, you can start with a concept, something you typically sketch out on the back of a napkin and quickly create your first app in minutes, as requirements change. It's very easy to extend your applications to meet these new needs. In the area of process digitization, you can go from these manual, often paper-based and email based processes, into a single application, which improves efficiency and quality, and ultimately, accuracy of data. What's great is these apps that you quickly deliver can scale to thousands of end users. A use case that we have optimized with APEX is the replacement of spreadsheets as multi-user databases.

There are countless problems when you use spreadsheets as these type of multi-user databases. But no big surprise, every enterprise does this, simply because there typically isn't an alternative that's approachable by the line of business. In the case of APEX, you can easily drag and drop a spreadsheet and transform it into a multi-user web app. You now have a single point of truth. You can control who accesses the information.

You can audit whenever something has changed. You can add validation rules and pick lists to ensure the quality of data and also, ease data entry. And you can easily create APIs for others to access your data.

The best part? This can all be done with little to no code. And it's easily approachable by the citizen developer. And the last use case I'd like to focus on is external data sharing. Very often, you'll want to externalize a subset of your data to a certain group of users. Perhaps you have an ordering system and you want to provide your customers a web app where they can go ahead and view their order status or track delivery, or maybe you're involved in a construction management business and you need to provide reports to your suppliers, using Oracle APEX, it's easy to provide an internet based UI for your customers or partners or suppliers. And APEX can integrate data from a wide variety of sources.

You can easily combine data from on premises systems with local data and also data access over APIs. You can provide one consistent UI to your users. APEX is an easy way for you to provide self-service reporting. As a great example of an opportunistic application, earlier this year, we, on the Oracle APEX team, we were part of a large cross-functional group within Oracle to deliver a set of applications to assist with the treatments for coronavirus.

This system is used by health practitioners and their patients who are being treated for coronavirus. And data was gathered to help scientists make better informed decisions about these COVID-19 treatments. This was a suite of applications, 7 in all, comprising more than 200 different pages. And this was delivered with APEX on the Oracle Cloud. We went from not even a single bit of code to a fully operational system in about 12 days.

We believe that Oracle APEX has some unique competitive advantages, which differentiate us from other vendors in the low code market. APEX is a highly productive low cost app dev environment, as well it is a complete platform for managing data and developing and delivering applications. Oracle APEX is a fully managed service in Oracle Cloud. It's built on top of the autonomous database infrastructure, which is a self managing, secure, converged database platform, unlike some other vendors. There are no extra cost per application, developer or end user.

And what you get out of the box can easily support apps with thousands of end users. This platform includes enterprise features of Oracle database, including spatial and graph, machine learning, analytics, and more. APEX is suitable for both citizen developers, as well as professional developers. It's easy to get started. But you're not limited by the sophistication you can add to your apps. Oracle APEX lets you segregate different lines of business onto a single service.

You can have different work groups or departments work in isolation on the same, single APEX service. And lastly, as your needs rise, with a single click, it's easy to upgrade your Oracle APEX environment to virtually limitless capacity. Well, I hope you found this useful. Stick around to hear how an Oracle partner was able to meet their customers' needs and deliver their own high quality solutions with APEX. [MUSIC PLAYING] MICHELLE SKAMENE: My name is Michelle Skamene. And I'm Vice President of Insum.

Insum is the largest consulting firm specializing in Oracle APEX. And we have offices in Canada, the United States, and Peru. We have an internationally recognized team of experts. And we develop custom applications to our broad client base in both the public and private sectors, across a wide range of industries, including finance health and education. We also have a number of Fortune 500 clients. Today, I wanted to tell you about some of the work we did with the Texas Racing Commission.

The Texas Racing Commission is a state government agency that regulates all aspects of the parimutuel horse and greyhound racing industry in Texas. It ensures racing safety, integrity, and fairness. It monitors racing related activities, issues licenses, and has the power to enforce rules and regulations.

Now the agency had been using an Oracle database for a number of years. It had custom built Oracle forms and reports applications that it used to track participants, licenses, violations, animals, and animal health. It also served many administrative functions as well, including inventory, service requests, and mail logs.

Now after a number of years, the commission really needed a certain number of updates to the system in order to really be able to fulfill its role as industry regulator. They needed functionality that was outside the scope of the original legacy applications that they built. Among others, they needed to automate some time consuming manual processes. . They needed to reduce clutter and simplify navigation it needed to be more user friendly. Users needed to be able to view all records related to an animal licensee or race in a single place.

