Monday, October 11, 2021

Joel Kallman Day 2021: Oracle Database Express Edition (XE) 21c

The "Oracle Tech Network Appreciation Day" has been renamed to "Joel Kallman Day" in honor of Joel Kallman, who along with Mike Hichwa was one of the original developers of Oracle Application Express (APEX). Joel suddenly and tragically passed away during the pandemic earlier this year.

Joel at APEX World in Rotterdam, 2019


The "Joel Kallman Day" is about appreciating some piece of Oracle tech. In 2016, I wrote about the free Oracle Express Edition (XE) database. It just so happens that the latest Oracle XE version, 21c, was released for Linux a month ago, and for Windows just a few days ago.

Therefore, my blog post for Joel Kallman Day 2021 is about Oracle Express Edition, a great (and free!) way to get started with Oracle, PL/SQL, APEX and databases in general. You can download the software from and there's also docs and videos showing how to install and get started.

To give the new version a test drive, I created a Windows Server VM on Microsoft Azure, and then downloaded and installed XE 21c along with APEX and the Thoth Gateway for IIS.

The Azure VM size I selected for this test was "Standard B2s (2 vcpus, 4 GiB memory)". In Azure it costs about USD 40 per month.

Just for fun, here are some timings:

Time to...
... provision new VM in Azure: 5 minutes
... first login to VM: 2 minutes
... download a real browser: 1 minute
... download 21c XE: 30 seconds
... unzip 21c XE: 30 seconds
... install 21c XE: 15 minutes

... download APEX 21.1: 1 minute
... unzip APEX 21.1: 3 minutes
... install APEX 21.1: 8 minutes

... install IIS: 2 minutes
... install Thoth Gateway: 1 minute

... first login in APEX (total time): 39 minutes

Here's a screenshot showing APEX 21.1 in action on Oracle Database XE 21c on Windows Server 2019 with IIS and Thoth Gateway. The page rendering time is not too shabby! :-)

So, a big thanks to Oracle for providing a great, free database, and thanks to Joel and everybody on the APEX team for their excellent work. #letswreckthistogether

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