Tag Archives: Oracle Forms

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”. 

Oracle Forms won’t run on Java 9 – now what?

Many of my customers are still running venerable Oracle Forms applications that they have no intention of retiring or replacing. So when Oracle announced in support note 2310266.1 that “Oracle has no current plans to certify or support Java 9 with any version of Oracle Forms,” they were understandably worried.

From Oracle’s standpoint, it makes sense not to spend resources certifying an end-of-life product like Oracle Forms with every Java version. Especially since Java 9 will run under the new release model with a new version every six months.

This should not be a problem for Forms customers. Oracle does promise to continue to make Java 8 updates available to customers with support contracts for Forms or products depending on Forms (like E-Business Suite). Our Forms applications will anyway have to be updated to Forms 12c now that browser support for Java applets is running out, and that allows us to run the Forms applet through Java Web Start. We should then be able to use the <j2se version=“XX”/> tag in our JNLP file to point to the right Java, even if the workstation also has Java 9.

Long term, I expect either that  Forms will be supported on the first Java 9 Long Term Support release in September 2018, or that the Forms applet will become a complete executable using the Java 9 jlink feature.

So don’t worry, you can still run Oracle Forms even if the rest of the world moves to Java 9.


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

Java and the Future of Forms

Another week, another Java-related Security Alert. Oracle is calling this one CVE-2016-0636, and it comes with a CVSS risk score of 9.3, which means bad. Just visiting a malicious web site can give an attacker control of your machine.

Since Oracle Forms depends on Java, this means that all your client machines need this patch. If you are running an unsupported version of Oracle Forms, you have an unpleasant choice:

  1. Either you dare to let your clients run auto update, risking that one morning your Forms application is dead
  2. Or you don’t apply security patches automatically (or at all), leaving you open to attack

Fortunately, there is an easy solution: Upgrade.

I’m talking more about the future of Forms in this week’s Oracle Tool Watch newsletter.

Forms 12c update

I’ve updated my Oracle Map with new information about Forms 12c. As you might have noticed, we got Forms 12c in October 2015, so we have support until at least 2023.

An important new feature in Forms 12c is the ability to deploy stand-alone (through Java Web Start) without a browser. This is necessary because browser vendors are desupporting the NSAPI interface that the Java plug-in depends on. You already can’t run Forms in Google Chrome, and Firefox will stop supporting NSAPI end of 2016. The new Microsoft browser also doesn’t support it, so you’re stuck with Internet Explorer (as long as it lasts).

arrow2I’m still giving Oracle Forms a down arrow – nothing new is happening in Forms, and Forms developers are slowly retiring or moving to new things.

New publication for Oracle professionals

OTech Magazine Winter 2014If you are working with Oracle software as a developer, DBA or application server administrator, you should read the new OTech Magazine.

The Winter 2014 issue is almost a book: 136 pages of high-quality technology articles by some of the leading experts in their respective fields.  My contribution is the article “From Requirements to Tool Choice” about how to choose the right Oracle development tools (ADF, APEX, or Forms).

And did I mention it was free? Head over to OTech Magazine and feed your brain.

Oracle OpenWorld Submissions – The Full Monty

Here one day before deadline, I have entered almost my entire current catalog of presentations for consideration in the Oracle OpenWorld 2013 agenda. One new for this year: “Worst Oracle ADF Project Ever” 😉

If you would like me to speak at one of your events, the following are the presentations I currently have prepared – feel free to email me at sten@vesterli.com. If you don’t have budget for speaker travel and accommodation and plan to ask the Oracle ACE Program for support, note that you must ask me to give two presentations, and you can only have two ACE Directors at your event.

Worst Oracle Application Development Framework Project Ever
If it can go wrong, it will. This humorous presentation presents “horror stories” from various projects of misunderstandings, architectural blunders, coding errors and downright bad luck. With the knowledge from this presentation, you will never make the same mistakes and will have only successful Application Development Framework projects, on time and on budget.

What a Server Administrator Needs to Know About ADF
Developers have deployed an Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) application onto the WebLogic server. It’s eating up database connections and performing horribly, and everybody is looking to you to tune it. This presentation will explain the structure of an ADF application, how it uses database connections, what you can do to tune it, and what you can tell the developers to change.

What Beginners Need to Know about ADF Performance
By default, Application Development Framework (ADF) applications usually perform well, due to the many best practices implemented in the framework. But in the few cases where you are not getting the performance you are looking for, you have dozens of tuning settings and parameters. This presentation will cover the tuning options available in Entity Objects, Entity Associations, View Objects, View Links and Application Modules, focusing on the important AM settings and avoiding passivations. It contains a live demo using automated load to illustrate the mechanisms of Application Module pooling so the participant to see and understand how these parameters work.

From Requirements to Tool Choice
As Oracle developers, we used to have only a hammer (Oracle Forms), so everything looked like a nail (a job for Oracle Forms). Today, we have both Application Express (APEX) and Application Development Framework (ADF), so we have to make a choice. More important than the discussion of Java vs  PL/SQL is whether your application is user interface driven or data driven. A data-driven application is one where the data structure determines the user interface. These applications are well suited for a wizard-driven, browser-based approach as used in APEX; A user interface driven application is one that starts from a set of requirements to support a work process. This is easier to implement with the flexible architecture of ADF.

