Thursday Nov 24, 2011

Forms&Reports upgrade characterset issues

Hello,

This quick post is based on my findings during recent IMC workshops, especially those related to upgrading the Forms 6i/9i/10g applications to Forms 11g platform. The upgrade process itself is pretty straightforward and it basically requires recompiling your Forms application with a latest version of frmcmp tool. For some cases though, especially when you migrate from Forms 6i which is a client-server architecture to a 3-tier web solution (Forms 11g), you need to rewrite some parts of your code to make it run on new platform. The things you need to change range from reimplementing (using webutil library) typical client-site functionality like local IO operation, access to WinAPI, invoking DLLs etc. to changing deprecated or obsolete APIs like RUN_PRODUCT to RUN_REPORT_OBJECT. To automate those changes Oracle provides complete Java API  which allows you to manipulate the code and structure of you modules (JDAPI). To make it even easier we can use Forms Migration Assistant tool (written in Java using JDAPI) which is able to replace all occurrences of old API entries with their 11g equivalents or warn you when the replacement is not possible. You can also add your own replacement definitions in the search_replace.properties file. But you need to be aware of some issues that can be encountered using this tool.
First of all if you are using some hard-coded text inside your triggers you may notice that after processing them by the Migration Assistant tool the national characters may be lost. This is due to the fact that you need to explicitly tell Java application (which MA really is) what kind of characterset it should use to read those text properly. In order to do that just add to a script calling MA the following line: 

export JAVA_TOOL_OPTIONS=-Dfile.encoding=<JAVA_ISO_ENCODING> 

when the particular encoding must match the NLS_LANG in your Forms Builder environment (for example for Polish characterset you need to use ISO-8859-2).

Second issue you can encounter related to national charactersets is lack of national symbols in you reports after migration. This can be solved by adding appropriate NLS_LANG entry in your reports environment. Sometimes instead of particular characterset you see "Greek characters" in your reports. This is just default font used by reports engine instead of the one defined in your report. To solve it you must copy fonts definitions from your old environment (e.g. Forms 10g installation) to appropriate directory in new installation (usually AFM folder). For more information about this and other issues please refer to

https://support.oracle.com/CSP/main/article?cmd=show&type=NOT&doctype=BULLETIN&id=1297012.1

at My Oracle Support site.

That's all for today, stay tuned for more posts on this topic!

Lukasz

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