Modernizing Oracle Forms Apps

Modernize Oracle Forms Apps

Oracle Forms is a rapid application development environment for Oracle developers. Because Oracle Forms applications are proprietary and only run in the Oracle database, many enterprises are looking for standards-based alternatives.

WaveMaker provides a visual, drag and drop development platform that produces standards-based Java applications. WaveMaker provides an easy-to-learn platform for Oracle Forms developers as well as high productivity solution for modernizing Oracle Forms applications.

“Oracle Forms is proprietary and cost a fortune. WaveMaker is open source and really easy to use, while still allowing access to the underlying Java code!”
Tom GleesonGleeson IT

Limitations of automated migration approaches

Cannot automatically migrate from 2-tier to 3-tier 

There is no automated way to convert a 2-tier application to a 3-tier application. A well-architected 3-tier application requires refactoring the existing Oracle Forms application to determine which logic should be left in the database (for example, to handle referential integrity) and which logic should be moved into the middle tier (for example, complex form validation).

Cannot automatically migrate forms-driven UI to modern UI

There is no automated way to convert a primitive forms-driven user interface into a modern, Web 2.0 user interface. The user interaction and graphic design of a rich internet application is fundamentally different from the legacy user interface supported by Oracle Forms.

SAIC used WaveMaker to cut the training for college grads to build Java apps from 2 years to 2 months – that’s a 92% reduction in learning curve!

How to migrate Oracle Forms Items and PL/SQL logic

Migrating PL/SQL logic

The following table shows the files that make up an Oracle Forms project and the migration approach to convert them to a WaveMaker project.

Module Extension Migration approach
Form .fmb, .fmx, .fmt  Replace with WaveMaker data widgets
 Menu  .mmb, .mmx, .mmt  Replace with WaveMaker menu widgets
 PL\SQL Library  .pll, .plx  Replace with Java (server logic) or Javascript (UI logic)
 Object Library  .olb, .olt  Replace with Java libraries

Migrating Items

Items are interface objects that present the data values to the users. Here are some of the more common Items and their equivalent widgets in WaveMaker:

  • Text item: Allows for text to be displayed and manipulated. Text items are called by the name text editor widgets in WaveMaker.
  • Check box item: Provides the user with a Boolean control that has just two values, such as true and false, or on and off. Check box items are called radio button widgets in WaveMaker.
  • Radio group item: Provides the user with a fixed set of options that are mutually exclusive. In WaveMaker, these are called radio group widgets.
  • Buttons: Buttons are interface items that can display a list of values, PL\SQL blocks. The WHEN-BUTTONPRESSED trigger holds the code for these actions. WaveMaker also has a button called widgets, which triggers actions through the onClick event.

Migration Best Practices

Most Oracle Forms applications undergoing migration are more than 5 years old and reflect both outdated UI look and feel as well as outdated business logic. Which means, companies often need to modernize the look and feel of the application and update its functionality.

80% Automation:
Using WaveMaker’s database import and custom data widgets, a best practice Oracle Form migration starts by converting all of the simple forms directly to WaveMaker. This automates 80% of the total forms in an Oracle Forms application.

20% Redesign:
Effort is required to redesign and rebuild the remaining 20% of the application’s forms, which is complex and contains custom business logic. The result is a modern Web 2.0 with up-to-date UI and Business logic that is not tied to proprietary databases or languages.

“Everything about WaveMaker is easier than Oracle forms. We built an interactive reporting application using WaveMaker that took 80% less time and 80% less code than it would take in Oracle forms.” 
Eliecer DazaUniversidad Nacional de Colombia
Planning to migrate Oracle Forms applications?
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