Sunday, 21 August 2016

Oracle XE, Forms 6i and a trip to Ecuador

Quite some time ago I had to deploy an application developed with Oracle Developer 6i (also known as Forms & Reports). Another public institution bestowed upon our customer, a museum, a system that would help them to catalogue, inventory and keep track of their works of art loans.

To avoid costs of licencing, as their data volume wasn't high at all, we decided to use, as database, the free Oracle Express Edition 10g license. The cataloguing system provided required an Oracle database as storage.

But, as soon as we double clic the application icon on screen, a Windows console was opened and closed in a blink of an eye. No log, no error messages, nothing.

We thought a lot about this, we queried Oracle Metalink, web pages and forums on Oracle development but no clues at all.

Ultimately, after many Google searches, we found the solution to our problem at the Oracle Users Group of Ecuador, precisely in a Paola Pullas's post and the comments which followed.

It seems that a patch needs to be applied to Oracle XE 10g to make it work with Developer 6i. Besides that, it was needed to set the database character UTF8, that way you could make it work with tilda and accents. So here are the steps we had to follow:

First of all, we had to ask our DBA to connect to the XE database as SYSDBA and to execute these commands to change the character set:
SHUTDOWN IMMEDIATE;
STARTUP MOUNT;
ALTER SYSTEM ENABLE RESTRICTED SESSION;
ALTER SYSTEM SET JOB_QUEUE_PROCESSES=0;
ALTER SYSTEM SET AQ_TM_PROCESSES=0;
ALTER DATABASE OPEN;
ALTER DATABASE CHARACTER SET INTERNAL_USE UTF8;
SHUTDOWN;
STARTUP RESTRICT;
SHUTDOWN;
STARTUP;
After that we had to apply in our Oracle Developer installation the following patch: Oracle Developer Patch 18 (number 4948577).

Hope it still helps someone. Sure there are many people out there that are still maintaining a system like this one.

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