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I would suggest looking at using a hosting company like revion.com or enciva.com.. There you can have your customers get a hosted instance of a SUPPORTED database (11g XE is NOT truly supported). The hosting company would charge you between $40-$60 a month and they maintain the database and servers...
You build your apex application, they have a workspace to store the application and data, and if you like they can even have a domain point to the APEX workspace & application you build..
Ask away of you have more questions...
Thanks Tony for replying.
I have talked to many of my potential customers over the years and their biggest concern, when talking about using hosted applications, is "where is my data actually located?" , "Will it be there tomorrow or will the company that has my data disappear overnight"? They want an application they can run in house on their own hardware.
As for Oracle Database 11g Express Edition I am no so worried about it being supported as to Oracle discontinuing it since Apex only works with Oracle databases and like I said earlier none of my potential buyers would purchase a license for the supported database.
dodge78 wrote:1. Does the license for Oracle Database 11g Express Edition and Apex allow this?Read the licence agreement carefully, I've only read the one for 10gXE a few years back. It seemed to me you just weren't allowed to host XE and then rent it out as is for people to build apps on. You can build an app and then charge people to access it as you might any other online service. That said, back then even Oracle had links to 3rd party hosting services for 10gXE, not sure if that's been cleaned up now. The APEX hosting list looks a lot tidier now, so perhaps they finally cracked down on it.
2. What are the chances of the Oracle Database 11g Express Edition and / or Apex being discontinued?XE database is generally "discontinued" as soon as it's published in that it's unlikely to receive any updates until the next major release (12gXE?). Oracle XE 10g received no patches throughout it's life span as far as I'm aware.
APEX will continue to receive support and updates into the foreseeable future... http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/developer-tools/apex/application-express/apex-sod-087560.html
3. Could I provide a download of Oracle Database 11g Express Edition at my website or would my customer have to download it from Oracle's website?Read the licence agreement. Generally, don't redistribute Oracle software to the public. Maybe it's ok to give to your clients, depending who your clients are (as long as they're not drug dealers, terrorists, mad scientists or super villains it should be ok).
4. Last but not least... is this a good tool for what I propose ?Like I said before, Oracle XE 10g received not a single patch. Every critical security vulnerability ever discovered for Oracle 10g SE is there in 10g XE. The vulnerabilities are published and often both blackhats and whitehats have published proof of concept exploits for them. That said most people hosting web apps on Oracle XE 10g never got hacked (as far as they're aware anyway). Are you prepared to take this risk? Is there something you can do to restrict access to your app server only to the client and do you trust your client?
You could put effort into securing Oracle XE 11g your self and tracking each time a vulnerability is published which affects Oracle 11g SE to see if you need to do any extra work to keep your apps safe. Or you could just pay Oracle to worry about that and get a Standard Edition licence. If both of these options don't seem cost effective, then sadly no, APEX is not a good tool for you in this scenario.
Edited by: Capt. Egg on 27/05/2012 17:41
You've got me thinking about this now and any possible alternatives. I don't want to sell Oracle XE 11g short too hastily. From what I've seen, the free alternative web based RAD tools seem fairly tacky when compared with APEX 4.1, even when you consider the unsupported XE database factor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rapid_application_development_tools#Web_Based_RAD_Tools
If you are intent on DIY due to a shoe string budget, remember that there are never really any free lunches. What you save in cost on a free or open source solution you'll likely more than make up for in system administration and maintenance time and effort. Just remember it's not going to be simple as you might hope no matter what technology you go with. Someone will always have to take care of the upkeep. You can pretty much assume there will always be new security vulnerabilities discovered on any tool you ultimately chose to go with.
If your skill set rest with Oracle, PL/SQL and APEX, then this path is the best option as long as you take due care.
Then the best bet is to get licenses for 11g that they can afford.. Depending upon their servers and needs, Oracle has levels of the product that are SUPPORTED..
The idea of having a hosting company dealing with the backups, the patching of servers and database products.. I myself feel the cost of < $100 a month for a mid-sized app to be hosted is a LOT BETTER deal than dealing with all the support needed in house..
But if your clients are afraid of their data being mishandled (unless your support staff MIGHT be doing that in-house??) Oracle's newest idea of cloud-based development will not be an option either..
Choosing APEX is a GOOD solution, since (and I am biased, probably like MOST people you'd ask on the APEX support forum) since it is one of the BETTER RAD development tools for Web Based application development..
I agree with you Tony and I'm also biased toward APEX, which is why I didn't want to leave my diagnosis of the situation on a sour note just because Oracle XE is unsupported. The fact is you could well run a production commercial application on Oracle XE for free (correct me if I'm wrong Oracle).
I think we can all agree it's a bad idea to run up an unsupported database for use in production. On the other hand that's going to be a given scenario for many of those free alternative tools that depend on open source databases and/or web servers. So rather than simply giving dodge78 a big thumbs down, I'm suggesting that based on the general long term stability and security of Oracle, it might actually be acceptable when you only consider the other free alternatives.
Anyone going down this path should be sure to draw up a realistic SLA that both you and the client are comfortable with. This will have to include the limitations of Oracle XE and the fact that you'll be required to diagnose and fix any problems that might occur with absolutely no vendor support.
Thanks you guys!
Capt. Egg, you are correct, the other options are also unsupported databases such as Postgresql. Let me explain my app as little as this might help; it is for the fire service and as such on a busy day the database might see a half dozen concurrent users hitting it. It should never be exposed to the internet so security should be good enough. The staff would be responsible for keeping their data backed up.
I have spent days searching the internet for suitable RAD development apps. Nothing even comes close to Apex !!! Since I am going to invest a very large amount of my time to develop this app I would like to know what you guys think regarding Oracle ever discontinuing the free version of their database and / or Apex. From what I read on the internet it appears there are millions of installations of Apex out there so I'm thinking it isn't going anywhere but what are your opinions?
BTW, I have no idea what a license for the supported version of 11g would cost, can you guys give me some numbers? Rough estimates are ok.
Thanks again for taking the time to help me out!!!