Apex 5.2 is still in early adopter phase 1. It looks as if there will be a second early adopter phase. And probably after that Apex 5.2 will be released.
The following statements are highly speculational. There are based upon my observations in the early adopter cloud version (apexea.oracle.com) and based upon various talks from Apex team members.
Remember: It is possible that some of the features that are already there or that are promised, will not make it into the final version.
Create application features
The wizard to create a new application now has a blueprint functionality. This means during application creation we add standard modules to the application that are frequently requested.
Choose/Create Application Icon
This is part of the blueprint functionality. We can now choose from a very limited set of icons, adjust the color and we will get an svg in static application files (#APP_IMAGES#app-icon.svg) that can be used everywhere.
I blogged about it already and showed a way how to use the created icon also inside the logo header. See Apex 5.0-5.2 Logo Text with Icon
Quick SQL is a shorthand way for creating a datamodel.
It is not really an Apex 5.2 feature. However it is a packaged application that was created for 5.2 but is made available already now. This is part of the low code movement.
Check out the shortlink to the public quicksql application: https://apex.oracle.com/quicksql/
Interactive Grid (IG) features
As expected IGs still get a lot of love. Some bugfixes but also several enhancements. Here are my favorite new features.
url based filtering
This can not be tested yet. However John Snyders mentioned it here.
With Interactive Reports we can set filters by adding some parameters to the url for that page. The same is absolutly needed for Grids.
copy down functionality
In the future there will be a way to copy data from one cell of an IG to all empty cells that are below it. Many customers asked me already for this when presenting IGs.
I’m not sure how easy it will be to use. Currently it doesn#t seem to be finalised yet. I hope the apex development team finds a decent way to implement it (=easy for the end user).
As you can see in the screenshot there is also a copy to clipboard function (ctrl+C)!
Oracle JET upgraded to version 4.1
4.1 is a huge step forward. Apex 5.1 included Oracle JET 2.0.2 (if I remember correctly). The Oracle JET team pushes enhancements very rapidly and frequently. So it is good to have a fairly recent version included now. However at the time when Apex 5.2 will be public, Oracle JET might again be several versions in front.
Classical reports (and some other components too) can now be based upon a remote database source.
I wasn’t able to test this feature thoroughly in the cloud version. I hope it means we can now use tables over database links (=remote databases) as a source for our wizard. This is a very typical scenario in company environments. Use apex to access a different Oracle database where the business data resides, but where no apex is installed.
The search functionality inside page builder was hugely improved. Get familiar with it!
Sticky property filters
The property pane in the page designer can now be searched. And this search can be pinned. So that the same filter is applied for all items that we click upon. This is very useful!
Dev toolbar enhancements
Page timing info. Looks nice. I’m not sure how useful, but I sometimes refer to the page timings. Having a better graphical presentation is certainly interesting.
There are major enhancements with regards to rest modules and consuming rest web sources.
I didn’t have time to test them yet. But it is definitly a way into the right direction.
There is no compatibility mode 5.2. It seems as if this is intended. Somebody already addressed this as an issue, and this was the response:
“Thank you for your feedback. Unbelievable, but APEX 5.2 doesn’t contain any change of behaviour …”
Quo Vadis IR?
IGs have an improved way to do conditional highlighting. Already in Apex 5.1.
We can now highlight a column depending on the value of another column.
This was way overdue.
Unfortunatly this is still not possible for Interactive Reports.
Here is how the highlighting dialog looks for IRs vs. IGs
I have the feeling that IRs are now the step child of the apex team. It is the declared goal to eventually replace IRs with IGs. I support that vision for the future. However we are still far away from that (pivot functionality missing, and some others). During that transition, IR shouldn’t be left out of enhancements.
There are some new charts included. Especially Gantt Charts might be of some interest. However I don’t particuarly missed them in the past.
Oracle Jet includes a few very unique chart types. I would like to see declarative support for all of them. But my favorite Oracle JET chart types are diagrams (container layout), NBox and the PictoChart.
Some small enhancements that really should have made it into the previous version already (url based IG filtering for example). But also some major steps into the right direction (REST+JSON support).