Oracle Forms 12 features, future and support

Oracle Forms 12 and beyond

Many clients have been dealing with the anxiety about the future of the Oracle Forms application. What has been working for them reliably for years has an unclear future.

For years we are hearing from the clients that Oracle Forms is going away.  They have heard it from someone who, who doesn’t remember when and where they have heard that from! This is typically associated with a panic on the part of the technical managers and development teams.  They aren’t sure what to do short of the beloved rip-and-replace of their core and reliable Oracle Forms applications – almost always a custom build application that the business heavily relies on.

It is clear that if your team and organization were in the position to find a replacement or more importantly if you could spare the resources to do away without Forms you would have done it by now.  Afterall, it has been long over a decade that these rumours been circling around.  The issue is you are thinking why to fix it if it isn’t broken? The issue isn’t that Forms isn’t working, the problem is that you haven’t, or don’t think it is wise to build on top of what is considered a technology in decline.

Oracle Forms features, future and support from Oracle Support

To cut through the anxiety and get to the answer that we have shared with many of our clients it is best to directly quote from the Statement of Direction from Oracle.  This is a direct excerpt from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2009262.1 for the complete version of this document please visit http://support.oracle.com.


The Current Version of Oracle Forms

Oracle Forms 12c was originally released in October 2015 along with many other components in the Oracle Fusion Middleware 12c stack.  In addition to the many new features delivered as part of the FMW 12c stack, Oracle Forms specifically includes many new features and enhancements.  The new features and enhancements included in Oracle Forms 12c offer the ability to not only freshen up the appearance of aging applications, but also greatly improve performance, and make administration easier. The new browser-less client configuration options offer a way to no longer worry about compatibility with constantly changing browser versions and their underlying technologies.  

New features in 12c include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Integration with BI-Publisher
    • Forms Application Deployment Services
    • Browser-less client configuration options
    • Java Script integration for Java Web Start and Forms Standalone Launcher configurations
    • Improved image support
    • Form Builder productivity improvements
    • Form Builder module auto-backup
    • New applet parameters for easily customizing runtime behavior
    • New and enhanced object properties
    • Customizable runtime Color Schemes
    • Audio playback
    • New and enhanced security features
    • New and enhanced JVM Controller features to improve performance and diagnosability
    • Performance improvements for record/data handling
    • System Events
    • Improved SSO integration
    • Improved diagnostic features
    • New installation options
    • Support for new Java versions
    • Support for new operating systems

Refer to the Oracle Forms 12c Deployment Guide for more information about new features and enhancements in this release.

Refer to the Lifetime Support Policy for more details.

Recommendations

Because upgrading to the latest version from the immediate previous release is much easier than moving from very old to very new, upgrading on a regular basis is strongly recommended.

Users of Oracle Forms versions older than the current release should immediately begin working on a plan to upgrade to the latest as soon as possible.  Upgrading to the latest version will help to ensure that your system has the latest security, stability, and performance updates available.  Upgrading will also expose access to the very latest new features of the current version and all previous versions.  Moving to the latest version also offers the use of newer operating systems and newer Oracle product versions.

Users of very old versions like 6.0.8 (6i) and older may find it necessary to first upgrade to version 10.1.2 (10gR2) before moving to version 11 or newer.  Refer to the Oracle Forms Upgrade Guide for more information about moving from Forms 6 or older.  Customers upgrading from version 11.1.x to 12.2.1.x simply need to install the new software and use the v12.2.1.x Form Compiler (or Builder) to regenerate all application modules associated with the application to complete the upgrade process.

Once on the latest version, it is further recommended that application developers take advantage of new features and technologies that can help enhance and modernize outdated applications.  Remember that Oracle Forms offers many unique features not found in most html-based web applications.  By upgrading and modernizing your existing Oracle Forms investment, end-user can work more efficiently and productively.  More importantly, by retaining and modernizing and improving your existing applications, the high cost of a complete application rewrite using other technologies can be avoided.

