Timers were used quite heavily in C/S environments (Oracle forms 6i). Of the many uses, the one that is the most typical is to create a timer when validating an item and then perform an action when the timer expires.
For example, suppose that we need to sort records in a block according to a given criterion. Whenever a new value or a change occurs in a column (record within the block) we reorder the block. This implies an execute_query built-in. Another one deals with a go_item whenever we validate a given item. In this case, the error related to restricted built-ins will be raised.
By including a timer, we will shift the action from the WHEN-VALIDATE-ITEM to the WHEN-TIMER-EXPIRED.
However, in Oracle forms 10g, the same strategy will raise a whole new issue. Since 10g implies a web environment with a middle-tier hosting the application server, managing timers implies prohibitive server-side management especially with a large user base.
In this case, another solution might be available by using PJC’s/Javabeans. Oracle has already provided a client-side Timer bean. For the time being, I have not tried this bean since it can be set at a minimum to 1 min. I will have to modify the bean code in order to allow much lower interval (in the milliseconds range).