Oracle Forms Modernization Day at Oracle Open World 2012

October 3, 2012

Well we had quite a day today at Oracle Open World. We had 2 great sessions and we were able to get together a panel of some of the greatest minds in Oracle Forms from AMIS, PITSS, iAdvise, OraPlayer and of course Oracle. Here is my sunnary of the lessons learned and the future game plan for our Forms systems moving forward.

The main messages of  the Future of Forms were :

  1. Oracle Forms is NOT dead. Oracle has no plans to desupport it and still has quite a large investment in Forms itself in Oracle EBS.
  2. Oracle Reports is slowly heading for retirement. It looks like Reports maybe retiring after version 12c. it maybe time to start looking into new reporting options to not get stuck.
  3. Start decoupling your Forms, prepare the ground work for future – Although we do not need to migrate to new technologies in the short term it is a good time to start getting your system ready. Start moving code to the database if possible. Remove unwanted unused code either manually or with the help of 3rd party tools.
  4. Its time to get started learning Java/ADF. The fact that Forms has no imminent death does NOT mean its time to go back into hibernation for the next 10 years till Oracle threatens to desupport Forms again. We must understand that the nature of IT systems are changing. Even though Forms system are currently meeting our needs or to expensive to replace in the short term does NOT mean we do not need to start looking to new development technologies for new systems. Oracle has done a great job making java more accessible to Forms developers via ADF 11g and we owe it to ourselves to start getting our feet wet. Oracle is pushing ADF hard

As for our current Oracle Forms investment the game plan is:

1) Clean up your systems: Get rid of unused or unwanted Forms or code blocks. Start cleaning out the system from garbage thats been coming along in every upgrade since Forms 3.0. Begin decoupling the system code by looking at the code in the Forms system and determining what code can be moved to the DB.

2) Upgrade to newest version to stay supported: Please do everyone a favor and do not stay on the oldest desupported version of Oracle Forms until your O/S no longer supports running it. I can’t tell you how many people contact me in a panic on how to run  versions of Forms that have been desupported for 9 years on Window 7.
3) Modernize the UI: If your system looks the same as it did 10 years ago its REALLY time for some UI modernization (checkout my session slides below for quick tips you can do now). Take advantage of the new feature available to us Java beans, JavaScript etc..
4) Begin to learn new technologies: Start training your development team on a ADF/ Java. Checkout the resources for beginners here:  How do I start Learning ADF and Jdeveloper
5) Develop new modules in new technologies: Start developing with the philosophy of choosing the correct tool for the job. Not all applications are suited to be developed in Oracle Forms so if new system requirements make the application more suited to ADF/Java build new applications in the new technologies.
6) Use Forms features and external tools to integrate the new with the old – Once you have newer systems being developed in ADF/Java you can communicate between the systems using Javscript, or AQ events. If you are looking for a more advanced integration or to do phased migration to ADF from Forms by running your Oracle Forms business logic from ADF faces UI look into OraPlayer

Slides can be downloaded here:

 CON5639 – Give Your Forms a Face-lift: Tips and Tricks for Oracle Forms GUI Modernization  – Presented by Mia Urman of OraPlayer.

CON4827 – The Future of Forms Is … Oracle Forms (and Friends)  – Presented by Lucas Jellma of AMIS