Oracle Forms Review

Can be relied upon for speed of development and stability

What is our primary use case?

We use this product to develop applications.

How has it helped my organization?

I think the way that Oracle Forms has allowed us to improve our organization is based on what we have been able to develop through the application. How our application design was developed and how the analysis is done and how the user requirements were built are based on what we planned. We only used the Oracle Forms as a tool. We could have used basic and other tools also, but we selected Forms as our best option. 

The main thing which is very useful in Oracle Forms is that we can rely on this tool. There are a very limited number of failures in Oracle Forms compared to .NET Framework or real basic type tools. The last and most important factor for application development is that we can develop an application very fast using this tool when compared to other tools.

What is most valuable?

The most important thing is the reliability. The over-all user control is very important as is data security. The application is efficient. All of these factors are important to our usage of Oracle forms.

What needs improvement?

I think the most problematic point is that we still can only use Oracle Forms output as a Java applet. Most users now demand to access these forms in responsive pages or in browsers that allow the application's size to be adjusted automatically as part of the requirements of a user interface. But interfaces developed in Oracle Forms are not a flexible thing because it opens in a Java applet. Oracle Application Express is not like that. They should switch Oracle Forms to have that kind of interface option now.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for about 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Oracle Forms is very stable. 11G is much more stable than 10G. There were actually a lot of issues in the 10G version as it was using JInitiator. But now it is using a Java Runtime environment. I am not working with the 12G and I assume it is as good, but I know for a fact from experience that 11G is a very stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Oracle middleware provides a lot of options for scalability but also requires another kind of expertise. You should have expertise and understanding in developing load balancing in a cluster environment. Oracle Forms middleware provides a classic level application infrastructure so there is an option for scalability. It also depends upon how the application has been developed and designed.

In the previous company I worked for, I think we had 150 to 200 users concurrently. It was not a problem to scale usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

On a basic level support is very good. Sometimes during troubleshooting of an issue, you get bug patches from the Oracle support to resolve the problem and that is good. But the documentation side of support is very cumbersome and difficult to understand. There is a huge amount of very detailed documentation available on the site. For a technical user, this is a good thing and it is a place to get answers, but at the same time, it is not so easy to find what you need.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is too complex. Whoever does the setup has to be an expert in the installation and the configuration. It is not easy. If you are an expert in the deployment infrastructure then there is no problem. But for a beginner, it takes getting some training. He needs some training and he needs some skills. Once you have a hands-on tech with expertise, then there is no problem with the development, and once it is configured, it works very smoothly.

For maintenance, we require only one or two people. The second is really a backup. We also have one person on the administration side for the middleware service. So it does not take a lot of administrative support to maintain.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to people who are considering Oracle Forms as a solution is that they should look at the other Oracle products that are available. Forms is not for everyone. So they may want to consider J Developer or Oracle Application Express. Then after they survey all of these options then they can decide what they actually require for their company. Each of the products has its individual benefits and advantages — but also disadvantages as well. If you are working in a large organization, I think they should go for Oracle Forms because it is a very stable and very reliable application. But on the backend, it also requires a lot of resources and infrastructure. That requirement may make Forms less desireable for smaller organizations.

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this product above average as a seven or eight. To make it a nine or ten, the main features I would like to see is the change from making the output only available as a Java applet in 11G and even in 12G. That should be updated now. The output should be directly available and compatible with any internet browser and it should be available without any Java runtime environment like any other website or any other application without installing anything additional. It should come like that now. That is the main complaint from the end-users who I interact with. When you install a new PC and bring on a new user, they have to do a lot of work for the individual client to configure Java and other things. It seems like an unnecessary requirement.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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