Oracle Forms & Reports 12c | Publishing a sample application

After a long break, I am going to post about deploying Oracle Forms & Reports based application using Weblogic Server 12c (12.2.1.4).

With my previous posts about Weblogic 12c & Oracle Forms & Reports, I have provided most of the details about configuring the Forms and Reports environments for deploying Forms & Reports based application(S). Well, for a beginner this could post a challenge.

So the post is for beginners and those trying to setup an environment using Weblogic Server for the first time. Please note, you must adjust the paths listed below according to your installation/naming conversions.

To start with, I always install Weblogic Server & Oracle Forms & Reports software on the same HOME. Example: D:\Weblogic\Middleware\Oracle_Home

The advantage of following the same name throughout installations (of same version) is, I can copy the fine tuned configuration files from an existing installation and later use them when I am forced to remove and reconfigure the complete infrastructure.

To host Oracle forms and reports based applications, we need to make few changes with existing configuration files for both Forms and Reports. Prior making those changes, let us run a quick errand for mandatory elements for successful deployment of applications.

HOST Name (aka your computer name). Make sure you have a meaningful name for your computer. If you have installed and configured Weblogic and other software components against a name that looks like a joke, then redo the installation and configurations against a new computer name (eg: RAJESH-PC, JOHN, MARTHA, ORASERVER or anything that is short and could easily be identified). Refer documents those explain you how to change your computer name.

You must have a STATIC IP address for your computer that is going to host your Forms & Reports application. If your computer is part of domain network & supported by a DNS server, you might take a risk of not having STATIC IP, however, please note, Oracle insists for a STATIC IP for the box on which you install database & other server software. Usually at home/small networks, you are connected to a wireless router/router or a computer that issues dynamic IP addresses. If you are at home, you may assign a IP address outside of DHCP scope for you computer. Please google for more details to know how to setup STATIC IP address. If you are new to these basic networking elements, consult someone who could help you.

HOST File modifications. As we are talking about Windows environments, regardless whether client or Server OS, you will find the HOST file under:

C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc

You can use Notepad to open up this file and add an entry like below. If you are on Windows 7 or later, make sure that you are opening Notepad as Administrator (The whole exercises you have read until were only tested on Windows 10):

Where 192.168.1.65 is the STATIC IP address assigned to my computer, erp-prod.my.home is the fully qualified domain name(FQDN) and erp-prod is the hostname.

At home you don’t need the FQDN, unless you have a DNS configured or you fancy a computer name like “mycomputer.mydomain.com” instead of just “mycomputer”

The above were the least amount of network related settings those you insure to make sure that your application can be accessed from your computer (and your network). Please note, you have to open port 7777 (default OHS) through the firewall so that other computers on the network can access your application. For local testing, you may skip this.

So, I guess we are good with the above mentioned and will move to setting up “stuffs” for our first application. I already have an application that was developed using 11g Forms & Reports and will be using the same for the rest of explanations.

Setup TNS Names. If you are not using environment variable TNS_ADMIN, you should set up the TNS names exclusively for your application deployment.

So, I said I always install Weblogic and other software components in the same place “D:\Weblogic\Middleware\Oracle_Home”. After configuring for a classic domain for Forms & Reports, I can find the tnsnames.ora file under the path:

D:\Weblogic\Middleware\Oracle_Home\user_projects\domains\base_domain\config\fmwconfig

Where “base_domain” is the default domain name Oracle suggests during the configurations.

I suggest you to make a copy of your tnsnames.ora file prior making changes to the file. The best is, copy the tnsnames.ora file from your database network admin folder after renaming the existing tnsnames.ora file.

Once the TNS names are set, we can quickly setup “formsweb.cfg” file within which our application specific configurations will be defined.

Based on my installation path and classic domain naming, I should find the formsweb.cfg & default.env files under:

D:\Weblogic\Middleware\Oracle_Home\user_projects\domains\base_domain\config\fmwconfig\servers\WLS_FORMS\applications\formsapp_12.2.1\config

Please make sure that each and every other configuration file that you are going to edit/alter is backed up, so that you can rollback to default configuration easily by replacing the wrongly configured files. I usually put “.original” by the end of backed up files!

Below is a sample configuration for my application & trust me, you need more than half of the parameters listed below

[balaji]
# 
# Entries from source Oracle FMW Domain
# added by the Forms Upgrade Assistant Plugin.
baseHTML=base.htm
baseHTMLjpi=basejpi.htm
HTMLdelimiter=%
envFile=default.env
serverArgs=%escapeparams% module=%form% userid=%userid% debug=%debug% host=%host% port=%port% %otherparams%
escapeparams=true
form=LOGIN.fmx
userid=APPS/APPS@orcl
debug=no
host=
port=
digitSubstitution=context
otherparams=obr=%obr% record=%record% tracegroup=%tracegroup% log=%log% term=%term% ssoProxyConnect=%ssoProxyConnect%
obr=no
record=
tracegroup=
log=
term=
HTMLbodyAttrs=
HTMLbeforeForm=
HTMLafterForm=
serverURL=/forms/lservlet
codebase=/forms/java
imageBase=codebase
mediaBase=codebase
width=750
height=600
separateFrame=true
splashScreen=false
allowAlertClipboard=true
disableValidateClipboard=false
highContrast=false
background=
lookAndFeel=Oracle
colorScheme=swan
customColorScheme=
logo=
guiMode=0
restrictedURLparams=pageTitle,HTMLbodyAttrs,HTMLbeforeForm,HTMLafterForm,log
formsMessageListener=
recordFileName=
serverApp=
archive=frmall.jar
networkRetries=0
java_version=1.7+
legacy_lifecycle=false
ssoDynamicResourceCreate=true
ssoErrorUrl=
ssoCancelUrl=
ssoMode=false
ssoProxyConnect=no
ssoLogOut=false
ssoLogOutRedirect=
logoutTargetURLParamname=
allow_debug=false
allowNewConnections=true
EndUserMonitoringEnabled=false
EndUserMonitoringURL=
applet_name=
enableJavascriptEvent=true
JavaScriptBlocksHeartBeat=false
idleTimeout=
separate_jvm=false

