I have been using Apex 5.0 for two months now and figured it was high time I start blogging about it. So, here are some thoughts after eight weeks of exploration.
At first I found the new builder features a little difficult. There had been so much hype about the new Page Designer. I guess I was just so comfortable with the old component layout that it would have been so easy to stay with what I know. But, yes, I stuck with Pagc Designer and now can't imagine a world without it. I love that you can change component attributes in bulk and that you only have to click save once for the entire page. It is so easy to drag regions and items where you want them. So, while Page Designer might intimidate you at first - stick with it. Your productivity will soar.
I am thrilled with the new code editor. You can write code exactly as you would in any tool such as SQL Developer with all the feateres you need and can validate the code without leaving the editor. This is another huge productivity gain.
Modal regions and modal pages are very powerful and easy to implement. I must say that I am using them more than I ever had in my applications and they contribute to a great user experience. I will try and post a blog just about modal dialogs soon.
The Universal Theme and Themeroller are really inspiring and have a lot to offer. The user response has been good though many have suggested that the apps have adopted a "Microsoft" look - oh no!
There are some things that took me a while to come right with and I will blog about those in the hope of saving others time and frustration.
Most important of all, my apps in Apex 5.0 are running about 20% faster. Page and report refreshes are faster. Chart rendering Is faster and even database processing seems faster.
Now for a few complaints. There have been long-standing issues with Tabular Forms and no work has been done in this area. Some of the IR customization capability seems to have been removed. Report layouts seem somewhat less flexible but I an still exploring here.
So after all is said and done I love Apex 5 and feel renewed and excited as an Apex developer.