Oracle licensing

Oracle Application Express License – Is it Free?

Oracle Application Express (APEX) is:

  • A low-code development platform for creating web-based applications.
  • Integrated as a no-cost feature of all Oracle Database editions, including the Oracle Database Express Edition (XE).
  • Free to use with an existing Oracle Database license.
  • Available as a standalone product but requires purchasing an Oracle Database license without an existing license.

What is The Oracle Application Express?

Oracle Application Express, or APEX, is a low-code development platform for web-based applications.

Capabilities and Features of Oracle APEX

capabilities and features of Oracle APEX

Delving into the capabilities of Oracle Application Express, we find a suite of features that cater to diverse development needs.

This section highlights its essential functionalities, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of what Oracle APEX brings.

Versatile Application Development

Oracle APEX shines in its versatility:

  • Spreadsheet Integration: Transforming spreadsheets into fully functional applications is a standout feature. It caters to businesses migrating from traditional spreadsheet reliance to more dynamic, database-driven applications.
  • SaaS and EBS Extensions: Oracle APEX seamlessly integrates with Software as a Service (SaaS) and Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), enhancing existing systems with custom functionalities and improved workflows.
  • Datamart Reporting: For data-driven organizations, Oracle APEX’s datamart reporting capabilities offer insightful analytics and reporting tools crucial for informed decision-making processes.

Empowering Modern Solutions

  • Cloud and Mobile App Development: The platform is adept at creating cloud-based and mobile-responsive applications, ensuring accessibility and performance across various devices and platforms.
  • Oracle Forms Modernization: Oracle APEX facilitates the modernization of Oracle Forms, allowing for an upgrade to more current, web-friendly interfaces without losing the essence of the original applications.
  • External Data Sharing: With Oracle APEX, external data sharing becomes streamlined, enabling organizations to exchange data securely and efficiently with external stakeholders.

Oracle APEX’s features enhance web and mobile application development’s efficiency, scalability, and flexibility. It addresses key enterprise challenges, making it a noteworthy contender in the low-code platform market.

Oracle Apex – Architecture and Support

Oracle Application Express (APEX) is not just about the surface-level capabilities; its underlying architecture and support system are pivotal in its effectiveness and adaptability.

Database-Centric and Scalable

At its core, Oracle APEX exhibits a database-centric architecture. This design is pivotal for several reasons:

  • Integrated with Oracle Database: Oracle APEX is seamlessly integrated with Oracle Database, ensuring robustness and reliability.
  • Scalability: The platform’s scalability is evident as it can handle varying loads, making it suitable for small-scale projects and large enterprise applications.
  • Full Support Across Oracle Database Editions: Oracle APEX’s compatibility with various Oracle Database editions, including Enterprise Edition (EE), Standard Edition 2 (SE2), and Oracle Database 18c Express Edition (XE), ensures a wide range of applications and scenarios are catered to.

Advanced Integration and Multi-Tenancy

  • SQL and PL/SQL Integration: Oracle APEX’s integration with SQL and PL/SQL allows developers to leverage their existing database skills, ensuring that complex data operations are handled efficiently.
  • Multi-Tenant Capabilities: The platform’s multi-tenant architecture ensures that multiple independent applications can be hosted on a single infrastructure, providing cost efficiency and easier management.
  • RESTful Web Services: Oracle APEX’s support for RESTful Web Services facilitates easy data exchange and integration with other systems, enhancing the platform’s interoperability.
  • Developing with Oracle APEX
  • Developing web-based applications using Oracle APEX is a process that blends simplicity with robust capabilities. Here, we provide a guide to harnessing the platform’s power using SQL, PL/SQL, and a web browser.
  • Streamlined Application Development
  • Web Browser-Based Development: Oracle APEX allows the creation of applications directly through a web browser. This simplifies the development process, eliminating the need for complex setups or installations.
  • Utilizing SQL and PL/SQL: Using SQL and PL/SQL in Oracle APEX empowers developers to easily build data-driven applications. It provides the tools to create detailed reports, interactive charts, and data forms.
  • Tools and Workshops
  • SQL Workshop: The SQL Workshop within Oracle APEX is a suite of tools designed to manage database objects, run SQL queries, and develop SQL and PL/SQL code.
  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs): Oracle APEX provides a variety of APIs, enabling developers to enhance their applications with custom functionality. These APIs range from backend database operations to front-end JavaScript enhancements.
  • Developing for a Professional Edge
  • Professional Web-Based Applications: With Oracle APEX, creating professional, fast, and secure web-based applications becomes a streamlined process. It opens opportunities for developers to focus on solving business problems rather than being bogged down by the intricacies of programming.
  • Mobile and Responsive Design: Oracle APEX includes features for developing mobile-responsive applications, ensuring accessibility and optimal user experience across devices.
  • Oracle APEX stands out as a tool that combines ease of use with powerful development capabilities. Its robust and scalable architecture makes it suitable for various applications.