You will learn which parameters are not necessary over the long run. Just make sure that you will create all the new configurations by the dead end of “formsweb.cfg” file to avoid confusions. Please give extreme attention to the parameter “java_version=1.7+”. This means, you can only use JRE versions 1.7 and above (JRE7, 8 and other certified)

Once the formsweb.cfg is saved, we can proceed with editing/altering default.env file, that is in the same path. You can tell the forms runtime to look in this file to locate the forms runtimes. For example, I’ve all the compiled runtimes available at D:\12c folder for the application that I am trying to deploy/publish. The FORMS_PATH is pointed to it & other paths wherever I have applications (eg: mapped path \\RT04\OPMAN12C\main). Make sure each path is separated using a “;”

FORMS_PATH=D:\Weblogic\Middleware\Oracle_Home\forms;D:\Weblogic\Middleware\Oracle_Home\user_projects\domains\base_domain\config\fmwconfig\components\FORMS\instances\forms1;D:\12c;\\RT04\OPMAN12C\main;\\RT04\OPMAN12C\OPMAN

Finally we have to edit/alter one more file, “Registry.dat” which controls how the LOVs appear/behave and many other values for the runtime. We will only configure LOV appearance and required field background color settings this time.

You should able to find “Registry.dat” file here:

D:\Weblogic\Middleware\Oracle_Home\user_projects\domains\base_domain\config\fmwconfig\servers\WLS_FORMS\applications\formsapp_12.2.1\config\oracle\forms\registry
#
# Application level settings to control UI features
#
# app.ui.lovButtons=false
app.ui.lovButtons=true
# app.ui.requiredFieldVA=false
app.ui.requiredFieldVA=true
#    The background color is specified as an RGB triple.
# app.ui.requiredFieldVABGColor=255,0,0
app.ui.requiredFieldVABGColor=255,242,203

Please note, you can make these whole changes using Weblogic EM console. For me this is the fastest way.

Once whole these changes are made, you can start Weblogic server, start Weblogic FORMS server and try to run the application by entering the following URL on Microsoft Internet Explorer. Please note, no browsers other than Internet Explorer allow you to load JRE NPAPI client. We will discuss about using Java Webstart method by the end of this post.

One most important element you should cross verify at this point is whether the JRE installed is 32Bit or 64Bit. If you have installed the complete JDK before Weblogic setup, you should uninstall the JRE 8/higher version that is installed and install JRE 32Bit 7 or higher. Internet explorer will not load 64Bit JRE

http://<hostname>:7777/forms/frmservlet?config=balaji
http://rt04:7777/forms/frmservlet?config=balaji

Now, we will see how to get reports from the application. If you are planning to migrate from Developer 6i to 12c, there is going to be a huge effort involved. I am working with Oracle Applications R12 from last 11 years and have adapted much of the ideas from the application (menu architecture, report submission and many other). You will have to design a totally new approach for your reports, to cut it short. Plus, 12.2.1.4 is the last version of Oracle Reports (according to sources). Hence please start planning for Oracle BI or Crystal Reports integration for your reporting requirements in the future.

If you are switching from Forms/Reports 6i, please note, you will start using Web.Show_Document method for calling reports from Forms. With the given example, I am allowing users to select a report from list of values and storing the report executable value in to :CTRL.REPORT_NAME column and the calling “Web.Show_Document” method.

if (:CTRL.REPORT_NAME IS NOT NULL) then
Web.Show_Document('/reports/rwservlet?usr&desformat=PDF&destype=cache&report='||:CTRL.REPORT_NAME||'&paramform=Yes','_new');

else
	NULL;
end if;

You can pass the report name (‘ABCD.rdf’) for example for the parameter report within the url specified in Web.show_document method.

How to OPEN Forms Developer and Reports 12c??

While Oracle Forms 12c is available within the menu

accessing Report Developer may not be that straight forward. Basically report builder windows executable is wrapped inside multiple windows batch files & you will find the rwbuilder.bat file here:

D:\Weblogic\Middleware\Oracle_Home\user_projects\domains\base_domain\reports\bin

I suggest you not to try to open the executable, as the wrapper setup environment for the executable to run. Interested, the .bat file has the following content:

@REM
@REM Copyright (c) 1999, 2008, Oracle and/or its affiliates.
@REM All rights reserved. 
@REM

@echo off 
@echo Starting Reports 12c Builder...
setlocal

set DOMAIN_HOME=D:\Weblogic\Middleware\Oracle_Home\user_projects\domains\base_domain

call %DOMAIN_HOME%\reports\bin\reports.bat

set COMPONENT_NAME=rptools1
set COMPONENT_CONFIG_PATH=%DOMAIN_HOME%\config\fmwconfig\components\ReportsToolsComponent\%COMPONENT_NAME%

set REPORTS_INSTANCE=%COMPONENT_CONFIG_PATH%
set CA_GPREFS=%COMPONENT_CONFIG_PATH%\tools\admin
set CA_UPREFS=%COMPONENT_CONFIG_PATH%\tools\admin


@echo on
start %ORACLE_HOME%\bin\rwbuilder.exe %*

@echo off
endlocal
@echo on

I think I’ve made a decent attempt to make it easier for a sample application deployment using Weblogic Server 12.2.1.4 & always ready to develop and provide a sample application for entirely newbies using Oracle’s sample schemas. Feel free to let me know through the comments 🙏

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