Oracle OpenWorld this year was full of interesting sessions and lots of lessons to learn from.
The major trends were not new but Oracle really seemed to be solidifying their offerings in the areas of Cloud, Mobile, and Social. I was especially pleased to hear about the new offering of the Oracle Mobile Cloud Service. The Oracle Mobile Cloud is a service that enables developers and IT to create and manage mobile friendly APIs. This will make it very easy for mobile developers to integrate their applications with enterprise data and services. I was happy to hear that this really fits with AuraPlayer’s vision of having Oracle Forms as a back-end API for Mobile user interfaces. With this infrastructure developers will be able to create and manage many webservices each representing different technologies and connect their mobile apps to any or many of these API’s. I think this will really simplify and launch Oracle mobile development in the coming years.
But the most impressive/surprising thing that happened at OOW was actually how many Oracle Forms developers/ managers attended my session with Michael and Grant (Oracle Forms PM) “The Future of Oracle Forms Applications and Developers“. You can download our presentation here. Around 250 people preregistered for the session and eventhough the session was stuck at 7:15 pm on a Monday night we had well over 100 people in attendance. Thanks to all of you who came to learn and show support. Hopefully Oracle and the various user groups will take notice of the interest in Forms sessions and include additional Oracle Forms sessions in future events. You can see our amazing Oracle Forms on an iPad demo here.
Speaking of the future of Forms, it was interesting to hear in 2 separate sessions, customer stories of companies that had abandoned their original Forms systems and migrated to ADF or Java. In both cases the migration took an enormous number of man-hours and a HUGE price tag to match and to be honest it seemed the customers weren’t thrilled with the results.
In the first session, “Protect Your PL/SQL Know-How While Migrating an Oracle Forms Application to Java“ on Sunday morning, Stefan Kinnen the Senior Vice President of T&P Triestram shared his experiences with a Forms migration to Java. He discussed his upgrade process which was very ambitious, converting 154 Forms, 250 Reports and 400 DB packages to Java. In terms of budgeting, his calculation was that to migrate the 154 Forms it had taken 6 developers about 3 years to complete. It also seemed that by the time the process was completed the technologies they had chosen to update to were already out of date themselves and now they are rethinking the technology choices. You can see his full presentation here.
In the second session, “Oracle ADF and Oracle ADF Mobile: Lessons Learned in Real-World Implementations” on Wednesday morning Frederik Ronn, Director and Technical Architecture of TIA Technology, shared some interesting statistics on TIA’s migration from Oracle Forms to ADF. It took a team of 2 architects, 5 inexperienced developers, 10 external resources from Latvia and 2 experts from Holland a total 40,000 man-hours to migrate 300 forms; that translates to a whopping 130 man-hours PER FORM. You do the math for the price tag :)
These statistics were fascinating to me because it further proves what I have been saying for years. To migrate your Forms applications will costs incredible sums both in terms of time and dollars so unless you have a REAL business need I see no reason to do it. Those of you who attended my session heard the Oracle Forms PM declare several times that Oracle Forms is not going anywhere, so why fix what aint broke. Especially if it will cost you 130 Hours per form! This also furthers what I tried to do in creating AuraPlayer where we provide an easy and efficient way to modernize Forms to webservices / Cloud or Mobile without the cost and risk of redevelopment or migration. My advice has always been and will be to stick with your current Oracle Forms system BUT upgrade to the latest releases, modernize the look and feel, and launch it into mobile and cloud environments. Then wait patiently till the next generation tools solidify since developing an entire new system is outrageously expensive and time consuming.
The greatest lesson I learned from Oracle OpenWorld 2013? Modernize, don’t migrate!