UKOUG: Forms Migration

There were a lot of sessions on forms, most of them handled about migration.
So, here’s a little wrap up of the forms migration sessions I followed on the UKOUG conference.

When thinking about migration, you need to think again before making a decision.
Do it for the right reasons, make a good analysis and plan everything upfront.
The right reason is not because there’s a migration tool that migrates everything.
Such tool does not exist.
This is what most experienced people will tell you, unless they sell a migration tool.
Allthough, this is even told by Steven Davelaar(Oracle The Netherlands), who gave two sessions:
– Guidelines for moving from Forms to ADF and SOA
– JHeadstart Forms2ADF generator: Moving form Oracle Forms to a best practice ADF application
Two very interesting sessions on migration.

The first session was about making the decision, the strategy and the pitfalls.
Before you even want to migrate, ask yourself the proper questions and make an analysis:

  • current situation: forms version, designer, how is it used(standard or “creative forms”),…
  • current functionality: integration with standard functionalities
  • current DB model & future plans
  • current UI: need for a redesign?
  • current documentation: if there is none, what are you going to migrate?
  • current end users:  how are they using the application, are they happy?
  • current IT staff: are they eager to learn? (everything will be new)
  • what direction to you want to move to: richer ui, customization & personalization,…

And start with the beginning: pull out the logic from forms!
Well do this anyway, this will leave all options open, no matter what presentation layer.

Migration has a lot of pitfalls, so watch out!
When migrating, a re-design and re-implementation is probably needed.
Steven ended that session with the following sentence:

Make lasagna (layered approach) and/or ravioli (service oriented approach) instead of spaghetti (like most forms application with code and business logic in forms and on the database)

The second session was about the tool JHeadstart and how it can help you in a best practice migration.
He reminded us on the monday session: define a strategy before you start!
He explained what JHeadstart was (not a migration tool!): an ADF generator and a best practice toolkit.
It generates metadata(XML), not code.
A part of JHeadstart is the Forms2ADF generator, it generates metadata from your forms application.
The demo he gave was pretty impressive, he took an old forms application (that he made in 2002) and generated a new ADF application.
But watch out, it doesn’t migrate everything: not one line PL/SQL is converted, it’s only documented though in JHeadstart.
You have to choose by yourself where to implement that code(business logic on the database, forms logic in the different ADF layers).
What are the JHeadstart benefits: autocreated ADF business components, metadata, best practice architecture.
Steven mentioned also OraFormsFaces, this an integration module to let your forms run in a JSF web application.
Definitly check this tool when you’re thinking about moving/integrating forms to/into ADF.

Another session on migration: “Is Apex the new forms?”
Not a great session, but they started also with the same idea as Steven: analyse before migrating and put all Business logic on the database.
The session was given by an employee of PITTS, so of course the migration tool of the company was shown.
This tool takes a form as input and creates an Apex import script.

It was not as detailed as the demo that Steven did about JHeadstart, but maybe it can be used as best practice.
The tool didn’t convince me…it even didn’t convince the speaker, as his conclusion was simple: “Is Apex the new forms?  No!  Or at least not yet.”
At least he was honest: the tool is no silver bullet and there are limitations.

Conclusion: when doing a migration, think…and think again.
Do you have good reason to migrate?
Then analyse.
Don’t try to find the silver bullet…

OOW 2010: Moving forms to ADF

When working with Oracle Forms these days and you’re not satisfied with the application anymore, there are some possibilities you can do:

  • upgrade
  • modernize
  • integrate
  • migrate

On our OOW session tomorrow(Oracle Forms in the Middle of Middleware, 1pm, Marriott Marquis Room: Salon 9), we will talk about the first three possibilities, upgrade, modernize and integrate.

But today I went to the session of Grant Ronald: Moving from Oracle Forms to Java and Oracle Application Development Framework
A session about migrating Oracle Forms to ADF.
The strategy of oracle is NOT desupporting Oracle Forms, on the contrary, they’re working on new features for 11g R2.

But when you consider migrating, do it for the right reasons.
Three kinds of reasons: the good, the bad and the ugly

Reasons to choose for migration can be

  • forms doesn’t meet the requirements anymore
  • there’s need for re-development
  • adopt leading edge, modern technologies

Reasons NOT to choose for migration:

  • there’s a heavy forms investment you don’t want to throw away
  • happy with data entry (and to my opinion forms is one of the best choices for data entry applications)

Wrong reasons:

  • forms will be desupported -> A clear answer of Grant Ronald: THIS IS NOT THE CASE!
  • upgrading your forms application will result in big problems
  • rewriting the application will save $$$

So migration is an option for your forms application, but Grant stated it several times in his session: DO IT FOR THE RIGHT REASON.

About migrating forms to ADF…
The technologies look similar…
Grant made a comparison between a dish washer and a washing machine.
Both have the same measurements, do similar things(wash something and dry it), etc.
But who puts his clothing in a dish washer?  Or cups and glasses in a washing machine?
So thechnologies look similar, but are different:

  • Java applet <> HTML/javascript
  • PL/SQL <> Java
  • Stateful <> stateless
  • No separation of UI and data elements <> seperate UI and data elements

Do not ignore those differences when looking at migration!

