2 What's New in this Release

Learn the features, enhancements, and changes made to Oracle Forms and Reports.

The following sections introduce the new and changed features of Oracle Forms and Reports, and provides pointers to additional information:

2.1 New Features

This section contains information about new and changed features that are being introduced in the release, features that have been enhanced, and changes to existing features.

2.1.1 JavaScript Integration for Java Web Start and Forms Standalone Launcher

From Oracle Forms 12c (12.2.1.3.0) release, it will be possible to communicate with HTML content in a browser even though the running Forms application will not have a parent browser when using Java Web Start or Forms Standalone Launcher.  Leveraging Eclipse/Jetty, an extremely lightweight web listener, a Forms application can now communicate with a web page through Web Socket connections. This feature requires the download and signing of Jetty (9.4.5.v20170502) from Eclipse. Download the jar file from maven central http://central.maven.org/maven2/org/eclipse/jetty/aggregate/jetty-all/9.4.5.v20170502/jetty-all-9.4.5.v20170502-uber.jar.

See Forms and JavaScript Integration for Java Web Start and Forms Standalone Launcher

2.1.2 Forms Application Deployment Services

The Forms Application Deployment Services (FADS) allows administrators or developers to package applications, deploy, configure, and store archived copies of the applications with the click of a button. Administrators can also associate a version number with the deployed application. The FADS web interface, allows administrators to check the status of deployments, deploy updated application versions, delete no longer needed applications, and others. A command-line interface is also available, which may help for scripting automated deployment jobs or other tasks where using a web interface may not be efficient.

See Forms Application Deployment Services (FADS)

2.1.3 Support for Setting Smart Bar Size

The current default height of the Smart Bar can fit icons of 16x16 pixel size. To customize/set the height of the Smart Bar to allow larger icons, a new applet parameter smartBarHeight has been added.. The valid values for this parameter are medium, large, and dynamic. If set at medium, the Smart Bar can fit icon sizes up to 32x32 pixel and large value means that up to 48x48 pixel is allowed. A value of dynamic mean that the Smart Bar inherits whatever value is provided in clientDPI settings.

See Customizing Smart Bar Size

2.1.4 Row Banding Support

The Row Banding Frequency property specifies whether a particular block or item should support row banding (also known as Pinstriping). With row banding, every n-th instance of the item would appear in a different background color. This would be based on the item-instance and not the record itself, so that as the data scrolled, the different coloring would remain intact. This optional property applies to block-level and item-level background color. The default value for both blocks and items is 0, which means row banding is not enabled. The valid values for this property are numbers between 0 and 255.

For information about using Row Banding Frequency property, see Oracle Forms Developer Online Help.

2.1.5 Gradient Color Canvas Support

The Gradient Start Side Property specifies the side of the canvas or tab-pages from where the gradient color begins, or that there should be no gradient color used. Users can define the gradient color of a canvas or tab-page in any of the 4 directions (top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, or right-to-left). The specified background color of the canvas will be used at the start position and it will gradually shift to an appropriate end color at the opposite side. This optional property applies to content-canvases, stacked canvases, tab-canvases and tab-pages. The default value is NONE, which means no gradient coloring will be applied. The valid values for each gradient color are numbers between 0 and 255.

For information about using Gradient Start Side property, see Oracle Forms Developer Online Help.

2.1.6 Icon Name Property and Cursor Style Property

Icon Name property associated with TAB_PAGE_PROPERTY, and Cursor Style property associated with ITEM_PROPERTY, has been added to the Form Builder Property Palette as declarative settings. Adding the properties to Property Palette will help you to set their values easily and also render these properties in a consistent manner with other properties.

Icon Name Property: This property specifies the filename of the icon resource that you want to represent the tab page label or window. It applies to button, menu item, window, and tab page. If this property is set programmatically to the default value (for example, NULL), the icon will return back to the value set at design time.

