FOEX Plugin Framework

(14)
4.6 out of 5 stars

The FOEX Plugin Framework is an Enterprise Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool built on top of Oracle Application Express (APEX) and Sencha Ext JS.

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FOEX Plugin review by <span>Alex H.</span>
Alex H.
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What do you like best?

FOEX allows us to build Apps that match rich Desktop/Forms applications in terms of their functionality. You can start quickly with a basic set of features and then add advanced capabilities over time. FOEX is listening to customer requirements and so, over the years, some of our ideas and requirements have found their way into the product.

While FOEX is built on top of Oracle, it is possible to integrate various datasources using REST and provide the end user with a coherent experience, regardless where the data is sourced from. Finally, their support reacts quickly to issues raised. FOEX has kept us ahead in terms of capabilities compared to other choices on the market, and the framework keeps evolving with new features.

What do you dislike?

We could do with more icons out of the box, although this is extensible and the latest release ships with Font Awesome which is a significant improvement over the previous icon set.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Get a few days training course lined up in order to learn how the framework ticks.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are implementing FOEX as a front-end for Oracle E-Business Suite Customers. This allows us to significantly streamline processes in the ERP system by tailoring the user's workflow and the Information displayed on the user interface to how the business really works, rather than wasting time in standard forms which are generic but not matching the information needs of the customer site. In the background, the system is tied to the standard API's of the ERP, so the customers end up with the best of both worlds - a fluid and efficient user interface and the data integrity and processing of the ERP system in the background.

Another use case we have taken on is the capability of blending various datas ources, such as adding information from Postgres, Elasticsearch and Kafka Streams into the FOEX framework. Rather than logging into multiple systems, the end users can control and interact with these datasources from within the FOEX framework.

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FOEX Plugin review by <span>Emanuel C.</span>
Emanuel C.
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Superb framework

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What do you like best?

It takes advantage of everything that's great in APEX and improves on that, a lot. You can think of far more complex User Interfaces, Single Page applications. Pretty much fill every gap in APEX. Grids are more complete and easier to customize. Forms are smart enough to include navigation buttons to scroll through records. You get trees that will make you life a lot easier if you want to show hierarchical data. Also, if you see something in Ext.js that you need FOEX will probably support it as Additional configuration.

What do you dislike?

Customization via themes is not the best. It does come with a few options out of the box, quite nice options and easy to switch. The problem is that if you want to move outside of these options it gets complicates. It's not like classic APEX where you have the theme editor and you can customize it quickly.

Recommendations to others considering the product

The Sencha framework is a tried an true solution for all kinds of problems. FOEX combines the power of Sencha with the ease of use of APEX. If you don't know a whole lot about HTML, CSS and Javascript give APEX and FOEX shot because you can focus on your queries, packages and PL/SQL skills to build great web apps.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

FOEX is superb when it comes to migrating users from desktop environments to web. This type of people are used to spreadsheets and keyboard shortcuts. FOEX helps in smoothing the transition because it feels and somehow behaves like a desktop app.

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FOEX Plugin review by <span>Matteo S.</span>
Matteo S.
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What do you like best?

The FOEX Plugin Framework gave us the possibility to redevelop our complex backend applications without retraining our developers.

We made the decision to transition from Oracle Forms and Reports to Oracle APEX, but soon realized that some requirements could not be done without using 3rd party plugins for APEX. That’s when we learned about FOEX and how it enriches the APEX development environment.

FOEX helped us build data-centric screens which are similar to Forms in functionality, but look more modern. Since we don’t need to write so much code anymore, the apps we develop are also easier to maintain.

What do you dislike?

In addition to the FOEX Plugin Framework, they also sell a couple of addons as separate products. It would have been great to have that functionality included in the main software.

Not necessarily a dislike, but it would be great if they’d spend some time to create some video tutorials. Also the documentation should have more examples on how to use their components together.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you’re thinking of using APEX for more complex projects have a look at what FOEX can do for you before you start. If we’d known about FOEX when we started our first migration project it would have saved us at least 4-6 months of development.

Since the project was quite in an advanced stage, we decided to move ahead as planned and use FOEX for our next projects. Suffice to say the other apps we had to migrate took way less time to rebuild with APEX + FOEX.

We had no budget for trainings, so we opened a trial account and went through the 2-day Developer Guide they provide. After that we asked for an online web meeting to discuss about a POC we wanted to build and used the developer forum to get answers to our questions. They usually reply within a day.

There is a bit of a learning curve at the beginning, but their team is willing to help. If you already know PL/SQL or have some experience with APEX, it should be relatively easy to learn your way around how FOEX works.

They call them FOEX apps (to highlight the fact that an app was built with the FOEX Plugin Framework), but essentially they are APEX apps which use FOEX plugins to do the work that would normally be done by the custom code you would have to write.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We have a small team of developers who worked with Oracle Forms & Reports for the most part. It was really important to find a tool that would allow us to build web apps using a similar approach to how we used to develop them in Forms.

