Announcing Formspider Desktop 1.8

Today, we are thrilled to announce the new version of Formspider. Formspider 1.8 opens up possibilities that are currently unavailable to APEX developers.

Built-in Version Control

Formspider 1.8 integrates the prominent version control system Git to Formspider. Formspider developers are now able to manage the source code of their applications (both Formspider application objects and PL/SQL code) right within the Formspider IDE.

Formspider Version Control Highlights

Formspider 1.8 makes managing different versions of your code base incredibly easy. It has the following benefits:

  • Great Team Productivity
  • Create and work on different branches of your application. Clone your application and have your team edit the same Formspider application objects and PL/SQL code units at the same time without overwriting each others updates. Pull changes from other developers and merge them easily right in the Formspider IDE using the Merge Wizard.

  • Painless Release Management
  • Release maintenance versions of a production application while working on new features.

  • Instant Set Up, Seamless Integration
  • Formspider automatically installs Git, features both a point&click user interface via the Formspider IDE and a PL/SQL API. Be it SQL Developer, SQL Navigator, PL/SQL Developer or TOAD, Formspider Version Control works with any PL/SQL development tool.

For more information please read How to use Formspider Version Control and How to do a Merge in Formspider in the Learning Center.

Download Formspider Desktop 1.8 now.

Formspider Desktop 1.7 is available

We are very excited to announce the release of Formspider Desktop 1.7. FS Desktop 1.7 includes one of the most requested features by our customers.

Built-In Security Repository

FS Desktop 1.7 comes with an integrated authentication and authorization repository. Formspider developers are now able to secure both data and UI elements and grant access rights to users directly from the Formspider IDE.

Formspider Security Highlights:

  • Security both at data and UI layer.
    Grant read and write access at the query, column and row level. Control editable, enable, visible attributes of every UI component.
  • Security aware UI components.
    Formspider automatically detects the read&write privileges defined at the data layer and restricts access to data bound UI objects.
  • Incredibly easy to manage.
    Build and maintain your security model quickly with the point and click graphical user interface.
  • Create reports on your security model easily with SQL.
    No LDAP, no XML, no files. Formspider security model is implemented in relational database tables.

Learn more about Formspider Security at the Learning Center.

Download Formspider Desktop 1.7 now.

Formspider Desktop 1.6 is here

Formspider Desktop 1.6 is here

We are really excited to release Formspider Desktop 1.6 to public. This version brings us one step closer to our goal to create the best application development framework for PL/SQL developers.

Implementing smoothly scrolling Grids in Web applications (a.k.a Infinite Scroll) has always been a challenge for developers. In particuler, PL/SQL Developers just don’t understand why such a great feature which has been available in Oracle Forms for decades is so hard to implement in Web applications.

Today, we’ve got a solution for them.

Introducing Formspider Infinite Scroll

FS Desktop 1.6 comes with built-in Infinite Scroll support. All you have to do is to click to two combo boxes and Grids in your Formspider applications will start taking advantage of the feature. Formspider Infinite Scroll even supports, editing, creating and deleting rows right inside the Grid component. Formspider takes care of everything in the server and the client. You do not need to worry about a thing.

It just works.

Here is a demo.

You can read more about the feature in our Learning Center.

Download FS Desktop 1.6 today.

The Formspider Team

Introducing Formspider Mobile Beta 2

Today we are releasing the second public beta of Formspider Mobile (FS Mobile). This new version brings us one step closer to our goal of enabling PL/SQL developers to build cross platform applications.

FS Mobile includes three new features:

Run FS Mobile Apps Natively on iOS

For the first time ever, FS Mobile Beta 2 enables PL/SQL developers to build native apps for iOS. Simply download the Formspider Mobile Previewer from the App Store and run your apps natively on your iOS devices.

Improved Map API’s

FS Mobile Beta 2 includes new API’s to create and edit markers and show directions between two markers on a map. We’ve already published three new tutorials about the new API’s on the Formspider Learning Center.

Access to the Camera and Photos

FS Mobile Beta 2 comes with new components that enable PL/SQL developers access the camera and photos on mobile devices. Check out this tutorial to find out more about this feature.

