Xplug for APEX 5.0

>>> Xplug v1.4 for chrome released. Read about it here.
>>> Xplug v1.4 for Firefox dev edition released. Read about it here.

Enhance Oracle Application Expresss 5.0 (APEX) Page Designer with some features currently missing in the official release.


Xplug is a browser extension for enhancing your APEX Page Designer experience. The extension is currently available for both Google Chrome and Firefox.

To install Xplug in Google chrome, click on the below icon. You will be redirected to the Google Chrome Webstore.


Update 2016/12/11 I’ve decided I don’t want to continue publishing Xplug for FF on the Firefox web store. Their review process is too much of a hassle. If you are a Firefox fanboy, then you should install the Firefox Developer Edition. With that you can then install Xplug as an unsigned addon.

Important: If you installed the Xplug addon, but don’t see the Xplug icon in Page Designer, then you probably configured Firefox NOT to use a history. Xplug stores its settings using HTML5 Web Storage API (localStorage), which requires history to be enabled.
Firefox enable history (English)
Firefox Chronik einschalten (Deutsch)


  • 2016-12-12
    Version released for Firefox Nightly build.
  • 2016-11-21
    Version released for google chrome. Check here
  • 2016-06-28
    Version released for google chrome.
    Lots of tweaks, possibility to show/hide buttons depending on user configuration,
    Sidekick pane with messages/search tab, some bug-fixes.
  • 2016-01-11
    Version 1.2.0 released
    Customize Page Designer Style, export/import, …
  • 2015-10-11
    Version 1.1.0 released
    Turn off tooltips, Next/previous page buttons, grid background image, set size on grid, code refactored.
  • 2015-08-30
    Version 1.0.3 released (bugfix release)

Here’s a short list of implemented features:

  • Switch panes for avoiding excessive Mouse kilometers.
  • Adds a custom menu to Page Designer.
  • Options are locally stored in the browser for each of your APEX 5 instances.
  • Multi-language support (English, German)
  • Create custom Page Designer style, export and import existing style from JSON.
  • Published source code on GitHub to make use of issue tracker and allowing peer review.
  • Show page comments in extra pane
  • Markdown support for page comments

You can read more about the creation of this plugin in my hack-a-tronik blog series:
Switch panes in APEX 5.0 Page Designer – Part 1
Switch panes in APEX 5.0 Page Designer – Part 2
Switch panes in APEX 5.0 Page Designer – Part 3
Xplug v1.2 available, some thoughts

25 thoughts on “Xplug for APEX 5.0

  1. Nice work on this, it must be quite the journey.
    I’d like to report a slight bug, for lack of better place to do so.
    When pressing enter on page search function, the xplug menu drops down (in portrait this is over the search field)

    1. Thanks Scott, yes it was fun doing. I’m planning on moving the Xplug code to github.
      That way a bug/issue tracker can help out. Also I’d like to post the source code so that peer review is possible.

      Tried to reproduce, but somehow didn’t manage. Would you mind taking a screenshot and sending it to me? Thanks 🙂

      1. Not sure if this helps but I get the same issue – If you type in a page number and press return instead of the ‘Go’ button, this is when the menu drops down.

          1. ok, I’ve found the bug and fixed it in my development version.
            That was a weird one. Will see if I can rollout a new version in the next few days.

            Here are some details:
            The html of the XPLUG menu button was missing the attribute type=”button”.
            This resulted in the ENTER keypress on the page text input element being converted into an onclick event on my XPLUG menu button.
            That’s apparently a normal (and weird) browser behaviour.
            See https://github.com/facebook/react/issues/3907 for details.

    1. Hi Denes,

      glad you like it and that it’s getting some use 😉

      This weekend I started some preliminary work on night-mode.
      That should be fun. Also got some good bug reports, so will further dig into that first.


  2. Great Plugin. Can I request a feature to “Dock the grid to the Left”. This way I would save even more Mouse Kilometers by having the Tree Pane and Properties closer to the Save, Run Shared Components buttons (etc.)

    1. Hi Matt,

      Thanks, and that’s an interesting question. The way things are structured in Page Designer I would probably have to take a different path here.

      I have a few things in the queue for Xplug right now. But I will take a look at it and let you know. It’s an interesting idea and would like to see how this works out.


    2. Great Plugin Filip – fantastic work!

      It was recently highlighted when we had an APEX training course in-house.

