APEX Report with checkboxes (advanced).

Note: This solution was updated to account for APEX’s new features and APIs. See the updated post here: http://www.talkapex.com/2015/09/report-with-checkboxes-update.html

A colleague of mine wanted to build a report with check boxes. Once the user selected all the rows, they would click submit and the application would process the rows. Sounds pretty simple and straight forward however he did have some extra requirements:

  • The report is an interactive report
  • There may be up to 10,000 records in the report
  • When the user “scrolls” through the report (i.e. uses pagination), if they checked off a box it should remain checked the entire time (i.e. if they check an row in the 1st 15 rows, then view rows 16~30, then go back to rows 1~15 it should remain checked)

So here’s the example on how to do it. The working example can be found here: http://apex.oracle.com/pls/otn/f?p=20195:500

Create an application item F_EMPNO_LIST. Note you can use a page item as well…

Setup IR:

SELECT apex_item.checkbox (1,
) checkbox,
empno, ename, job
FROM emp

Once the report is setup set the row display to 5 (you’ll need it for this example)

  • Add an HTML region and add the following code: (Note: the jQuery call is not needed… for now)

    CHECKBOX List:


    Now create an application process (on Demand) called: CHECKBOX_CHANGE

    – Application Process: CHECKBOX_CHANGE
    – On Demand…

    v_item_val NUMBER := apex_application.g_x01;
    v_checked_flag VARCHAR2 (1) := apex_application.g_x02;
    IF v_checked_flag = ‘Y’ THEN
    – Add to the list
    IF :f_empno_list IS NULL THEN
    :f_empno_list := ‘:’ || v_item_val || ‘:’;
    :f_empno_list := :f_empno_list || v_item_val || ‘:’;
    END IF;
    – Remove from the list
    :f_empno_list := REPLACE (:f_empno_list, ‘:’ || v_item_val || ‘:’, ‘:’);
    END IF;

    – Just for testing
    HTP.p (:f_empno_list);

    • On the post page create a query to view data (you can process how you need/want)

      select *
      from emp
      where instr(:F_EMPNO_LIST, ‘:’ || empno || ‘:’) > 0

      Please note there may be better/faster ways to implement the SQL code etc.

    Here are some links on the x01 code that I used:
    http://carlback.blogspot.com/2008/03/new-stuff-2-x01-and-friends.html and http://carlback.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-stuff-q.html

How to access images in APEX on Linux


Dietmar has a great post on where the images are located in APEX using webdav: http://daust.blogspot.com/2006/03/where-are-images-of-application.html He also covers how to access them via FTP!

I recently switched from Windows to Linux and was looking for a quick way to access the files as I would with Windows.

Using KDE and Konqueror, you can access them very easily. Use the following in the URL: webdav://<url>

So it would be: webdav://

Log in with system and you should be able to access everything!


jQuery Calendar and Application Date Format


Last week Roel had a posting about jQuery’s Date Picker: http://roelhartman.blogspot.com/2008/12/how-to-replace-default-apex-calendar.html Definitely a great example for people who are looking for an alternative to APEX’s date picker.

We do use the jQuery calendar and have some interesting standards around it (I’ll try to blog about this another day). The most important one, and easiest to implement, is the date format standards.

Javascript/jQuery and Oracle use different date formats. If you are going to use the jQuery date picker I strongly suggest that you standardize your date formats so that you won’t have conflicting results down the road. Here’s what we do:

We have 2 application level items:

F_DATE_FORMAT: is used for the application level date format
F_JQUERY_DATE_FORMAT: format to display the date the same as f_date_format

Both these items are set at login time and the values are defined in our database at the client level. You have to make sure that the date formats produce the same results.

In Roel’s example he uses the jQuery on load function. For the date format just use &F_JQUERY_DATE_FORMAT. instead and this will load set the jQuery date formats accordingly.

Here’s a listing of jQuery’s date formats: http://docs.jquery.com/UI/Datepicker/%24.datepicker.formatDate

And Oracle’s date formats: http://www.techonthenet.com/oracle/functions/to_date.php

Hope this helps,


How to list APEX Dictionary views using SQL


I hope this isn’t old news but it seems that whenever someone talks about the APEX dictionary they talk about going into the development application and viewing them there. You can also access the dictionary using SQL. Here’s how:

select *
from apex_dictionary
where column_id = 0


select distinct apex_view_name
from apex_dictionary

Of course you can remove the “where column_id=0” portion and get a list of the all the columns for the views etc.

CSS Specificity

Most APEX developers will eventually get asked to brand their application or “make it look nice”. If you are like myself, and are not a graphic artist, this can be quite a challenge since it is an art to make a web pages look really good.

