Apex 4.0 Early Adopter – first shot
December 22, 2009
All I can say is Wow!
That’s it. Nothing more here…
… well, okay. Some more details.
These are not in any special order.
My Favorite Parts (so far)
- Team Development components – Looks pretty well implemented overall, though some pieces still need some work. It’s a well-considered project mgmt application built right into Apex for tracking milestones, features, todos and bugs in your various Apex applications. When you edit a page in your application, you see counters for ToDos and Bugs that are linked to that page. Very cool!
- Top Applications list on the development environment home page. So you can jump to the active app you need to work on right away. It also shows a Top Users chart that counts development events (whatever they are?) in a selectable timeframe. I’m not too sure that level of “friendly rivalry” will work in every shop!
- Interactive Reports throughout Application Builder – It looks like everything that was a list-style report in previous Apex versions has been changed to an interactive report. For example, in the Application Builder, the list of applications is an IR. I think will be very handy, since you can save your favorite flavor of view as a saved report! So you can choose sort order, what columns to display and save to this report for re-use later. The power and usefulness here is gonna be epic! Monitor page activity, group by Page Name and compute the average Elapsed Time!
- Page Advizor – an integration of Patrick Wolf’s great utility right into the product. You can have it instantly (very quick!) check a page you’re editing to make sure you haven’t violated any major development rules. You can select which rules it checks. No word on whether they’ll enable adding your own rules in the released product!
- Search Application! A search box on the Application Builder’s application pages (e.g. Edit Application, Edit Page, etc) that very quickly searches your application for the entered phrase! Very very slick and fast!
- Plug-ins – Check out the sample application and tips that Patrick Wolf has already created. Once you’ve installed these and learned the rules, most look straight-forward to implement in your code.
My Less-Favorite Parts so far
- IRs now support a “Details” view, where you can lay out your own multi-row display by creating an HTML table and rows. Pretty cool, but the end-user can’t determine what columns are displayed in that view. So I’m not sure how that’s going to play out with end-users. But I guess it’s better than having to build a separate report for them, eh?
- I know this is an Early Adopter version, but there are lots of pieces that don’t work yet. Such as saving your preference for the Development environment IRs doesn’t work yet. So every time I return to the main page of the application I’m developing, it lists the pages in Icons view, which I hate, even though I’ve changed it to Reports view many times. Yeah, it’s beta! :-/
- I really wanted to try out the new GANTT chart, but I keep getting an error message! I tried to follow the sample query on the creation wizard, but no go. I asked in the Apex forum, but so far no guidance.
- I’m not too thrilled with the new font and design of the development environment, though maybe that’s just habit talking? I’m looking at the Shared Components screen and the text looks really small for my 50-year-old eyes! What do you think?
Anyway, it’s looking really good so far!
My compliments to the chefs!
Finally, happy holidays to all.