Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Review: Pro jQuery for APEX

Pro jQuery in Oracle Application Express. Scott Wesley. 2015. APRESS. 221 pages. [Source: Safari Books Online]

I've been absent from the APEX world for about 4 years.  In that span I've missed quite a bit of Oracle APEX 4 including new features of AJAX and the use of plugins.  Now I find myself trying to play catch up in the whole new world of Oracle APEX 5.0.

Through my searches for solutions and participation in the Oracle APEX community forum I came across an excellent website which is the APEX blog of Scott Wesley.  Browsing through Scott's blog I found very helpful and instantly relevant posts such as Improving PL/SQL performance in APEX.  I also read the abstract for a training class that he was holding on jQuery and Dynamic Actions.  Although I wanted to attend the training course, Perth, Australia is a long way to travel from Hawaii for a 2 day training course.  So that's when I discovered that he wrote the above book which covered some of the same topics that are covered in his class.

Who should read this book?:  In my opinion, a working knowledge of APEX and PL/SQL is essential.  This is not a book for someone who doesn't know Oracle APEX at all, but more for someone who would like to gain better knowledge of and learn tips on how to interact with the APEX DOM model and javascript APIs. 

What's so good about this book?: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this is by far the best APEX book I've read.  Why?  I guess mostly because I fall into my description of who should read this book.  I'm an experienced PL/SQL & APEX developer, but I have long struggled with CSS and trying to control the layout and look and feel of APEX.  Scott does an excellent job of not only presenting examples of how to change certain things, but more importantly, he aims to teach the reader how to use debugging tools to figure it out for themselves.  Moreover, he also delves into the inner workings of the APIs behind the scenes that Oracle APEX uses in transactions.  A little more than I needed to know, but it's always nice to have that information in your back pocket for when the situation arises. The reading is easy and most of his topics covers solutions you probably were already looking for (ie highlight a report row on click, change the value or style of an item using a dynamic action, etc..). 

Not so good about the book?: At times I found that I wished there was a more comprehensive example during my reading.  That being said, I did appreciate that the examples were short and concise.  With my experience level I feel that I could definitely get his examples to work with a few extra minutes invested because of the lack of details in some areas.  But that's also why I wouldn't recommend this book for beginners.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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