04 March 2014

Bookreview: Oracle APEX Cookbook - 2nd edition by Marcel van der Plas and Michel van Zoest

A few weeks ago Packt Publishing asked me if I would give a book review for the recently released Oracle APEX Cookbook, the second edition by Marcel van der Plas and Michel van Zoest. In exchange I would get the e-book for free, so this can be considered a sponsored blogpost. Even though it is sponsored I will give my honest opinion about it.

The book contains fifteen chapters starting with "Creating a Basic APEX Application" covering several topics such as "Themes and Templates", "APEX Plug-ins", "Using Web Services", '"HTML5 and CSS3" and ending with "Mobile".
Each of the chapters contain several recipe on how to implement a particular feature or functionality.

The way each recipe is setup is as follows: it starts with a short introduction "Getting ready", followed by "How to do it..." and lastly "How it works...". Most recipes also include "There's more..." which gives you additional information about the topic at hand.

Because the book is written in this modular method, it is easy to pick and choose the order in which you want to go through the book. You feel that you know how to "create a basic APEX application" but haven't created your own plug-in, then skip to the chapter on "APEX Plug-ins". It is not necessary to read the book in the order of the chapters, which I tend to do.


Usually I read books before I go to sleep, and yes most of the time the are technical books. This book was no exception. Even though I work with APEX every day, sometimes it was hard to follow along with the different recipes. In my opinion this is not a shortcoming of the book, but the way I tend to read books. This book would be more suited to be used following the recipes while working in APEX.

The recipes in the book follow a similar pattern as the official Oracle documentation. Each recipe starts with a section called "How to do it..." and provide a list of "do this", e.g. "1. Click on the Create Page button" or "6. Click on Create". This works out fine as long as the wizards don't change (which could happen with new releases of APEX). For the beginner this could be confusing if they work with a slightly different version of APEX. For the more experienced APEX developer this should be no problem, they would know the intended behaviour.

Where this book is ahead of the way the official Oracle documentation is set up, is the explanation after the part "How to do it..." called "How it works...". In this section the concepts are explained of what you just created (if you follow along which I obviously didn't).

At first when I started reading the book, I tend to start with the first chapter and work my way through to the end, I was under the impression that the intended audience was the beginning APEX developer. But as the book progressed, I ran into topics which I hardly ever (or never at all) have touched and picked up some good hints and tips. I'm sure that I will get the text handy when I need to, for instance, translate an application or work with websheets. The question then arises: if I haven't used these features before - would I need them in the future?

All in all, I like the book and would surely recommend it - for all APEX developers and especially for beginning APEX developers.

Thanks Packt for providing me a copy of the book and allowing me to review it.


Packt Publishing: APEX Cookbook, 2nd edition