Oracle APEX vs. Oracle Forms challenge: create a master-detail report

Oracle APEX vs. Oracle Forms challenge: create a master-detail report

Recently, I had an opportunity to create several new application features in Oracle APEX and Oracle Forms. I found myself intrigued by the differences and similarities in their approaches. This sparked the idea to share my insights through this blog.

That's why I created a simple Departments-Employees master-detail report using APEX and Oracle Forms. I wanted to do it as much automatically as possible, using default settings.

Rather than advocating for one tool over the other, I aim to show you a step-by-step guide to create this report using both tools.

No judging, just a tutorial and a lot of screenshots.

Share your thoughts in the comments if you want.

Enjoy reading!

Initial setup

  1. Oracle database with tables: "DEPARTMENTS" and "EMPLOYEES" with FOREIGN KEY relation by column DEPARTMENT_ID + inserted some sample rows.

  2. Oracle Forms 12.2

  3. Oracle APEX 23.2

Oracle Forms

Create a new form

  • Open Oracle Form Builder and create a new Form Module by choosing "File -> New -> Form"

Result is:

Create DEPARTMENTS data block

  • Create a new data block by choosing "Data Blocks" and green "plus" button

  • Pick "use the Data Block Wizard" and press OK

  • The Wizard screen will show up

  • Select the type of data block to create.

  • Choose the parent table and columns you want to include in the data block

  • Give a name to your data block

Create DEPARTMENTS layout

  • Create a data block and call Layout Wizard

  • Select a canvas type to put the data block on. I chose default "content" (sounds a little bit like APEX's Static Content region isn't it ?:) )

  • Choose the data block columns you want to be included in your canvas frame

  • Choose prompt (label), width and height of your columns

  • Select layout style "tabular"

  • Choose the frame title, the number of records to be displayed, the distance between records and the optional scrollbar

  • The first data block for the master table Departments is created. This is a preview of what I created (but it's like a preview of what I did similar to what you see in APEX Builder)

Create EMPLOYEES data block (detail report)

  • Choose the data block wizard again, and pick "table and view"

  • Choose the existing EMPLOYEES table and all columns to be included in the data block

  • Create a relationship to the parent DEPARTMENTS table. Forms are smart and have an "auto-join data block" option

  • Table DEPARTMENTS was automatically selected, but I had to choose what columns are used to join both tables - DEPARTMENT_ID

  • Give a name to a new data block and call Layout Wizard again

Create EMPLOYEES layout

  • Select a canvas to put the data block on. I will pick CANVAS4 (automatically created for DEPARTMENTS earlier)

  • Choose data block items to be shown on the canvas

  • Pick a label, width and height

  • Select "tabular" layout style

  • Name a frame, set the number of records, distance and scrollbar

  • That is the final result (a developer view)

  • And a final view that the end user will see

Oracle APEX

Ok, now I will do exactly the same master-detail data block using APEX 23.2

Create a new master detail page

  • Open APEX Builder and click "Create page"

  • Choose master-detail, default "Stacked"

  • Pick "master" table DEPARTMENTS

  • The primary key column DEAPRTMENT_ID is picked automatically

  • Select detail table EMPLOYEES

  • Pick a master-detail relationship from a list of values and click "Create Page"

Your master-detail page is ready


As I promised, no judging :)

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.