A first look at the new APEX 22.1 features

Oracle Development Services Team Apr 21, 2022 4:50:38 PM

APEX 22.1 has arrived! You can now access the latest pre-production version of our favourite low-code tool here.

There are some great new features on offer in this release so our experienced APEX consultants at DSP-Explorer have been busy at work trying them out to give you an overview and their first impressions.

Our team is always available to help with any aspect of APEX. Check out our APEX services here.

New and Updated Components

Approvals and Unified Task List

Alastair Steele, Development Consultant

An out-of-the-box task management framework designed to offer a pre-built approach to the most common workflow requirements including a history of task updates, associated user comments, and task completion triggering subsequent tasks or other business logic.


“Create an inbox page showing all tasks requiring a user's attention.”

“Configure task parameters, participants, and actions, then generate a Task Details page.”

“Create and manage tasks with built-in processes, new views, and a PL/SQL API.”



This is a great addition for those that build user-action driven applications. Having this framework available will save a lot of development time and as the APEX team have suggested, we can expect to see continued investment in this area with additional capabilities added over time.

Simplified Page Creation

Alastair Steele, Development Consultant

The ‘Create Page’ wizard has been reimagined, offering a visually pleasing, simplified process, all while reducing the number of steps required and including more page customisation options upfront.


Despite not being a game-changing or user-focused update, it still makes our lives as developers just that little bit easier. As page types/features with new capabilities were added, the difference in approach between old and new was growing more expansive. However, with this update, we are back to simple and intuitive processes across the board, which is especially important for attracting and retaining new APEX developers.

Readable Application Export in JSON or YAML Formats

Phil Ratcliffe, Development Consultant

When exporting an application, there is now an option included to Export Readable Format: either JSON or YAML.


The export file is now a zipped file which includes the standard fnnn.sql application file, but also a number of readable files, including files for application, pages and shared components (static files, theme, authentications, authorizations, LOVs etc).

The new readable files, while not directly impacting the way applications are migrated from one environment to another, are useful because they provide an easily readable format of the application meta-data, making it easier to diff between versions of an application and its components.

Improved Row Search

Priyanka Choudhary, Development Consultant

Row search is now easy and quick with improved search functionality. More relevant results can be found by simply typing one or multiple words in the search bar or selecting from the list. This can be configured by toggling the 'Tokenized Search' attribute from application properties.


Tokenized search works at all levels of applications – interactive report, interactive grid, faceted search and pop up LOVs. This is a welcome addition that enhances the user experience by allowing natural ways of searching.

Region Sorting Made Easy

Priyanka Choudhary, Development Consultant

Regions such as interactive report and interactive grid have the ability to sort the results in a desired order, but other regions did not have this functionality. APEX 22.1 adds this useful feature to other region types, such as Cards, Charts and Classic report. This is an in-built functionality and 'order by item' is added when you create a new page with a region.

Region Order by

You can set the order options in the list of values as desired, and this will be picked up when you change the order-by option and refresh the results without having to create dynamic action to do the refresh.

This is a very useful addition and will save a lot of time for developers if ordering the results is required in the application.

Faceted Search Enhancements

Tari Ogidi, Development Consultant

This has now been improved to include an action menu per facet, each with client-side filtering, highlighting your search term and showing chat. Facet groups no longer collapse upon selection when they show more results. There is also improved keyboard support and additional support for Plug-In Regions.

Faceted Search 1

Faceted Search 2

This has improved the visibility of the search criteria and ultimately further enhanced the end-user experience of the faceted search.

Markdown and Rich Text Editor

Tari Ogidi, Development Consultant

This has now been improved to enhance the creation and display of Rich Text as either HTML or Markdown. Below are some screenshots of the display output when entering data into a Rich Text field in an editable interactive grid.

Rich Text Editor in IG 1

Rich Text Editor in IG 2

Another improvement is the inclusion of CKEditor5 v32.0.0 which aids developer experience as they can now make use of this HTML embedded plug-in. The “FULL” toolbar in a Rich Text Editor item now has an entry that permits the insertion and editing of arbitrary HTML snippets.

