Seminar: “What’s your choice for Oracle Forms” – recap

A great turnout for the seminar: more than 40 interested attendees, a mix audience of IT managers, project managers and developers.
Hof ter Delft was a nice location!

Grant Ronald, Oracle Senior Group Product Manager for the development tools division, opened the seminar with a keynote presentation.
He started with the Oracle Statement of Direction: Oracle has no plans to desupport Forms and Reports.
After this he gave an high level overview of what is possible with an Oracle Forms application: modernize, upgrade, integrate and migrate.
Grant ended with an overview of ADF.

My session was next, same subject as Grant, but a bit deeper into detail with demos and customer cases.
I showed how you could modernize an application using Pluggable Java Components and JavaBeans.
Upgrade will bring you some nice features, eg. javascript integration and external events in 11g.
Those new features were shown in the integration demo, together with web service calls from Forms.
I ended with migration:  reasons to migrate, strategy(eg. a customer case of  redesign/rebuild in Apex), tools that  can be used(eg. JHeadstart ), …
One lesson: migration is not an easy path…

The following session walked this path of migration, the one of a phased migration.
Wilfred van er Deijl(Commit Consulting)presented OraFormsFaces.
A presentation about where OraFormsFaces can fit in and how it works.
When you choose for a migration and you don’t want a big bang, OraFormsFaces can help you in doing new development in a new technology(eg. Oracle ADF) and keep your Forms investment.
OraFormsFaces let you integrate a form in a webapplication and passes info between those two technologies.

To show that OraFormsFaces works with other technologies, Tom Bauwens(SmartApps) showed the integration of Oracle Forms with Eclipse RCP using OraFormsFaces.

After a nice lunch Grant Ronald gave an introduction training to ADF:

  • Building ADF Business Components
  • Business validation
  • Shaping your data
  • Application Flow
  • Building UI pages

This really showed the power of ADF to Forms developers.

iAdvise Seminar: What’s your choice for Oracle Forms?

There are a lot of questions about the future of Oracle Forms and applications that were built in Oracle Forms.
During this seminar we will answer these questions and give an overview of the (possible) future of such applications.

The seminar will kick off with a keynote by Grant Ronald, about the Oracle Forms strategy.
Next we show the following possibilities: modernize, upgrade, integrate and migrate.

To end the morning session we will show how change can go nice and smooth.

After lunch Grant Ronald will give an introduction to Oracle ADF Development:

  • Building ADF Business Components
  • Business Validation
  • Shaping your data
  • Application Flow
  • Building UI pages

Attendees of the afternoon session “Introduction to Oracle ADF” will receive a copy of the book “The Quick Start Guide to Fusion Development” by Grant Ronald!

When: Monday, June 6 2011
Where: (Ekeren – Antwerp)
More info

OBUG Connect, the Oracle Benelux Usergroup conference in Brussels.

Opening ceremony by Wim Coekaerts & Janny Ekelson.
Nothing much to say about this…

First keynote session was brought by Chris Leone about Oracle Fusion applications.
Applications is not my thing, but it was nice to see how everything in Fusion apps is integrated like BI and collaboration.

My first session was “The best way” by Tom Kyte, a session about doing things the “best way” or “best practices”.
Tom quoted Bryn Llewellyn on what brings you to best practices.
It depends on things from “reasoning skills” over “education” to “know oracle inside out” to “know pl/sql inside out”.

An example join two big tables(big… big tables) with little distinct values.
What will be the fastest(best) way to retrieve records for one of those distinct values: hash joins or index scans?
In a batch operation the hash joins will be the fastest, but on a screen that only shows 20 records?

So, when is something the best way?  Well, it depends…

How can you tune using TKPROF?
A best practice…
Get the facts(physical I/O, logical I/O, difference between CPU and elapsed time,…).
Infer more facts.  Know your data, know how oracle works.
Build your context.
Rule things out.
Very interesting session!

Time for lunch!

Next session was one of Lucas Jellema and Patrick Stevens: “Randstad’s modernization of organization, architecture and applications powered by Fusion Middleware”.
They explained how they transformed the IT team to work with the agile approach.
This resulted in a faster develoment(about 4 times) and a team that is more involved.
Randstad also decided to make their applications service based.
So a service layer was build around all core processes using BPEL and OSB.
The only problem is Forms, which still accesses the database directly.
The Forms application will fade away in the future to a web application in ADF…

Last session was another AMIS session by Luc Bors together with Simon Vos of “How BOL.COM benefited from ADF”. decided in 2007 to move to ADF.
Some reasons to move:
- Oracle statement of direction:  exit designer
- no authorization/authentication
- forms supported datamodel, not business processes
Where did they want to go to:
- new and extended UI
- add reporting
- no direct database access

So they introduced scrum, ADF and trained they’re inhouse (forms)developers to use JDeveloper, ADF and JHeadstart.
Now they could start to rebuild the forms application in ADF.
The pl/sql and built-ins used in forms are put in the database or, if lucky, they could use an ADF alternative.
Others(little percentage) had to be programmed in Java.

This resulted in a new application with the same functionality(allthough some additional functionality was added) as the forms application with a new look and feel.

Some interesting sessions, allthough I like to see some more demos next time.

Oracle Forms hanging problem

A customer had a problem about a forms application(Oracle Forms 10g) hanging on a regular base.
No particular user, no particular form, … just a form in the application at random.

The only solution was killing the browser and the JRE  and start over.

After a long time of searching, a colleague finally ran into a document on My Oracle Support.
It’s a combination of Sun JRE, Windows XP and a multi core CPU that causes the problem.

The solution is to let the Java process run on only 1 CPU.

Since the implementation of the solution(2 days ago) there are no hanging forms, while before there were several users reporting a hang every day.

More information and solution: My Oracle Support [Article ID 1245895.1]



Upgrading to Forms 11g

Grant Ronald has just published three references for Oracle Forms upgrades to 11g.
Those references can be found on his blog.

As Grant writes, it’s pretty easy to upgrade, just recompile and deploy.

A big advantage of migrating to Forms 11g is that it opens up the integration of the forms application with other technologies(eg. ADF).

Upgrade your Forms application and enter the age of fusion!

Oracle Forms Modernization Webinar on January 20, 2011

Do you want to know about the future of Oracle Forms?
And you want to know the official view of Oracle?

Check the webinar on this topic, hosted by Grant Ronald, Oracle Product Manager responsible for Forms.
More details and registration on Grant Ronald’s blog.

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…

UKOUG: cold, snow and Oracle Forms

Birmingham is cold these days, even white.
That’s something else than sunny San Fran in September during OOW.

I didn’t find the time yet to write about sessions.
But surely will in the next days.

There were some interesting sessions(the one more interesting than the other) on forms.
Most about migration(to ADF, to Apex),  but they all agree, it’s not easy and not done with one press on the button.
What you can also read this in a previous post.

If you want to know what else you can do with your forms application, check out our session:
Forms in the middle of middleware
Hall 6
Co-presenter: Grant Ronald.

When you’re interested in a future with a forms application, come by and learn how you can extend your forms investment.
There will be a lot of demo’s in the presentation, even a live demo of a customer’s application.