The new Excel-killer from Oracle

For a long time, APEX was Oracle’s Excel-killer. With the ability to upload a CSV file and create a matching table and then build an application on top of that, this was the easiest way to convert a spreadsheet into a secure multi-user application.

Visual Builder Cloud Service (VBCS) has now appeared as a serious challenger, offering some improvements over the way APEX handes Excel files. For example, the December 2017 version of VBCS has the ability to import Excel files directly without having to turn them into CSV files first. Separate worksheets in the Excel files become separate business objects. During the import, you can also define reference relationship for lookup values. This allows you to upload an Excel file with one master worksheet and a number of value lists as separate sheets, and produce a business object with all lookups in one operation.

Creating lookups

(image from Oracle VBCS documentation)

VBCS is one of Oracle’s cloud-native applications, so it only runs in the cloud and requires a subscription. But if that is not a problem for you, I encourage you to take a look. If you are already using VBCS, I’d love to hear from you.


This post originally appeared in the Oracle Tool Watch newsletter. Don’t miss the next post, sign up and receive a free copy of my whitepaper “What Oracle is Doing Wrong (and Right) in the Cloud”