Wednesday, 11 September 2013

How to create a Dashboard for your Web-based Database Application - Part I

An excerpt from the book Create Rapid Web Applications Using Oracle Application Express - Second Edition

Before getting your feet wet, acquaint yourself with some specific terms associated with the web-based development environment of Oracle APEX.

What are Database Applications?

As the name implies, these type of applications interact with a backend database to store and retrieve data. It is a collection of pages linked together using tabs, buttons, or hypertext links. Pages are declaratively created through wizards. Each page can have multiple containers called regions. Each region can contain text, reports, charts, maps, web service content, calendars, or forms. Web forms hold items such as text fields, radio groups, check boxes, data pickers, list of values and more. In addition to these built-in types, you can create your own item types using plug-ins. When you build a database application, you can include different types of navigation controls, such as navigation bar entries, tabs, lists, breadcrumbs, and trees. Most of these navigation controls are shared components which means that you create them at the application level and use them in any page within your database application. All pages in a database application share a common session state that is transparently managed by APEX.

What is a Page?

A page is the basic building block of an application. When you build an application using Application Builder, you create pages that contain user interface elements, such as regions, items, tabs, lists, buttons and more. By default, page creation wizards automatically add controls to a Page Definition based on your selection. You can add more controls to a page later on by using the Page Definition interface and can also use the Create Page Wizard to add components such as report, chart, form, calendar, or tree in the Page Definition. You can create the following types of pages for your application:
  • Blank
  • Form
  • Report
  • Plug-in
  • Chart
  • Map
  • Tree
  • Calendar
  • Feedback
  • Login
  • Access Control
  • Global

What are Regions and how they are placed on a Web page?

You put items on a page under a specific region. A region is an area on a page that serves as a container for content. You can create multiple regions to visually segregate different sections on a page and to group page elements. A region may carry a SQL report or static HTML content which is determined by the region source. Each region can have its own template applied which controls their respective appearance.

When you create a region, you must specify its position (or Display Point) on the page. You can choose either a default position (such as Page Template Body) or a user-defined position in the template (such as Page Template Region Position 1.) Using the flashlight icon next to the Display Point attribute, you can view the positions available on the current page template (as shown in the following figure) and select the required display point.  Continue >>>

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