Reasons for upgrading to Oracle Forms 11g Release 2

Screenshot of Forms 11g Logo

Oracle Forms remains as popular as ever. The product continues to evolve as Oracle remains committed to the objectives of making it easy as possible to upgrade and integrate existing Oracle Forms applications with new web technologies and service oriented architectures.

If you are an administrator of an Oracle Forms 10g or 11gR1 environment, have you considered an upgrade to Forms / Reports 11g Release 2? Let's summarize the reasons for moving to this version above and beyond thinking of it as being just the 'latest and greatest'.

1. Integration with Oracle Access Manager

Oracle Forms 11g Release 2 (11.1.2.x) is certified to work with Oracle Access Manager (OAM) 11g Release 1 (11.1.1.5+). Furthermore, although Oracle Forms can be manually configured to use OAM 11g, the 11gR2 configuration wizard makes life easier by offering an option to auto-configure Forms with a pre-existing OAM 11g solution. In contrast, Forms 11g Release 1 (11.1.1) is only certified/supported with Oracle Application Server Single Sign-On 10g. Note: Premier support for SSO 10g has expired. Oracle recommend migration to Oracle Access Manager 11g.

2. JDK 7 certification

In January 2014, Forms / Reports 11gR2 patch set 2 (11.1.2.2) was released and with it comes JDK 7 certification!

  • Is it Supported to Upgrade Forms / Reports 11gR1 or 11gR2 Install to JDK 7? [ID 1554189.1]

3. Simplified install and configure experience

Unlike 11gR1, Forms / Reports 11g Release 2 media does not include Portal and Discoverer. The install, configuration and accompanying documentation is therefore more straightforward to follow. What to do if the business require Portal and/or Discoverer as well as Forms? You do not have to stick solely with 11g Release 1 for all products. Install, configuration and maintenance of Forms / Reports 11g Release 2 and Portal / Discover 11g Release 1 in separate Middleware Homes is a recommended solution.

4. Install flexibility

11gR2 offers two configuration types: "Configure For Deployment" and "Configuration For Development".

The former is intended for production systems. All components are made available for configuration including Oracle HTTP Server (OHS) and Oracle Enterprise Manager (EM) Fusion Middleware Control. The latter type excludes the OHS and EM components. Note: Forms / Reports Builders are available for inclusion with either configuration type.

  • Oracle Forms and Reports 11g Release 2 (11.1.2) Development Installation FAQ [ID 1373210.1]

Secondly, Forms / Reports 11g Release 2 allows you to choose the location of the WebLogic Domain. When you run the Configuration Wizard, the default location for the domain home is:

MW_HOME/user_projects/domains

Best practice is to keep Fusion Middleware configuration and software binaries separate. In other words, locate the domain home, instance and application files outside the Middleware home. Unfortunately, a PFRD 11g domain can only be created in MW_HOME/user_projects/domains. No "Domain Location" field is offered. Extending an existing domain is not a work-around because Forms can only be added to a domain which has been created by the PFRD configuration wizard. Forms / Reports 11g Release 2 removes the restriction by offering a "Domain Location" field in the configuration wizard.

  • How to Use the Config Wizard to Create a FMw 11g WebLogic Domain Outside the Middleware Home [ID 1621205.1]

And finally ..

Here are two further Forms / Reports 11g Release 2 articles to add to your My Oracle Support bookmarks.

  • Announcing Oracle Forms & Reports 11g Release 2 (11.1.2) [ID 1364453.1]
  • Install and Configure Advisor: Oracle Forms & Reports 11g Release 2 (11.1.2) [ID 346.1]
Comments:

Dan,

Great write up. But don't forget about all the other new features.

For a list of new features for each version, refer to each version's Forms Deployment Guide. The latest version includes all the new features and of course the ones from the previous releases.

For new features between 11gR1 and 11gR2:
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E48391_01/doc.11120/e24477/whats_new.htm

For new features between 10gR2 and 11gR1:
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E28280_01/web.1111/e10240/whats_new.htm

Posted by Michael Ferrante on February 26, 2014 at 05:38 PM GMT #

Hi Michael,
Thanks for your kind words and pointing out these links. It was my intention to include them in the blog post, but something must have distracted me and they got missed from the final cut.

Posted by Dan Mortimer on February 27, 2014 at 10:12 AM GMT #

Hi there - thanks for the information.

I need clarity on Paragraph 3 in your article with respect to co-existence of 11GR2 F/R and 11GR1 Discoverer on the same server but separate MW homes. You mention "Install, configuration and maintenance of Forms / Reports 11g Release 2 and Portal / Discover 11g Release 1 in separate Middleware Homes is a recommended solution."

Can you point me at a specific Support Note or Documentation URL that makes this recommendation.