Organizations needing mobile solutions or assistance upgrading or modernizing, should not abandon their Oracle Forms investment.  Instead, these organizations should consider the offerings of Oracle Partners who specialize in working with Oracle Forms.  Oracle Partners can provide products and services an organization may need to upgrade, modernize, and mobilize at a much lower cost than starting from scratch with an alternative technology.  In some cases, using an alternative technology may not be avoidable, but in many cases an application face-lift is all that is needed.

For organizations wanting to take advantage of Oracle Cloud, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) should be considered for your Oracle Forms environment. To accommodate your application’s database needs, consider Database as a Service(DBaaS).

Oracle Forms Roadmap Ahead

Oracle continues its commitment to Oracle Forms.   New releases are being planned and new features and other improvements are currently being reviewed.  New releases are planned to include some of the following, as well as many others:

    • Design-time productivity improvements
    • Performance improvements
    • Client configuration improvements
    • New and enhanced object properties
    • New runtime UI features
    • New and improved integration with various products and technologies
    • Easy Forms instance provisioning in Oracle Cloud
    • Integration with Developer Cloud Service
    • Support for new Java versions
    • Support for new operating systems
    • And many more…

With Cloud Computing being such an important part of today’s IT landscape, Oracle is investigating what possibilities the Cloud may offer for the Oracle Forms product and its customers.  Using Oracle Forms in the Oracle Public Cloud could offer significant cost savings simply by reducing the typical cost of hardware upgrades and maintenance.  For Independent Software Vendors (ISV), and other software providers, the use of the Oracle Public Cloud could make the delivery and accessibility of Oracle Forms based applications much easier and cost effective.

Also, a significant part of modern computing is mobile technologies.  Working closely with Oracle Partners, Oracle will continue to investigate possible mobile solutions and how they may apply to an Oracle Forms customer.


Conclusion

What you need to do about your Oracle Forms, is really a question of business modernization and not just application modernization.

To address your immediate concern and to put your mind at ease for now, you need to know that the platform and the support is not going away anytime soon.  Here is another excerpt from the Lifetime Support Policy document referred to in the quote above. It is important to note that this product and support for it, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Oracle Forms Support Policy

Need more help with your Oracle Forms and strategic planning for your application?

For more information and to see how eSolution Professional Services could help you and bring your team up to speed with WebLogic please contact us.  Be sure to ask about eSolution Fusion Middleware Managed Services and see how we could help you free up your internal resources and help you focus on your core business.

5 Comments on “Oracle Forms 12 features, future and support

  1. One year has pased from the last version of Oracle Forms (12c.3). So much time !!. Oracle tells nothing about when and what enhancements will introduce in the next version. It is important to know this because we need to decide if to wait or develop in java some modernization enhancements.I think Oracle should inform much more about when and which improves will introduce in future releases.

  2. Hi,

    Do you know what support Oracle will provide for Forms and Reports with Oracle 18c?

    Thanks

    Cormac

  3. Cormac,
    As of now, (Nov 2018) Oracle Forms/Reports 12c are NOT certified to use with Oracle DB 18c.
    Thank you for your comment.

  4. Francisco,
    We will reach out to our Oracle contacts and will update this thread if we get any input. Thank you for raising this question. The path we have taken with few clients is to keep/update, and enhancing existing forms using the framework available in Forms, but for new functionalities, new screens and interfaces we are using APEX. Some are developing new functionalities in ADF. As stated for most clients it is hard to come up with the budget and resources to redevelop the parts of the application that are developed years ago, still working well and supported by Oracle. We will have on update on your question. Check back here on an update in a few days.
    Thank you.

  5. Team,

    There is also a thread going on about Java webstart deprecation from Java 8 and above, how do we overcome that if we have enabled Java webstart for the customers.

    Java stand alone launcher is an option but how to overcome the java webstart deprecation.

    Secondly, How do we work with ORACLE forms if the JRE continues to get updates and goes ahead of 1.8 and reaching 1.9 and so on, because as per ORACLE support JRE 1.9 is not supported for Oracle Forms 12c latest version too.

    Expecting some help on these questions.

    Thanks

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