Thinking Anew APEX and XE – A Match for Data Science

APEX and ORE in Action

Previously  Oracle Application Express  (APEX) developers wanting to integrate R statistical calculations and complex charting who were not able to afford the hefty price tag for an Oracle Database Enterprice Edition licence, plus the Oracle Advance Analytics database option, were able to integrate R functionality/code in their applications, could do so primarily through Node.js  packages and exposed as RESTful Web Services.

This however was not an ideal situation but useful nonetheless.

The revolutionary 18c release of the Oracle Database Express Edition  (XE) significantly changed the Data Analytics playing field. The no-cost platform has resource caps (2 CPU, 2 GB RAM and 12 GB data storage). It’s not going to help perform complex GWAS (Genome-wide Association Study), but should suffice for many smaller research projects, statistical reporting and creating useful prediction models.

Unfortunately, the XE website has only a single line that says anything about this cool feature of the database:

If you prefer R programming, Oracle Database supports that too.

How do we get started?

A Docker Project for ORE

The Oracle R Enterprise (ORE) Documentation provides quite a lot of information on what’s involved and how to setup a ORE environment. However, looking at what’s installed in XE, it looks like the server components have already been installed (see $(ORACLE_HOME/R) and if you attempted a silent ORE server install, the script complains about how a later version has already been installed and would not proceed.

After having a look what’s involved to get ORE going on your workstation. The end result was a suite of scripts and Dockerfile for creating an ORE server and client for running R. These have been published in this public Github repository.


If you are an APEX developer, including the environment to create great apps is a must! In this Docker environment, you will find APEX 18.2 and ORDS 18.3 pre-installed, configured and running. The banner image in this post is an actual screenshot of a running APEX app with ORE integration.


APEX is an outstanding tool for rapidly building modern day web applications at minimal costs and resources. Combine this with the power of R, it should be a no-brainer for anyone choosing a development environment for Research Data Management.


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