I take it then that a viable logical architecture could be:

WLS 10.3.6, configured with 3 managed servers:

1) WLS_FORMS = 11gR2
2) WLS_REPORTS = 11gR2
3) WLS_DISCO = 11gR1

Posted by guest on April 08, 2014 at 05:46 AM BST #

Hi

Thanks for the comment / question.

Regards "11GR2 F/R and 11GR1 Discoverer on the same server but separate MW homes", refer to

Oracle Fusion Middleware Interoperability and Compatibility Guide for Oracle Forms and Reports 11g Release 2 (11.1.2.2)
2.2.1 Middleware Home Interoperability for Oracle Forms and Reports 11g Release 2 (11.1.2)
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E48391_01/doc.11120/e37679/fr_interop.htm#A1006403087

Based on what is advised in the Interop Guide, I would go for two Middleware Homes, one for 11gR1 (Discoverer) and one for Forms / Reports 11gR2.

Machine A:

Middleware Home - Fusion Middleware 11g Release 1 (11.1.1.7) e.g.

MW_HOME=/u01/app/oracle/product/fmw11gr1
WL_HOME=$MW_HOME/wlserver_10.3
ORACLE_HOME=$MW_HOME/pfrd_oh
DOMAIN_HOME=$MW_HOME/user_projects/domains/discoverer_dom1
ORACLE_INSTANCE=$MW_HOME/instances/discoverer_inst1

The WL_HOME has WLS 10.3.6

Middleware - Forms / Reports 11g Release 2 (11.1.2.2) e.g.

MW_HOME=/u01/app/oracle/product/FR11gr2
WL_HOME=$MW_HOME/wlserver_10.3
ORACLE_HOME=$MW_HOME/fr_oh
DOMAIN_HOME=/u01/app/oracle/config/user_projects/domains/fr_dom1
ORACLE_INSTANCE=/u01/app/oracle/config/instances/fr_inst1

The WL_HOME has WLS 10.3.6

Note: Technically, you could have the FR11gR2 DOMAIN_HOME and ORACLE_INSTANCE within the MW_HOME. However, best practice is to separate the configuration from the software (the binaries being the MW_HOME). This is as per

Oracle Fusion Middleware Installation Planning Guide 11g Release 1
2.3.1 WebLogic Server Domain
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E29542_01/install.1111/b32474/concepts.htm#CIHECCFB

To quote:

"The domain home and application home can be created anywhere on your system. When you run the Configuration Wizard, the default location for the domain home is user_projects/domains under the Middleware home. The default location for the application home is user_projects/applications, also under the Middleware home. It is recommended that you create your domain home and application home outside of both the Middleware home and Oracle home directories, so that in the event you need to patch either the Middleware home or Oracle home, your domain and application information would remain untouched."

Unfortunately, FMW 11g Release 1 Portal / Forms / Reports / Discoverer (PFRD) does not allow you to adher to best practice because the PFRD configuration assistant gives you no option to create the weblogic domain outside the MW_HOME. This restriction is removed in Forms / Reports 11g Release 2.

Hope this helps :-)

Posted by guest on April 08, 2014 at 01:09 PM BST #

Sorry, in the reply above, I forgot to swap 'guest' out from the name field. Anyway .. advice "Posted by guest on April 08, 2014 at 01:09 PM BST" is me :-)

Posted by Dan Mortimer on April 08, 2014 at 01:14 PM BST #

Hi Dan - my name's Dennis btw... Thanks for your comments to my latest query. Can the two product sets share the same WebLogic base installation (i.e both are 10.3.6)? It appears from your comments that they can't...

Posted by Dennis on April 09, 2014 at 01:30 AM BST #

Hi Dennis,

That's correct. Discoverer 11gR1 and Forms/Reports 11gR2 are both certified to work with WLS 10.3.6. However, they cannot share the same Middleware Home, and therefore cannot share the same WLS 10.3.6 base install.

To quote from

Oracle Fusion Middleware Interoperability and Compatibility Guide for Oracle Forms and Reports 11g Release 2 (11.1.2.2)
2.2.1 Middleware Home Interoperability for Oracle Forms and Reports 11g Release 2 (11.1.2)
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E48391_01/doc.11120/e37679/fr_interop.htm#A1006403087

"For most Oracle Fusion Middleware products, the general rule is to be sure that each Middleware home you create should contain only products that are at the same version or patch set.

However, for Oracle Forms and Reports 11g Release 2 (11.1.2), the rule is more restrictive. Unless otherwise documented, avoid installing any other Oracle Fusion Middleware products in the same Middleware home as Oracle Forms and Reports."

You should build two Middleware Homes i.e this will mean having two base WLS 10.3.6 installs, one for Discoverer and the other for Forms/ Reports

Posted by Dan Mortimer on April 10, 2014 at 01:48 PM BST #

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