APEX 24.1 Working Copies - is it better than it was in 23.2?

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APEX 24.1 Working Copies - is it better than it was in 23.2?

Yesterday, on June 17th, 2024, Oracle APEX 24.1 was released with many new features and improvements, including enhanced "Working copies". Of course, I tested it right away.

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To get a general idea of how this feature works, read my previous article, "APEX 23.2 Working Copies is one of the coolest features ever", here.

What changed in APEX 24.1 Working Copies?

According to Oracle APEX's "What's new" webpage:

It looks like DEVELOPER_1 will now be noticed if DEVELOPER_2 is making changes on the same page in another working copy.

That was an important inconvenience in 23.2 as it provided to situations when DEVELOPER_1 could easily overwrite changes made on the same page by DEVELOPER_2 (during merge to MAIN application) - read about it in my old article about Working Copies

New improvements in actions

Test prerequisites:

  • My workspace at apex.oracle.com with APEX 24.1

  • Sample Reporting app 70490

  • Two developers DEVELOPER_1 and DEVELOPER_2, created their working copies of the MAIN app

1.Notify Developers Working in the MAIN app

After creating the first working copy of main application, there is this warning visible:

It keeps showing in many places in the MAIN application.

It's very nice to have it. It will help developers remember to change the working copy instead of changing the main app.

2.Flag Pages Changed in Other Copies

Developer_1 locked page 1 in his working copy and changed the region title.

At the same time, Developer_2 opens page 1 in his working copy. There is a new indicator added:

The indicator is visible to others if the developer locks a page (in MAIN or Working Copy) or changes it.

Every developer will be immediately notified that someone else is making changes on the same page in another working copy. This will allow developers to communicate with each other at the very beginning.

Please keep in mind that changing the same page in different working copies is not recommended, as merging pages with conflicts will not be possible.

Developers should communicate and agree on who will change/create what pages in APEX. A new flag added in 24.1 will help with it.

3.Compare Changes Between Copies

If the indicator(flag) mentioned above shows up, it will also allow us to compare changes between working copies or with the main application.

After clicking this indicator, a new popup will appear showing who locked this page, in which "Working copy" of the same application.

We can also check what's the difference between page 1 in developer_1 's and developer_2's working copies:

We can also compare our current page with the same page in the main application:

Additional changes

What I also noticed are changes in the "About working copies" screen (visible during merging into MAIN):

  1. There is one additional tip from Oracle: "Lock a page in your main app before modifying it in a working copy"

  2. One unsupported component type, "Tabs (Legacy)," was added. All others that were there in 23.2 are still there.

  3. This part was removed: "Exporting an application with working copies does not include them." However, this is still true, and you need to export working copies separately.

What I'm still missing in APEX Working Copies

  • locking MAIN application by the Workspace Administrator and not allowing developers to change it (just allow them to work with Working Copy)

  • With the "locking MAIN application" feature, there could be privileged users allowed to review code and merge changes into MIAN

  • Merging pages and resolving conflicts - I want this, but is this ever gonna happen? :)

Summary

Well done, APEX Team! I like those changes, and hopefully, "Working copies" will improve even more in future versions of Oracle APEX.