I’ve had to do read up on it over the past few months. I finally read an article on CSS specificity (try say that 5 times in a row :-). CSS Specificity is like putting a score or weight on each CSS definition so you know which ones will “override” other definitions.

Here’s the article: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/07/27/css-specificity-things-you-should-know/

There’s also a link to the CSS specificity calculator: http://www.rebelinblue.com/specificity.php

Manually Creating a Tabular Form

When I first started developing in APEX (back when it was called HTMLDB) I had a requirement for a tabular form. I tried to use the standard tabular forms but it was very limited and I couldn’t customize it to meet my requirements. I had poked around on the APEX forum, but wasn’t able to find a reasonable solution.

After several iterations, I have come up with a process that works extremely well. It is slightly labor intensive but it has met all the requirements each time. Please note that Patrick Wolf, http://www.inside-oracle-apex.com/, has developed an open source framework to handle customized tabular forms. Though it is very good it does not allow for complete access. Marcie Young did a presentation at ODTUG 2008 which outlined a very similar method, this example is taking it a step further. A working example is available here: http://apex.oracle.com/pls/otn/f?p=20195:200

The process below will not only build a customized tabular form, but also handle the errors etc.

Here’s an overview of the overall methodology

  • Create 2 collections. One will handle data: DATA_COLLECTION and one will handle the errors: ERROR_COLLECTION.
  • The DATA_COLLECTION will be loaded on the first viewing of the page and will only be refreshed from the database when the changes have been sent to the database.
  • The ERROR_COLLECTION will contain errors specific for the corresponding entry in the DATA_COLLECTION. We could keep this in the same collection, but I like to keep them separate. It makes things easier if we need to add or remove columns.
  • In the ERROR_COLLECTION I keep column 50 reserved for the row error. An example of when you’d need a row error is when you have a start and end date and the end date is before the start date.
  • This application will allow users to modify the emp.ename and emp.salary fields
  • In the data collection I keep column 1 reserved for the sequence id (seq_id). Note though I won’t use it in this example, it has come in handy (especially when hiding/delete rows in the front end then submitting the page)

Getting Started

Step 1: Create a PL/SQL Process On Load Before Header called Create Collection

IF NVL (:p200_reload_flag, ‘N’) = ‘N’
– IF error collection exists, delete
IF apex_collection.collection_exists
(p_collection_name => ‘ERROR_COLLECTION’)
(p_collection_name => ‘ERROR_COLLECTION’);

-- Create New Collection
apex_collection.create_or_truncate_collection ('DATA_COLLECTION');

FOR rec IN (SELECT   e.empno, e.ename, e.sal
                FROM emp e
            ORDER BY e.ename)
   apex_collection.add_member (p_collection_name      => 'DATA_COLLECTION',
                               p_generate_md5         => 'NO',
                               p_c002                 => rec.empno,
                               p_c003                 => rec.ename,
                               p_c004                 => TO_CHAR
                               -- Remember the collection is only text
                               p_c049                 => 'Y',
                               -- Modifiable Flag
                               p_c050                 => 'U'
                              -- SQL Action (Insert, Update, Delete)


– Create Extra rows (if we wanted to add a new employee
FOR i IN 1 .. NVL (:p200_num_extra_rows, 0)
apex_collection.add_member (p_collection_name => ‘DATA_COLLECTION’,
p_generate_md5 => ‘NO’,
p_c002 => -1,
– use negative numbers for new employees
p_c049 => ‘Y’,
p_c050 => ‘I’

– Insert seq_id
FOR rec IN (SELECT ac.seq_id
FROM apex_collections ac
WHERE ac.collection_name = ‘DATA_COLLECTION’)
(p_collection_name => ‘DATA_COLLECTION’,
p_seq => rec.seq_id,
p_attr_number => 1,
p_attr_value => rec.seq_id

Step 2: Create a Report / SQL Report region for our custom tabular form called Employee Data

