The Future of Forms is ..... Forms (and some friends) (UKOUG, 2011 - with Grant Ronald)

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Many organizations run enterprise Oracle Forms applications created in the 90s. They now wonder about the future of their application. This session tells how modernization of the application landscape could take place, using a mix of the latest version of Forms and other technologies like SOA, ADF and perhaps APEX. Forms 11g integration and extension points are discussed and demonstrated.


Forms applications serving internal, professional user groups today are typically by and large suitable for continued use. Modernization of these applications therefore typically focuses on integration - with a SOA environment and Event infrastructure and with new user interfaces and Portals - and to some extent to enhancing user experience and functionality of the application. This session shows how Forms 11g - part of Fusion Middleware and running on WebLogic Server - can be integrated in a modern Service Oriented Architecture and how it can be embedded in Web 2.0 Portals and Applications. The audience will see how Forms can quite easily get a face-lift - to bring it on par UI wise with other modern applications. The session will also discuss when other technologies such as ADF or APEX might come into mix.

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  • Process
  • Large German retailer1000+ FormsScared by IBM (based on ORCLs statement)Investigating alternativesIn the end: stuck with Forms
  • No business owner or end user ever asked you to ‘please get rid of Forms’. That is never a goal as such.
  • Much more computer literateMore demanding – what he/she gets on the internet and at homeSets the standard for applications at work!Also: from corporate user (who can be trained and drilled) to remote (field) worker/consumer
  • Peter
  • Peter
  • Form can subscribe on Advanced QueueEen WHEN-EVENT-RAISED triggerhandelt het event afIn Forms ServerEvent kan van Servernaar client wordengepushedBinnen max waitForm kan via aanroepvan PL/SQL procedureevents publiceren op AQBijvoorbeeld Form2Form push
  • PeterComment Peter: Should this move up a bit.
  • Lucas (Peter?)
  • Peter
  • Comment Peter: deze drie schrappen?
  • Process
  • The Future of Forms is ..... Forms (and some friends) (UKOUG, 2011 - with Grant Ronald)

