Support for PDF and HTML output within FRITE

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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.

J-2 before the new Oracle forms 10g application move to Production

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Posted by Hafed | Posted in oracle | Posted on 27-11-2008

Everything is now in place for the move to production. This is scheduled for this coming Saturday Nov 29, 2008.  There were several hurdles along the way and adjusting the printing functionality we had in the C/S version to the new 10g web version were not that easy.

In fact, I had some sleepless nights the last two weeks. I can say that I mastered the way reports server works on UNIX (AIX).

I wrote the following paper which explains what you need to do in order to implement some printing requirements such as duplex printing, tray selection etc.

I used a scenario that might be of interest to a number of implementers. Please note that the solutions I outlined work at the present time and are specific to the platform we use, namely report server on AIX. You might have to make some adjustments if you are on a different UNIX platform.

If you do use this info, please leave a comment or suggestions so that I can improve the document for others to use.

Download: UNIX printing reports server

Solving the Oracle Reports 10g fonts problem

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Posted by Hafed | Posted in Forms, oracle | Posted on 16-10-2008

Finally, we were able to solve the Arial Italic and Bold problems. Using  Metalink Note 261879.1, it was relatively straightforward to add the font.

The steps to follow are:

1) Transfer the Arial fonts (ttf version) from Windows to UNIX. Make note of this directory.

2) Use the open source program ttf2afm to generate Adobe Font Metrics (AFM) files for TrueType (TTF) fonts.

3) Modify reports_path to add the fonts directory.

4) Make sure the AFM file for the italic version does not have the (-) sign for the slant angle.

5) Update the ALI file to add the Arial font in [PDF] section. Check the version of the ALI file mentionned in the Metalink Note 261879.1

6) Restart the reports server.

These steps can be used for any font that you want to add to your reports server setup.

UNIX Fonts and Oracle Report server: a never ending nightmare

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Posted by Hafed | Posted in Forms, oracle | Posted on 09-10-2008

One of the more frustating experience you can have when migrating to Oracle Forms 10g is the fonts problem.
In Oracle Forms 6i, users are generally standardized on Windows and in this way, they have access to the usual fonts such as Arial, Times Roman, Courrier and Courrier New. When printing reports, either direct or through a PDF, the same fonts are used as is and the output is a true copy of the rdf.

However, on 10g and if the server is UNIX-based, then a whole number of issues will arise. The first one is due to the fact that the usual Windows fonts are no longer available on UNIX. Second, the fonts on UNIX are quite limited and in this case  fonts  such as Arial are outputted as Helvetica (in reports server terminology, this is refered to as subsetting, embedding etc.).

Now, if you really want to have the same fonts you have in your RDF, then you need to install those fonts on UNIX.  This is where it becomes quite nightmarish. In our case, we were able to get either Arial bold or Arial Italic but not both at the same time, at least for the time being.

To solve this font problem, We are  following these Metalink notes:
NOTE:261879.1 Configuration Script to add Common Windows Fonts to Unix 9i, 10g R1 and 10g R2 Reports Server
NOTE:272063.1 Using Reports PDF Subsetting, Font Size and Styles Bold, Italic, Bold-Italic Are Ignored
NOTE:419045.1 Italics are Reversed and No Bolding of Arial Font on Sun 64-bit