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Time is running out: Do you have plan for your Oracle Reports?

In a previous blog, I mentioned how Oracle Reports is now deprecated as of Fusion Middleware 12c Release 2 (12.2.1.3). This means no more new releases of Oracle Reports will be included in future releases of Oracle Fusion Middleware. To be clear, this also means no more functional enhancements and only critical bugs being fixed until Extended support ends in October 2025.

So what does this mean if you are looking to upgrade to the latest version of Oracle Forms?

Well, Oracle are none committal as to whether Oracle Reports will be included in future Fusion Middleware release, saying “Subsequent releases of Oracle Reports, if any, will not bear any features, enhancements” in their Oracle Reports Statement of Direction. If you want to keep all your services and applications on the latest Oracle versions then the only definitive option you have, currently, which is what Oracle recommends, is to use Oracle BI Publisher. Then, there is the question of whether your current licensing agreement covers the use of Oracle BI Publisher for how you want to use it. The answer is Yes…. and No, depending on what product you currently have licensed. From, at least, Fusion Middleware 12.2.1.3, certain products give you a restricted-use license for Oracle BI Publisher for use alongside Oracle Forms and Oracle Reports. With a restricted-use license, you will get to use Oracle BI Publisher but in what context depends on your product, a breakdown of each is below. In terms of user and scalability limitations, this is dependent on the license you are using with the product you have and in terms of database certification, Oracle BI Publisher 12.2.1.3 is certified against Oracle Database 11.2.0.4 and higher. Here is a breakdown of these products, and what their restricted-use license means:

Oracle WebLogic Server (WebLogic Suite)

As part of Oracle WebLogic Server (WLS), the WebLogic Suite edition, you get Oracle Forms Services and Oracle Reports Services, but you are also entitled to Oracle Internet Application Server (iAS), Enterprise Edition, that includes a restricted-use license for Oracle BI Publisher. Below you can see what the Oracle BI Publisher restricted-use license entitlement is for iAS.

Oracle Internet Application Server (Enterprise Edition)

iAS, again, includes Oracle Forms Services and Oracle Reports Services and the restricted-use license for Oracle BI Publisher, but this is limited to Production use only. Therefore, you are not entitled to create, test or debug any Oracle BI Publisher reports.

Oracle Forms and Reports

Oracle Forms and Reports (OFR) license also only allows Oracle BI Publisher use in Production environments only. Again, this does not entitle you to perform code changes, testing or debugging to applications or reports but allow the deployment and running of applications and reports

Oracle Internet Developer Suite

An Oracle Internet Developer Suite (iDS) allows development, testing and debugging of Oracle Forms and Oracle Reports with its inclusion of Oracle Forms Builder and Runtime and Oracle Reports Builder and Runtime and this is the same when it comes to the Oracle BI Publisher restricted-use license. This only entitles you for development, testing and debugging of Oracle BI Publisher Reports.

You do have other options when it comes to developing/redeveloping reports for your Oracle Forms applications. These options are; running an your existing Oracle Reports service, with no functional updates and Premier Support ending in August 2022 or a third-party service that can integrate with Oracle Forms, such as PL/PDF or Jasper Reports to name a couple.

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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