Cursor Style Property: This property specifies the object's mouse cursor style that is displayed while hovering over that object. Use this property to dynamically change the shape of the cursor. The property can be set programmatically and setting the property value as DEFAULT, means the cursor style will use the GUI-specific arrow symbol.

For information about using Icon Name property and Cursor Style property, see Oracle Forms Developer Online Help.

2.1.7 Forms Advanced Configuration for Oracle Enterprise Manager Fusion Middleware Control

The Advanced Configuration page is used to add, edit, and delete configuration template and key binding files using a free text editor. On the Forms Enterprise Manager Fusion Middleware Control Home page, click Advanced Configuration to open the Advanced Configuration page. Select a category in Select Category list box, to display all the related files in Select File list box. You can select a file in Select File list box, to display and edit its contents in Edit box.

See Managing Configuration Template and Key Binding Files

2.1.8 Form Builder Multiple Monitor Support

FORMS_ASSUME_MULTI_MONITOR environment variable has been added to the Form Builder. If this variable is set to FALSE (0), subsequent startups of the Form Builder will always appear on the main display even though they may have been previous exited from a secondary monitor. If set to TRUE (1), the Form Builder will return to the position where it was upon exit, even if the secondary monitor is no longer available.

For information about using this environment variable, see Oracle Forms Developer Online Help.

2.1.9 Form Builder File Open, Save, and Save As Dialog Box Modernized

Form Builder File Open, Save, and Save As dialog box has been updated to use the Microsoft Windows system default Open/Save dialog box version. This update improves Form Builder usability and provides resizing, and other helpful features.

2.1.10 Support for Obtaining Modified Date though Forms WebUtil

The following two new APIs has been added to Forms WebUtil_File package to support fetching the last modified date of a file.

  • FILE_MODIFIED_EPOCH (file_name Varchar2) return NUMBER: This method returns the last modified date of a file (supplied as argument to the method) in number format (EPOCH, ticks from 01/01/1970).

  • FILE_MODIFIED_DATE (file_name Varchar2) return Varchar2: This method returns a string which contains last modified date of a file (supplied as argument to the method) in readable format.

For information about available functions in WebUtil_File package, see Oracle Forms Developer Online Help.

2.2 Deprecated Features

This section provides information about features that have been deprecated and desupported in Oracle Forms and Reports.

For information about features that have been removed from Oracle Forms, see Preparing to Upgrade.

2.2.1 Deprecation Notice for Oracle Reports

Oracle Fusion Middleware 12c Release 2 (12.2.1.3.0) will be Oracle Reports terminal release.

You are advised to use or migrate to Oracle BI Publisher for reporting purposes. Oracle BI Publisher is Oracle’s strategic product for enterprise reporting. This reporting solution allows authoring, managing, and delivering pixel-perfect customer facing reports against various data sources with web browser or familiar desktop tools and minimal impact to transactional system.

Previously, Oracle Reports 10g, shipped in 2005 was its last feature bearing release. Since then Oracle Reports saw 11g Release 1, and 11g Release 2. Minor enhancements were added to the product during these releases. In the 11g and in 12c Release 2, the emphasis was on product stability and bug fixing.

The following list will also provide you guidance on the future direction of the product and the options you have to protect your investment or plan the application migration to Oracle BI Publisher:

  • Premium support for Oracle Reports 11g Release 1 is not available while for 11g Release 2, and 12c Release 2 will now be available until December 2016 and October 2020 respectively.

  • Extended support for Oracle Reports 11g Release 1, 11g Release 2, and 12c Release 2 will be available until June 2017, December 2018, and October 2023 respectively. Oracle Reports customers can migrate to Oracle BI Publisher at their own pace while continuing to receive extended support. Oracle plans no forced upgrades or migrations.

  • Oracle is not planning any functional enhancements for Oracle Reports other than critical bug fixes.

  • Oracle Reports will be shipped with Oracle Fusion Middleware 12.2.1.3.0 release and is planned to be its terminal release.