From Forms to SOA

Today Grant Ronald was in Europe for the Technology Seminars organised by Oracle, of course the subject was Forms.

For more information regarding forms, soa and the road ahead you should bookmark his blog.

The title of the seminar: ‘From Forms to SOA’ and we were invited to present our experiences with SOA, Forms and the combination of both worlds as well.

It was great to meet up with Grant, because I’m more a SOA-person as a Forms-person and it was the first time to meet up with him.

First Grant gave a presentation regarding:

  • Oracle Forms Strategy: From Client Server to SOA
  • SOA, BPEL and Web Services: Calling Services from Oracle Forms
  • Building Services in JDeveloper

It was great to hear that Grant participates in as well product management for Forms as Jdeveloper to enable the same productivity and declarative approach as forms developers are used to working with in Forms application.

In the 1st part Grant explained how both worlds, SOA and Forms, colide and the key phrase here = upgrade and integrate. First you need to move your client/server application to the web, using web forms. After the upgrade you can then integrate the needed services such as web services, bpel, esb, … into your existing web forms application. In other words there’s no need to have a big bang approach and throw away all the investments you’ve made, but upgrade and integrate. As you can read and see as well, Forms 11g will hold new functionalities to enable integration even more, such as AQ to enable asynchronous messages for example, javascript capabilities, …

In the 2nd part Grant showed how you can integrate such a Forms application with an existing bpel process, which actually is a web service, and with existing web services. The key phrase here = you don’t need to write any line of java code to enable this integration.

How to accomplish this without writing any line of java code, use Jdeveloper and the Java Importer of Forms:

  • Create a web service proxy client for the existing bpel process and web services via the ‘web service proxy client’-wizard in Jdeveloper. You just need to copy/paste the wsdl-location of the bpel process and/or external webservice and Jdeveloper will do the rest.
  • Deploy this web service proxy client to your application server, were your web forms are hosted as well
  • Generate pl/sql wrapper classes via the ‘Java Importer’ in your Forms Builder
  • And the Forms Developer can invoke web services using pl/sql functionality without any knowledge of the underlying technology

In the 3d part Grant gave a demo regarding the 4GL-experience a Forms Developer will have when working with Jdeveloper to build a ‘Forms-like’ application, in other words data-entry, – retrieval pages.

To have the same look-and-feel, capabilities, userfriendliness and declarative approach as in Forms Builder the chosen technologies for MVC are ADF Faces and BC4J, these are the 4GL-like technologies to choose when coming from a Forms-background.

Using these technologies Grant explained how to define business logic using validation in BC4J, how to define page flows in the faces config file and how to define the different screens in a declarative manner. Using BC4J Grant also explained how Entity Objects, View Objects and the Application Module relate to components known to a Forms Developer.

After his introduction different Oracle partners presented their cases regarding Forms and SOA and in that matter we’ve presented a SOA and Forms integration case from the Netherlands.

Most important part of all: we had an audience of more than 90 people, it was great to see such an amount of people and interest in these technologies.

Best of breed applications are slowly moving towards ‘best of all worlds’, there are ‘no’ limits anymore.

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2 thoughts on “From Forms to SOA

  1. Nathalie, was good to meet up with. Personally, for ANYONE with and investment in Oracle Forms, I thought it was about the best 3 hours you could spend. I thought the presentations from the partners helped give the “real world” credibility to our Forms roadmap. And good to see so many people successfully following it!.

  2. Hi Grant,It was indeed the best 3 hours spend to have a good insight and especially roadmap to upgrade and integrate forms-applications.And the success was indead great, you’re being a true evangelist ;o)

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