    1. 1. Grant Ronald – Oracle Corporation, UKLucas Jellema – AMIS Services, The NetherlandsTHE FUTURE OF FORMS IS…. FORMSUK Oracle User Group, December 2011, Birmingham
    2. 2. OVERVIEW• What says Oracle? – Statement of Direction and explanation• Why?• What?• How?• When?• Key elements of the Future – Vision – Trends and evolution – Continuous preparation – People, people, people• Take aways
    3. 3. 1998300% JAVA
    4. 4. WHY?
    5. 5. THE WRONG REASONS• Forms is not Web 2.0
    6. 6. One definition of Web 2.0:WEB 2.0 IS ABOUT MAKINGAPPLICATIONS „RUNNING IN ABROWSER LOOK AND RESPOND LIKECLIENT/SERVER APPLICATIONS‟(OR: WEB 2.0 IS BRINGING THEDESKTOP TO THE BROWSER)
    7. 7. THE WRONG REASONS• Forms is not Web 2.0• Forms is no longer/will no longer be supported• Forms is old• Development productivity with Forms is not high enough• Our infrastructure cannot run Forms
    8. 8. 2002HARDWARE, NETWORK, CITRIX
    9. 9. THE WRONG REASONS• Forms is not Web 2.0• Forms is no longer/will no longer be supported• Forms is old• Development productivity with Forms is not high enough• Our infrastructure cannot run Forms• Forms is not Open Source• Forms does not fit into our enterprise architecture• My end users complain about their productivity• We cannot provide the functionality required of us using Forms
    10. 10. 2010END USERS ON STRIKE
    11. 11. THE END USER – BACK THEN
    12. 12. THE END USER - NOW
    13. 13. RIGHT REASONS• We (soon) can no longer find (enough) resource willing and able to work on Forms technology• Forms applications do not have the visual appeal we need to be competitive• We want to start servicing new (external) user groups• We want to start supporting new channels in addition to intranet/extranet (internet, web service, mobile)
    14. 14. 2009NEW USERS GROUPS AND NEWCHANNELS
    15. 15. WebCenter Spaces 11g SOA Suite 11g ADF 11g UCM 11gWebForms 10g Oracle Service Bus 11g WebLogic 11gIAS/OC4J 10g EBS 11i JDE Cognos Oracle RDBMS 11gR2
    16. 16. ALWAYS GOOD REASONS …• For investigating new options for application development• For updating people skills• For constantly evolving the vision for business, architecture and application• For applying modern software engineering methods and tools• For constantly modernizing your applications (in baby steps) – Note: there is hardly ever a business case for a migration for technical (or FUD) reasons only• For applying the right tool for the right job
    17. 17. ADFOracleForms .Net APEX Open Source
    18. 18. 2011VISION FOR ISV
    19. 19. THE DOG-STAR DILEMMA ?
    20. 20. ACCOUNTING• Any application represents a substantial investment – The actual lines of code themselves (and the functionality they provide) – The acceptance and skills of end users & other parties – The expertise of the development team • As well as architects, analysts, testers, administrators, …• Any replacement will require a similar investment – Note that the original investment has been made over a period of 5 years, 10 years or even longer!• The applications and their underlying technology stack warrant a solid depreciation scheme – For building up the budget to keep evolving
    21. 21. WHAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE DOING• Work on your vision – Strategy for the application and its architecture – derived from the strategy for the company• Stay on top of features of your current tool stack – To at least pick the low hanging fruit
    22. 22. 20 YEAR HISTORY OF FORMS• 1981/83• 1987• 1990• 1993• 1994• 1996• 2002/2005• 2009• 2011
    23. 23. FORMS 11G IS PART OF FUSIONMIDDLEWARE – PLATFORM FOR INNOVATION
    24. 24. MODERN FORMS• Forms 11gR2 was just (October 2011) released
    25. 25. MODERN FORMS – KEY PROOF POINTS• Runs on WebLogic – same platform as strategic middleware products including ADF/WebCenter, SOA Suite, BPM Suite, UCM, OBIEE and IdM• Managed from Enterprise Manager 11g• Integration with Oracle 11g Access Manager• Support for Database Proxy Users• (Client Side) Pluggable Java Components to add custom functionality and interaction elements to UI• Integration with AQ – to allow for Server-to-Client push• Java Importer – extend Form with middle tier Java• JavaScript bridge – from JavaScript to Form: pass information and events from web page to Form – From Form to JavaScript: pass data and event from Form to web page
    26. 26. FORMS 11G ARCHITECTURE CSS HTML & Forms Applet JavaScript WebLogic Server 11g Form Forms Server runtime = 11g = 10g
    27. 27. ENTERPRISE MANAGER FUSIONMIDDLEWARE CONTROL• Forms 11g runs on WebLogic Server 11g – Just like SOA Suite, UCM, ADF, WebCenter, OSB, OBIEE, Reports, …• Administration is done through Enterprise Manager Fusion Middleware Control – configuration – session monitoring & management – logging – security
