Interview with PITSS Consulting Manager Patrick Walther about the new release of Oracle Forms 12c and his recommendations
Oracle launched the latest release of Oracle Forms 12c shortly before last yearâs Oracle OpenWorld. The Oracle Community welcomed Oracle Forms 12c. This new release shows Oracleâs commitment to the future of Forms, enabling customers to continue with Forms whilst at the same time they may integrate and coexist with newer technologies. We talk to the Oracle Forms modernization expert Patrick Walther, Consulting Manager from PITSS about the new release of Oracle Forms 12c.
PITSS.News: Oracle Forms Principal Product Manager Michael Ferrante announced on Friday, October 23rd, 2015 before Oracle OpenWorld 2015 in San Francisco, that Oracle Forms 12c has been launched. How did you learn of the release? Did this come as surprise for you?
Patrick Walther: We immediately received the information via a tweet from Michael Ferrante. We made an educated guess that the new Forms 12c would be released at Oracle OpenWorld. Oracle published the release a few days earlier. That was the small surprise. The rush for the Forms 12c presentation of Michael Ferrante, held at Oracle OpenWorld was correspondingly large. Forms are still very widespread. If a new release is published, the interest is huge.
PITSS.News: What is your first impression of Oracle Forms 12c?
Patrick Walther: Forms 12c offers some valuable improvements versus the previous version 11g. There were no problems during the installation. Our intensive tests run well thus far. Our first impression is that the performance of 12c is better than the performance of 11g.
“Valuable innovations, better performance”
PITSS.News: What are the top features of the new Oracle Forms 12c release and how does it perform?
Patrick Walther: A major added value is the support of Java Web Start. The client configuration in Forms 12c provides a supported alternative for new browsers which do not support the Forms plug-in. Forms 12c is browser independent. Customers who want to bring their Forms into a single sign-on environment will be delighted. By using the Oracle Platform Security Services (OPSS), the deployment of OID is no longer necessary, this saves an extensive installation and administration. Also, existing LDAP server can be integrated directly. Another highlight is the integration of Oracle BI Publisher. It is the reporting tool of the future that will supersede Oracle Reports. Under Forms 11g the BI Publisher could only be integrated programmatically via the JAVA Wrapper â with Forms 12c the BI Publisher is now declaratively called. Usability of Forms 12c is improved with the use of Customizable Color Schemes, by which the Forms User are no longer restricted to seven predefined colors. A further simplification enhances the WebUtil Library without OLE support, for customer projects without a MS Office connection, Jacob libraries and further third-party products are no longer necessary under Forms 12c. I should also mention the introduction of the new system events like Client Idle, DB Idle, Single Sign-on/-off and notification. Forms 12c now has far greater support for security, exit strategy, availability and notifications.
PITSS.News: Your tool PITSS.CON is known worldwide for the migration of obsolete Oracle Forms versions to the current Forms version. Is PITSS.CON ready for the migration to Oracle Forms 12c?
Patrick Walther: Yes. We immediately installed Forms 12c, we tested it and migrated PITSS.CON to Forms 12c. The test phase will be completed shortly.
PITSS.News: What about Oracle Forms 11g or older versions? What risk do you see, if older versions are used at the customer?
Patrick Walther: Forms Applications, where the support has run out or has limited life, are a risk. Browser-based applications, for example, are no longer executable on new browsers because the needed plug-in is no longer supported. What is the security rick of running old browsers? No IT manager wants to be responsible for business critical applications running on an unsupported stack. Moreover, the new Forms 12c offers some valuable security features like Single Sign-on/-off and as already mentioned, better performance. Modernization is essential in IT. Now it only depends on which way you go and which options are suitable.
“IT departments with unsupported Forms versions should act quickly”
PITSS.News: Is an upgrade to Oracle Forms 12c immediately necessary?
Patrick Walther: IT departments running de-supported Forms versions, should act quickly. The premier support of Forms 11g ends 2016 â there is still some time left to face a forms 12c upgrade in a planned and organised manner. Users should ask themselves whether they are satisfied with their applications, whether they fulfill the business requirements. Depending on the situation a rapid upgrade or migration is advisable.
PITSS.News: What method would you recommend for the Forms 12c Upgrade?
Patrick Walther: Customer situations are individually so different. We start with our established Forms Upgrade Analysis as a general rule. In the course of this, we analyze the complete Forms Application with our tool PITSS.CON, examining it to understand the smallest detail. In so doing, we can clearly illustrate, document and evaluate many yearsâ development of overlapping and complex applications. On this basis, we develop with our customers their individual upgrade strategy. Those who already know that they will upgrade to Forms 12c can start with our workshop 1step2cloud. Furthermore, we also offer Forms 12c trainings.
PITSS.News: How expensive is an upgrade to Oracle Forms 12c and how long does it take?
Patrick Walther: That depends on the size of the project â the number of Forms, the development history, the current version level and the complexity of the application. From our experience, smaller and average upgrade projects start at 10 days â bigger projects take longer. As a result, we recommend starting with an analysis to exactly estimate the project volume and to keep the costs as low as possible.
“A tool-based modernization process provides a fast, convenient and accurate result”
PITSS.News: What benefits does the use of a tool within an upgrade project like to Forms 12c have?
Patrick Walther: We know from our numerous projects that the analysis phase at the beginning of a project, the procedure model and the project support determine project success. Only a tool supported analysis can immediately perform an accurate estimation. A tool supported modernization process, during an upgrade, ensures a fast and bug free result. Manual upgrade projects cannot compare. Frequently, we are consulted to advise on projects that donât show the desired progress over months, sometimes years. When our tool is used, our customers are delighted with the rapid progress and regret that they did not use PITSS.CON sooner. Upgrade projects achieve an enormous acceleration in progress and as a result, a higher acceptance to using the tool. The new Forms 12c features are already analyzed in PITSS.CON e.g. the conversion from Reports to BI Publisher.
PITSS.News: When do you start the first Oracle Forms 12c Upgrade project?
Patrick Walther: Our own tool PITSS.CON has successfully migrated to Forms 12c. We are ready! The first requests for Forms 12c upgrades have already arrived.
PITSS.News: Is a migration to Oracle Forms 12c enough if you wish to be technologically innovative? Are ADF or APEX not superior to the new Oracle Forms Release 12c?
Patrick Walther: This depends again on which requirements the customer has. If the latest web functionalities are required or necessary like J-Slider, Drag-and-Drop, picture slider, HTML5, Mobile then a partial migration to ADF or APEX is recommended. For data entry and data output Forms can indeed be superior. Those who need a modern web application will probably focus on newer technologies that come with enhanced features and effects. Nevertheless, it can be shown that Forms can be very innovative using Java Integration. However, this very much depends on the application.
“The coexistence of ADF and Forms will prevail more and more”
PITSS.News: How do you evaluate the future of Oracle Forms and Forms 12c and how do you plan to accommodate them?
Patrick Walther: In the future Forms will remain significant in the Oracle Applications development environment. The reliable Forms technology is and remains in worldwide use. Within the next three to four years you can expect Forms 13. We will support every future Forms version. The coexistence of ADF and Forms will expand, in which the developer can benefit from both technologies, in particular, develop innovative elements with ADF and at the same time leave a master data management, in Forms. Therefore, we pursue a coexistence strategy for Forms 12c. The coexistence of the technologies finds an increasing approval at many customers and for us it is seen as a key strategy. Companies will continue to update their applications to take advantage of newer technologies whilst controlling the risks involved.
To hear more about our upgrade to Oracle Forms 12c register for our Webinar on 20th January 2016 https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9210593883851085058