They needed to be able to more quickly and easily evaluate test results and injuries. And they also needed to improve the application security. So we worked with the Texas Racing Commission. And this resulted in a suite of 15 interrelated applications that vastly improved the performance and efficiency for users across several areas.

We developed a powerful dashboard that leveraged interactive reports and Oracle jet visualizations. This gave users a one stop access to the animal records that they needed. This significantly reduced clicks, simplified navigation, and immediately highlighted exceptions. Oracle reports were replaced by interactive reports throughout. So these new reports not only reduced clicks and simplified navigation, but users were able to create and modify reports as they needed without needing to involve IT. This was a huge cost and time savings.

We also automated a number of manual processes, just improving operational efficiency all around. Now why Oracle APEX? Well, the existing applications were already running on Oracle forms. Oracle APEX was selected as a modernization tool because this allowed us to leverage the existing infrastructure, data model, and even reuse a lot of the code. APEX's powerful interactive reports and Oracle jet integration were really key to its selection, since data mining, reporting, and dashboarding were really key components of the solution.

Finally, the low code declarative framework of APEX meant that we were able to deliver a beautiful, full suite of applications, modern responsive applications, and 50% less time. Therefore, 50% lower cost, than the original work done on the legacy applications. So I was asked to provide three tips. And so we're talking about modernizing legacy applications.

I would say that when you are modernizing legacy applications, don't simply recreate existing screens. Make sure that you understand web design paradigms. And you're using this as an opportunity to create more efficient and streamlined applications that your users will love. Tip two, interactive reports, when designed correctly, can often really greatly simplify applications. A single report often meets the needs of many users and many needs, since they can customize them as required. So make sure that you leverage the power of interactive reports.

Tip three, Oracle APEX also comes with Oracle jet. This allows you to easily build beautiful and powerful visualizations without needing to purchase any third party tools. So make sure you leverage this tool to empower your users to make better business decisions. Thank you so much for listening today. For more information or to connect with us, visit us online at [MUSIC PLAYING] JOEL KALLMAN: There are a number of next steps which you can take to help you get started.

But first, let's summarize what you've heard today. You've learned about the key trends in low code from Forrester's senior analyst John Bratincevic. You've heard Mike Hichwa describe our new Oracle APEX service, which is designed to be your low cost, powerful, low code application platform. I've shared a deeper dive into the APEX technology. You've heard some great APEX success stories from both a customer and an Oracle partner.

Now let me show you how easy it is to create a powerful APEX app in minutes. I would like to start with a simple Excel spreadsheet with rows of data and turn this into a multi-user web app. Within the APEX application builder, I'll start by creating a new app and creating it from a file. Let me find my Excel spreadsheet and drag and drop it into APEX. APEX will pass the spreadsheet. And you get a nice preview of the data to be loaded.

I'll specify a table name, where to store these rows. I'll call it tasks. And I'll go ahead and load the data. I'll proceed to the creative application wizard to create an application on this tasks table. I can see there are a number of pages defined by the wizard. I'll enable all application features and then click Create.

APEX is not generating code. It's generating the definition of my app in the APEX catalog in metadata. Here is my app and the newly created pages, 29 in all. And so far, with no coding necessary. Let me run my application and log in.

I got a beautiful dashboard, which I can easily customize. APEX detected date related data. So we also created a calendar component on this task table.

There's a form to enable your users to edit the data. There's also a report component called interactive report, which lets the end user quickly filter the data in a number of ways by entering text, by clicking on a column heading and choosing a distinct value. I can quickly group or control break the rows by clicking the column heading. And I can even export the same data back out into Excel or have it sent via email. Another report type that was created is that search report, which is very easy for end users to quickly filter a report based upon a set of facets against our task table. I can also grab these facets for further data exploration.

There are a number of features I chose to add to my application. There is built-in access control, so I can control who can view and who can edit. There is a built in performance monitoring. So I can monitor the performance of my app and understand which pages are most popular or slow.

And I can also customize the UI of my app without understanding CSS to either match your corporate look and feel or use one of the predefined templates. Everything I just created is responsive out of the box. It renders perfectly on a smartphone or tablet.

Lastly, let's say later I wish to share access to this data with someone else via a REST API. No problem. All from within APEX, I can browse the definition of our table, browse the data, and using built-in functionality from Oracle REST data services, in a couple of clicks, I can create a fully functioning set of REST end points against this table. All these and more great resources to help get you started can be found on our virtual Resource Center, including a new research paper, which validates how much faster you could build applications with APEX. Thanks again.

And see you soon.

2020-12-25 03:49

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