Oracle Forms is sold and released separately from the Oracle database. However, major releases of an Oracle database usually result in a new major version of Oracle Forms tosupport new features in the database.Oracle Forms had its origin in the character-cell video tool called Interactive ApplicationFacility (IAF), subdivided in two components (Interactive Application Generator (IAG)and Interactive Application Processor (IAP)) which accompanied Oracle Version 2, thefirst commercial version of Oracle. The character-cell video tool called
wasintroduced with Oracle version 4 - an additional tool to help the programmer to generatea default form to edit with standard tool (IAG).Renamed to SQL*Forms version 2 with the Oracle 5 databaseOracle Forms
was character based, and did not use PL/SQL. The source file was an*.INP ASCII file. It was common for developers to edit the INP file directly although thatwas not supported by Oracle. This version used its own primitive and unfriendly built-inlanguage, augmented by user exits--compiled language code linked to the binary of theOracle-provided run-time code.Oracle Forms
was character based, and was the first real version of Forms, usingPL/SQL. All subsequent versions are a development of this version. It could run under X but did not support any X interface specific features such as checkboxes. The source filewas an *.INP ASCII file. The IDE was vastly improved from 2.3 which dramaticallydecreased the need to edit the INP file directly, although this was still a common practice.Forms 3 automatically generated triggers and code to support some database constraints.Constraints could be defined, but not enforced in the Oracle 6 database at this time, soOracle used Forms 3 to claim support for enforcing constraints.Oracle Forms version
was the first GUI based version, although a character basedruntime was still available for certain customers. The arrival of Microsoft Windows 3forced Oracle to release a GUI version for commercial reasons. But it was rumoured thatit was in fact an internal demo which was only released as a stop-gap while Forms 4.5was developed. Forms 4.0 accompanied Oracle version 6 and featured a commongraphical interface designed to operate under Windows and X. This version wasnotoriously buggy and introduced an IDE that was unpopular with developers. Thisversion was not used by Oracle Financials. The 4.0 source files were named *.FMB andwere binary.Oracle Forms version
was a major new release rather than a "point release" of 4.0. Itcontained significant functional changes and a brand new IDE (replacing the unpopular IDE introduced in 4.0). It is rumoured that it was named 4.5 in order to meet contractualobligations to support Forms 4 for a period of time for certain clients. It added GUI-basedtriggers, and looked very like Visual Basic to the inexperienced.