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How we made the leap to version control – a ribbiting tale!

At Insum, our world revolves around Oracle APEX, and it’s always been that way. We’ve been APEX advocates since its very beginnings, using it as a full development environment, boosting our clients’ ability to create new and better business-empowering solutions. APEX has been very good to us, and we’ve grown into one of the world’s leading Oracle APEX consultancies.

We’re all in

When you believe in something as much as we believe in APEX, you want to do bigger and better things with it. Since the first time we used APEX to replace an Oracle Forms-based application, upgrading it to a multi-tenant, cloud-based version, we needed no further convincing: we saw what a great productivity tool it could be for the Oracle community. That experience opened the door to rapid growth in our own development practice. As our mastery of APEX grew, so did the scope and magnitude of the projects we undertook. Today we develop enterprise-grade applications of increasing power and complexity for a whole host of business needs.

Insum Labs

As developers, ours is a special company culture, one where we invest heavily in R&D via a development unit called Insum Labs, with a view to turning our very best ideas into productivity tools for our clients. One such idea stemmed from a problem that dated back to the very beginnings of the APEX technology.

Versioning is everything

One day at a conference, a young developer named Vincent Morneau was struck by how many people were struggling with APEX’s inability to work with version control systems. How could such a wonderful tool like APEX exist without something every developer knows is essential to doing your very best work? Starting with the knowledge that APEX does not produce the right kind of output files for VCS systems, Vincent spearheaded the search for a solution.

Our mission: control

He focused on finding a way to extract the APEX application definition from the Oracle database, deconstructing and translating it into individual components that external versioning software could interpret. After months and months of work, peer code review and testing, APEXcl was born, a command line utility that allows you to extract an APEX application and lay it on your file system repository in a clear, logical and hierarchical fashion. It’s a tool we think will become indispensable to individual APEX developers and teams alike, helping them do amazing work with a far greater degree of control over source code than they’re used to.

In a very real way, the APEXcl story is the Insum story. It’s all about our commitment to our peers in the APEX community, and to making their work easier and more efficient. And it’s about people like Vincent and all the Oracle Experts here at Insum who are continuously innovating to bring speed and control to the development cycle using the tools they love, sharing them, and making them even better.

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