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I'm a non-DBA (public works guy) mocking up some options for a simple, internal reporting front-end on an Oracle database.

I have Oracle XE 11R2 on a separate testing machine, and am going through a tutorial on making a simple report in Application Express. To my surprise, Application Express has magically connected to the XE database. I'm guessing this was so easy because the database and Application Express are on the same machine.

However, I'm wondering how this would work in a production/network environment. My former solution was a MS Access front-end, which used an ODBC connection to connect to the database. But I don't imagine Application Express would use an ODBC connection.

How does Oracle Application Express connect to the database in a production/network environment? Would an equivalent to an ODBC connection need to be deployed on each machine that uses the Application Express report?


Note: I'm well aware that I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm just trying to get a grasp on how this all works, so I can make an informed pitch to my I.T. department. Corrections are welcome.

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Application Express, together with either ORDS (Oracle REST Data Services) or a similar web service such as Glassfish, is basically a set of processes that run in the database, usually connecting via internal connections. Application Express basically serves HTML web pages to allow access the database and display reports, and so end users only need a web browser to use an Application Express application, with reports, ability to modify data, etc. This is a huge simplification, but for your purposes, all you need to know is that end-users just need a fairly current web browser that supports HTML5 to get all the fancy web pages for accessing/modifying the data in the database. APEX comes with a security framework, or you can also use your own corporate security.

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