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: http://www.hofterdelft.be (Ekeren – Antwerp)
More info

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…