The Evolution of Oracle Forms Survey: Results are In!

Back in January, we conducted an “Evolution of Oracle Forms” customer survey. The aim of this poll was to determine the current needs and trends of  the Forms community in terms of features, content, and how you’re looking to move forward. The survey also asked about what technologies you have begun to integrate with or new platforms you are deploying to. Especially exciting was having Oracle Forms Product Manager, Michael Ferrante, on board to help us conduct the survey.

With almost 400 responses, the results of the survey helped give us great insight into how Forms’ users are evolving. The responses inspired me to get more involved by conducting a webinar with Michael Ferrante at the end of April to further discuss how Forms is changing and where it’s going. Together he and I examined the survey results and gave a sneak peak into the new Forms features that will be offered in the future version. If you would like to watch the full Evolution Webinar please email us at info@auraplayer.com for a copy.

The Results

What Version of Forms are You Running?

forms

Client Server 4.5 – 2.56%

Client Server 6 – 17.61%

Web Oracle Forms 6i – 14.49%

Web Oracle Forms 9i – 5.40%

Oracle Forms 10g – 49.72%

Oracle Forms 11g – 54.83%

To begin our survey we started with the basics, what versions are our community running. What was interesting to see was the statistic that almost 50% of respondents are running Oracle Forms 10g. This was surprising because upgrading from 10g to 11g is such a relatively simple migration as it is usually just a quick recompile. The main issue with this migration is the appearance of a new infrastructure based on Weblogic. The fact is we consider it a huge benefit because you get better performance and stability as a result. This statistic was very upsetting to Michael because if people don’t upgrade to the newer versions it’s will be very hard for him to justify continuing to create them.  If anyone needs guidance to start the upgrade process we would be happy to help, feel free to contact me a support@auraplayer.com or comment below. Also if anyone can think of any reason why so many customers have not yet made the jump to 11g yet let us know by commenting below.

What Other Technologies are You Using?

techs

APEX – 37.50%

ADF – 26.42%

.Net – 26.99%

Java/J2EE/Eclipse – 49.15%

Webservices – 40.91%

Mobile Development – 25.28%

Something that was interesting to learn about the other technologies being used by Forms shops is how many people are using Java and Webservices. Often when I speak to Forms customers I hear that APEX is their future development environment of choice. But I was pleasantly surprised to see Java and Webservices making their mark. I was also saddened to see how low a percent are using ADF from Forms, this was a bit upsetting to see that users do not seem to be adopting the newest Oracle development technology so quickly. Again if anyone has any ideas as to why I’d be happy to hear them in your comments below.

What is the Future of Your Oracle Forms System?

understanding

Don’t Have One – 16.76%

Upgrading/Modernizing the UI – 46.31%

Integration with New Systems Developed – 32.39%

Migration to APEX – 16.19%

Migration to ADF/Java – 30.40%

Migration to .Net – 5.68%

Mobile/Cloud – 10.80%

The most interesting thing about the responses to this question was that 17% of respondents don’t have a modernization strategy for their Forms system yet. I feel like Michael and I have been talking your ears off about modernizing Forms, but I guess many of you are still undecided. We would be happy to hear topics you feel we should cover in our future presentations/Webinars that would be helpful to make your decisions easier. Or I f anyone feels they’d like to have a personal discussion about their Oracle Forms challenges we’d be happy to help, just let us know.  

Also surprising was that it doesn’t seem like a lot of people are doing migrations. What we are seeing is quite a large percentage of people upgrading and modernizing their existing systems by integrating with newer systems. I was happy to see users are really following the strategy of protecting their existing investments by updating.

Oracle Forms New Feature Wish List

new features

New Features in the Builder – 59.66%

Mobile Support – 55.68%

Webservice Deployment – 46.02%

New Runtime Features – 45.74%

Cloning – 11.36%

Improved Diagnostics/Monitoring Features – 37.78%

New Installation Options – 23.58%

Cloud Support – 27.84%

What was great to see with this question is that so many respondents would like to see Mobility as a new feature for Oracle Forms, almost 66%! It’s exciting to us at AuraPlayer to see that so many people looking for Mobile and Cloud support since this is the solution we have created. We were happy to see validation for our strategy and to hear that there is a demand for our offering. 