You can download FS Mobile Beta 2 from here. Enjoy!

The Formspider Team

ING modernized its Forms application with Formspider

ING Emeklilik, the ING company in Turkey which operates in the insurance & personal retirement sector is a long time Formspider customer.

The latest use of Formspider at ING is in an Oracle Forms modernization project.

The Business Problem

ING Emeklilik Life Insurance policies are sold via hundreds of agencies and branches across Turkey using an application implemented with Oracle Forms.

The Life Insurance application must be accessed by all sorts of devices and browsers from all over the country and it was getting increasingly difficult for IT to deploy, upgrade and support the Forms applications to meet the increasing demands of the business. It was time to modernize the Forms applications.

The New Formspider Application has a fresh look (Click to enlarge)

The Technical Challenge

The Life Insurance application is a mid-size system containing four Oracle Forms FMB’s with 19 Forms blocks and more than 10K lines of code.

Over the years, a lot of business rules were implemented in the Forms. The new system must implement these business rules.

To avoid retraining the users, the new application must look and function similarly.

The new application must meet the strictly enforced, high security standards at ING Emeklilik.

The Implementation

Since Formspider applications work 100% AJAX and have components such as Windows, Tabs and LOV’s it was very easy for us to create a similar working environment for the users while still being able to give the software a fresh look.

In Formspider, a Dialog can be opened with a single API call (Click to enlarge)

Just like Forms, Formspider’s programming language is PL/SQL. This enabled us to reuse most of the algorithm in the Forms for validations and UI navigation by simply replacing Forms built-ins with Formspider API’s. This greatly reduces the chance of creating bugs.

Both Formspider and Forms use an event driven architecture. This makes porting of a Forms applications triggers to Formspider a lot easier than porting it to a web page architecture.

Formspider applications use a connection pool to access the database and Forms applications have a dedicated session. The Life Insurance Forms relied on package globals, global temporary tables etc… which only work in a stateful environment. We had to convert these portions of the code to Formspider constructs such as session variables, datasource definitions etc…

Forms LOV’s stop the execution of the code and wait for user input. Formspider LOV’s do not stop the execution of the code. They have a special event which fires after the user makes a selection in the LOV. We had to refactor the portions in the code which called LOV’s.

The Result

The new Life Insurance application built with Formspider was in production in less than two months after we started development.

We were amused to find out later that, in our competitor’s bid for the project the estimated duration for conversion of the system to Java was nine months.

The application passed the security tests of the ING team with flying colors.

The users did not require any training at all because the new application practically worked exactly the same way as the old one, only with a more modern look.

Formspider Tabs helped us to avoid user training (Click to enlarge)

Thanks to Formspider’s built-in true cross browser compatibility, the application worked in every device and browser, hundreds of insurance agents use. Since the new Formspider application is entirely web based, the deployment, upgrade and support costs went significantly down compared to the legacy system.

The new system has been in production for six months now without any incident.

Introducing Team Coding

Today, we are releasing Formspider Desktop 1.5. FS Desktop 1.5 introduces Team Coding, a feature that’s been asked by many developers who work in groups.

The new Formspider IDE allows a developer to check out objects that he is working on to prevent other developers from editing them until he checks them back in.

Team Coding in Popup Menu

To enable team coding for your application, simply check the team coding check box in the Application Edit Dialog of the Formspider IDE.

You can view the complete list of changes in FS Desktop 1.5 here.

The Formspider Team

Formspider and Docufy

Lately, our good friends at iAdvise have been pretty busy. They’ve just released a cool product called Docufy which enables PL/SQL developers to create MS Word documents right from the Oracla Database.

They built a  Formspider application to show how you can use Docufy with Formspider. You can view it on their samples page.

It’s great to see the PL/SQL  ecosystem growing with new products. If you have a product for PL/SQL developers and would like to show the Formspider community how it works with Formspider, let us know.

Formspider Roadmap

It occurred to us that even though you can read about our roadmap here and there on the web site, there isn’t one blog post for reference. So here it is.

We’ll talk about our roadmap in broad terms. There are couple of reasons for this:

For one, we simply like the element of surprise.

