Many Oracle users are still considering Oracle Forms/Reports as the best UI technology Oracle has to offer.

It’s not surprising as Forms/Reports technology is very robust, developed through the decades, has proved in many large projects as very reliable and fast technology that leverage three-tier architecture (unlike Oracle APEX, very popular these days for building Web apps fast, especially if you don’t know web technologies like JavaScripts/HTML/CSS) and very fast development (unlike Oracle ADF), and use only SQL and PL/SQL language that many Oracle developers already knows (unlike Oracle ADF where Java knowledge, JSP, ADF Framework and object oriented programming are required).

That is the main reason why Oracle is constantly extending end of life for Forms/Reports, as that technology is still widely used.

As there are no technology that doesn’t have something on the cons side, in case of the Oracle Forms it is Java Plugin requirement.

Oracle has released wonderful document on the following link:

https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/developer-tools/forms/documentation/forms12clientdeploymentoptions-3030579.pdf

that describes possible ways to deploy Forms apps for the latest release (12c) of Oracle Forms.

 

There are four available options of how to deploy Oracle Forms:

1.
Java Applet Embeded in HTML

This is a default for Oracle Forms 12.2.1 and later.

Pros:
– JavaScript integration feature support
– single sign-on support

Cons:
– Java Plug-In requirement (only Internet Explorer 11 is supported, on Linux it works with Pale Moon web browser which is Firefox fork which still support Java Plugin and Flash)

 

2.
JNLP embedded in HTML

This is very similar to Java Applet option, but application is treated like Java Web Start.

This option has the same pros and cons as the first option with one added pros – base-64 encoding of the JNLP content (parameter/values pairs configured for apps).

 

3.
Java Web Start

There are two possible deployment strategies you can use:
– browser based
– running JNLP file from the terminal

Browser based Java Web Start:
Pros:
– Single Sign-On is supported

Cons:
– Java Plug-in is required
– JavaScript integration is not supported.

JNLP stored on local machine:

Pros:
– Java Plug-in is not required

Cons:
– Single Sign-On is not supported
– JDK required
– JavaScript integration is not supported

 

4.
Forms Stand Alone Launcher

Pros:
– browser-less configuration

Cons:
– JRE or JDK is required
– Single Sign-On is not supported
– JavaScript integration is not supported
– rmsal.jar file has to be deployed on each client machine

 

Summary:

Ideal option would allow us to deploy Oracle Forms that wouldn’t require Java Plug-in to be installed, as almost all today’s browser does not support that technology any longer (Firefox, Chrome, Edge).

Unfortunately such option for Oracle Forms based apps does not exist.

If your client PC/laptop is Windows based, your only choice is to use Internet Explorer 11.

On Linux, you need to use Pale Moon (Firefox fork which keep NPAPI Java Plug-in support nad Adobe Flash technologies).

You can find more discussion on that topics on the following two links:
https://www.josip-pojatina.com/en/firefox-npapi-java-plugin-support/

and
https://www.josip-pojatina.com/en/firefox-npapi-java-plugin-support-and-flash-support-part-2/

Although there are several ways of how to deploy Oracle Forms, there are no ideal one.

If Single Sign-On and JavaScript integration won’t be implemented, then option 3b (running JNLP file from the local machine) or 4 (Forms Stand Alone launcher) would be the best choice, depending on particular case.

If you really need Single Sign-On or Java Script integration, option 1 or 2 are the only choice you have.

Here keep in mind that sooner or later Microsoft will ditch Internet Explorer 11 (Microsoft already prefers to use Edge as IE replacement) with Windows 10 End of life.

Currently to be able to use applications like Oracle Forms, or to use EM 12c (Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control requires Adobe Flash technology), you need to have browser that supports Java Plug-In and Adobe Flash.

As all modern browsers have already ditched both technologies for security reasons, users usually have several browsers on their client machine.

One like Internet Explorer (or Pale Moon) for enterprise apps that are using Java Plug-In and/or Adobe Flash, and the other one for all other tasks (Like Firefox or Chrome), which is not convenient.

Such configuration introduce mess as users need to know which browser to use for some particular app.

For all those reasons, there are certain compromises with each option, so the best advise is to choose the option that fit best for some particular case.


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