oracle application express for mobile web applications

Download Oracle Application Express for Mobile Web Applications

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  • For your convenience Apress has placed some of the front matter material after the index. Please use the Bookmarks

    and Contents at a Glance links to access them.

  • iii

    Contents at a Glance

    Foreword xi

    About the Authors xiii

    About the Technical Reviewer xv

    Acknowledgments xvii

    Introduction xix

    Chapter 1: Introduction to APEX for Mobile Web Development 1

    Chapter 2: Creating Mobile Pages 9

    Chapter 3: Presenting Data Through List Views 27

    Chapter 4: Accepting Input via Forms 51

    Chapter 5: Displaying Calendars and Charts 81

    Chapter 6: Implementing a Navigation Standard 99

    Chapter 7: Theming Your Mobile Application 117

    Chapter 8: Working with Dynamic Actions 131

    Chapter 9: Deploying Applications Natively 151

    Chapter 10: Securing Your Mobile Application 191

    Index 199

  • xix

    Welcome to Oracle Application Express for Mobile Web Applications. Writing this book was hard work, but good fun and a thorough learning experience. I hope you will learn as much from reading it as I did writing it. I also hope that you will really enjoy making all the cool samples on your favorite mobile device. Although mobile devices are already used more than desktop devices, this difference will grow exponentially over the next few years. So go mobile now and be ready for the future!

    Who This Book Is ForThe readers of this book are assumed to have a reasonably sound knowledge of Oracle Application Express. Throughout the book, the examples are based upon this knowledge, so there wont be a detailed explanation on how to build pages or how to implement certain features that arent specific to mobile web development. When you need more background information about using Oracle Application Express, there are a few books that you might consider reading: Beginning Oracle Application Express 4 (Apress, 2013), for the developer who is just starting with APEX; Pro Application Express 4 (Apress, 2008) and Oracle Application Express 4 Recipes (Apress, 2011), for the more experienced developer who wants to scale up his or her knowledge; and Expert Oracle Application Express 4 (Apress, 2011), if you want to know all the details about Application Express. For those that are just learning Oracle Application Express, there is a Getting Started page on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) at This page has links to a number of different resources based on learning style.

    The examples in this book are based upon version 4.2.1 of Oracle Application Express. So if you have a newer release of Application Express, there may be some differences.

    How This Book Is StructuredThe idea of this book is to introduce you to the art of building mobile web applications at a good pace. So well start with the basics: List Views, Forms, Charts, and so forth. Then well move on with enhancing the look and feel of the application with special attention to mobile-specific Dynamic Actions. And finally well dive into deploying an APEX application natively on a mobile device. The following is a brief description of each chapter in this book.

    Chapter 1, Introduction to APEX for Mobile Web Development, introduces and explains the need for web development for mobile devices.

    Chapter 2, Creating Mobile Web Pages, explains the necessary building blocks of mobile web pages.Chapter 3, Presenting Data Through List Views, walks you through the process of creating List Views for your data.Chapter 4, Accepting Input via Forms, covers building Forms for mobile web pages, including the use of grids

    and HTML4 input types. Chapter 5, Displaying Calendars and Charts, details the use of presenting data in the other formats APEX offers.Chapter 6, Implementing a Navigation Standard, covers the use of buttons, links, and other ways that users can

    find their way in an application. Chapter 7, Theming your Mobile Application, takes you a little outside of APEX and explains how to use

    ThemeRoller to give your application the custom look and feel you need.


  • IntroduCtIon


    Chapter 8, Working with Dynamic Actions, details all the specific differences between Dynamic Actions for desktop and for mobile devices.

    Chapter 9, Deploying Applications Natively, offers a step-by-step description on how to use PhoneGap to leverage your APEX application by using native device capabilities like the camera.

    Chapter 10, Securing Your Mobile Applications, addresses mobile-specific security risks and describes ways to mitigate these risks.

    Downloading the CodeThe code for the examples shown in this book is available on the Apress web site ( A link is on the books information page under the Source Code/Downloads tab. This tab is located underneath the Related Titles section of the page.

    Contacting the AuthorsShould you have any questions or commentsor even if you spot a mistake you think we should know aboutyou can contact the authors at

  • 1Chapter 1

    Introduction to APEX for Mobile Web Development

    Why is there so much hype around building mobile applications? The short answer is that mobile applications are the next frontier. Business professionals face increasing time constraints and the need to increase productivity, but there is only ever going to be 24 hours in a day. The answer is the ability to work from almost anywhere at any time. The majority of professionals carry a smartphone that is connected to a strong, reliable network provider. Mobile applications can be instrumental in allowing the busy user community to be more productive.

    What sort of mobile applications are required? The traditional need for applications that support employees in the field, including emergency workers and service and sales people, will continue to expand. It is no longer good enough to have a mobile application that simply provides address and other contact information; nowadays, field personnel want to be equipped with service or sales history, background information, and so on. What about those who manage these field staff? Recently, the district supervisors of an ambulance service were given mobile applications that allow them to see in real time where their personnel are located, where they are headed, their current status, and the number of patients who are waiting for service. These features allow the supervisors to leave their desks but still stay fully informed and be able to make decisions as required.

    There is also a large range of new mobile applications being requested by the business community for less traditional use cases. Employees who generally sit at a desk in a corporate office are looking for applications that allow them to do administrative and human resources tasks from any location. By using mobile applications, consultants on customer sites could benefit from the ability to remotely enter their time and expenses. Managers should be able to approve vacation requests and check on vital performance indicators while sitting at the airport waiting for a flight, and without needing to open a laptop and find Internet service. What about the database administrators who are on call 24/7? Wouldnt mobile applications that allow them to review the health of a database and perform specific tasks while riding on the train be good for business?

    Another class of mobile applications is those designed for customers. Banks, news services, fast-food companies, service providers, television companies, and more are all coming out with mobile solutions. Think about the tasks that you used to perform on your computer that you now perform on your smartphone. Providing that an application is useful and easy enough to use, it helps improve customer satisfaction. Obviously, customer-focused applications are markedly different from those built only for internal business use. Not only is it imperative that these applications are secure and only allow properly authenticated customers access to their data (but no one elses), it is also important that these applications are of the highest quality because they provide customers an entrance point to the business.

    The Application Express development team sends a number of team members to Oracle OpenWorld, where each member handles many duties, including overseeing sessions, hands-on labs, demo grounds, and customer meetings. In past years, multiple copies of a spreadsheet were handed out to the team so that each member knew his or her responsibilities. In 2011, the spreadsheet was replaced with a mobile application, and each team member was simply given the URL for the application. The application itself was relatively simple and took less than two hours to

  • Chapter 1 IntroduCtIon to apeX for MobIle Web developMent


    build. The majority of time was spent entering and tweaking the data. Not only did this eliminate the need for multiple spreadsheets, last-minute changes could also easily be incorporated. Given the very low cost of development, the return on investment was very quick.

    Look at your current business processes. You are sure to find many use cases where mobile applications can improve productivity or simply increase your users satisfaction. Making these tasks easy to use and more accessible should meet both objectives.

    Designing Mobile ApplicationsAs the underlying technology for building applications changes, so too does the way developers need to design the applications. The first mainstream business applic


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