In 2007 Wilfred van der Deijl did a presentation at ODTUG about the integration of Oracle Forms with JSF, JSP and ADF Faces. This eventually resulted in a product OraFormsFaces. The technique he used is elaboratly described in this Step-by-step guide.
So I thought: Why not try to copy this technique and do this also in APEX?
So first I created a simple form showing Orders (all is based on the HR scheme). The second step is to incorporate this Form in an APEX region. So I created a page and within that page a PL/SQL region. The region source is a call to a database procedure APEX$CALL_FORM. This procedure has a couple of arguments, like formname, username and password. This procedure simply uses htp.p to put out the same tags that are used to show a form the regular way (I used Firebug to grab that code) and uses the parameters to replace the formname etc.
The result is:
This is showing a Form within an APEX region. The form is embedded in two DIV's: An 'innerdiv' and an 'outerdiv'.
Next was to apply some style attributes to the div's and the applet itself to keep the menu, buttons and scrollbar out of sight. I used the width and height settings to eliminate the scrollbars and negative margin settings to clip all unwanted content.
The result of that excercise looks like this:
You can hardly tell that this is an Oracle Form (especially because I used similar visual attributes as the APEX theme).
So far so good. When navigating through the form the Order Id should be updated (and automagically the Order Items get updated as well). So I added a WHEN-NEW-RECORD-INSTANCE to the Order Block in the form with just one simple call:
The final step is to use the Oracle Form as a detail to an APEX region as well (so a master-detail-detail page). Therefore I copied the 'CommunicatorBean' java code from Wilfred's guide and deployed that on my Forms Server (it took somewhat longer than just these two lines, but I won't go in to that ;-) ). I also added a CommunicatorBean-item to my form and added the following code in the WHEN-CUSTOM-ITEM-EVENT triger on that item.
ParamType number := text_parameter;
BeanEventDetails := get_parameter_list(:system.custom_item_event_parameters);
get_parameter_attr(BeanEventDetails, 'Event', ParamType, Event);
get_parameter_attr(BeanEventDetails, 'Payload', ParamType, Payload);
message('About to '||payload);
set_block_property('DEMO_ORDERS', DEFAULT_WHERE, 'WHERE CUSTOMER_ID = '||payload);
Then I created a master region (Interactive Report on Customers) and on the column Customer ID a link:
document.formsapplet.raiseEvent('execute_query', pCustId );And now, when I click on a Customer Id, the Form immediately shows the Orders for that customer and the Order Items are synchronized with the Order in the Form.
So it is possible to integrate your existing Forms with an APEX application, making a smooth transition possible.
I have submitted an abstract for ODTUG on this subject, so if it is selected I can show you this (and more!) live...
Last but certainly not least, many thanks to Wilfred for sharing his knowledge on the web!