Monday, 14 July 2008

Oracle Forms: Alfa Romeo

Everyone goes on about how much better than Oracle Forms this Oracle Apex thing is - and they're right; I hate going back to bug-fix my old Forms apps (not that I have much choice; the application that makes my employers most of their money is written in Forms). But one thing people don't mention is how developing in Apex makes you feel.

I was watching Top Gear the other day and the presenters were practically having a communal orgasm as they discussed Alfa Romeos: they agreed that they were terribly unreliable cars that were likely to spend as much time with your mechanic as with you, but they said that even that was more than made up for by the way Alfa Romeos made you feel when you got behind their wheel.

So what does developing in Apex feel like compared to developing in Forms? Well, let me persist with the car analogy: developing in Apex is like driving a Ferrari - it's fast and smooth and enjoyable - for the first 100 miles. After that you begin to wish the seats were a little more comfortable and you begin to miss those little 'useless' extras that you took for granted in your old family sedan.

Okay, enough with the car analogies. Truth is the only thing I've driven in the past 10 years was a Segway, and if I went anywhere near a Ferrari I'd probably get arrested. The point I'm trying to make is that somehow I've found that developing in Forms was more fun; Apex is great but I don't know that I'll ever learn to love it the way I loved Forms. Yes, it's easy to build applications and create pages and graffiti them with pie charts and scattergrams - but have they made it too easy?

My application is now a 65-page sprawl that keeps spreading like eczema and I'm reasonably proud of it, but the truth is that these days I have the most fun when I'm writing database packages, procedures and functions, and not when I'm building (yet another) Apex page. It was never this way back in my Forms days.

No comments: