Mozilla Firefox 52 ESR for extended NPAPI-support

Interesting post from my colleagues from the US regarding Oracle Forms & Firefox 52:

As of March 7, 2017, Mozilla has released the newest release of Firefox, version 52. Similar to what Google Chrome did about a year or so ago, Mozilla has now disabled the NPAPI plug-in which is required to run anything with Java such as Oracle Forms without using Java Web Start. What will happen is if Firefox is updated to version 52 and you try to access Forms, you will see a blank screen which will result in the Forms application to not start at all.

Fortunately, Mozilla has realized that businesses still need to use services such as Java during this transition, so Mozilla has released the Firefox “Extended Support Release” for version 52. This is a version of Firefox which is used by companies and organizations which need support for running Java with the NPAPI plug-in especially for mass deployments. The current ESR version of 52 will continue to allow the use of the NPAPI plug-in for Java through May 2018. The download link (to download the 32-bit Firefox 52 ESR for Windows 32 and 64-bit machines) may be found here:

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/all/

After this is installed on your PC, you will be able to run Forms using Firefox again without the need of Java Web Start. This is important for anyone who is still running Forms 11gR2 (or older) which has no support for Java Web Start. However, if you are running Forms 12c, you may use Java Web Start which allows you to run Java (required for running Oracle Forms) without the NPAPI plug-in. Java Web Start allows you to run Oracle Forms 12c from any web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Edge, etc.). If you decide to use Java Web Start, the Firefox ESR is not necessary.

Sources: https://support.mozilla.org/t5/Problems-with-add-ons-plugins-or/Why-do-Java-Silverlight-Adobe-Acrobat-and-other-plugins-no/ta-p/31069 and https://www.fxsitecompat.com/en-CA/docs/2016/plug-in-support-has-been-dropped-other-than-flash/

from Oracle Knowledgebase – PITSS America, LLC

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Configure Webstart for custom Jar-Files

The following text is from a knowledgebase entry from my colleagues from the US. It describes how you have to configure Forms & Reports to be able to use PITSS.CON with webstart. Since adding your jar-files to the extensions.jnlp is a general task when you want to use webstart in 12c, I thought that this could also be helpful for people that want to configure webstart for their application in 12c.

Oracle Forms 12c is the first version of Forms to be supported with the new Java Web Start functionality. This allows you to launch your Forms application using any certified browser including Google Chrome. PITSS.CON can also be configured to run with Java Web Start. To implement this functionality with PITSS.CON, you will need to run these steps:

  1. Open up formsweb.cfg located in %DOMAIN_HOME%\config\fmwconfig\servers\WLS_FORMS\applications\formsapp_12.2.1\config.
  2. Within your config section(s) for PITSS.CON, add the following parameters inside it:
    1. basejnlp=webutil.jnlp
      webstart=enabled
  3. Save and close the file.
  4. Go to %ORACLE_HOME%\forms\java and open up extensions.jnlp in a text editor (make a backup of this file first).
  5. Look for <!– <jar href=”jacob.jar”/ –>. Uncomment this line. It should look like this: <jar href=”jacob.jar”/>
    1. NOTE: This fixes a Forms startup issue when using Java Web Start. Source: Oracle Support note 2083540.1
  6. Add the following lines for each of the PITSS.CON jar files (this will allow all jar files for PITSS.CON to be used while running Java Web Start):
    1. <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/pitssicon.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/pitssE.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/pitssH.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/pitssFS.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/pitssCFS.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/pitssLE.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/FileLastModified.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/pitss_calendar.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/pitssXSL.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/classes12.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/PitssFileUtils.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/BarChart.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/colorpicker.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/jcommon-1.0.16.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/jfreechart.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/PieChart.jar”/>
      <jar href=”/forms/PitssJava/OGD.jar”/>
    2. The file should look like this:
    3. Java Web Start PITSSCON
  7. Save and close the file.
  8. Clear your Java cache on your PC where you plan to launch PITSS.CON.
  9. Launch PITSS.CON.

After completing the steps above, you should be able to use PITSS.CON using Java Web Start.