Life After Forms
Are you wondering about the evolution of your existing applications based on Oracle Forms? This presentation will discuss and demonstrate the most common options: Modernize your Forms and integrate in web application or portal; Build ADF Business Components based on your Forms and then building an ADF Faces web application on these components; Building an Oracle Application Express application, using the Forms Conversion capability of APEX to jumpstart development. This presentation will give the audience a good overview of impression of the capabilities and effort needed for each approach in order to make an informed decision about the future of their Forms applications.

Forms to ADF – Live!
This live presentation shows how to take a Form from an existing Oracle Forms application and develop corresponding ADF Faces screens. The form is first demonstrated and examined in Oracle Forms. Then, ADF Business Components corresponding to the base table usages in Forms are built using the wizards in JDeveloper. A user interface corresponding to the Forms application is built using ADF Faces with drag-and-drop design in JDeveloper. The presentation also highlights some of the places where a Forms application and an ADF Faces web application are irreconcilably different. The presentation is intended for developers who want to see in real life (not PowerPoint) how to start building ADF applications to replace existing Forms.

Top Ten Secrets of Successful Oracle ADF Projects
There is more to developing applications with Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) than just the page building and coding. This presentation will teach you all the other things you need to know to make your enterprise ADF project a success. Topics covered include: The component catalog; Expectation management, Proof of Concept; Structuring workspaces, projects and code; Using templates and framework extension classes; Version Control and Build tools; ADF Logging. After having attended this session, the participant will understand the tasks and tools necessary to complete an enterprise ADF project successfully.

Choose Your Weapon – An Overview of Oracle Development Tools
This presentation examines all of the most important development tools and technologies available from Oracle today, discussing the strong and weak points of each: Application Express (declarative development in web browser,  PL/SQL business logic, data-driven design); Application Development Framework (declarative development with JDeveloper, Java business logic, user interface driven design; Oracle Forms (the classical Oracle development tool, PL/SQL logic, data-driven design). The presentation is concluded with an overview and recommendation for how to choose the right tool and application development approach.

Should I move from Oracle Forms to ADF?

Even though this question has been asked and answered a million times, it still pops up on various forums regularly. It’s not that difficult:

Oracle Forms or ADF?

If you end up on the right-hand side of this flowchart, you start at the JDeveloper ADF Getting Started Guide to learn ADF.

If you end up on the left-hand side of this flowchart:

  1. Don’t buy a tool to automagically “convert” your Forms application to ADF or other new technologies.
  2. Think about whether a modern Look and Feel for your Forms applications is what you need – see “Ten Years Younger – The Oracle Forms Makeover” by Grant Ronald
  3. If you need your Oracle Forms application to participate in a modern IT architecture, read “The Future of Forms is – Forms (and some friends)” by Lucas Jellema and Grant Ronald.

See? I told you it wasn’t hard.

Conference in Norway in April

I’ll be speaking at the Oracle User Group Norway Spring Conference, April 14 to 16. This great conference takes place on a cruise ship sailing from Oslo to Kiel and back. My topics will be

  • What’s Hot and What’s Not – An Overview of Oracle Development Tools
  • Forms to ADF – Live!

They’ve lined up an impressively international speaker list, including Dan Morgan, Debra Lilley and Sue Harper – and me, of course …

See you in Oslo!

The death of Forms?

At the UKOUG conference in Birmingham, I gave a presentation entitled “Life After Forms” for people wondering what to do about their Forms applications. The reason that people consider this is of course that the talk in the Oracle community tend to concentrate on the two new options: ADF Faces and Application Express.However, whenever I talk to Oracle customers at conferences and on-site, most are still running Oracle Forms.In order to get some hard numbers, I gathered some statistics from the OTN Forms forum. Interestingly, the number of posts on this forum show almost a completely straight line since the forums started in 1998 (see figure below). This means that the interest in Forms (as measured by OTN Forum threads) has remained constant over more than 10 years – and shows no sign of tapering off.reports-of-my-death.pngSo if you are still running Oracle Forms, you are not alone. And with Oracle promising support until at least 2017, there are no technical reasons why you should rush out and re-develop existing Forms applications.

Lawyers ate Oracle’s commitment to Oracle Forms

Oracle has for a long time offered “Statements of Direction” outlining their strategy in various areas. One the statements I have been following with interest is the one that applies to Oracle Forms and Reports.

The latest version of this reassuringly says about Forms and Reports: “Oracle has no plan to desupport these products. Furthermore, new version of Oracle Forms,Oracle Reports will continue to be released as part of Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Forms 11g and Oracle Reports 11g are components of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g.”

However, the document now starts by saying that “It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.”

With this sleight of hand, Oracle has effectively retracted their commitment to the old tools. If a Statement of Direction cannot not be relied upon, what is the purpose?