Support for PDF and HTML output within FRITE


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Forms, oracle, PJCs/Javabeans | Posted on 19-02-2009

Frite is designed as an HTML editor for Oracle Forms and as such the content in the forms module when sent to report should also be available for output. The formats I had in mind are PDF and  HTML.

Those beta-testing Frite did not encounter problems with reports in HTML format. For example, links are clickable and all HTML content is rendered properly.

However, as far as PDF format is concerned, there are problems which I already illustrated in the developer’s guide. Those are due to limitation with Oracle reports. If you remember how reports processes items containing HTML content, you have to set the item property “HTML content” in the report itself. But this is not sufficient because reports does not take into account all of the HTML tags. Only a limited subset is rendered properly, for example bold, italic and underline.

So, how do you go about taking care of the other HTML tags?  Well, what I included in the example report is the procedure cleanHTML , it is one small example of how you would go about handling the HTML in the item.

if your format is PDF, then you would parse accordingly and then do the tags rendering conversion on the fly.

For the time being, that’s how I think I would do it but once Frite is made available to others, I will ask the community for ideas.

But definitely, I think we have a point there.

CONFÉRENCES OPEN ORA*GEC 2009-Montreal, Canada


Posted by Hafed | Posted in oracle | Posted on 18-02-2009

I will be at the Open ORA*GEC 2009 which will be held in Montreal, Canada on February 19, 2009. There are a number of interesting sessions as far as my interests are concerned:

  • Solution Oracle Business Intelligence Entreprise Edition  11:30-12:15
  • Oracle Development tools (Apex, JDev, WebCenter) 11:30-12:15
  • Oracle Application Server Roadmap 13:30-14:30
  • Oracle and the Web 2.0 14:30-15:30
  • Identity management 15:30-16:30

What is interesting to notice is that Oracle Forms is not mentionned in the program above. However, if you read the full description in the other pages, we have:

Cette session traitera des toutes dernières versions d’Oracle Apex, Oracle Forms,
Jdeveloper/ADF et SQL Developer.
Produits couverts: Apex, JDev, WebCenter

A rough translation: This session will cover the latest versions of Oracle Apex, Oracle Forms, Jdeveloper/ADF and SQl Developer. Products covered here: Apex, JDev, WebCenter.

Seems to me some people are ashamed to say that Oracle Forms is still around and like the child we don’t want others to see, we relegate him to the back room and it is only when people are in the house that they will get to see him.

Anyway, an interesting day tomorrow and I hope to see the new stuff from Oracle.

Here is the link to the announcement from ORAGEC.

Oracle Forms to Oracle APEX conversion update


Posted by Hafed | Posted in apex(htmldb), oracle | Posted on 12-02-2009

David Peake, product manager for Oracle application express, has posted an announcement related to the availability of APEX 3.2.

Forms Conversion  is one of the features that is available in this release.

The free hosted “development” environment on , which is open to all developers, has been updated to APEX 3.2. That should give us an easy way to try out APEX.

I have a couple of hard to convert forms module full of triggers, program units and database calls that I will be running through the converter once I get a free moment. I am too busy now with the release of Frite.

PJC/Javabeans competition


Posted by Hafed | Posted in oracle, PJCs/Javabeans | Posted on 11-02-2009

For those that are interested, Francois Degrelle is celebrating the three years anniversary of the PJC/Javabeans depot. Here is a link to the announcement.

There are already a number of submissions and it seems the winner will be hard to determine :) given the innovative ways those beans use Oracle Forms.

Oracle Forms and Javascript, how to marry them ?


Posted by Hafed | Posted in oracle | Posted on 11-02-2009

For quite some time, I was trying to figure out a way to get Javascript to work within Oracle Forms.  As usual, I use the common denominator as far as the runtime is concerned and that is JInitiator.

While that seems to be near impossible, I guess that with JAVA everything should be possible. So, after a quick search for an easy bridge, I came across the Mozilla Rhino project available here.

Here is an excerpt from the Mozilla website: “Rhino is an open-source implementation of JavaScript written entirely in Java. It is typically embedded into Java applications to provide scripting to end users.”

That says it all.  I think I need to try out Rhino and see what it can do for Oracle Forms.

Google Static Map javabean with Forms 10g: new improvements


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Forms, oracle, PJCs/Javabeans | Posted on 11-02-2009

A number of users asked whether the bean can be improved in order to have the same feature as the full fledge google map.

The answer is Yes. I already tried the zoom and pan controls to the Google static map. However, my time now is being spent on completing the HTML rich text editor and I really can’t deliver the Google map bean without extensive testing.

This is the planned schedule for the coming days (note to myself :) of course):

  • Complete and release the HTML rich text editor. This one is in the hands of the beta-testers. It should be available very soon.
  • Translate the SMS article to English.
  • Test and release the Google static map with zoom and pan controls.