      Matt, I’m pretty late to the party but I’ve docked to the right and then used the Custom CSS area…

      .a-ControlBar-col:last-child {
      text-align: left;

      To bring the controls left i.e. closer to the Tree Pane and Properties.


  3. Excellent plugin! I’ve been saying that APEX needs this since 5 was released, as it does save a lot of mouse traffic.

    A couple feedback items:
    – can you tone down the color of the Xplug icon; it pops out quite a bit. I’d recommend making it the same color as Save or a more muted green; perhaps rgb(213, 239, 232) or something like that
    – add a CSS class that changes the header color for the preferences pane, as the current grey just doesn’t provide enough visual difference to differentiate between the sections. For example, this would make it look similar to the grid:
    .a-PropertyEditor-propertyGroup-header { background: #1F6198; }
    .a-PropertyEditor-propertyGroup-title { color: #fff; }


    – Scott –

    1. Hey Scott,

      thanks for the feedback, appreciate it a lot.

      1. Regarding the Xplug icon colour; It does pop out quite a bit. But wait until you see the christmas candy edition 😉
      Seriously, planning on sticking with green (that the oratronik colour), but will go for a more muted green.
      You’ll also notice that especially when hovering over the Xplug icon, that the colours are wrong.

      2. That’s a good idea. But have to say I do find it perhaps a bit too blueish. Especially when collapsing.
      Personally I would go for a darker grey, something like this: $(‘.a-PropertyEditor-propertyGroup-header’).css(‘background’, ‘#e0e0e0’)
      Would be interesting to find out how the contrast enhancements in 5.1 will look like, so that one can orientate towards that.

      How about if you’d have a configuration dialog, so that you can pick colours yourself? Would that be something worth the effort?
      I’m also still thinking about having a “night-mode”, where the theme is darker alltogether.


      1. 1) Ha! Can’t wait for the holiday edition! 🙂 The more muted the better. Beauty of the plugin is that once you add and configure it, it just works; little need to change anything again.

        2) Anything would be better than the light grey. Having it configurable would be best, this way people (like me) won’t be able to complain if you make it too light/dark.

        Night mode would be cool, but I use Flux for that.

        – Scott –

    1. Hi Matt,

      thanks for letting me know. I can confirm that this is a general issue.
      Not sure if it’s good idea to disable tooltips in the gallery. That is one spot where I do find the tooltips actually useful and where they don’t disturb that much.

      Taking a note to update the documentation for now.


  4. Hi Filip,
    is there anything else to do for running this plugin successfully in Firefox?
    I installed it, restarted FF but can not see any changes in Page Designer (none of the new buttons are visible to me).
    Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi MB,

      to look into this, following information would be great:

      1) What Firefox version are you using?

      2) What APEX version are you running? 5.0.0 / 5.0.1 / 5.0.2 ?

      3) Did you install the plugin from the “Addons” store or did you install the local version that was available at http://www.oratronik.de before?

      4) Would you mind sharing (part) of the URL of the APEX installation you are trying to access. The URL is scanned to determine if we’re in Page Designer. Might be it does not get recognized, as it does not match the URL pattern of the plugin. It currently checks the below pattern: “/.*f\?p\=4000\:.*/”

      5) Check your Browser javascript console (F12) and see if any javascript errors appear when running Page Designer. Do any errors appear?

      Answering the above questions should help in narrowing down on the problem.


      1. Hi Filip,

        thanks for your quick reply.

        I just created a new FF profile that has no add-ons installed (except for Xplug), no FF sync made up, not even bookmarks and Xplug works fine. Thus, there must be an issue with my default FF profile that contains several add-ons, has loads of bookmarks and is connected to a FF sync account.

        So, my first quess was that it is one of the other add-ons I use but even disabling *all* these add-ons did not succeed. Maybe the trick is to uninstall them one by one to locate the one that is causing the issue. Maybe the problem is caused by something else.
        I’m not sure whether I will keep on looking into that because I’m fine doing Apex development in my clean profile 🙂 But if I do and if I find out something, I will let you know.

        Thanks anyway. And keep up the great work *thumbsup*


        1. Hi MB,

          think I’ve found the reason for the problem you described:

          If you installed the Xplug addon, but don’t see the Xplug icon in Page Designer, then you probably configured Firefox NOT to use a history. Xplug stores its settings using HTML5 Web Storage API (localStorage), which requires history to be enabled.

          That would also explain why it started working after you created a new profile.


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