On August 11, 2008 a new Statement of Direction has been put on OTN, as far as Application Express is concerned. This indicates clearly what is planned for the product in the future, although it does not provide a guarantee.
The big news is that a new Oracle Application Express version 3.2 is planned for production, which will be almost exclusively offering a new Forms Migration Tool, a long awaited solution for all the Oracle Forms Developers that want to upgrade/modernize their forms-based applications.
According to the new Statement of Direction, before Application Express focuses to pure Web 2.0 features in version 4.0, it will first focus on migrating your existing forms 6i, 9i 10g to its web-based easy to use environment. Forms Migration is designed to provide significant value as part of a migration project and it is not designed to be a 100% “black-box” translation tool.
This design capture utility will provide the ability to load Oracle Forms definitions into Oracle Application Express and generate an Oracle Application Express application from that definition. This tool is designed to provide significant value as part of a migration project, and will not be a 100% “black-box” translation tool.
Such a tool has been rumoured for a while now amongst APEX developers, who realised the power of the APEX framework itself and how well it could provide a way to move to the web all the “stable” but rather “old-looking” forms-based applications, that have been extensively produced the past years. Oracle Forms technology has admitingly been very popular and several applications have been based on it. Still, with the revolutionalization of application interfaces brought by the internet and web 2.0, forms by now seem a little old fashioned and tend to limit both users and developers. A migration tool would be a very good proposition to thouse that want to move their applications to the web, modernize the application look and feel and make it more accessible, without the need to built them from scratch using a new programming language. Developers can stick to their PL/SQL friend, the one the know and trust all those years and still open up their applications to new audiences.
All we now have to do, is wait to see what the Oracle – APEX people are going to offer. In fact, if we wish so, we can also help