Time to clear up some confusion.
In the past 60 days, I have encountered the following:
- Two different customers who said they were told by Oracle Support that "APEX isn't supported."
- An industry analyst who asked "Is use of Oracle Application Express supported? There is an argument internally that it cannot be used for production applications."
- A customer who was told by an external non-Oracle consultant "Oracle Application Express is good for a development environment but we don't see it being used in production." I'm not even sure what that means.
To address these concerns as a whole, let me offer the following:
- Oracle Application Express is considered a feature of the Oracle Database. It isn't classified as "free", even though there is no separate licensing fee for it. It is classified as an included feature of the Oracle Database, no differently than XML DB, Oracle Text, Oracle Multimedia, etc.
- If you are licensed and supported for your Oracle Database, you are licensed and supported (by Oracle Support) for Oracle Application Express in that database. Many customers aren't even aware that they are licensed for it.
- If you download a later version of Oracle Application Express made available for download from the Oracle Technology Network and install it into your Oracle Database, as long as you are licensed and supported for that Oracle Database, you are licensed and supported (by Oracle Support) for Oracle Application Express in that database.
- Oracle Application Express is listed in the Lifetime Support Policy: Oracle Technology Products document.
As far as the customers who believed they were told directly by Oracle Support that Oracle Application Express isn't supported, there was a common misunderstanding. In their Service Requests to Oracle Support, they were told that Oracle REST Data Services (formerly called Oracle Application Express Listener, the Web front-end to Oracle Application Express) running in stand-alone mode isn't supported. This is expressed in the Oracle REST Data Services documentation. However, this does not pertain to the supportability of Oracle Application Express. Additionally, a customer can run Oracle REST Data Services in a supported fashion in specific versions of Oracle WebLogic Server, Glassfish Server, and Apache Tomcat. To reiterate - running Oracle REST Data Services in standalone mode is the one method which is not supported in production deployments, as articulated in the documentation - however, you can run it supported in Oracle WebLogic Server, Glassfish Server and Apache Tomcat.
Oracle Application Express has been a supported feature of the Oracle Database since 2004, since it first shipped as Oracle HTML DB 1.5 in Oracle Database 10gR1. Every subsequent version of Oracle Application Express has been supported by Oracle Support when run in a licensed and supported Oracle Database. Anyone who says otherwise is...confused.