– Notice how I’m keeping the idx value the same as the column value in the collection. This helps to keep things organized
– I also apply an id to each entry
– I append the error value to the empname and sal
– The Seq_id. Usefull when hiding rows (for delete) and then submitting from
apex_item.hidden(1,x.seq_id, null, x.seq_id || ‘_seq_id’) ||
– The Primary Key of the column
apex_item.hidden(2, x.empno, null, x.seq_id || ‘_empno_id’) || x.empno empno,
– Employee Name
apex_item.text(3,x.empname,null, null, null, x.seq_id || ‘_empname_id’) || err.empname employee_name,
– Employee Salary
apex_item.text(4,x.sal, null, null, null, x.seq_id || ‘_sal_id’) || err.sal ||
– Store the sql action type as well.
apex_item.hidden(50,x.sql_action_typ, null, x.seq_id || ‘_sql_action_typ_id’) sal,
– Last but not least the row error
FROM (SELECT ac.c001 seq_id,
ac.c002 empno,
ac.c003 empname,
ac.c004 sal,
ac.c049 modifiable_flag,
ac.c050 sql_action_typ
FROM apex_collections ac
WHERE ac.collection_name = ‘DATA_COLLECTION’
ORDER BY ac.seq_id) x,

-- Error Collection
(SELECT   ac.seq_id seq_id,
          ac.c002 empno,
          ac.c003 empname,
          ac.c004 sal,
          ac.c050 row_error -- Useful when individual data is correct, however the row of data is not. Ex: start/end dates
 FROM     apex_collections ac
 WHERE    ac.collection_name = 'ERROR_COLLECTION'
 ORDER BY ac.seq_id) err

WHERE x.seq_id = err.seq_id(+)

Step 3: Add Region items and buttons

All items/buttons should be added to the report region
Create Buttons:
ADD, submit page. Branch to &APP_PAGE_ID.
SUBMIT, submit page. Branch to 201
Note: Page 201 is a simple sql report for


Create Hidden and Protected Items:

  • Source value or expression: N
  • Comment: Used to determine if the error column should be displayed
  • Source value or expression: 1
  • Comment: Number of extra rows to add to the tabular form
  • Comment: If Y then we won’t refresh the collection with database values

Computations (After Submit)
Static: 1
Condition: Request = ADD

Static: 0
Condition: Request != ADD

Static: Y
Condition: None

Static: N
Condition: None

Step 4: Store Collection
After submit, this will store the data from the form into the collection. No data validation is performed at this point

Process: Store Collection
Type: PL/SQL Anonymous Block
Processing Point: On Submit: Before Computation and Validations

FOR i IN 1 .. apex_application.g_f01.COUNT LOOP
apex_collection.update_member (p_collection_name => ‘DATA_COLLECTION’,
– I know some of you are still wondering why were are still wondering why I stored the seq_id as a collection attribute. This is why. If you had hidden the row (i.e. let the user “delete” it) then it would not show up on this and your collection synchronization wouldn’t be correct.
p_seq => apex_application.g_f01 (i), – Sequence ID
p_c001 => apex_application.g_f01 (i), – Sequence ID
p_c002 => apex_application.g_f02 (i), – Empno
p_c003 => apex_application.g_f03 (i), – Empname
p_c004 => apex_application.g_f04 (i), – Sal
p_c049 => ‘Y’, – Modifiable Flag
p_c050 => UPPER(apex_application.g_f50 (i))

Step 5: Validation

Type: Page Level Validation
Type: PL/SQL - Function returning Error Text
Name: Validate Collection
Condition: When Button Pressed - SUBMIT
Validation Expression:

v_err_msg VARCHAR2 (255);
– IF error collection exists, truncate. Else Create
IF apex_collection.collection_exists
(p_collection_name => ‘ERROR_COLLECTION’)
(p_collection_name => ‘ERROR_COLLECTION’);
– Create Error Collection
apex_collection.create_or_truncate_collection (‘ERROR_COLLECTION’);

– Basic Check. Make sure the emp name is more than 5 chars long
FOR x IN (SELECT ac.c003 empname, ac.c004 sal, ac.seq_id
FROM apex_collections ac
WHERE ac.collection_name = ‘DATA_COLLECTION’)
– Always add a blank error
apex_collection.add_member (p_collection_name => ‘ERROR_COLLECTION’);

IF LENGTH (x.empname) < 5
      (p_collection_name      => 'ERROR_COLLECTION',
       p_seq                  => x.seq_id,
       p_c003                 => '

Name must be 5 Chars
v_err_msg := ‘Error Occured’;

-- Add a "row level" check for demo purposes
IF LENGTH (x.empname) = LENGTH (x.sal)
       (p_collection_name      => 'ERROR_COLLECTION',
        p_seq                  => x.seq_id,
        p_c050                 => '

Row Level Error
apex_util.set_session_state (p_name => ‘P200_DISPLAY_ROW_ERROR_FLAG’,
p_value => ‘Y’
v_err_msg := ‘Error Occured’;

RETURN v_err_msg;

Step 6: Finishing it off

As you notice there’s a column called: row_error. Set the condition where item: P200_DISPLAY_ROW_ERROR_FLAG = Y.