Oracle Application Express 5.0 will focus on enhancements to existing functionality and is planned to incorporate the following:
- Modal Dialog – Provide the ability to declaratively define modal dialogs.
- Drag and Drop Layout Editor – Reintroduce the drag and drop layout editor which is compatible with laying out items within a grid layout.
- HTML5 Capabilities – Improve native capabilities for handling HTML5 constructs.
- PDF Printing – Improve the printing capabilities utilizing the APEX Listener FOP Support
- Web Services Support – In combination with the APEX Listener further extend the Web Services integration capabilities.
- Tablet User Interface – Enhanced themes and templates to enable developers to declarative create applications and/or pages for tablet devices.
- Packaged Applications – Improved framework and enhancements to the packaged applications.
- New Multi-Row Edit Region Type – Define a new region type with a modern UI for updating multiple rows of data and allow multiple regions on one page.
- Master / Detail / Detail – Provide a wizard interface to define declarative master/detail/detail regions.
- Multiple Interactive Reports – Allow any number of Interactive Reports to be defined on a single page.
- Application Builder Security – Allow different authentication schemes to be used to control developer access to the Application Builder.
- Numerous functional improvements.
Oracle confirmed that Apex support will be extended for 5 years from the date of product release. Please read the document,
“Oracle Application Express has a large and active installed base, with over 250,000 developers creating thousands of applications. Oracle recognizes the considerable investment in Oracle Application Express and remains committed to the long-term support of this product.”
My suggestion is use Oracle XE with Apex to start with.