Oracle Forms Migration – Java instead of Oracle APEX?

Oracle Forms Migration – Java instead of Oracle APEX?

Oracle Forms Migration Why migrate Oracle Forms to Java instead of Oracle APEX?

Migrating away from Oracle Forms can offer several advantages, especially considering the evolving landscape of technology and business requirements. Here are several reasons why migrating away from Oracle Forms might be a good idea


Posted by Patrick Hamou on 2024:05:21 11:20:03

Migrating away from Oracle Forms can offer several advantages, especially considering the evolving landscape of technology and business requirements. Here are several reasons why migrating away from Oracle Forms might be a good idea: 

  1. Modernization: Oracle Forms, while once popular, is now considered a legacy technology. Migrating away from it allows organizations to modernize their applications and adopt newer technologies better suited to current industry standards and practices. 
  2. Platform Independence: Oracle Forms applications are typically tied to the Oracle platform, which can limit flexibility and vendor lock-in. Migrating to a more platform-independent solution allows organizations to have more control over their technology stack and infrastructure choices. 
  3. Forms Resource Shortage: As Oracle Forms becomes more outdated, the pool of skilled professionals proficient in this technology is shrinking. This scarcity of resources can lead to higher costs and longer project timelines for maintenance and development. By migrating to modern technologies, organizations can tap into a larger talent pool, reducing dependency on specialized skills and mitigating the risks associated with resource shortages 
  4. Scalability: Legacy systems like Oracle Forms may have limitations in terms of scalability, making it challenging to support growing user bases or increased transaction volumes. Migrating to modern platforms or frameworks can provide better scalability options, allowing applications to grow and adapt to changing needs. 
  5. Enhanced User Experience: Oracle Forms applications often have outdated user interfaces that may not meet modern usability standards. Migrating to newer technologies enables organizations to redesign user interfaces, improving the overall user experience and increasing user satisfaction. 
  6. Support and Maintenance: Oracle Forms has been in existence for many years, and Oracle Corporation has announced the end of Premier Support for certain versions. Migrating to a supported platform ensures ongoing support, security updates, and access to new features, reducing the risk of running on unsupported software. 
  7. Integration Capabilities: Legacy systems like Oracle Forms may lack the robust integration capabilities required to seamlessly interact with modern web services, APIs, or cloud-based applications. Migrating to newer technologies provides better integration options, allowing organizations to connect with other systems more efficiently. 
  8. Cost Efficiency: Maintaining and upgrading legacy systems like Oracle Forms can be costly, especially if specialized skills are required or if additional licenses need to be purchased. Migrating to modern platforms or open-source alternatives may offer cost savings in the long run, both in terms of licensing fees and development/maintenance costs. 
  9. Future-proofing: Technology is continuously evolving, and relying on outdated systems can hinder an organization's ability to adapt to future changes and innovations. Migrating away from Oracle Forms to more modern technologies helps future-proof applications, ensuring they remain relevant and maintainable in the years to come. 

Migrating away from Oracle Forms presents an opportunity for organizations to modernize their applications, improve scalability and performance, enhance user experience, reduce maintenance costs, and future-proof their technology stack. However, it's essential to carefully evaluate the specific requirements, challenges, and strategic objectives of each migration project to ensure a successful transition.

Migrating Oracle Forms to Oracle APEX or Java involves several considerations, and the best solution depends on various factors such as existing infrastructure, application complexity, team skillset, and business requirements.  

Here are several reasons why migrating to Oracle APEX might be considered less favorable compared to Java/Javascript:

Component and Object Variety = Redesign

Oracle Forms offers a rich variety of components and objects, making it a powerful tool for developing complex applications. Specifically, Oracle Forms includes: 

  • 97 trigger types 
  • 473 attributes and properties 

This extensive range of options allows for highly customizable and feature-rich applications. However, when considering a migration to Oracle APEX, it is essential to understand the significant reduction in the variety of components and objects available. Oracle APEX offers: 

  • 14 trigger types 
  • A limited number of attributes and properties 

This narrower scope means that many components and functionalities in Oracle Forms do not have direct equivalents in APEX. Consequently, migrating from Oracle Forms to APEX automatically necessitates a comprehensive redesign and rewrite of most components. This process is labor-intensive and relies extensively on manual work, increasing the risk of issues, especially concerning the preservation of business logic. 

Migrating Oracle Forms to Java/Javascript offers an environment with more components and functionalities than available in Oracle Forms which reduces the necessity for redesign or rewrite. 