We also like to keep our flexibility. Together with our customers we need to adapt to a world with ever changing needs and requirements. Something that seems very important today, can easily be completely irrelevant in several months. Our top priority is always helping our customers to get things done and no roadmap will ever take precedence over that.

With that said, here is our guidelines for the FS Desktop and FS Mobile:

FS Desktop Roadmap

We will release new versions of FS Desktop continuously.  In these releases you’ll see us deliver;

Team Development Support

Version Control Support

GUI Designer

Infinite Scroll for Grids

Server Side Events (i.e. pushing events from server to the client),

New grid features for custom reporting

More features and API’s for maps

Templating Support

Other new components and new API’s based on requests from professional support customers and feedback from customers.

We’ve already delivered several features that correspond to these promises above and we’ll continue to do so.

FS Mobile has its own roadmap and we published it along with its announcement.

FS Mobile Roadmap

Support to build native Android and iOS applications

We’ll add other platforms depending on the feedback from our customers.

Access to device API’s and features

Camera and Pictures are the first items on the list. The rest is largely going to be decided by the feedback we receive from our customers.

More API’s and features for Maps

Directions, interactive pins etc…

Location Services

More API’s to work with GPS location data.

More API’s and features for Charts

New Components and API’s

This is largely going to be influenced by the feedback we receive from our customers.

What’s New in Formspider Mobile?

In the last few days, we added a bunch of new material about FS Mobile to our Learning Center. Among several tutorials and instructions on how to install the reference application locally, we added five short blog posts which introduce what’s new in FS Mobile to current FS Desktop developers.

These five introductory blog posts are:

1) Row Layout in FS Mobile

2) Introduction to Repeat Panel

3) FS Mobile API’s

4) Header and Content Sections in Mobile Panels

5) The Back Button and the goBack API

We think you will find them very handy to get up to speed with FS Mobile.

Introducing Formspider Mobile

Today, we are announcing Formspider Mobile and releasing the first beta version to the public.

Vision for FS Mobile

Our mission is to provide PL/SQL developers a modern framework so that they can build applications for today. This cannot not happen without enabling them to build apps for mobile devices.

FS Mobile will enable PL/SQL developers to build native applications for mobile devices.

What’s in the Beta?

With FS Mobile Beta 1, PL/SQL developers can build mobile web applications which include the following features:

1) Infinite scrolling

FS Mobile datasources implement infinite scrolling and the UI Components take advantage of this feature automatically. No coding required.

2) Charts and Maps

FS Mobile Beta includes charts and maps with a limited API set. (This is a beta after all)

3) Best of Formspider

Everything you love about the original Formspider (now called FS Desktop) such as full transaction control, data aware components, true multi browser support etc… exists in FS Mobile as well.

The way your applications work and the way you think about them did not change.

The Roadmap

In the upcoming weeks you’ll see us deliver the following features:

1) Support to build native Android and iOS applications

We’ll add other platforms depending on the feedback from our customers.

2) Access to device API’s and features

Camera and Pictures are the first items on the list. The rest is largely going to be decided by the feedback we receive from our customers.

3) More API’s and features for Maps

Directions, interactive pins etc…

4) Location Services

More API’s to work with GPS location data.

5) More API’s and features for Charts

6) New Components and API’s

This is largely going to be influenced by the feedback we receive from our customers.

How much will FS Mobile cost?

We have not decided on the final pricing of FS Mobile yet.

However, we decided on two things:

Existing Formspider customers will get FS Mobile for free. Yes, we love our customers. :-)

Similarly, everyone who buys a Formspider developer license during FS Mobile beta period will get FS Mobile for free. If you have any questions about this, please contact us.

Final Words

We built an FS Mobile Reference Application (convenient short link to test the app in mobile devices: which implements the most common use cases developers encounter when building mobile applications. You can download the source code for the FS Mobile Reference Application from this link.

We’ve already published a few tutorials for FS Mobile in our Learning Center and we’ll add more content to both our Learning Center and Demo Page in the coming days. Subscribe to this blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or join our LinkedIn group to follow the latest news about FS Mobile.

Download FS Mobile today and start building mobile applications with PL/SQL.

We are looking forward to hearing your feedback on our Q&A site.

The Formspider Team