Also, APEX_MARKDOWN.TO_HTML has been updated to support CLOB as an input.

These improvements contribute to a better user experience and visibility of data.

PWA and User Experience

PWA Service Worker Customization

Gavin Bell, Development Consultant

As Oracle’s APEX Development team continue their work to create the ‘ultimate PWA out-of-the-box', they are continuing to release features that enable developers to extend their current APEX PWAs. This new PWA Service Worker Customization feature allows developers to tap into the PWA engine and inject their own service worker code with JavaScript hooks that can be used to implement functionality into the PWAs such as push notifications, web app payments, push app updates in the background and many more that are not currently available declaratively.
PWA Service Worker Customization

This release shows how Oracle’s APEX Team are pushing and committed to PWA technology and over the next few releases will be enhancing the proposition of PWAs within APEX. This is shown by creating a dedicated page in Shared Components for PWA attributes and by giving developers great control over their PWAs, allowing extensibility on what APEX currently allows out-the-box, as more declarative features are developed.

Persistent Authentication

Gavin Bell, Development Consultant

Another new feature for PWAs in APEX allows users to stay logged into their app for a specified period without having to enter their login credentials. The Persistent Authentication feature, disabled by default, can be enabled at instance level and will display a ‘remember me’ checkbox on the PWA login page and through a secure token, they will be reauthenticated whenever they open their app for the specified number of days (defaulted to 30 days) before login credentials need to be re-entered.

This new feature allows APEX PWAs to resemble OS-specific apps and allows the user to stay logged in for ease of use, which will make the user engage better with your apps with faster entry and fewer barriers.

Universal Theme Updates

James Sanna, Development Consultant

The universal theme has undergone some minor changes, introducing improvements on how images and icons are used on the login page. There is a new region position – background Image, which allows you to add a touch of personalisation to the login page using an image without the need for any custom CSS. These enhancements can be taken further with the addition of region image support in the login region, where you can easily apply a logo or icon to the region.


A new region template has also been introduced – image, which provides the developer with greater control over how they can display images throughout all pages of their applications. This template provides various new built-in options such as image ratios, scaling, and accessible descriptions, but also still allows us to add our own custom attributes if required.


These new additions give us more built-in personalisation capabilities that focus on how images and icons are displayed without the need to write additional code. Having the option to create more of a bespoke design on the login page can really give the user a good impression from the moment they start using the app.

Developer Experience

Data Generator

Colin Archer, Oracle Development Services Team Lead

Take a look at the utilities menu within the SQL Workshop and you will find a useful new feature called Data Generator. This can be used to automatically generate sample data for your tables using a JSON blueprint file. Blueprints can be imported and exported, meaning you can reuse them for other environments or easily share them.

Data Generator

The wizard can be used to create a blueprint for an existing table or a new one and defines the data source and rules for each column. There is a large range of built-in data sources available to use to generate realistic data, such as names, countries, numbers, measurements, percentages, dates, zip codes, text, etc. You can also use foreign key lookup, SQL queries, sequences, formulas, etc.

This handy feature allows you to create thousands of rows of realistic sample data very quickly and easily and the generated data can be inserted directly into a table or exported as JSON, CSV or SQL insert file.

Application Icons

Lee Burgess, Development Consultant

You can now easily brand your application with an icon. This can be one of the APEX default icons or an uploaded image of your choice.


Once added, this icon will be displayed as the app icon in the builder, the favicon in the browser tab, the sign-on screen and the home page breadcrumb region. If your app is a PWA the icon will be used as the app thumbnail when downloaded. The files will be accessible and editable from the user interface option in shared components.

You have always been able to add an application icon in the developer builder or to the favicon and sign-in screen, but it has never been as simple and declarative as this. This makes the initial branding of the application a breeze and is a welcome addition.

Effortless App Gallery Installs

James Sanna, Development Consultant

The APEX App Gallery has been given a new look and feel, providing an even more pleasant and straightforward experience when installing sample and starter apps. All non-custom apps from the gallery are now hosted and maintained by Oracle on GitHub, and you can be notified about any updates to ensure your installed sample and starter apps are kept up to date.