Another great thing to see was how high the demand is for new features in the builder. It really shows that users want a future with Forms including furthering developing the tool. This gives us hope that the Forms product will continue to be used as it is developed and that people won’t be migrating away any time soon. Or is it wishful thinking? 

We’d be really happy to hear your thoughts on the results share with us below 

Configuring BIDI / Arabic / Hebrew Reports in 11g R2 – REP-56048: Engine rwEng-0 crashed

Recently I have been getting MANY frustrated inquiries regarding how to properly configure Hebrew / Arabic / BIDI reports for Forms/Reports 11g R2.

In general I get 2 types of errors from customers when running with Hebrew reports:

Firstly,  instead of seeing Hebrew / Arabic characters when a report is run they see various symbols @#!$%^&*.  When this happens most people decide to replace the uifont.ali file that comes with Reports 11g R2 with the uifont.ali file that supported BIDI characters from 10g systems. Once they do this replacement they get the second error which is error message REP-56048: Engine rwEng-0 crashed and the report server crashes when they run a Report containing Hebrew characters.

After see many SR’s on the subject I decided I would write a handy whitepaper for you all on how to configure Hebrew reports on 11g R2 with ease.

The guide to Hebrew reports for Windows can be downloaded here

I know developers have been getting similar errors running Arabic reports so this may help them as well. If it works for Arabic please let me know in the comments section. Thanks

Lessons Learned From Upgrading to Oracle Forms 11g R2 on WebLogic !

You may have heard the rumors about upgrading to Forms 11g R2. How all you need is a quick recompile of your 10g forms. I of course was skeptical since I’ve heard rumors like this before… “It’s just a minor upgrade”,  “Just run the migration wizard and you’re done”  :)

This time I can happily report that it is TRUE.

Last week we successfully upgraded about 700 forms to 11g R2 in about a WEEK including all installs and infrastructure configuring.

I installed Weblogic 10.1.3.5 and Forms 11g R2 standalone (Installs to download here) on a VM machine of Windows 2008 R2 – 64 bit (See post for how to do the installation) and recompiled our 10.1.2.3 Forms application. I completed all installations, configuration of files, registry editing, signing of the jar files, HEBREW SUPPORT configuration :) and upgraded the 10g application. The whole deal took about 1.5 days and only because I ran into a silly bug. (which I tell you how to avoid in this post)

In general the only issues we ran into while compiling and upgrading the Forms were “nit picky”. 10g did not really care if we had a piece of code that was not supported on the web or small inconsistencies in the code . Now forms 11g gets aggressive. Continue reading

Oracle Forms is Alive and Kicking! Oracle Forms Modernization Day

This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of running the Oracle Forms user group conference. It all started when Grant Ronald (Oracle Forms and JDeveloper product manager) and I got to talking at Open World 2011. We were saying how Oracle Forms developers are a huge community but  the forgotten people. Every Oracle conference of recent years has been filled with sessions on ADF, SOA, APEX, BPEL and all other 3 letter curse words (OOPS  I mean buzz words). But for the past few years Forms has dropped off the “session titles” map.

Well we decided then and there to make a conference specifically geared to the Oracle Forms developers community. With the help of Eyal Shani, CTO of Oracle Israel and Ami Aharonovitch, head of the Israel Oracle User Group (our heroes), we set out to prove that the Forms development community is a force to be reckoned with.

