Oracle Application Express 4.2.2 was released today, you can download the full release from the Download page on OTN. As always, there have been numerous improvements and bug fixes. We’ve updated many of our included packaged applications and we’ve introduced a new packaged application: the Survey Builder, which you can use to easily create and run surveys.
With APEX 4.2.2 and the APEX Listener 2.0 we’re also introducing a number of report printing enhancements. Using the APEX Listener for PDF printing has been added as a third option in addition to using Apache FOP or Oracle BI Publisher as external print rendering engine. The main difference in using the APEX Listener for PDF printing is that the FOP libraries are actually built into the Lister, thus no complicated configuration of an external engine is required in this setup. All that’s required is to log into the APEX Instance Administration, select the APEX Listener as the Print Server, and then enable PDF printing for your Classic Reports, Interactive Reports or Report Queries.
And unless you’re calling the APEX Print APIs directly in your custom PL/SQL code, you also won’t have to enable networking services in the Oracle database anymore, because the APEX Listener based printing option loads your reports straight to the APEX Listener, which then renders them in PDF format and downloads them to your browser.
To help you get started with using the APEX Listener for PDF Printing I’ve created a short video that walks you through the configuration steps in the APEX Instance Administration and then shows you how to create a simple report with PDF export enabled:
We’ve also improved support for custom XSL-FO layouts in APEX 4.2.2. This means, you can now more easily customize your PDF reports to your requirements using third-party tools like Altova Stylevision or Stylus Studio that allow for drag and drop layout of XSLT stylesheets. So if you have a Report Query or Classic Report Region, you can now simply download your report data in XML format and use this XML data as the data source for any of these tools. Once loaded into the tool, all components of your report data, including information about your application, page, report region, user name as well as session state can be easily included in the layout via drag and drop. Once you completed your layout, you can safe it as a XSLT 1.0 file and upload this file into APEX as a report layout (under Shared Components). Now you can update your report query or classic report region to use this custom layout when exporting your report in PDF format.
I’ve created a second video, which walks your through all the details. Starting with the sample app created in the first video, I’m showing you how to export your report in XML format, load this XML file into Altova Stylevision or Stylus Studio, then I'm demonstrating how to use these tools to create custom layouts and finally how to upload your completed layouts and use them for your reports in APEX: