Charts with Formspider

Korhan prepared four cool tutorials on how to create charts with Formspider. The interesting thing is, these tutorials are just the beginning of what you can do with charts in the framework. Take a look at them and find out how you can add beautiful charts to your Formspider applications.

How to build charts with Formspider

Building single plot, single renderer XY and Category Charts

Building Pie Charts

Building Multiple Renderers in a Single Plot Chart

The 100th Confirmed Installation

When we made Formspider Installer available in February, we counted how many people are actually downloading it. After a while a thought came to our minds. PL/SQL developers from all over the world were downloading Formspider. But were they installing it? We had built a notification system to the installer that alerted us when an installation attempt failed (with user’s permission of course). However, we had no mechanism to know how many of the installation attempts succeeded. We updated the installer in May to count the successful installations.

Formspider Installer opens up a thank you web page when the installation completes and we count how many times we render the thank you page. This page serves to a much more important purpose too. We’ve felt like the end of the installation did not really reflect our sentiments about how happy we are that you are giving Formspider a shot. Our thank you page shows how we really feel about it.

Formspider surged passed 100 installations in just five weeks. This is amazing. Thanks to Formspider, we have met many people from all around the world. We exchanged ideas, received invaluable feedback and hopefully we were able to help them as well.

On behalf of the team, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who is giving Formspider a shot. We love to hear what people do with Formspider. Please don’t be a stranger. Let us know what you do. Send us an email, ask a question or get involved in social networks. We are here to help.

Let’s meet at Oracle OpenWorld

This year, Formspider team applied to present at the Oracle OpenWorld via Oracle Mix. We submitted the presentation “Forms Modernization: The PL/SQL Way”.

We believe Oracle Forms modernization is an important topic for many Oracle customers. We would like to share our experience and knowledge in how organizations can protect their Forms and PL/SQL investment. If you are interested in seeing this presentation at Oracle OpenWorld please vote for it on the Oracle Suggest-A-Session page.

Admittedly, the process to vote is a little tedious. If you don’t have an Oracle account, you have to sign up and then vote for at least three presentations in order for your vote to be valid. However, we promise the presentation will be totally worth your effort. :-)

Vote for Forms Modernization: The PL/SQL Way now.

Free PL/SQL and Web 2.0 Training

Formspider is moving ahead full speed. In four months and with just a $5/day Google AdSense budget, Formspider surpassed 500 downloads and 500 online users. We all would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We are determined to help PL/SQL developers build amazing web applications. We believe Formspider is the best way to achieve this goal. To prove this, we are offering free Formspider training to anyone who is interested.

So how does this actually work? If you are located in Istanbul, Turkey just contact us to schedule the training.

If you are not located in Istanbul, we can come to your office anywhere in the world and provide a five day Formspider training completely free of charge. The training may be for one developer or hundred. All we ask from you is to pay for travel, lodging and a reasonable €100 Per Diem for the daily expenses of the trainer. The five day training itself is completely free.

Contact us now, let us show you how Formspider can help you build platform independent beautiful web applications with just PL/SQL.

JavaScript vs. JavaFX

We built the XML Editor for the Formspider IDE in Java, because the original Formspider IDE was a Java Application. When we were preparing the Formspider Online IDE for the Web, we also had to move the XML Editor to the Web. In one of the brilliant moments of my career I told the team “Hey, we have a working editor in Java. Why don’t we convert it to JavaFX and be done with it?” This should be simple right? Right…After months of work, we finally got the editor working in JavaFX. The fact that we converted from Java to JavaFX, did not help as much as we hoped it would.

We went live with the Formspider Online IDE and started observing user behavior. Something was not right. People were signing up but not really doing anything. A quick investigation revealed that we were having problems with the XML Editor. It was failing for more than 50% of our users. Some people didn’t have Java on their machines, some had the open SDK that did not support JavaFX and some had problems we could not figure out.

Formspider IDE was not a joyride for the lucky few who was able to run the editor either. On average, a user had to wait about two minutes before the IDE was ready for input. The 1.5 MB jar was downloaded quickly enough but it took ages for the computer to install the jar and getting it ready to run. The security alert that kept popping up was also very annoying from the user’s perspective.The state we were in with the Online IDE was clearly unacceptable.

JavaScript came to the rescue. We were actually smart enough to sponsor a coding contest for a JavaScript editor while we were working on the JavaFX one. The team of Bilal Gültekin and Bahattin Tozyılmaz were the winners. In the picture below you see Bilal receiving their bounty, a teddy bear filled with $2600 dollars. We are also looking forward to host both Bilal and Bahattin as our interns this summer.

