Another message from ODTUG 2006. The main development tools for most of the participants on this conference is Oracle Forms. Today was an important session, by Grant Ronald (Principal Product Manager for Oracle Forms). His first and most important message: Oracle Forms is not going away. There are no plans for abandoning Forms. There will be Forms 11g with some major new features. Oracle Applications is currently in the process of developing Release 12 that will be on Forms 10.1.2 (10gR2). Forms will be supported for a long time to come. Then he somewhat weakened the message by the repeated use of the word ‘still': there still is a substantial development team, there are still plans for new features…
But the message on the whole was pretty clear: Forms will be an important technology for Oracle.
Grant went then on to tell about where we can expect functional changes, going forward to the 11g release – for which he most specifically did not give a timeframe. The main theme is application integration (think SOA).
Integration of Forms application with the J2EE mid-tier environment as well as the HTML client environment is the essence of the road ahead. Focus areas – already addressed to some extent in 10gR2 (10.1.2) – include:
- Application Server Integration (including SSO, LDAP integration and Enterprise Manager (Grid) Control)
- Applications Interoperability:
- call out from Forms to BPEL Processes,
- to Java Middle Tier processes and Web Services
- have Forms respond to External Events like arrival of a message in a (n advanced) queue
Furthermore, currently only PJCs that extend VBean can raise Java Events; in 11g all PJCs (Pluggable Java Components) will be able to do so.
Grant’s slides indicated that currently only Forms 10gR1 (9.0.4) and Forms 10gR2 (10.1.2) are certified releases. It was also clear that Forms 10.1.2 is supported (in extended mode) until at least 2013 and 11g will be supported way beyond that. While he did not give specific dates, the graphics suggested early 2008 as the 11g timeline.
By the way, it seems that many organisations are still on Forms 6i or even 6.0/4.5 Client/Server! The uptake of WebForms is still far from complete.
All in all a good talk and a strong reaffirmation of the position and future of Forms.