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A Call to Aid

· 4 min read
Adrian Png

Singapore National Day Parade - March Past

Every Singaporean Son grows up to respond to a codeword alongside an image of a soldier on guard.

When your codeword is flashed on the screen, you wrap up whatever you are doing, head home, pack, bid your goodbyes and then report to camp. Hence, when I heard this call to help, instinct kicked in and I had to respond.

I am blessed to have trained, worked and experienced first-hand what Oracle Application Express (APEX) can do for organisations, especially in times of urgency and need. My own journey with APEX began with a weekend project that saved our human resource specialist hours of work collecting 54 spreadsheets weekly for two months; each time tallying up step counts and reporting the competition standings to the group.

Today, I see many APEX developers sharing on social media, different ways they have used the technology to help their organisations navigate these challenging times. Others have used their skills and knowledge to help support operational activities at civic organisations and local governments. If you are one of them, please feel free to share your story by commenting below.

If you are looking to build rapid solutions with APEX, then here are useful resources that you might find useful.


Organisations already licensed to run an Oracle Database, good news, APEX can be installed on your database free of charge. If you do not already own one, then here are some options to consider.

Option A

APEX available out-of-the-box on the Always Free Oracle Autonomous Database (ADB) is the best way to get started. Begin by signing up for an Oracle Cloud Free Tier.

Option B

If your organisation is staffed with IT staff familiar with Docker or Vagrant, there are many projects that will help stand up an APEX with a free Oracle Database 18c Express Edition. Here are some examples:

Option C

Last but not least, you may sign up for a free workspace on While this is the easiest path to obtain an APEX development environment, it is not for production use. It also does not provide you direct access to the database that is sometimes needed in a software development workflow.


There are a wealth of videos that demonstrate the varioous features of APEX. I strongly recommend the APEX development team's YouTube channel for starters.

The open sourced APEX curriculum is also available for those looking for a more structured training experience. Direct links to access these resources are as follows:

For getting started with the Always Free ADB and APEX, I highly suggest reading Joel Kallman's blog post, or follow Dimitri Gielis' series for a more comprehensive setup.

The Pledge

In response to Joel's call for APEX developers to step up, I am making myself available, pro bono, to the following organisations in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, and East Asia:

  • Academia and research
  • Municipal governments; and
  • Small businesses

If you need a remote hand in getting started, e.g. install APEX, "applicationify" a spreadsheet, or just needed a conversation to help make a decision, please feel free to contact me at the following email address:


When there's a need, the APEX community always responds. Looking back to 2018, it was amazing how a small team of Oracle tech professionals were able to band together quickly to help folks affected by Hurrican Florence get vital information on road closures and where to get gas.


Today, I am proud to see not only individual APEX developers stepping up, but businesses as well. Here's a list of examples I have come across so far:

Last but not least, I want to give a special shoutout to my Insum family. You can read more about Insum's COVID-19 response here. If you require a more involved response including infrastructure resources support, please contact the company's Rapid Response Coordinator at 1-866-887-1670 ext. 250 or email

We will get there. Stay strong, remain healthy and be socially responsible.


Photo Credits

Photo by Brian Jeffery Beggerly License: CC BY 2.0

Image was cropped. The original immage can be found here