Running Custom Code for Tabular Forms (Part 1)

Note: An updated version of this article is now available which covers how to run custom code for a manual Tabular Form in APEX 5. There is also a new article which covers how to modify data from multiple tables in the same Tabular Form.

One of my biggest pet peeves with Tabular Forms in APEX is that it would only run basic (Insert, Update, Delete) DML functions against a table. This works really well for basic situations but more often than not data must be processed by a procedure to handle all the business logic. For this reason, I've avoided Tabular Forms for a very long time.

Last week at OGh APEX World, Dimitri Gielis showed how you can run your own procedure against a tabular form. Here's how to do it:

First, create a Tabular Form using the standard wizard. This will create the standard validations and processes for the page. Their will be two Page Processing processes as shown below.

These processes will automatically handle any of the data changes that a user makes in the Tabular Form. For now you can go ahead and remove each process as we'll use a custom procedure to process the data instead.

Next, create a new process. The important part comes when creating the process; be sure to select the Tabular Form option (as shown below).

In your PL/SQL block, you can now reference each of the columns using their column names (example :SAL and :ENAME). What's even better is that APEX will only run the code against rows that have changed which can save a lot of processing time. For example, if only two rows in a 15 row table were changed the code will be executed twice.

In the next article I'll show how to expand this functionality beyond a base table and use this new technique to modify any data set.