Last year was the worst year of my working life. Okay, maybe that's putting it a little too strongly - it's not as if I ended up sleeping in cornershop doorways being pissed on by drunks, fighting over half-eaten sandwiches with rats while supporting my crack cocaine habit by selling my body. But sometimes things seemed that bad: I spent, you see, last year working with Oracle ADF. (Arrgh, even after this much time the very name floods my mouth with bile.)
I'm willing to give ADF the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe (just maybe) it's actually a ... passable product, but it's definitely NOT the right product for an Oracle Forms developer to graduate to. The learning curve is far too steep and the technology is still far too tetchy.
Oracle Application Express is altogether a different story. I returned from a rather elementary 5 day course at Oracle and immediately felt ready to dive in head first. Yes, I'm still discovering new facets of the product even now, but at no point has this mountain felt unclimbable.
The one question I do have is one that no one outside Oracle would really be able to answer, and one which no one inside Oracle would necessarily answer truthfully: what does the future hold for Apex?
Just last week my boss at work informed us that the majority of our new development would now be written in Apex (which is great for me since I'm currently the only Apex 'expert' that we have). But at that meeting everyone turned to me and asked what my feelings about the future of Apex are - would Oracle give it the investment it will need to become an industry-leading development tool or will they abandon it one year down the line and move on to the next hyped thing? Does Apex even possess the oomph to power large-scale applications? Will we regret hitching our future to this bandwagon?
My answer was this: I don't know. However I'll be very interested in hearing what everyone else thinks.