    28. 28. SERVER PUSH BASED ON AQ INTEGRATION• Form can subscribe on Advanced Queue• WHEN-EVENT- RAISED trigger Forms Forms Forms deals with event Applet Applet Applet – In Forms Server• Event can be pushed WebLogic Server 11g from Server to client• Form can call PL/SQL Form Form Form session session session procedure to publish events on AQ Forms Server runtime – This enables Form2Form push
    29. 29. EXAMPLE OF FORMS2FORMS PUSH VIAADVANCED QUEUING
    30. 30. TWO-WAY JAVASCRIPT API IN FORMSAPPLET• HTML page uses raiseEvent JavaScript method on Applet Object to pass event with payload to the Form – document.forms_applet.raiseEvent(event_name, payload);• Form receives and processes the event with WHEN- CUSTOM-JAVASCRIPT-EVENT triggers• Form can execute JavaScript snippet in the containing HTML page – Web.Javascript_Eval_Expr ( expr, target) – Web.Javascript_Eval_Function ( expr, target) return varchar2
    31. 31. FORM EMBEDDED IN WEB APPLICATION(ADF, APEX, OSS JAVA)
    32. 32. WEB 2.0 LOOK & FEEL – DRIVEN BY CSS• Community Project Forms Look and Feel• PJC based mechanism to style Forms using CSS
    33. 33. COLLECTION OF PJC BASED EXTENSIONS
    34. 34. Common Theme in Forms Evolution:INTEGRATIONBASED ON STANDARDS –WITH TECHNOLOGIES ON EVERY TIERCATERING FOR HYBRID-AND-INTEGRATED APPLICATIONARCHITECTURE
    35. 35. MODERN FORMS SCENARIOS – FORMS IMPLEMENTING SOAP WEB SERVICE ! Forms Forms Forms Applet Applet Applet ! ? WebLogic Server 11g? ! Form Form Form session session session Forms Server runtimeWebService ! ? SOA SuiteM AQ
    36. 36. MODERN FORMS SCENARIOS –FORMS IN JEE / WSRP WEB PORTAL ADF Taskflow ADF Faces Page Forms JS API af:inlineFrame
    37. 37. HYBRID RESULT• Differences across – User groups – Channels and devices – Functional requirements – ‘Service Level’ demands• .. will require various, different technological solutions.• Moderns IT architectures, standards and technologies make hybrid and integrated solutions possible.• This should be your objective too!
    38. 38. WHAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE DOING• Work on your vision – Strategy for the application and its architecture – derived from the strategy for the company• Stay on top of features of your current tool stack – To at least pick the low hanging fruit• Prepare for a future with a hybrid environment• Continue to evolve skills of the people involved – You need to have at least some Java, XML, Web Service skills on the team – Continue to upgrade SQL, PLSQL and Forms skills• Design and implement following „decoupling‟ as architecture principle
    39. 39. PEOPLE threat Java-nono opportunity critical Classic fear open conservative training Consult – on inquisitive uncertainty overwhelmed new trends Remote doubt & experience reluctant Support Coaching QA/AuditIntroduction & Demonstration Collaboration confident Training opportunity productive initiative move ahead critical fun at home in Java independent enthusiasm stepping stone participate personal growth
    40. 40. CHERISH & INVOLVE ALL STAKEHOLDERS• Make project visible• Involve everyone• Frequent communication• Search for added value in various dimensions – Functionality, Quality, Cost, Satisfaction for both end users and the IT team Developers Administrators Information analysts Business owner & Sales Customers & End Users
    41. 41. DECOUPLING!• Centralize business logic• Rethink notion of an application – Break open silos – Focus on business process• Service Orientation• Event Driven Architecture
    42. 42. FIRST STEPS: SEPARATE APPLICATION ANDDATABASE Applicatie (User Interface) Applicatie (User Interface) Data Data
    43. 43. FURTHER ON DOWN THE LINE User Interface Application Email Workflow Engine CMS IM Fax
    44. 44. WHY IS DECOUPLING SO IMPORTANT• All components/application in your IT landscape communicate through well-described interfaces• This allows for very “clean cuts” when components are upgraded or replaced• It absolutely minimizes the impact of just about any change in your IT environment• And this leaves you much better prepared for The Future (should it ever arrive ;-D)
    45. 45. TAKE AWAYS• Plan based on a vision with the application (and perhaps the enterprise on the whole)• Decide using valid, rational arguments• Reckon with a prolonged (continuous) evolution rather than a big bang switch over• Do not consider automated migration from Forms to <something else>• Hybrid environments are unavoidable• Decoupling will help with building the hybrid architecture and helps low-impact optimization – Move data-oriented business logic out of Forms to DB• Moving to Forms 11g (more specifically: to WebLogic Server) is a smart move to a solid foundation• Forms 11g is more modern than many people realize• People are the key to success
    46. 46. THE FUTURE OF FORMS IS….A LANDSCAPE IN WHICH FORMS WILLPROBABLY PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLEFOR QUITE SOME TIME TO COME –ALONG WITH NEW TECHNOLOGIES TOCATER FOR NEW USER GROUPS, NEWCHANNELS AND NEW FUNCTIONALREQUIREMENTS

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