Monthly Archives: November 2017

Oracle Forms is Not Extinct

I was at the German Oracle user group conference in Nürnberg last week, and one interesting observation was that there was a lot of Forms-related content. The distribution of development topics looked like this:

One interesting feature presented by Oracle Forms product manager Michael Ferrante is the Forms Application Deployment Service (FADS). This functionality allows you to create a .FAR file (Forms Application Archive) with all the files you need for your entire Forms application, including FMB, configuration, SQL etc. With these complete packages, it becomes easier to distribute new versions of Forms applications.

There are still no signs of an Oracle Forms cloud service. For now, the only way to run Oracle Forms in the cloud is to buy some machine power in the form of an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) instance. And if you are just buying machine power, Oracle is unlikely to be the cheapest provider. However, with FADS Oracle is one step closer to being able to offer such a service.

I also spoke with the people I know from AuraPlayer. They have produced some cute stickers that inspired the title of this post:

Their product creates REST web services from an existing Forms application and also offers testing and monitoring for Forms applications. This is a very promising approach – if you have a Forms application and are interested in modernizing it, send me an e-mail and let’s discuss if that’s right for you.

This post originally appeared in the Oracle Tool Watch newsletter. Sign up now to receive a free copy of my whitepaper “What Oracle is Doing Wrong (and Right) in the Cloud”. 

What Oracle developers think

I’m speaking at the German Oracle user group conference this week. This is one of the two big Oracle user group conferences in Europe and they have good technical content for Oracle developers. I’ve attended Forms, APEX, ADF and Oracle JET presentations, and it’s interesting to observe the differences between the communities.

  • Oracle Forms developers are proud professionals who take their responsibility for keeping critical applications running very seriously
  • Oracle APEX developers want to be cool and use every new technology with APEX (Docker, Alexa, etc). There is lots of hand-waving enthusiasm and an “open mic” show.
  • Oracle ADF developers know they have selected the best tool and wonder why not everybody is using it
  • There aren’t really any Oracle JET developers yet, but there is a lot of interest in learning this technology

 

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Should I work with ADF or PLSQL?

I was asked on Quora “I have been given a choice to work either in ADF or PLSQL. What should I choose?

My answer is ADF, for many reasons:

  1. The programming language in ADF applications is Java, which is the most popular programming language. That means whatever you learn is applicable for the rest of your career.
  2. PL/SQL is only used in Oracle databases, meaning you will be building skills that will only be valuable in the subset of companies using the Oracle database seriously
  3. ADF development is a sought-after specialty. Just google “Oracle ADF Developer” to see a list of open jobs.
  4. There are many PL/SQL developers with 10+ years of experience, and the amount of PL/SQL work out there is declining. You’ll be competing with very capable and experienced PL/SQL programmers for this work.

 

 

Which Oracle tools are popular?

I’m soon heading to Nürnberg for the Deutsche Oracle-Anwender Gruppe (DOAG) annual conference. I’m on the agenda with two presentations, both on Tuesday, Nov 21:

  • “APEX, ADF, or ABCS? A real-life application built in 3 tools” in room Oslo at 8.30am
  • “The Seven Ways of Building Oracle Applications” in room Hongkong at 2.00pm

I know from the conferences I am part of arranging how hard it is to put together a good program. A lot of thought goes into the selection, making conference programs good indicators of which tools are popular with real-life developers. The 2017 DOAG agenda looks like this:

DOAG 2017 development tool presentations

We all know that APEX is a popular conference topic, and the DOAG conference is no exception. More surprising is the fact that Oracle Forms takes second place. There are a lot of Forms applications still running, and a lot of Forms developers. These people have nowhere to go at Oracle’s conferences, but fortunately, user groups are providing the Oracle Forms content developers are looking for.

It also seems the conference committee is not convinced about the Oracle mobile solutions – both Mobile Application Framework (MAF) and Mobile Application Accelerator (MAX) occur just once. And that is only because I have included them with one-seventh part of my presentation about the seven ways of building Oracle applications.

Please join your local Oracle user group and attend their events. That is another place to get the same straight talk on Oracle tools as you get from my emails. I hope to see you at DOAG 2017 in Nürnberg or at another conference somewhere.

 

This post originally appeared in the Oracle Tool Watch newsletter. Sign up to receive a free copy of my whitepaper “What Oracle is Doing Wrong (and Right) in the Cloud”. 

The Future of the Oracle Developer

I’m often asked, “what does the future look like for an Oracle developer?” The answer is that the future for IT developers, in general, is bright, but the future for Oracle developers is more murky.

Most people who consider themselves Oracle developers are using a very specific part of the Oracle product line – typically SQL and PL/SQL  in the database, possibly supplemented with Forms, APEX, or ADF. Unfortunately, that’s not where the future lies.

PL/SQL is typically languishing somewhere around place 20 on the TIOBE programming language list, with a rating of around 1.4% of developers. That’s ahead of COBOL, but behind Visual Basic. The long-term trend is also not on your side, as Google Trends shows. Google Trend for PL/SQL

Don’t consider yourself an Oracle developer. Consider yourself someone who uses IT to solve problems. And be open to learning something new.

 

This post originally appeared in the Oracle Tool Watch newsletter. Sign up to receive a free copy of my whitepaper “What Oracle is Doing Wrong (and Right) in the Cloud” (and more interesting tips to keep you up to date with what’s happening in the Oracle community).