FORMS2JAVA FAQS


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From Oracle Forms to Java:
Migration Made Easy

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are the most common questions on usability and evaluation of Forms2Java in order to accelerate the migration process of Oracle Forms applications to Java:

Which versions of Oracle® Forms are supported by Forms2Java?

The current version of Forms2Java supports Oracle Forms and Reports versions 4.5 up to 10g on top of every Oracle Database version. Typically, forms built on versions 4.5 and 5 will require Oracle Forms Builder 6i to be installed on the same machine to allow Form conversion.

Does Forms2Java migrate the Oracle database?

Forms2Java targets only the migration of the application. Database schema, database objects (e.g. stored procedures and functions) and the data itself are not in the scope of Forms2Java . For customers interested in migrating the Oracle database ATX recommends the use of other software products on the market, including tools supplied by Microsoft, to assist on the database layer migration effort.

Can I migrate the database?

Several solutions exist to help with the migration of an Oracle database to another target. For example, the Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) assists with the migration to SQL Server (including Denali), whilst DB2 and EnterpriseDB have PL/SQL interpreters available. Forms2Java assists the process by minimizing the amount of work required at the application layer for it to function correctly with the new database.

What is the meaning of 'conversion' and 'migration' used in Forms2Java documentation?

Migration is the full process of transforming a Forms application into an equivalent Java/Flex application. The semantic gap between the two worlds makes it difficult and often impossible to have a completely automated process.

Conversion is the initial step of the migration, capturing the original application semantic and obtaining the maximum Java/Flex code. The remaining migration (code completion and testing phases), is a manual process that is supported through training and generated documentation.

Therefore, migration = conversion + code completion + testing

What is the licensing model for Forms2Java?

Forms2Java is licensed on a per project basis. Please check the Availability section for more details on the process of obtaining a license and correspondent pricing.

How do I estimate the effort and cost of a migration project?

Forms2Net Analyzer is a free tool that can be downloaded on the Forms2Net website . It collects statistical information about an Oracle Forms application. Once you have collected those statistics, you may upload them on the website and get a report on the complexity of your forms application and the estimated code completion effort. Please contact our sales department who will assist you on this process. Note this tool is the same one used in association with ATX's Forms2Net migration product.

What are the required characteristics of the team that will complete the migration?

A small number of elements of the team must be skilled in Java/Flex, understand the application architecture and typical migration patterns. They should be able to analyze the initial conversion results and establish common rules and practices for the application migration, to be followed by the rest of the team. This is the result of our experience, based on the fact that every application has its own nuances and patterns. We can take advantage of that to accelerate and standardize the code completion phases and future maintenance. The team can be as large as required, allowing multi-threaded code completion after the initial setup and analysis phase. Note that very large teams in software projects may require a significant management effort.

How much effort is involved in completing the migration manually?

The effort involved in migrating the remaining code depends on the complexity of the application, but one important advantage of using this tool is that the handwritten code that is required for code completion is well documented and controlled. Most of the human effort will concern compilation problems related with 'type checking and casting of types' in situations where the original Oracle Forms code used very liberal constructions allowed in PL/SQL which have no trivial mapping in the Java type system, and where therefore the correct choice for a type cannot be made at conversion time. In this situation the tool documentation includes a complete list of the potential typing errors and of the appropriate solutions. Also, there may be some code that has to be completed manually concerning bindings of User Interface Controls (UIC) with the components that implement business logic services to cover the semantic gap between the Java/Flex framework and Oracle Forms run-time built-in behaviour. Even in this situation, the tool gives assistance to developers by generating comments in the new Java code with links to the migration guide, which makes the code completion a well controlled and guided process.

Is Forms2Java a stand-alone Windows executable?

Yes. Forms2Java is a Windows executable that generates Java and Flex code. This code can be imported into most capable Java development environments, including Eclipse.

I have a team of 15 Java/Flex developers on the migration project. Does every workstation need to be connected to Oracle Forms?

Only the machines where the automated conversion is processed need to be connected to Oracle Forms. The converted code should then be distributed among the developers for the code completion phase, which only require the Java/Flex environment that has a connection to the database for testing purposes.

How do I get support on the code completion and maintenance of the code generated by Forms2Java?

You can find information on the generated code and how to work with it either on the product documentation or the product website. The available information will continually evolve, reflecting experience with users and ongoing projects. In addition, ATX will provide remote support to our customers who are undergoing a Forms2Java migration. Check the site regularly for news and updates. Further questions may be addressed to forms2Java-support@atxsoftware.com .