über Oracle Knowledgebase – PITSS America, LLC

Running Forms 12c with SSL and Java Web Start Uses HTTP Instead of HTTPS

There is a known SSL-related issue when you run Oracle Forms 12c using the Java Web Start functionality. What happens is when you launch your Forms application using Java Web Start using HTTPS, you will notice that the URL will change to using HTTP instead of HTTPS. In some cases, you may encounter the following error:

“General Exception”

“ExitException: Unable to load resource: http://<host&gt;:<HTTPS_PORT>/forms/java/extensions.jnlp”

HTTPS Java Web Start issue

HTTPS Java Web Start issue

To fix this problem, you will need to add the following parameter inside your config section in formsweb.cfg which is configured for Java Web Start:

webstart_codebase=http://<host>:<HTTP_PORT>/forms/java

HTTPS Java Web Start fix

After making this change, the Java Web Start session should maintain the SSL connection using HTTPS without this error appearing.

thanks to my colleagues from PITSS LLC via Oracle Knowledgebase – PITSS America, LLC

Update: jp2launcher.exe workaround

So, first post in the year 2016 – its gonna be a short one 🙂

In a previous post in this blog I mentioned a problem for using the webstart in Oracle Forms 11g: That the jp2launcher.exe process will not be terminated automatically when the webstart window is closed (view post). I ran a few tests the last days and it seems, that this problem is solved with the new release of Forms 12c as the webstart is included as a separated configuration option.

So I just wanted to let you know, that if you plan to use the webstart feature and to upgrade to 12c the mentioned solution is obsolete.

Start options in Oracle Forms 12c

So I’ve read quite a lot of blog entries and news regarding Oracle Forms 12c in the last weeks since the release. It is nice to hear and see that Oracle Forms still is not dead.
The release brought some nice features with it. Today I would like to have a look at the different start options, that are now available.

Embedded Java applet

The standard start in the last couple of years. So its still possible to call your form application through the Java plugin embedded in html. Just create a new section in the formsweb.cfg. The parameters for the standard behaviour are:

baseHTML=webutilbase.htm
baseHTMLjpi=webutiljpi.htm

Unbenannt

There is also an option to embed JNLP in html:

basejnlp=base.jnlp
baseHTMLjpi=basejpi_jnlp.htm

Both options require a Java Plugin and a browser.

Java Webstart

This method of starting a Formsapplication is not new. But whats new is the fact that Oracle now supports this option. Since more and more browsers stopped or will stop supporting the NPAPI-Plugin this step was neccessary. Google Chrome already stopped the support, Firefox will support the plugin until December 2016. Microsoft still supports it in the Internet Explorer 11, while Edge does not.
So if you want to use webstart, just copy following lines into your configuration section:

webstart=enabled
basejnlp=base.jnlp

Afterwards you can open your application through entering following URL:

http://<host>:port/forms/frmservlet?config=<configname>

You will be asked to open a file (frmservlet). Just open it and you should get the following screen – you need to have a JRE installed for that.

2

There are some facts that have to be considered when using the webstart (copied from Michael Ferrante’s PPT):

  •  Limited SSO support (requires
    browser). SSO cookie will not be shared
    with browsers launched from Forms.
  •  No support for SSO Logout or Java
    Script Integration.
  •  Requires either JDK or Java Plugin (JRE).
  •  Browser optional (required with SSO).
  •  Presents application with native
    appearance.

Standalone

There is a new standalone option. For that you have to download the Oracle Forms Stand-alone Luncher(FSAL). A howto is to be found on your server environment under:

http://<host>:<port>/forms/html/fsal.htm

I did not have the time to fully test this option but here is what Michael Farrante stated in his Oracle Open World 2015 presentation:

  • No support for SSO, SSO Logout or Java
    Script Integration.
  • Requires either JDK or Java Plugin (JRE)
    installation.
  • Browser not required.
  • Presents application with native
    appearance.
  • Example page available at:
    /forms/html/fsal.htm

This option shall offer “a browser-less, more client/server-like interface”.

First impressions of Oracle Forms 12c

So after downloading the files for the installation of Oracle Forms & Reports I started the installation of the Weblogic Server and Forms & Reports. The installation of the weblogic server is pretty self-explanatory.

After that I started the installation of Forms & Reports itself. Then I wanted to start the configuration, just to find out that with 12c you need to install the Oracle Repository with at least following components:

  • Oracle Platform Security Services
  • Audit Services
  • Audit Services Append
  • Audit Services Viewer

So you have to jump to “oracle_common\bin” and start the rcu.bat to get the installation of the repository started. After that you are able to start the configuration of Forms & Reports with config.cmd under “oracle_common\common\bin”. A complete documentation of the installation can be found here:
http://docs.oracle.com/middleware/1221/formsandreports/install-fnr/install.htm
The first thing you will notice when starting the EM and console is the different design:

3

I also had the subjective feeling, that the EM and the console both acting faster as in 11g.

When I had a look at the formsweb.cfg I saw, that Oracle hold the promise of giving us an easy way to implement webstart, since more and more browser stop supporting the NPAPI-Plugin.

2

I found a default webstart section and tried to start the test.fmx with this configuration; and it worked! So webstart seems to work now with not much configuration effort. If you want to try it yourself, just use following URL in your installation:

http://<SERVERNAME>:<PORT>/forms/frmservlet?config=webstart