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Oracle Forms

Oracle Forms 12.2 New Features

For those looking to upgrade to the latest Oracle Forms version, here is a brief look at some of the notable new features introduced in the latest versions, 12.2.1.3 and 12.2.1.4. You can find an extensive list of all the new features in Oracle Forms 12c New Features whitepaper and the What’s New in this Release section in the release notes of 12.2.1.3 and What’s New in this Release section in the release notes of 12.2.1.4.

GUI / Visuals

  • Custom Colour Schemes

In addition to the 9 runtime colour schemes already delivered in Oracle Forms, there is now functionality to create your own custom colour schemes.

  • Canvas Gradient Colours

The canvas colour can now have a gradient applied to it. With the canvas background colour set, the developer can set which direction the gradient flows and the difference in colour throughout the gradient.

 

 

  • Row Banding

Multi-record blocks can have alternative colour row banding applied, making it easier to distinguish between rows.

  • Tabs with Icons

Tabs can now have icons included next to the tab name.

  • Smartbar (Toolbar) Sizes

The size of the forms toolbar, and the buttons it holds, can now be increased meaning increasing the images of these buttons will no longer result in the images being clipped due to the buttons not matching the size of the images. This will assist applications with meeting accessibility requirements.

Some other GUI/Visual features include:

  • Custom text for Logon and Password Change Hints
  • Record Counter can be set to display on and off
  • Item level cursor pointers mean the cursor pointer can be changed at item level

Functional

  • BI Publisher integration

As well as integrating with Oracle Reports, Oracle Forms can now integrate with Oracle BI Publisher. Developers can now choose to generate reports with one of these reporting services or even both. This could be useful if you are looking to convert your reports from Oracle Reports to BI Publisher reports, as per Oracle’s recommendation with the deprecation of Oracle reports after version 12.2.1.3. I will release a blog in the future that has more information about licensing implications between BI Publisher and Oracle Forms.

  • Audio Playback

Oracle Forms now allows the playing of audio files, although it is recommended that Java 8 is used to be fully supported

  • New Client Deployment Options

There are a number of new ways of deploying your Oracle Forms application:

  • Forms Standalone Launcher (FSAL) enables the Oracle Forms application to run without a web browser and all the end user needs on their local machine is a certified Java installation; either JDK, JRE or Server JRE. Please see my colleague’s blog for a more in-depth look at FSAL. With this method being fully browser-less this does mean browser dependant features, such as Javascript integration and Single Sign-Off are not supported with this deployment. (Single Sign-On is supported, but only in version 12.2.1.4). Oracle recommends this deployment option as it will not be affected by future browser or JRE changes, but may not suit everyone’s current Forms configuration.
  • Java Web Start enables the Oracle Forms applications to be run without a parent web browser. A browser may be used to initiate the application but it does not host the application. This allows the use of the Single Sign-On feature, but not Javascript integration or Single Sign-Off.
  • Embedded JNLP is a hybrid of traditional HTML and Java Web Start. As this uses HTML to run the Oracle Forms application it does support the browser dependant features; Javascript integration, Single Sign-On and Single Sign-Off

Other functional features include:

  • As mentioned above, Single Sign-On is now supported with FSAL deployments from 12.2.1.4+
  • Single Sign-Off has been included as a new feature even though it is not currently supported with apps deployed with FSAL and Java Web Start (Oracle have said this feature may be supported in future releases of FSAL)
  • Improved Javascript integration has also been included as a new feature even though it is not currently supported with apps deployed with FSAL and Java Web Start
  • Improved WebUtil, including support for WebUtil-enabled applications with Oracle Forms Application Deployment Services in the 12.2.1.4 release
  • New System Events

Gavin Bell Contributor
Development Consultant , Explorer UK Ltd

Gavin is a Development Consultant at Explorer. Having attained a BSc in Computing he embarked on a career working with Oracle technologies and specialising in SQL and PL/SQL programming. In previous roles he has worked with Oracle Forms and Reports (v9-12), Oracle Retail (v13) and APEX (v4.2-18.2). Here at Explorer he is part of a highly skilled development team providing APEX development solutions and training to both UK and international businesses.

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