Lessons Learned From Upgrading to Oracle Forms 11g R2 on WebLogic !

You may have heard the rumors about upgrading to Forms 11g R2. How all you need is a quick recompile of your 10g forms. I of course was skeptical since I’ve heard rumors like this before… “It’s just a minor upgrade”,  “Just run the migration wizard and you’re done”  :)

This time I can happily report that it is TRUE.

Last week we successfully upgraded about 700 forms to 11g R2 in about a WEEK including all installs and infrastructure configuring.

I installed Weblogic and Forms 11g R2 standalone (Installs to download here) on a VM machine of Windows 2008 R2 – 64 bit (See post for how to do the installation) and recompiled our Forms application. I completed all installations, configuration of files, registry editing, signing of the jar files, HEBREW SUPPORT configuration :) and upgraded the 10g application. The whole deal took about 1.5 days and only because I ran into a silly bug. (which I tell you how to avoid in this post)

In general the only issues we ran into while compiling and upgrading the Forms were “nit picky”. 10g did not really care if we had a piece of code that was not supported on the web or small inconsistencies in the code . Now forms 11g gets aggressive.

If a form does not compile, it’s best to check the following:

1) Does the Form call graphics? (no longer supported in 11g)
2) Does it calls to unsupported triggers, properties or code? (For example calling OLE2 without using webutil)
3) Does it have inconsistencies in datatypes such as a character fields that are assigned to a number in packages?
4) Does it have inconsistencies between package specs and bodies?
5) Notice – The names of icons have gotten SUPER case sensitive meaning that if you have an icon mia.GIF  it is not equal to mia.gif and will not show up.

Truth is, I was shocked at how smooth it went! From about 700 forms only about 12 had issues to fix.

We then did performance testing of the in production as we have it today as a baseline. The Forms system on VM Windows 2003 Sp2 – 32 bit had about 75 concurrent users before form sessions started crashing and response times of those who were already connected became intolerable.

Then came time to test Form 11g R2. We started running the tests and we were amazed. Not only did we reach the limit of the testing license 250 users. But the performance was faster than the current production system with 70 users. The 250 users did not even begin to scratch the surface the performance did not degrade by a millisecond. Basically the system will go from 12 production servers in 10g to 3 in Forms 11g !!  What a pleasure it will be to do maintenance. I can not stress enough- put the installation on 64 bit. I have another customer who installed Forms 11g R2 on 32 bit and it was nowhere near our performance.

As a consultant who has gone through some VERY painful migrations this one was really a pleasant surprise. So if the new features in Forms 11g R2 are not enough to WOW you into upgrading your forms then just think of the performance and reduced maintenance advantages! I have not been this happy to enter an upgrade project in years :)

You can also join my Webinar with ODTUG and Grant Ronald of Oracle tomorrow for more tips and tricks on modernizing your forms application. Register HERE.

Have any of you begun your migration? Share thoughts and tips….


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