Oracle Forms: Where Are We Now?

Last year I wrote a blog about the new features in Forms 12.2.1.3 and 12.2.1.4, the later was released in September 2019. I also wrote blogs regarding support for Oracle Forms and what options there are now Oracle Reports is deprecated. This was to give people the information they needed when making decisions about their future technology choices. Now, a year on, I thought I’d look at where we are in terms of the Oracle Forms world to see what has changed and what might be coming up in the future.

In February, I watched a webinar that gave a little insight into what to expect from Oracle Forms in the future. 12.2.1.4 is going to be the last in the 12c family. The next release is expected in 2021 and will be part of a larger Fusion Middleware release. At that point, it was unclear if Oracle Reports would be included but if it were, it would be updated only to be compatible with the new release. There was also talk of potential new features that could come in the new release. These included:

  • Data Integration via REST
  • GIT Integration from the builder
  • Identity Cloud Server Support
  • Autonomous Database Support
  • Translations utility based on XLIFF standards
  • “lots and lots” of UI Enhancements

Some of these new UI enhancements were demonstrated in the Webinar and they were:

  • Optionally removal of title bar icon
  • Show concealed data button
  • Placeholder text
  • Changing of border colour of text field
  • Rollover buttons
  • Buttons with label and icon
  • Setting the colour of current and non-current table label
  • Custom message-bar text

Earlier in the year, Michael Ferrante, Oracle Senior Principal Product Manager, was interviewed for the DOAG 2019 Conference. In the interview he gave his thoughts on Oracle Forms position in the industry, in particular, he asked why Oracle Forms is not as prominent in the Oracle application estate as it used to be due to other technologies like Java, JavaScript and APEX. His respond was that Oracle Forms is “still in good shape, I think we’re healthy, but there are many technology choices available and those are different tools in the toolbox”. He commented on the fact that the industry and business needs have changed and the 21st century has seen the demand for mobile technology whereas Oracle Forms is more of a back office, data entry technology.

Since version 12.2.1.4 was released, there has been a lot of activity promoting Oracle Forms in the Oracle Cloud. I will be taking a closer look at this and will be sharing what I find and my thoughts. Therefore, to summarise it looks like there has been no significant change in the technology since September 2019, other than a significant promotional marketing push to declare it is now available in the Oracle Cloud and there is nothing expected imminently. We will have to wait and see what happens in 2021.

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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