YES. Absolutely, even.
Go from your app to your Oracle Database resources via REST (GET|POST|PUT|DELETE), and your responses come back via JSON. No APEX required.
And even better, you can have ORDS up and running in less than 5 minutes.
Ok, but what about ORDS & APEX?
If you want to provide a RESTful API for your Oracle Database, then ORDS is for you. But, when I do talks on ORDS, I ask the room, who in here is an APEX Developer?
The answer to this question very much determines who the audience comes to the talk in terms of expectations and experience with ORDS.
To run APEX, you need a ‘Web Listener’ – that is, you need a service that can handle the http(s) traffic to and from the database – which is where APEX runs. It runs in the database, because APEX is built with PL/SQL. That’s also why it’s so fast – PL/SQL in the database is awesome when you want to get to your Oracle data and ‘do stuff’ with it.
ORDS used to be called the Oracle APEX Listener. This was an accurate, but incomplete description of what it offered. Because it does so much more than that, and of course it’s available to run WITHOUT APEX. Hence the branding/name changes a few years back to Oracle REST Data Services.
So how do you get from your browser or mobile app to the database?
You have a few options today, and ORDS is the recommended way to go – version 3.0.9 is currently available for your APEX and/or REST needs.
If you want to create and deploy RESTful services for your APEX app, then ORDS is DEFINITELY the way to go. When you install ORDS, it has a few questions regarding APEX, and it’ll also offer to migrate any RESTful Services you have defined in APEX over to ORDS.
So ORDS does have a ton to offer to the APEX developer other than just being the vehicle that gets you to the database where APEX is installed.