ADF is a framework and does a lot of things for you(like log on to the database, you don’t have to write the code) which is pretty nice.
But hey, Forms does also things for you, it’s also a framework.

You can build applications in ADF that look like forms application and have the same behaviour, but is that the reason to migrate, to work the same way?

When migrating there are some more challenges, eg reusability of table/views, procedures/functions, PLL, triggers.  What about forms built-in functions?

So, of course migration is an option for your Oracle Forms application, but ask yourself a question: Why migrate?
Take a look at all the options, before going to migrate.  It’s not an easy path to walk…

Check also the paper Grant wrote about migrating: Migrating Oracle Forms to Fusion: myth or magic bullet

Oracle Open World 2010: Forms in the Middle of Middleware

People attending Open World to have a closer look at fusion technologies and how to integrate them in your existing applications, need to check out the following session:

  • ID#: S315945
  • Title: Oracle Forms in the Middle of Middleware with Oracle Product Management
  • Track: Application Servers, Application Grid, and Development
  • Date: 22-SEP-10 Time: 13:00 – 14:00
  • Venue: Marriott Marquis Room: Salon 9

Together with Grant Ronald we will talk you through the possible scenario’s to modernize your existing forms applications. After each scenario we will demo the functionalities and showcase some of the success stories we’ve conducted together with our benelux customers.

The different scenario’s include upgrading to 11g to use the event-driven architecture, integrate with existing applications such as apex, .net, google maps, bpel, …

In other words if you’re using fusion technologies such as BPEL, OSB, ADF, … you can easily integrate these with your existing forms applications using the new features provided in 11g.

ADF EMG at OOW 2009

Everyone’s that’s going to be present at Open World and has questions regarding ADF, regarding project approach or want’s to share his/her experiences with the community … this is the ideal moment to step up and talk about it!

Besides the different sessions that are organised by as well Oracle, partners as ACE’s, the ADF EMG will be present as well.

Take a look at the schedule for ADF EMG and put it in your agenda.

Hope to see you all there, to have lively discussions and some cool demo’s!

Attending OOW – Interested in ADF / Fusion Sessions

For those who are attending open world and are interested in ADF / Fusion Sessions, have a look at the following overview page.

Have a look at the unconference sessions as well, where the ADF Enterprise Methodology Group and other ACE Directors will talk about their experiences within Fusion Middleware: http://wiki.oracle.com/page/Oracle+OpenWorld+Unconference

If you’re looking for best practices, tips & tricks or want to discuss problems you’re facing at your current projects, come to the ADF EMG meetings where we can try to tackle them.

ADF EMG at UKOUG and OOW

This year we’ve had a interesting pannel discussion at ODTUG regarding the ADF EMG where we’ve discussed some customer cases, do’s and dont’s regarding fusion and ADF development, thoughts regarding Fusion 11g, …

Because we want to follow up on the new technologies, discuss the new concepts, new features and work out guidelines and best practices, we encourage people to become a member of the group and share their experiences with the community.

That said aside … we try to share the experiences and material worked out by the ADF EMG at any possible event, and we’ve got very good news!

We’re very happy to announce that we’ll be running an ADF EMG session again this year at Oracle Open World 2009, and even more excited to let you know we’ll be running another session at the UKOUG conference in Birmingham Nov/Dec.

Like last year’s OOW session, we’d like to invite you all to make these events a success. This group is only as good as with your participation. We’ll be blessed by the presence of Oracle Corporation’s own ADF gurus, as well as Oracle ACEs and ACE Directors, leading ADF experts from around the world.

The OOW session details:
Session ID: S312516
Title: Oracle ADF Enterprise Methodology Group (An ODTUG Oracle Fusion Middleware SIG session)
Date Time: Monday 11th October 10:30 – 11:15

The UKOUG conference session details are pending.

Are you planning to attend OOW09 or the UKOUG conference? Happy to attend the ADF EMG sessions?

With less than 60 days to OOW09 we’re getting excited.
We very much look forward to hearing from you soon, and seeing you at OOW09 or the UKOUG conference!

OFM 11g Launch – Live Webcast – Part 1

Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g will hold a lot of new features and technologies to get acquainted with, but most of all the stack is even more integrated and the first major release after the BEA acquisition. I think a lot of people have been waiting on this announcement, especially when we talk about Fusion Apps which has been a tremendous effort and if you have the opportunity to see a demo, please do … !

Bringing this single stack of technology, using the best of breed of both middleware stacks, will minimize the product dependencies because we will be using 1 single stack for as well Applications, Middleware projects, database as the infrastructure-side.
Using this pre-fabricated environment based on open standards which will give us the ability to have a pre-patched, pre-tested, pre-configured, … environment that can be managed, monitored, secured, … in a unified way.

The middleware is the key part in the entire stack to be able to offer and re-use standardized services to each component, technology or product within the product stack.
In other words, if you understand how the middleware works and operates you will understand how security, deployment, management, monitoring, … works throughout the stack.

Building rich client applications using the Application Development Framework that will give you the ability to render your application as you see fit.
Building an orchestration engine for as well human-, process- as document-centric process flows.
Having a single and unified way of defining security, managing components and monitoring these different services by using a single layer of metadata.

All these functionalities and features will give us more time to innovate instead of maintaining the existing applications landscape.