Code management and review are critically important parts of the application development life cycle. They result in vastly improved overall code quality, helping you accelerate and streamline the development process, unearth bugs and security issues, spark new ideas and approaches to problem solving, and much, much more.
APEXcl exports an application definition in a way that’s version control-friendly, allowing you to quickly and efficiently carry out mission critical source code management activities, the kind that users of other technologies take for granted.
Typically, code review in APEX is a very manual process. You need to go to the APEX builder and, after choosing a page to inspect, browse through the different components which you remember have changed. And if you don’t remember a change? Then the drawback of this approach becomes apparent: it leaves code dangerously susceptible to not being reviewed at all! In a team development situation, of course, the risk of omission is compounded.
With APEXcl, once files are committed and pushed to a versioning tool, every team member is able to benefit from a full-fledged changelog that covers their APEX application. Changes to the application are crystal clear and there is virtually no risk of making errors of omission. The GitLab example shown reveals that changes were made to three components:
1. A new dynamic action was added, with the
2. The label changed for the button
3. The SQL query for an interactive report was changed
When something goes wrong in an application in any part of a technology stack, one of the first areas of investigation is that application’s change history. In the APEX environment, it has always been hard to track changes at a particular component level. Although APEX keeps an audit trail of who changed what, it does not highlight the changed content. So you can reveal who created the error, but you don’t know where the error is. One common workaround to this problem has been to import an older application, set an application ID, then compare the code, find the glitch, then apply the code fix to the master application. That’s a lot of work. Another improvised approach is to have developers painstakingly detail every change in a project management system such as Jira. This can work, but it’s far from efficient.
With APEXcl, the component history is greatly enhanced because changes to code can be tracked over time. For example, a developer that has made a few changes to an SQL query of a classic report on page 1 can review the component’s change history on GitLab as shown. This view clearly shows the timestamps, the author and the code content that’s been modified. This makes code review and debugging infinitely easier and rolling back to an older version of code a breeze.
Although APEX has always had an integrated search mechanism in the builder, APEXcl provides an alternative, making it very convenient to use modern code editors to search files on the file system. Not only is code search in this manner near instantaneous, you do not have to be connected to the APEX builder to carry it out.
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