Top 5 Best Practices in Oracle APEX Development

Top 5 Best Practices in Oracle APEX Development

In Oracle Application Express (APEX) development, adhering to best practices is crucial for ensuring effective, secure, and professional application development.

Here are the top five best practices to consider:

1. Emphasize Security from the Start

  • Robust Security Measures: Implement Oracle APEX’s built-in security features like authentication schemes, authorization controls, and session state protection.
  • Data Validation and Sanitization: Ensure all user inputs are validated and sanitized to prevent SQL injection and other common web vulnerabilities.

2. Utilize Oracle APEX’s Rapid Development Features

  • Leverage Templates and Wizards: Use Oracle APEX’s templates and wizards to speed up the development process without compromising the quality.
  • Responsive Design Practices: Employ Oracle APEX’s responsive design capabilities to ensure your applications are accessible across various devices.

3. Optimize Application Performance

  • Efficient Data Retrieval: Use PL/SQL effectively for data processing and retrieval to optimize performance.
  • Minimize Custom Code: Rely on Oracle APEX’s built-in functionalities as much as possible to reduce the need for custom code, which can simplify maintenance and upgrades.

4. Regular Testing and Quality Assurance

  • Iterative Testing: Conduct regular testing throughout development to identify and rectify issues early.
  • User Feedback Integration: Incorporate user feedback into the development cycle to ensure the application meets user needs and expectations.

5. Documentation and Knowledge Sharing

  • Maintain Comprehensive Documentation: Keep detailed documentation of your development processes and application functionalities.
  • Knowledge-Sharing Sessions: Encourage team discussions and knowledge-sharing sessions to disseminate best practices and solutions within your development team.

Oracle Application Express License

Oracle Application Express License

Oracle Application Express is licensed as part of the Oracle Database.

You can use APEX at no additional cost with an Oracle Database license. APEX is a no-cost feature of all Oracle Database editions, including Oracle Database Express Edition (XE).

Is Oracle Application Express Free?

Oracle Application Express Free

Oracle Application Express is free if you have an Oracle Database license.

APEX is a no-cost feature of all Oracle Database editions, including Oracle Database Express Edition (XE).

However, if you do not have an Oracle Database license, you can still use APEX by downloading it as a standalone product. Oracle provides APEX as a free download, but you must purchase an Oracle Database license.

Oracle Application Express Licensing Options

Oracle offers several licensing options for Oracle Application Express, including:

Each licensing option includes APEX as a no-cost feature.

Oracle Database Licensing Options

Oracle offers several licensing options for Oracle Database, including:

  • Oracle Database Standard Edition 2
  • Oracle Database Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle Database Cloud Service
  • Oracle Database Cloud Exadata Service
  • Oracle Database Express Edition (XE)

APEX is included as a no-cost feature of all Oracle Database editions.

Alternatives to Oracle Application Express

While Oracle Application Express (APEX) is a powerful tool for web and mobile application development, it’s essential to consider alternative platforms that might better suit specific project requirements or organizational contexts.

Below are some notable alternatives and how they compare to Oracle APEX.

1. Microsoft Power Apps

  • Integration with Microsoft Ecosystem: Power Apps is deeply integrated with other Microsoft services like SharePoint, Office 365, and Azure, making it a strong contender for businesses already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.
  • Ease of Use: It offers a more intuitive drag-and-drop interface, which can be more user-friendly for those without extensive coding experience.
  • Comparison: While Oracle APEX provides more in-depth database integration, Power Apps excels in seamless integration with other Microsoft services and ease of use for non-developers.

2. OutSystems

  • Rapid Development Capabilities: OutSystems is known for its rapid application development and deployment capabilities, similar to Oracle APEX.
  • Cross-Platform Functionality: It offers strong cross-platform support, enabling the development of applications for various operating systems and devices.
  • Comparison: OutSystems stands out for its cross-platform capabilities and is typically favored for its extensive enterprise-grade features, compared to Oracle APEX’s more focused approach to Oracle database integration.

3. Mendix

  • Low-Code Platform: Mendix is another popular platform emphasizing rapid development and agility.
  • Collaboration Features: It offers extensive features that facilitate teamwork and communication among developers and stakeholders.
  • Comparison: Mendix is particularly advantageous for teams looking for collaborative tools and a strong low-code approach, whereas Oracle APEX is more suited for projects that require deep integration with Oracle databases.

4. FileMaker

  • Custom Database Applications: FileMaker specializes in creating custom database applications and is known for its ease of use.
  • Cross-Platform Deployment: It supports deployment across Windows, macOS, web, and mobile, offering flexibility in application delivery.
  • Comparison: While FileMaker is user-friendly and versatile in deployment, Oracle APEX offers more robust enterprise-level capabilities and a stronger focus on web-based applications.

5. Zoho Creator

  • SMB-Friendly: Zoho Creator is designed with small to medium-sized businesses in mind, offering a simple and intuitive interface for app development.
  • Integration with Zoho Suite: It integrates well with the Zoho suite of products, which can be a significant advantage for existing Zoho users.
  • Comparison: Zoho Creator is more accessible for smaller teams or businesses, whereas Oracle APEX offers more advanced features suitable for larger enterprises and complex applications.

Each of these alternatives has its unique strengths and use cases.

The choice between Oracle APEX and its alternatives often depends on specific project requirements, existing infrastructure, and the level of complexity required in the application development process.

Real-World Applications and Case Studies

Real-World Applications and Case Studies

The versatility and efficacy of Oracle Application Express (APEX) are best illustrated through its real-world applications across various industries.

These case studies and customer stories shed light on how different sectors harness Oracle APEX for innovative business solutions.

Healthcare Industry

  • Patient Management Systems: Oracle APEX has been instrumental in developing patient management systems, enabling healthcare providers to maintain comprehensive patient records, schedule appointments, and manage billing efficiently.
  • Case Study: A notable hospital network used Oracle APEX to create a centralized system that streamlined patient data management and improved the overall quality of healthcare services.

Educational Sector

  • E-Learning Platforms: Various educational institutions have leveraged Oracle APEX to develop e-learning platforms. These platforms facilitate online course management, student engagement, and remote learning capabilities.
  • Case Study: A university developed an e-learning portal with Oracle APEX, providing students and faculty seamless access to educational resources and collaboration tools.

Retail and E-commerce

  • Inventory Management Systems: In the retail sector, Oracle APEX has created robust inventory management systems that track stock levels, manage orders, and analyze sales trends.
  • Case Study: An e-commerce company utilized Oracle APEX to build a comprehensive inventory system integrated with their ERP solution, enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Financial Services

  • Data Analysis and Reporting Tools: Financial institutions often use Oracle APEX to develop in-depth data analysis and financial reporting applications.
  • Case Study: A financial services firm implemented an Oracle APEX-based application that automated complex financial reports, saving significant time and reducing errors.

Public Sector

  • Government Data Management: Oracle APEX is also prevalent in the public sector for managing government data public records, and facilitating citizen services.
  • Case Study: A government agency developed a public records management system with Oracle APEX, improving transparency and accessibility for citizens.

Resources and Learning

For those embarking on their journey with Oracle Application Express (APEX), a wealth of resources and learning materials are available to facilitate a smooth and effective learning experience.

Online Courses and Tutorials

  • Oracle APEX Official Learning Paths: Oracle offers structured learning paths, including free online courses, that guide users from beginner to advanced levels.
  • Third-Party Tutorials: Various online platforms provide tutorials and courses tailored to different aspects of Oracle APEX development.

Certification Programs

  • Oracle Certification: Pursuing official Oracle APEX certification can validate your skills and knowledge, which is beneficial for professional development.
  • Community-Driven Certifications: Some community platforms also offer certification programs that can be complementary to Oracle’s official offerings.

Comprehensive Documentation

  • Oracle APEX Documentation: Oracle provides extensive documentation covering all features and aspects of Oracle APEX, an invaluable resource for developers.
  • Community Forums and Blogs: Engaging with the Oracle APEX community through forums and blogs can provide real-world insights and problem-solving techniques.

Hands-On Practice

  • Oracle APEX Workspace: Oracle offers a free workspace for users to practice and experiment with Oracle APEX, allowing for hands-on learning and experimentation.
  • Project-Based Learning: Building small projects and progressively increasing complexity can be an effective way to master Oracle APEX.

By leveraging these resources and learning opportunities, individuals and organizations can effectively build their Oracle APEX proficiency, leading to the development of innovative and efficient applications tailored to their unique business needs.

Oracle Application Express license FAQs

What is Oracle Application Express?

Oracle Application Express, or APEX, is a low-code development platform for web-based applications.

Is Oracle Application Express free?

Oracle Application Express is free if you have an Oracle Database license. APEX is a no-cost feature of all Oracle Database editions, including Oracle Database Express Edition (XE).

Can I use Oracle Application Express without an Oracle Database license?

You can download APEX as a standalone product for free, but you must purchase an Oracle Database license to use it.

What licensing options are available for Oracle Application Express?

Oracle offers several licensing options for APEX, including Oracle Database Standard Edition 2, Oracle Database Enterprise Edition, Oracle Database Cloud Service, and Oracle Database Cloud Exadata Service.

Where can I find support for Oracle Application Express?

Oracle provides support for APEX through the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) forum, and there is also a vibrant community of APEX developers who share knowledge and resources.

What is Oracle APEX used for?

Oracle APEX serves as a strategic low-code application platform. It’s designed to facilitate the creation of scalable, secure enterprise applications with top-tier features.

What is Oracle ADF vs APEX?

Oracle ADF (Application Development Framework) and Oracle APEX (Application Express) are both development tools from Oracle, but they differ in their use cases and features. ADF is a Java EE framework for building enterprise applications, while APEX is a low-code development platform for building scalable, secure enterprise applications.

What is the Microsoft equivalent of Oracle APEX?

The Microsoft counterpart to Oracle APEX is considered to be Power Apps. Like APEX, Power Apps is a low-code platform that allows users to create custom business applications.

How to buy an Oracle Database

The lowest cost is arguably an Oracle cloud service, but you may also purchase a named user plus database license.

Future Trends of Oracle APEX

Future Trends of Oracle APEX
  1. Increased Focus on Low-Code Development: Oracle APEX will continue to evolve as a leading low-code development platform, making application development more accessible.
  2. Enhanced Integration Capabilities: Expect more robust integration with other Oracle products and third-party systems.
  3. Advancements in AI and Machine Learning: Incorporating AI for smarter app development and analytics.
  4. Cloud-First Approach: A more substantial shift towards cloud-based functionalities for scalability and efficiency.
  5. Mobile App Development: Enhanced tools for creating mobile-friendly applications.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, improving organizational efficiency.

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