And rest assured, there were plenty of nay sayers:  “No one still develops in forms”,  “You won’t get more than 50 people” – Sound familiar? Well, this Tuesday, I got to say those three precious words: “TOLD YOU SO! ” With nearly 200  developers who attended, the event was a rousing success. Continue reading

Oracle RUEI for Oracle Forms 11g R2 : The good, the not so bad, and less ugly than before

I was VERY happy to get feedback from Jurgen de Leijer product management director, responsible for Oracle Real User experience Insight (RUEI) on my post  “Oracle Forms 11g R 2 RUEI – Real User Experience Insight – The Good The Bad and The Ugly”. He was (not surprisingly) less than happy about my bad and ugly sections and gave some great feedback and information on RUEI. It was so great in fact that I decided to write this follow up, mini retraction and request for further clarification.

Jurgen starts by saying that

“RUEI is not a part of Oracle Forms 11R2 but part of the Application Performance Management features of Enterprise Manager.Continue reading

Fixing running Oracle Reports from a menu item in Forms during upgrade

You may find that when you upgrade your forms application from client server. The reports you have that are run from the menu bar have stopped working. This is due to the change from using RUN_PRODUCT to using the RUN_REPORT_OBJECT() built-in.

In order to use the RUN_REPORT_OBJECT() built-in you need to have a report object in the form from which you want to call the report. If you need to add a report object across the board you can checkout some past posts for how to do form manipulations in patch either using JDAPI or Form to XML functionality. Full details of the solution is found in the below document.

 



More code snippets: JDAPI: change Font for all Items, Prompts, Boilerplates, Frames

Its me again with more code samples to help batch upgrade for your application.

If my previous posts of how to convert the system to XML pages to then do manipulations in notepad was not for you. This is a different route to solve the same problems. Here is sample code of a java api that can manipulate forms in batch and change the font for all items.
NOTE:219168.1 – How To Change Fonts For All Items in a Form Module using JDAPI
Metalink is full of these little gems if you know where to look.
Don’t forget to follow us here and via Twitter (right here – top right)
We’ve got many more code snippets & tricks coming up!

Oracle Forms 11g R 2 RUEI – Real User Experience Insight – The Good The Bad and The Ugly

So I have been asked to evaluate a new feature of Oracle Forms 11g R2  called Real User Experience Insight (RUEI) by one of my clients.  Since I didn’t find much to go on I thought I’d share my findings with the Oracle Forms community.

Oracle Real User Experience Insight (RUEI) support is a new feature of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g R2 that supposedly provides non-intrusive Oracle Forms system monitoring. In the newest version of Oracle Forms the Oracle development team have provided new arguments to the forms MESSAGE built-in, and environment to allow application developers to define their own messages to communicate with the RUEI server.

While on the surface this sounded great. What form users have not looked for a monitoring solution in the past 5 years. I set out to investigate what exactly this means for forms users and report my findings in this post called  “The good the bad and the ugly”. Continue reading

ilOUG and Oracle Developers Day Jan 24, 2012 – Don’t Miss It !

I am very excited to invite you all to a incredible event.

As we all know its been a while since Oracle Israel has addressed the Oracle development community. Every year we all look at Oracle Week and other conference and feel left out of the party since no sessions address Oracle Forms developer. I vowed to change this last year when I took over the Israeli User Group forum for Oracle Forms and Reports. And this year Eyal Shani CTO of Oracle Israel and Grant Ronald product manager of Oracle development tools have come together to help me bring power back to the Oracle development community.
Oracle Israel has taken it upon themselves as a mission this year to help all customers upgrade to Oracle Forms 10-11g. And they are already putting money where there promises are. They are sponsoring this one of a kind event at the Herods Hotel in Tel-Aviv on Jan 24, 2012 and brining in the world expert on Oracle Forms to talk to us and share future visions for the Oracle developer community. Continue reading

Pluggable Java Components & Java Beans’ library

Although I know that every forms developer whose ever moved to the web probably knows about this blog
http://forms.pjc.bean.over-blog.com I could not imagine having a blog without a link to this incredible resource.

It is a one stop shop for every and all PJC’s and java beans with great how to documents on how they can be implemented in your forms. I myself go into the blog about every 2 weeks just to checkout the cool new java beans available.