From time to time I can see some confusion around ApexLib and what it really is. A Framework? Plugins? Tools? Developer Addon?
Lets tell the whole story from the beginning…
A looong time ago a very talented young fellow named Patrick (who later joined the Oracle APEX Development Team) wasn’t satisfied with the some things had to be done in Oracle APEX and started to write some helper Packages to get rid of recurring tasks and ease development.
Over time that developed to a full Framework with many many features, like cascading LOV Support, client side validations and many others (which otherwise involved hardcore coding). He named that Framework “ApexLib Framwork” and released it license free and open source, so everyone could learn from that and use it in his own applications.
Soon after that another tool was born, the “Oracle APEX Builder Plugin” which is a browser script that adds some extra features to the APEX Application Builder, especially bigger textareas and support for ApexLib Framwork settings.
After Patrick joined Oracle in 2009 I stepped in and continued working on the ApexLib Framework and provided some new features in 2.0 – 2.2, mostly AJAX stuff.
At the same time I started to develop some small tools and utilities, which were branded as “ApexLib Tools“. These tools are totally unrelated to the ApexLib Framework and run standalone without anything else needed.
The idea behind naming them “ApexLib” was to imply the fact that these are cost free and open source as well, like the original Framework.
Then, in 2010, APEX 4.0 came along and brought to us a Plugin Interface. Thats where “ApexLib Plugins” was born with the matching Demo-App. Again cost free and open source.
The latest addition to the ApexLib-Stack is a replacement for the “Oracle APEX Builder Plugin” and is called “ApexLib APEX Developer Addon“. The big difference between those two browser-addons is that the later is designed for APEX 4.0 upwards and doesn’t support ApexLib Framework settings.
Instead it provides features that are really missing in APEX Application Builder: Syntax Highlighting in all Textareas (the places you potentially enter code), enhanced Search Box and Keyboard Shortcuts.
Again this has nothing to do with the ApexLib Framework, its a whole different product/tool.
What all those ApexLib-things have in common is the attempt to make APEX a better product and easier to use. Cost free and open source.
ApexLib isn’t a single product or tool. It’s a whole family of tools which aren’t depending on each other. You can use each single one without all the others. Cost free and Open Source.
I think it’s the right decision and good reasoning.
Now, since the Developer Addon is different product, that I hope you’ll keep supporting (until the features are implemented in APEX), I’m a happy man. :-)
of course the Developer Addon will be maintained further. Only the ApexLib Framework won’t get an update for APEX 4.2