Forms HTML Editor- Update


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Forms, oracle, PJCs/Javabeans | Posted on 04-02-2009

I have completed the development and testing phases for the Oracle Forms HTML editor. Most of the features I mentioned before are now in the editor.

Based on some suggestions, the editor is now officially named FRITE  (pronounced like Freet).

Before I release it in the wild, I am looking for 5 or 10 beta-testers . You will get the JAR file, developer’s guide and user’s guide. You will receive the material Friday Feb 06, 09 and should send back your feedback by Monday Feb 09, 09 midnight EST.  I understand that most do not work week-ends but at least you’ll have monday to get FRITE through its paces.

Please send an email to info [at] with your name and email address.


Update: Friday Feb 6,09. Beta-testing will start on Monday Feb 9,09.

First glimpse at the Oracle Forms HTML Rich Text Editor


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Forms, oracle, PJCs/Javabeans | Posted on 23-01-2009

Glad to be reporting that I am almost done with the Oracle Forms rich text editor. Some issues with outputting the rich text item thru reports and deciding how to save the contents. For the time being, I checked query and insert modes and the set_custom_property and get_item_property are working fine without any loss.

I am using a text item to store the contents and that’s the column that is physically tied to the table. I think that’s the best way to manage the rich text item. I checked Degrelle’s HTMLPane and that’s how it is being managed.

The JAR file stands now at 170 Kb which is not that big given that I have about 30 Kb for png images (used in the toolbar). However, I am doing now a refactoring and trying to slim the jar down to about 100 Kb. I am not too worried about the size since the file itself is cached the first time the user accesses the module.

The features that already passed testing:

Basic toolbar: in this mode, the user can opt to use only the top bar.

  • Basic text styling: bold, italic and underline
  • unordered and ordered lists
  • Text alignment
  • Indent and outdent

Advanced toolbar: more features with most having passed the test

  • Cut, copy and paste
  • Text Search and replace
  • Horizontal rule (HR), break (BR)
  • Special Characters insertion
  • Adding and removing a hyperlink
  • Adding an image (working but some issues)
  • Inserting Table, rows and cells
  • Font selection, size and color. Foreground property
  • Text highlighting color property
  • HTML source code editing (working but some issues)
  • HTML preview mode

Because of the limited screen real estate available for the rich text item, there are other features that can’t be accessed thru the toolbar buttons. I am using accelerator keys to let the user action them. Some of those are:

  • Undo
  • Redo
  • Deleting table rows
  • Deleting table cells

As I mentionned, adding images is a snap. However, I am still pondering about whether to let the user insert an image from a URL or from a drive. The only option I see working for the general case is allowing an image to be referenced fom a URL.

The editor uses a default cascading style sheet. However, there is going to be a way for the developer to assign a company mandated stylesheet.

Likewise, there are a number of properties that can be set from Forms.

That’s the status right now and I think the editor should be out by the end of January 2009.

Last, I am still undecided about the name. May be frmEd. I welcome your suggestions.

Rich text editor or HTML editor for Oracle Forms: Decision time !


Posted by Hafed | Posted in Forms, oracle, PJCs/Javabeans | Posted on 16-01-2009

A project that I started in September 2008 was motivated by the lack of rich text editors in Forms applications. Francois Degrelle has already provided an HTML editable bean that can provide adequate styling.

However, there are situations where features, comparable to those found on such editors as TinyMCE, are needed.

Based on this requirement, I started the project and quickly put together a bean that allowed several styling beyond Bold, Italic and left justified, etc.

However, one question remained and that one is related to the exact type of editor: should it be a rich text or HTML editor ?

While the difference might not be obvious, it is clear there are differences between the two. The main one being the font support. Remember that a Forms application is supposed to run on any supported platform and as such, and I believe that’s the case for most implementations, application servers are most of the time deployed on UNIX/LINUX boxes in addition to Windows servers.

With that in mind, I opted for an HTML editor with one strong requirement: support for printing through Oracle reports. The reason has to do with the way the editor will be used.

In most cases, it is not going to be used for blogs or whatever but simply to provide rich text editing for ITEMS in a Forms application and here we are talking about business (back-end) applications that ultimately output data to printers or pdf documents.

A Dashboard styled Oracle Forms bean


Posted by Hafed | Posted in oracle, PJCs/Javabeans | Posted on 16-01-2009

Here is another dashboard styled bean that can be used in BI screens. While it can be used for this specific purpose, it can be used in other areas as well.

Dashboard style bean

The screenshot above shows the bean with the value that is set from the Forms canvas. This can also be fetched from a table and triggered by the Timer bean for example.

The current value displayed by the bean can be retrieved using the Forms custom item built-in.

A number of properties have been included with this bean in order to allow specific customization to be carried out by developers. Future versions will include other properties that will enhance the graphic aesthetics.

Download bean, FMB, technical note and source code