There is quite a debate going around based on Simon’s linkedin post regarding the future of Forms; but when you read it you’ll see, he doesn’t actually talk about the future of Forms – he talks about the demise of Forms and its replacement: Oracle APEX. As someone who does believe in the future of forms, there are several things I wanted to clarify.
Firstly, it mentions that despite the release of Oracle Forms 12c, Oracle has “failed to persuade him that Forms has a real future past 11g.” It’s strange that with a new version coming out imminently, and one after that already in the works, he is not convinced that Oracle is devoted to the progression of Forms. If you want to learn more about Forms 12c and beyond you can register for our webinar next month here.
Next, Simon addresses Oracle Forms mobilization, by stating, “If you want to access your Forms application or a cut down version of, on a mobile device – you can’t.” Truth be told, Oracle Forms is very easily, very rapidly able to be extended to mobile. We do it on a daily basis here at AuraPlayer. As Grant Ronald, Director of Product Management at Oracle, mentioned in the LinkedIn thred, “Today, there are several ways to mobilize Forms; and we have been very successful in mobilizing Oracle Forms customers to any user interface.” You can watch it in action here.
The difference is, where we are able to run Forms without redevelopment, the process of reverse engineering a Forms system to APEX, as Simon suggests, is an extremely risky and demanding project. Migration can require several years and millions of dollars, depending on the complexity of the system; migrating around 500 forms could require anywhere between 2 and 5 years and upwards of 2 million dollars. This is exactly the type of service that Simon supports (and sells): the utilization of APEX to replace existing Forms systems. While the same result can be achieved by using an enablement tool (such as AuraPlayer) which allows users to wrap their existing systems as a REST or SOAP services without the risk and at a fraction of the investment of time and money. In our opinion, migration is a tremendous drain on capital and waste of resources when the same end product can be achieved by leveraging the existing systems on new platforms. To learn more about strategies for mobilizing your Oracle Forms systems you can register for our webinar next month here.
The next claim goes on to assert that Oracle does not see a future in Forms because it does not see cloud as a priority. I, for one, as a Oracle Forms-Mobile Cloud partner, can speak to the inaccuracy of this claim. I was invited to be part of the Oracle Mobile Cloud beta. In fact, we have already developed a Forms plugin to the Oracle Mobile that we presented last year’s at Oracle Open World and are in the process of creating an additional demos as we speak. As Grant Ronald, Director of Product Management at Oracle explained, the exact development details of the integration’s precise breadth and depth are not released yet. However, I can testify that it is 100% on Oracle’s roadmap and priority scheme to supply an Oracle Forms API for the Oracle Mobile Cloud solution. In fact, you can see it for yourself, Oracle Forms running from the Oracle Mobile Cloud solution here.
As you can see, although Oracle themselves have not generated these tools, based on their intentions with their partnership and the development resources they’ve invested in working together with AuraPlayer, we can definitely tell you that there is a focus and priority on bringing Oracle Forms customers into the mobile cloud generation with their existing solutions. Furthermore, users will also be able to connect their systems to next generation Oracle tools, by using ORDS (Oracle Rest Data Services) to connect to APEX, or using things like the Oracle Mobile Cloud Service to connect to the Mobile Application Framework, and using Web services to connect to ADF front ends. We would be happy to talk to anyone who wants to see Forms running from an Apex, Mobile Framework, .Net or ADF UI. You can request a demo here.
Therefore, with the capability to move forward with any of these technologies, there is no reason why customers cannot leverage their existing investments in Oracle Forms. This is why I feel that the way Simon approached this as an all-or-nothing, black and white way of addressing the issue is very unfortunate in its potential to make Forms users feel like their only reasonable option is to migrate away from Forms. When that could not be more false. Today Forms users have more options for redevelopment free modernization than ever before!
In summary, I cannot stress enough the commitment that Oracle has shown to Oracle Forms customers moving forward, both in the way that they work together with us to progress towards the enablement of Oracle Mobile Cloud Service strategies as well as in their development of new versions/features of the existing Forms products. This dedication can also be seen in the way Oracle and its Forms partners have continued to evangelize and speak with Forms customers in conferences both in the United States and internationally.
We welcome anyone to come to Oracle Open World, DOAG, or UKOUG to see these demos in action, where AuraPlayer will be presenting Oracle Forms from Oracle MCS and on mobile devices. Michael Ferrante, the Oracle Forms product manager will also be on hand at the following shows and would be happy to answer any questions people have on the actual future of Oracle Forms. Of course if you’d like to talk about your personal Forms challenges, I’d be happy to give you a free consultation. Just get in touch with me here or ask your questions in the comments below.