Oracle Forms – Present & Future

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Posted by Hafed Benteftifa | Posted in Forms, oracle | Posted on 14-08-2007

Of the developer tools that Oracle has delivered over the years, Forms is perhaps the most mature tool of all and has been used by thousands of developers all over the world.

However, the current situation faced by many Forms developers is quite problematic. One of the main reasons is that Oracle has adopted JDeveloper as its main tool for the Fusion strategy and one of the consequences is that the development of the Oracle Business suite has been switched from Forms to JDeveloper.


If we look at the tools that we, as developers, can use, we have: Forms, APEX (htmlDB) and JDeveloper. Each has its strength and weaknesses and someexperts have already evaluated these products (See Koletzke-Quovera). Now , if we compare cost and licenses, we see there is a MAJOR problem: Forms still costs quite some money if used for production purposes while APEX and JDeveloper are both free (ADF is not free) for test and production.

As such, if you are a company using Oracle, it won’t make sense to invest in Forms unless you already have a large investment in production applications and you need to make some maintenance work.

The other problemI see is the lack of any recent and decent books on Forms (9i or 10g) and googling any terms related to Forms development bring very few results, most of them of academic nature and 3-5 years old.

Even screenshots of real-world applications are next to impossible to find if we omit Oracle apps.

So what to do ? that’s the question faced by many and one of the suggestions that I can make is to have Oracle change the licensing terms on Forms 10g ( and 11g) and make it the same as APEX and Jdeveloper, in other words make it free for both testing and production.

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Comments (2)

Why don’t oracle make a tool which will look like existing oracle
forms and use same coding language(PL/SQL) but internally oracle can
convert that code into ajax or Java or whatever it calls to
display on the web to avoid running the existing forms in the
applet(Jinitiator).
If it is done, no existing oracle forms developers like me need to learn
many languages like javascript, jsp,asp etc etc.(Im still confused
about this languages and even scared of them)
I guess ,oracle is losing its largest user base … forms
developers by confusing itself and others by introducing lot of
tools and frame works .

You are right. It seems to me that Oracle management does not want to carry on with the Forms framework.
I have been teaching forms and Designer for a while and I can attest to the fact that students become very productive with Forms in a very short time.
No need to learn javascript and those other languages.
Now, I can tell you that it is quite easy to have a framework based on Forms and which will display straight to a web page instead of an applet.
I guess that Oracle does not want to try that (even though I suspect they have done that internally) because they already have bet everything on JDeveloper.
Anyway, don’t be scared for now. Oracle Forms will be around for a long time and with JDapi around, you can even recreate an IDE to do whatever you want.

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