Universal Theme has a number of new features, improvements, and optimizations when compared to themes provided with previous releases of Application Express. Additionally, Universal Theme utilizes several key UI features of Application Express 5 and provides a number of new Templates and Template Options that greatly expand the customizability of your application's UI.
Universal Theme provides improvements in almost every facet of defining the User Interface of your applications, and there a number of reasons why it is important to migrate to it immediately. However, you must first understand your users and see whether a drastic change in User Interface is appropriate.
Below is a quick fact-by-fact look at the many reasons for why you should migrate, and the few reasons why you may not want to migrate to Universal Theme.
- Cleaner Templates
Universal Theme has fewer, but more capable templates which can be customized with Template Options. It is quicker and easier to modify the presentation by changing Template Options, rather than by having to select a new template. Template Options allow for additional visual flourishes and, in some cases, new functionality.
- Improved Grid Support and Responsive Behavior
Theme 25 introduced Grid Layout support in APEX 4.2, but used a fixed grid which was not easily customizable. Universal Theme introduces a flexible, fluid grid system which can be nested many times over, and is based off the Bootstrap grid.
- Mobile Ready
Because of Universal Theme's improved grid support, applications are responsive out-of-the-box. Therefore, they run well on any mobile device running a modern browser. For example, you will notice that tapping is significantly sped up (no delay in clicking) in Universal Theme apps compared with legacy ones.
While legacy and older themes are supported in APEX 5, Universal Theme is the primary theme. With future releases of Application Express you will be be able to readily upgrade the Universal Theme to take advantages of the new functionality provided. Migrating to Universal Theme is a simple means of ensuring your apps provide the most modern and up-to-date user experience for your users.
- Theme Roller
Older themes required you to to stick with one color and one set of styling. The only means of having your own styling was to override the defaults with CSS or switch to a new theme entirely. Universal Theme addresses this pain point by allowing you to quickly generate a new style for your app, using a GUI.
- Navigation Lists
In Universal theme, you now have the choice between using a top or side navigation menu. Older themes only supported tabs, which always consumed vertical screen real estate. Placing the menu on the side, and allowing it to be collapdsed, works better for most applications, especially when displayed on widescreen monitors.
- New UI Components
Universal Theme has built-in templates for a variety of common UI components which are not available in other themes. For example, there are templates for easily creating carousels, tabs, menus, cards, and much more.
Universal Theme enables Interactive Reports, Classic Reports, and Standard Regions to be "maximized". With the maximize button template option enabled, end users can now focus on a single region, and scroll through large amounts of data without seeing other content on the page. This makes it far easier for end users to review these large regions which are often very wide and long. Older themes do not have support for this feature.