Thursday, March 04, 2010

APEX 4.0 EA2 - Websheets

In APEX 4.0 EA2 the Websheet functionality is enabled. Websheets allow you to share information with others in a very quick, user friendly and secure way.

Let's have a look at an example. If you go to Application Builder in APEX 4.0 there is a new type there called "Websheet Applications".

We create a new Websheet Application and give it a name and possibly some content that will appear on the home page. You can type the content with the WYSIWYG editor (CK Editor) by clicking on the arrow button.

Before it creates the Websheets, the wizard gives a summary page and that is it.
Websheets are even simpler to create than a normal APEX (database) application.

You can compare Websheets with a preconfigured APEX application. A whole Framework is build for you with a lot of features out-of-the-box. You can just use all that.

When you run the Websheet from the App Builder you come into "Websheet-land". As a default Authentication mechanism it uses the . But you can change that by going into the Websheet Properties to Public Access, Single Sign On, LDAP or Custom.

When logged in, you come into the Websheet Framework. As we have Websheet Development Access, we can change the Websheet. In the top menu and on the right hand side you see what you can do. E.g. you can add pages, sections, data grids etc. There's a lot to explore there!

In the different sections of the page you also have Edit links, which allow you to easily change the text, all with a (WYSIWYG) html editor.

I see two big parts of Websheets; sharing information and data. The information is done through using Pages, sections, tags, files etc. just like you do in a Wiki/CMS. But where it outperforms all the typical wiki or content management systems, is with the data part!

One of the killer features of Websheets are the Data Grids. If you go to Data > Data Grids and create a new Data Grid, you have the choice to start from scratch or from Excel/Text with copy/paste. That allows you to create "a table" on the fly which holds your data (actually it's a record in the Websheet repository). This Data Grid look very similar to an Interactive Report (see Actions button), but it allows to do inline editing and a lot more (see Manage button)!

Websheets are too big to discuss in one blog post. There are so many areas which could be covered. There's the wiki part, the data part, the administration (security, dashboards), ...

Maybe one last thing... look at the url of a Websheet (login with end/end)... it doesn't start with f?p... it starts with ws?p ;-)


Stew said...


Nice teaser to get people interested in WebSheets. I think it's going to be a heavily-used feature once people have a clue what you can do with it.

I think you made 2 excellent points that bear repeating:

* There is way too much to WebSheets that can be done in a single blog post, and

* WebSheets could make for some incredible wikis!

I hadn't considered that usage at all, so thanks for tossing it out.

Peter de Boer said...


Thanks for your post.
I was quite impressed by the full set of features in the Websheet framework.

I haven't had a close look at all the details, but I am very interested if there will be some kind of API around the Websheets.
I noticed that the data in the Websheets is physically stored in the APEX$_WS_ROWS table (in the parsing schema). It would be nice if the websheets could be generated/populated dynamically from a query.

My experience is that most of the end users get their reports (based on database queries) now in Excel format. I don't think they will upload their sheets to APEX. If we could "expose" the reports through WebSheets, I guess that could make things very interesting . . .