Oracle Forms to Oracle APEX migration


Posted by Hafed | Posted in oracle | Posted on 11-08-2008

Last week, one of our senior DBAs made a comment  regarding our current migration. Essentially, he was referring to Oracle APEX (formerly HTML-DB) and whether we looked at Forms to APEX conversion.

Management decided a while ago that we will be migrating to Oracle Forms 10g given that the in-house expertise is mostly Oracle Forms.

I also did not think that APEX is a viable option for several reasons. One of them is the frustation I felt about two years ago when I ran some experiments on the 2.X version of APEX. At that time, some basic functionnalities already available in Forms (such as POST-QUERY) were lacking in APEX. One had to resort to Javascript-AJAX in order to get similar results.

However, this week end I ran some queries on google to  get some links to current work on Oracle Forms to Oracle APEX migrations.

The most interesting ones are from the blog by David Peake, product manager for Oracle APEX. They can be found  here and here .

So, it seems that the APEX team is finalizing a migration tool for those wishing to move from Forms to APEX.

From where I am sitting, I see some very conflicting options.

First, APEX is free and comes standard with the Oracle DB.  Oracle Forms is NOT free and as a matter of fact is quite expensive.  So, what is Oracle doing here ?

Is it encouraging its customers to move from a paid product to a free one ? Is it planning to kill Forms. Obviously, that is not an option since the SOD on OTN clearly states that Forms is going to be maintained for the foreseable future. There is even a Forms 11g version coming out very soon.

Second, APEX and Forms are two very different products. While APEX lives in the DB and requires Javascript and AJAX to provide the same functionnalities (I might be wrong here since I did not go thru the complete set of the current features), Forms on the other hand is quite a mature product and with the upcoming 11g version, will provide some additional needed functionalities (PROXY user and javascript support). But, the main drawback that might be working against APEX in the enterprise is its lack of version control (the last time I checked it was still missing).

Nonetheless, I will be testing the current version of APEX. My interest here being to get something similar to MouliForms for APEX. However, I will be using the JDAPI instead of the Forms XML converter as the main tool to get the objects from Forms to the ones in APEX.

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Comments (5)

Hafed, nice blog. I think a small dose of reality is required when considering Forms to Apex migration. Its is not really a migration. What it is doing is capturing some of the metadata in an FMB and converting it to Apex metadata. It is doing nothing with the code or the triggers – which is what makes up the bulk of a Forms application.
You are also right in that they are very different products and what makes a “good” Forms application doesnt necessarily make a good Apex application (and visa versa).


Hello. One can see lot of adoring articles about APEX, this one seems more realistic. I couldn’t find anywhere information what is weakness of APEX. It does not seem to be that robust and offering, in terms of fucntioanlity, as FORMS?

@Ludek: yes, there is a lot of hype in the programming world and you have to be very careful before commiting yourself to a platform. From where I stand, I believe APEX has a good potential in departmental applications, for example DBAs needing to output some stats will quickly put together screens with APEX.
Forms is a good product for business programming and what I see its biggest advantage is that it lets you concentrate on the esential, which is getting your data in and out of the database, without worrying about the plumbing.

I put this list together to consider if you are looking at Forms to Apex migration (or infact, any other migration)

@Grant: Excellent. Also, there is a nice discussion thread there.

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