The Award Ceremony

After the contest was over, Öskan took over the code base for the XML Editor in JavaScript and prepared it for production use. After several weeks of work, the editor was ready for beta testing. However, the problem was so severe that even a partially working editor written in JavaScript was better than a thoroughly tested editor written in JavaFX. So we skipped the beta pretty quickly. We were already annoying pretty much every user, how much worse could we really get?

After a few quick iterations, we were incredibly happy with the results. Now our new XML Editor written entirely in JavaScript loads instantly and runs for our every user. Most importantly, our users started to engage with the Online IDE. I see them creating panels, text fields and windows everyday.

If you used the Formspider Online IDE before and you did not have a pleasant experience at all, I apologize and kindly invite you to give it another try. If this is going to be your first time with the Online IDE, nevermind… It all works just fine.

Who Uses Formspider? Part 2: The Journey From Forms to Formspider

One of the projects that we are proud to be part of is SABRS, the software system that manages the budget of OASAS, the agency that provides alcohol and drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services to the people of New York. The SABRS System that serves over 110,000 New Yorkers with more than 1550 treatment, prevention and recovery programs is based on Formspider.
Dulcian had built the original system with Oracle Forms. However, times were changing and a web deployment was desperately needed. Virtually all business rules in the system were being stored and executed from a business rules repository. There was little or no business logic in Forms. We wrote a converter that read the Forms UI definitions and created a similar yet improved look and feel in the Formspider application. Whatever code that was in the Forms were converted to Formspider API’s manually.

» Read more…

Formspider Presentation

Joysticks vs. Game Controllers

If you allow me, I would like to talk about joysticks a little bit before I dwell into web, frameworks and application development, because I know we’d all rather play than work.
First Joystick

First Joystick

Remember the first joystick? The red button, the stick with eight directions. God knows how many I have ruined playing soccer games on my computer. Over the years the computer hardware improved. Soon enough the software followed and games became much more sophisticated. It is arguable whether they got any better but they certainly got way too complicated for the good old joystick. The joystick was out of its league. It needed to be replaced and after several iterations, what we ended up with for games of the 00′s and 10′s is the six axis game controller. Two sticks, seventeen buttons that I could count and tilt sensors. One wonders if there is a variation of Moore’s Law in play here for the number of buttons on a game controller.

» Read more…

Who Uses Formspider? Part 1: The Journey from Java Desktop To Web 2.0

When Dulcian took over the Air Force Reserves Recruiting System they knew it was going to be one of the biggest challenges the company ever had to overcome. The system was based on a client server architecture. The client application was written entirely in Java… A LOT of it. The application had hundreds of screens if not thousands but by no means it was complete. There were many many more features to be added.

As usual, the deadlines were tight, the task was big and the team was undermanned. This would have been fine if one of the important mid term goals hadn’t been to deploy the application over the web.

So the team had to maintain the existing screens and business processes (which was no small task by the way) ,add new ones all in desktop Java and yet provide a viable way to move the application to the web.

If they did everything traditionally, they were facing a major rewrite. Every screen had to be coded twice, once for the Java desktop app and once for the web. Existing business processes also needed to be moved to the server and refactored significantly. Not only that, the web development team would be aiming for a moving target. The Java desktop application was changing constantly. Every bug fix, every modification needed to be replicated in the web app. This was a humongous task and a very error prone one.

It was clear to the Dulcian team that they needed something new, something that would help them write their code once and run in two platforms; Web and desktop. » Read more…

How to install Formspider to Linux or Mac OS X

This post became obsolete. You can download the MacOSX and Linux installer from our download page!!!

Prerequisites

In order to complete this installation, an instance of Oracle Database Server 10.2.0.1 or higher must be installed either on the local machine or a remote machine that is available through the network connection.

Installation files

Please download and extract installation files before starting installation process. » Read more…

True Cross Browser Web Applications

Having a truly cross browser web application is like being truly happy. The moment you get there, someone is going to bring you up to date and ruin everything. And like happiness, you will never attain it if you chase it. And like happiness, it is a byproduct of devoting yourself to something that you are passionate about.

Developers tend to believe that the moment they start using a JavaScript library that works across browsers, they are immune to the problem. Nothing can be further from the truth. If you use such a library, this only means that the code inside the library is compatible with many different browsers. It does not automatically follow that any new line of code you will write for your application is going to work the same way across browsers. This is a hugely misunderstood concept. » Read more…