Friday, August 8, 2008

New Statement of Direction

[UPDATED 08/21/2008]

We have just put out a new Statement of Direction on OTN.
{Remember a SOD is only an indicator of what we plan to do and not a guarantee}

The big news is that we are planning to produce Oracle Application Express 3.2.
This will be almost exclusively for our Forms Converter offering.
Forms Converter is designed to provide significant value as part of a conversion project and it is not designed to be a 100% "black-box" translation tool.
Keep reading to the bottom for more about Forms Converter and Beta testing ...

On Patrick Wolf's posting here a Mr. Anon asked an interesting question on why would you bother with a migration tool when it so easy to build components on existing tables in APEX already and concentrate on other development activities. This is an excellent question but I believe this capability is VERY important.
While it is easy to learn APEX from a developer's perspective, it is not always as easy to understand what has been built into the Oracle Forms.

If you have a project to migrate 100 or 1000 Forms of varying complexity and varying documentation (= most projects) then I believe the tool will be invaluable to enhancing your understanding of what you are migrating. Knowledge is power, and by extracting all the business logic out of Forms and allowing you to view it through our conversion screens will improve the process (irrespective of how much you generate)

Our development team are a very skilled bunch and are used to juggling multiple conflicting priorities on a daily basis so we are also steaming ahead with 4.0 features at the same time.
We realized that moving the Forms Converter piece into 3.2 would enable us to get it out the door sooner rather than having to wait for 4.0.

Now don't go asking me for dates - You know I can't give any dates.
The best I can do is say that 3.2 will be "Coming to a store near you soon".
{"Soon" is such an obtuse word as it could mean next week (which it definitely won't be) or some other point many months away}
4.0 will be sometime in 2009 with the final date being largely dependent on how some of our new features like Application Express Websheets perform in Early Adopters and how long it takes us to make sure they are stable and of our usual high quality.

Forms Converter - Samples & Limited Early Adopters
As part of our 3.2 development of Forms Converter we need your help and input.

We need examples of Oracle Forms from 6i, 9i and 10g. Oracle Forms 6i samples are especially useful. We are after varying complexities including simple, medium and complex Oracle Forms.

What we need are the XML file (created from the FORMS2XML Utility - .fmb file if absolutely necessary), DDL scripts to create the tables, and a small volume of sample data. As a bare minimum we need sample data for the code / lookup tables. It would be a huge bonus if you can include screen shots of the Forms. Lastly, any related technical specifications, design documents, etc. that explain the functionality would be a real asset.

Please email a zip file, renamed to xxxx.zipp as Oracle mail will not accept messages with a .zip extension, to me at

Our Limited Early Adopters program will be performed on a hosted environment (similar to how we do standard "open" Early Adopters) but will not be open to the general public. The reason for this is Limited Early Adopter testers will be working closely with us one-on-one to ensure we get the feedback we need to improve our product and be sought for advice and counsel on specific aspects of the migration.

Qualities I am looking for are Oracle Forms gurus who may or may not know Oracle APEX very well.
Participants would also be expected to provide some Oracle Forms examples to use to conduct their own testing.

If you are interested in being a Forms Converter Limited Early Adopter tester please send me an email.
Please be aware we may not be able to accept all interested parties into the program.



Gary Myers said...

Is OpenWorld coming "soon" too ?

David Peake said...


Er, yes Oracle Openworld is coming "soon".


Byte64 said...

This sounds interesting David,
i am not clear with the "apex websheet" concept though, can you elaborate it a bit further?

Don't worry, i'm not going to disclose this information to anybody!



Alistair Wall said...

Will this work for client/server forms?

David Peake said...


Dimitri Gielis posted about it here:
Preview Oracle APEX Websheets with some pictures taken from our ODTUG Presentation.

APEX Websheets are like an Interactive Report but you can simply click on an entry and update its value. You can also add columns and it comes complete with a method of sharing between users using workgroups.

One key difference is that Interactive Reports are defined by developers and based on tables, whereas Websheets are defined by end-users and stored as metadata.

Hope this clarifies it for you - We will demonstrating it at Oracle Openworld.

David Peake said...


We are currently requesting Forms examples and are particularly keen on getting client/server examples so we can prove our capabilities.


Peter Lorenzen said...

David maybe you should update "Last Updated: February 29, 2008" from the SOD ;-)

Regards Peter

Erwin said...

Hello David,

Are you also interested , or better, will the migration tool be up for a migration of a client server (developer 2000) forms environment built with designer 6i and headstart utilities? Then I can give you a nice example with easy to medium and complex forms. I was planning to migrate this application to 10g without headstart and designer , just plain build in forms builder, but perhaps I have to reconsider ;-)

Thanks for your answer on that


David Peake said...


It is our intention to migrate 6i Forms. The inclusion of Headstart will simply ensure that the logic is incorporated in a consistent manner which should make translation to any tool easier.

It would be great if you could send some samples in for us to use as test cases. We are also looking for people with no APEX experience but with Forms experience to determine how well they can utilize our translation tool.


Adi said...

Hi David

Thank you very much for the oportunity to reveal some informations about the new features in APEX. I use this oportunity to mention some improvements which could be very efficient for us developers. In the moment i have really difficulties to adapt old Microsoft Access applications which used multiple Master - details forms. In APEX Master detail is restricted just to 1 Master Detail Relation. This is not too much... I read in Internet that multiple MAster Detail could be possible but at my level of knowledge this appear very difficult to realize. It would be a very useful improvement if OUT OF THE BOX Multiple Master Detail Forms with Navigation , Save, and Tabbed regions would be available. Only than i can say that APEX is really an alternative to MS ACCESS.
Best regards

David Peake said...


For 4.0 we are investigating two types of Master-Detail relationships to add decoratively, namely Master-Detail-Detail and Parent-Child-Grandchild. We have not yet even looked at that enhancement request so we are not sure what we will be able to deliver.

I agree it is important to support these types of relationships out-of-the-box.


Adi said...

Hi David

Thank you very much for your response. How is possible to migrate Oracle Forms whith a structure like
and tabbed regions when APEX is still not able to support it?
i think that for a user such of construct made from Oracle Forms a success.
The power of Forms and MS Access stay in multiple details on the same page with the MASTER, navigation , one button save, delete.. If Oracle wants that this product become a replacement for them than it must include this options
Best regards

Rajesh Alex said...

thanks David. Well if anyone interested in seeing the real life of converting from forms to apex

Anonymous said...

At the ODTUG in San Diego 7 or 8 years ago, they showed off a form-like tool that used Web PL/SQL and some small JSPs. It was pre-production at the time, essentially ready for release, when it got squashed in favor of JDev. Sue Harper was in charge of it.

Is this a case of Oracle having dusted off that code and taken it to the natural conclusion?

As a developer to NEVER failed to deliver a production system when allowed to use Designer WSG, I have considerable faith in the Web PL/SQL realm.

canon said...


It is nice but can u explain in detail what is this?

Scott said...

What about converting Oracle Reports to Apex reports? Do we just save them as .jsp and that is it (ha, ha, right)?

Mitja said...

Hi, is there any way to test FORMS2APEX concept? I would like to try this feature. Is there a test web site?
Mitja Mavrič [Slovenia]