Improving development speed is the key benefit of FOEX. We can deliver POC’s and production ready apps much more faster saving us quite a few $$$ in the process.

Everything is AJAX-centric with the FOEX Plugin Framework, which is a major plus for our users since they don’t need to refresh the whole page when making changes.

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FOEX Plugin review by <span>Bharat P.</span>
Bharat P.
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FOEX is the Icing on top of Oracle APEX..

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What do you like best?

I am impressed with the speed with which a rich interface could be assembled with FOEX components and its ability to support functional design changes. FOEX framework eliminates cumbersome coding and seamlessly integrates pixel perfect feature rich components like grids, treegrids with just a few clicks. Easily binds with the Oracle DB objects for CRUD operations saving a lot of coding and testing time. The time saving applies to new development, maintenance since adding/removing columns/items/buttons/regions is also done with just a couple of clicks using the standard Oracle APEX builder Interface.

What do you dislike?

In my opinion, the plugins offered by FOEX need to be a part of every Oracle APEX developer's arsenal to be efficient and successful in delivery a highly functional and responsive business application. Putting a price to it is what I dislike as many customers believe Oracle APEX is free and they are paying for FOEX.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Our Client has complex data hierarchies with huge amounts of data that needs to be searched and displayed in a secure environment. FOEX has a good number of mature components like the tree, grid & treegrid that make it easy for the developers to 1) Integrate these components with Oracle APEX; 2) Provide high functionality with least amounts of code- just a SQL can help create a robust tree/folder hierarchy; and 3) Save development time- a few clicks and a few minutes to get a robust hierarchy on a web page. The end user gets a very responsive UI experience and an intuitive user interface!

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FOEX Plugin review by <span>Boudineau F.</span>
Boudineau F.
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What do you like best?

We discovered FOEX to overcome the absence of grids in Oracle APEX but quickly FOEX became the only choice thanks to the incomparable richness of UI components.

FOEX allows you to build screens with an excellent user experience and fully responsive.

There is nothing to prevent APEX and FOEX mixing and the latest FOEX templates are very close to those of APEX allowing a good visual integration.

Also the integration of FOEX into the APEX Designer is remarkable and fully respects the APEX philosophy: as little javascript and css as possible.

What do you dislike?

Care must be taken not to duplicate APEX development partern in FOEX. With FOEX there is no longer need to submit page as everything is processed in AJAX call. The FOEX mechanism based on hide/show region of page and extensively using cache mecanism musst be absolutely respected.

It is possible to build very complex pages in a snap, but in this case you must be careful not to overload the screens with too much information.

To remedy the lack of a good smartphone support in Oracle APEX, FOEX could improve the listview management especially the xtemplate integration.

Recommendations to others considering the product

FOEX is truly the missing piece of Oracle APEX.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Thanks to FOEX we were able to stop the development of our own components and concentrate on the product. The tablet integration is good , we have been able to reduce the number of specific developments on this platform.

In 2 years we have completely rewritten our software package developed under java C# and php. It would have been unimaginable with a tool other than FOEX.

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FOEX Plugin review by <span>raymond a.</span>
raymond a.
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What do you like best?

FOEX gives us the capability to develop truely rich User Interfaces without having to resort to extensive Javascripting. It gives us a great framework on top of Oracle APEX. By having a consistent and integrated library of plugins for APEX, it also adds to a better acceptance by larger commercial organisations. Having all these plugins supplied and maintained by a commercial organisation guarantees business continuity and support.

What do you dislike?

This maybe a personal bug bear, but I would have liked to see the calendar plugin to be part of the base license. Unfortunately it is an additional license, but I would have expected a calendar to be a basic functionality. We just implement the standard calendar from APEX in our application instead.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Anyone who develops APEX applications for a living, either as a consultant or in a organisation, should at least evaluate FOEX. Specifically if you have no interest in becoming a Javascript expert, but want to develop rich UI applications. I know that APEX still has this misconcepton of "small departmental" applications. But nothing could be further from the truth. Using APEX with FOEX you can go up against any .NET or Java Application and you will do it faster.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Our biggest issue was reducing the time to develop more complex business applications. Using standard APEX has limits (although version 5.0/5.1 resolved a few key missing capabilities). Building more complex screens forces you to either

a) develop your own plugins

b) use plugins developed by other people in the community, but could cause potential upgrade issues

c) write a whole lot of Javascript, which we believe reduces the longer term maintainability

Specifically Oracle Forms to APEX migration projects , which in the past might have been challenging and very time consuming, have now become easy. FOEX will give you the capability to offer the same type of User Experience like Oracle Forms, but even better.

But to be clear it is not only Oracle Forms to APEX migration projects, it is really any project. We have re-developed PHP and Java applications and improved upon them 10 fold.

Our other success has been developing a SAAS. Although not yet finished (but in beta) has given us tremendous confidence and fantastic feedback from the beta clients. We could not have done that without using FOEX.

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