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How to Convert Oracle Forms To Modern Web Applications

31 May, 2020

For over 20 years, Oracle Forms was the way to build applications that interacted with an Oracle database. This led to a large and dedicated customer base. However several years ago, Oracle announced that Forms would no longer be its flagship development tool. The transition from Forms to Java and JDeveloper was not going to be easy, but it would be worth it. For many Oracle customers, this was the beginning of their Forms Modernization Journey.

The Need for Oracle Forms Modernization

The things people seek mostly are the web features as they really ease the access. Additionally, if you consider the mobile boom most of the managers really need mobile access. Another reason is the better UI which the old form technology cannot achieve in a 100%. Likewise, ADF is metadata driven – not code, it promotes service oriented development and is the chosen technology by Oracle for the future business applications. Moreover, considering the big data issue you need a better running forms with morern technology behind (Java EE) which will allow later for a better and fully usable SOA or BI solution if needed.

We have worked with Oracle Forms for almost 18 years now. When you are associated with something for so long, it kind of becomes a part of you. You almost start owning it.You can sense, predict and prophecy its reaction, just like an oracle. You probably even start knowing its pros and cons better than its creators, solely because you work with it day-in and day-out.

So here’s a list of some of the best and worst aspects of Oracle forms that we have encountered so far. Let’s evaluate this.

Pros of using Oracle Forms:

We have segregated the pros from the perspective of a user and a developer.

As a user:

  • Ability to use the keyboard heads-down
  • Superior overall performance for data entry & navigation
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Down & Up arrows facilitating multi-record navigation

As a developer:

  • PL/SQL as the programming language
  • Complete control on the UI layout & user navigation
  • Triggers at every level; item, record, block, form.

Drawback of using Oracle Forms:

Here’s a wishlist of possible changes in Oracle forms

  • Crashing due to connectivity issues (You could try this, just toggle your wifi and see it in action) and you loose all the unsaved data and have to start over again from login screen.
  • Heavy weight… slow initial loading…
  • Requires Java on the client devices i.e. no iPads or iPhones.
  • Browser-unfriendly
  • Allows no bookmarks
  • Outdated GUI. Not as contemporary as HTML5, CSS3.
  • Connectivity issues with networks of lower bandwidth e.g. DSL.
  • Finding resources with good D2K skill set is not so easy.

We am certain some of you reading this may question, why not simply migrate from this ancient (20 years ought to be categorised as ancient in the technology lexicon) old form application to a more modern and open web application. Well, there indeed are some tools that claim to convert Oracle Forms to ADF or APEX or even HTML5/Javascript based frameworks in just a click. But they probably do so more in dreams than in actual! Sceptical? Try converting Oracle EBS Order Entry Screen with those tools and you will agree. It ain’t easy. First of all, the very thought of converting Oracle Forms to something else as-is is wrong..The entire task is an expensive time-consuming futile effort. It probably is as good as using your black and white camera for capturing videos without even upgrading it! Most of the transactional forms are heavy and designed with 20 year old technology. So it is better to leave them alone for as long as they work. In cases you absolutely want to redo the Oracle forms, it is advisable to plan a  proper migration (no short-cuts) to leverage the latest and greatest technology, that can probably be maintained for another 20 years.

However when you have worked on something for almost two decades you really can’t let it go nor can you risk your business by continuing with it. So we found better way.

How CloudIO Helps Transform Oracle Forms to Smart Web Applications

They say, “Be the change you want to see”, so we at CloudIO built one!  We built the change we wanted to see and developed an application platform that would eliminate the woes of migrating Oracle Forms. CloudIO equips your developers with the power to build ultra modern web applications in one fifth of the time it takes to build on traditional frameworks. Here’s how…

  • Ability to use the keyboard heads down.
  • Superior overall performance for data entry & navigation
  • Allows Keyboard shortcuts
  • Equipped with Down & Up arrows facilitating multi-record navigation
  • Uses PL/SQL or Java as the programming language
  • Allows complete control on the UI elements & user navigation
  • Generates Triggers at every level; item, record, block, form
  • Stateless, avoiding any connectivity-issues
  • Lightweight  lightning performance
  • Ability to work on non-Java client devices – yes you can use iPads or iPhones
  • Browser friendly – works on all modern browsers
  • Ability to Bookmark any page with the data.
  • Allows you to share the URL with your colleagues and they can get right into the same page and view the same data as long as they have access to both the data & the page.
  • Modern looking interface with all HTML5 & CSS3 goodies
  • Bandwidth friendly, works well even with DSL or lower bandwidth connections

To know more about how CloudIO;s digital accelerators can help your operations, connect with us us at sales@cloudio.io or visit us at https://cloudio.io

Update: In response to Vipul’s comment on LinkedIn

(The above chart was plotted using the data taken from FND_FORM table in R12.2.4 Vision instance)

The below video is created in response to a comment on the linkedin post


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