Oracle's Strategic Push for APEX

Oracle is aggressively promoting APEX for one primary reason: it reinforces dependency on Oracle's ecosystem. Once your application code is entrenched in APEX, transitioning away from Oracle Database or Oracle services becomes exceedingly difficult. APEX is a proprietary tool, fundamentally different from standard technologies and popular JavaScript frameworks like Angular, React, and Vaadin. This proprietary nature means: 

  • Further lock-in with Oracle: Moving to APEX corners your application within Oracle’s ecosystem, making future migrations to other technologies nearly impossible without a complete rewrite. 
  • Proprietary application development: APEX’s unique development environment diverges from standard practices, limiting flexibility and future-proofing. 

In contrast, adopting a standard Java/JavaScript approach provides several advantages: 

  • Platform independence: Java applications are not tied to Oracle’s ecosystem, offering greater flexibility in terms of technology stack and future migrations. 
  • Distribution of server load: Java applications follow a multi-tier architecture, distributing the load across multiple servers, which can enhance performance and scalability. 
  • Future-proofing: Java's extensive ecosystem and compatibility ensure long-term viability and adaptability. 

Enabling Future Migrations

By leveraging a Java-based approach, organizations can also consider future migrations away from Oracle Database to alternatives like PostgreSQL. This transition can: 

  • Enhance cloud enablement: PostgreSQL is well-suited for cloud environments, providing more options for cloud deployment and scaling. 
  • Reduce dependency on Oracle: Moving to an open-source database like PostgreSQL reduces licensing costs and dependency on Oracle. 

Java/JavaScript Wide usage vs. Apex

  • 50% of today’s enterprise apps are Java-based
  • 1 out of 3 developers in the world is a Java Developer
  • JavaScript represents 94.8% of the worldwide application market share with over 13,632,118 customers worldwide 
  • 451,606 customers are using Java based programing languages  
  • Oracle Application Express is only used by 6,749 companies worldwide.

Sources: CIO, 6sense & Enlyft 

Complexity and Customization

Oracle APEX is a low-code development platform, meaning it's more suitable for simpler applications with straightforward requirements. If your application is highly complex or heavily customized, Java might offer more flexibility and control over the codebase. 


Java applications can be highly optimized for performance, especially for large-scale enterprise applications. While Oracle APEX can handle moderate workloads efficiently, Java applications often offer better performance, particularly in demanding environments. 

  • APEX operates by embedding all application logic within the database, which can create a new performance bottleneck. Unlike traditional multi-tier architectures where the load is distributed across the database and application servers, APEX consolidates this load onto the database server. This consolidation can lead to performance issues as the database becomes the single point of contention, potentially affecting scalability and responsiveness. 

Integration with Third-Party Systems

Java provides extensive libraries and frameworks for integrating with various third-party systems and services. If your application requires complex integrations with external APIs, databases, or legacy systems, Java might provide more robust solutions compared to Oracle APEX.

Vendor Lock-in

Migrating to Oracle APEX ties your application to Oracle's platform as much as remaining with Oracle Forms. This could potentially limit your options for future migrations or technology stack changes. On the other hand, Java/JavaScript applications are more platform-independent, offering greater flexibility in terms of hosting environments and Database vendor choices.

Skillset Availability

If your development team is already proficient in Java or if there's a larger pool of Java/Javascript developers available in the job market, migrating to Java might be a more viable option. Oracle APEX development requires a different skillset, and finding experienced APEX developers might be more challenging. Java benefits from a vast and active developer community, making it easier to find skilled professionals. According to various sources, Java developers are among the most common in the job market. Approximately one out of three developers worldwide are proficient in Java, reflecting its widespread adoption. This equates to over 9 million Java developers globally, contributing to a robust ecosystem. 

Long-term Support and Maintenance

Java is an established programming language with extensive community support and a long track record of backward compatibility. While Oracle APEX is backed by Oracle Corporation, its long-term roadmap and support might be less certain compared to Java's ecosystem.

Chart Comparison 

Here's a visual representation to highlight the differences in complexity, risk, and other factors across the three migration paths (Java & Apex):


Making the right choice

While Oracle APEX can be a suitable choice for rapid application development or for simpler applications within the Oracle ecosystem, migrating to Java will offer more control, scalability, performance, and flexibility, especially for complex enterprise applications with demanding requirements. However, the decision ultimately depends on a thorough evaluation of your specific needs, resources, and strategic objectives. 

RENAPS offers two different Oracle Forms Migration solutions to migrate automatically from an Oracle Forms to a pure Java based system: ORMIT-Java (Oracle Forms Migration to Java) and ORMIT-OpenJava (Oracle Forms Migration to Angular/React/Java), which both helps cut down on costs while minimizing risks related to a manual migration.  

Given that 50% of today’s enterprise apps are Java-based and that of those 46% of all enterprise workloads use the Spring Framework, RENAPS ORMIT-OpenJava emerges as a remarkable and forward-looking solution, excelling in all aspects critical for long-term success in business: integration, scalability, customization, sustained support, and the availability of necessary skillsets. 

More info on RENAPS ORMIT-OpenJava can be found here

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