Today's post is about a new plugin that I developed for Oracle Application Express (Apex).
The plugin was inspired by a product called Balsamiq, which is a tool for creating mockups (or "wireframes") of web pages and web applications. Balsamiq is used as a drawing tool to quickly sketch out your user interface before building it using whatever technology.
Balsamiq is a nice tool, but so is Apex! :-) Why spend time mocking up screens in Balsamiq when you can use Apex to quickly lay out pages and regions? With Balsamiq, the end result is a set of fake, static wireframes. With Apex, you actually get a real, live, responsive web application that you can iterate and build upon until it is ready to use. You don't have to throw away anything.
However, that doesn't mean that we can't steal any good ideas from Balsamiq! :-)
Balsamiq has a nice Data Grid/Table widget that allows you to quickly mock up a table.
The plugin I created for Apex, called the Table Mockup Region plugin, allows you to do just that -- to quickly mock up table data on an Apex page without having to create database tables and write queries.
Which means you can quickly throw in some data, show it to your potential users, and then create tables and write queries later, when the design has been settled. Using the Apex 5 page designer, it is really easy to change the region type from the Table Mockup type to a classic or interactive report.
I made a short video (my first screencast ever, yay!) to demonstrate how easy it is to use:
Hope you find this useful, I had fun creating it. (The plugin code is actually less than 100 lines of PL/SQL! That's because all the hard work of parsing the delimited data is done using the CSV parsing package from the Alexandria Library.)
Download the plugin here.