The App Gallery has always been a fantastic resource for delivering a quick and efficient way to demo the capabilities of both new and existing features of APEX. The built-in applications offer inspiration on how you can design your own applications and take your development further. It is great to see Oracle continually develop and improve not only these applications themselves but also the overall gallery experience as well.

REST Sources Support for REST Enabled SQL Query

Ashish Sahay, Development Consultant (Oracle ACE)

This feature allows you to create REST data sources on top of REST Enabled SQL to be executed on a remote database. And furthermore, this REST data source can be utilised by APEX components.

After APEX 22.1 release we can combine the REST enabled SQLs with REST data sources, which will be helpful in many ways.

  • We can reuse the predefined queries in many places, because of ready to use REST data source.
  • We can also create synchronisation to load the data in a local database from a remote, which will significantly improve the performance.
  • We can Create REST Catalogs queries in one place for developers to use in order to create REST data sources.

This combination of REST sources and REST enabled queries will help developers to improve the performance of report build on remote database and also allows developers to reuse the predefined queries.

Session Overrides

Colin Archer, Oracle Development Services Team Lead

The updated 22.1 developer toolbar contains a new session overrides feature. This is a quick way to allow a developer to override the session data the APEX engine is responsible for; it includes global attributes, file paths and additional files. Any overrides you add only apply to your current sessions, so other users/developers of the application are unaffected.

Session Overrides

You can easily change the global attributes to test your application for another language and/or time zone or add the URLs for additional JavaScript and CSS files.

Another useful override is the file paths, which allow a developer to override the paths for application, workspace or theme files. For example, if your application is using custom JavaScript or CSS files stored in the #APP_FILES#, you can change the path to another location (including your local machine) to see the impact of any changes immediately without affecting other users.

This is a useful new feature and I hope in the future this is expanded to include overrides for other session values.

File URLs Enhancements

Ashish Sahay, Development Consultant (Oracle ACE)

This feature concerns the File URLs references for CSS and JavaScript files in the application and theme itself, now we can load files as ES modules, and be a sync or deferred, via new declarative directives.

For example: [module]myScript.js

Developers can comment out the file URLs for a single line using “--” and multiple lines using “/**/”. Earlier it wasn’t allowed, we were using a comment box to save our URLs which we might use in future. We can use autocomplete and substitution strings like #APP_FILES#, #MIN# etc.

Additional Features

Michael Pickering, Senior Development Consultant

A few other (relatively) minor changes worthy of note:

Subscription support for lists
This is a potentially very useful addition. As a company, we have worked on a number of projects where we've defined a menu list in one application and then used some custom pl/SQL to have the list generated in multiple other applications. By using a subscription, the need to write custom code is removed and the whole process of 'sharing' lists, is simplified and makes developing navigation in shared application suites much easier.

Code editor enhancements
Over the last few releases, the code editors in APEX have really improved and helped to move away from copy/pasting from more sophisticated editors that highlight syntax errors. Any further improvements to the code editors will always be welcomed with open arms! Improvements in the latest release include bracket pair colourisation - almost essential with JavaScript and the highlighting of 'uncommon invisible characters'.

Shared components page
A small but very useful tweak to the shared components page is the addition of component counts against each shared component item. Very handy when analysing pre-existing apps and getting a feel for their scope.


Exporting Workspace Files via Component Export

Phil Ratcliffe, Development Consultant

When exporting individual, or a list of individual workspace components, there is now an option to include Workspace Static Files.


If selected the workspace files will then be included in the export file with any other selected component.

This is useful because it allows your workspace files to be included in application component export/import rather than manually importing these static files via Shared Components in the target environment.


This latest release addresses the feedback from developers and APEX users to continue to improve and refine an already fantastic tool.

You can try all these new features out in the latest pre-production version of APEX available at apex.oracle.com.

Also, check out the ongoing APEX Office Hours series giving live demos of all the new features.

If you are looking for support or training with APEX, check out our APEX Services - as the foremost APEX specialised provider in the UK, we offer a whole range of advice and support for organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Written by the DSP-Explorer Oracle Development Service Team.