Learning SQL*Forms tips
Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson
Question: What's the
best way to learn SQL*Forms and Reports? I'm changing
careers from retails sales to computer professional, and I just
passed my OCA exam. I have a job interview next week where
they want knowledge of online systems development, and the job
involves PHP, SQL*Forms and Reports and HTML-DB. I can
download the SQL*Forms software, but what do I study to learn
SQL*Forms and Reports fast?
Answer: Learning SQL*Forms
requires many prerequisite skills, and it's not recommended as a
"first language". Most universities teach basic
procedural languages (C++, Java, MS-Access) as a first language,
before introducing interactive systems development tools.
You don't mention your background,
but to be competitive, you need to learn the equivalent of a
college concentration in Information Systems or Computer
Science. It can be done, but it takes years of catch-up
work, learning on evenings and weekends. As a review of
the skills required, lets review the worlds largest employer of
Oracle SQL*Forms developers (Oracle Corporation) and see what
Oracle does when hiring help:
Oracle internal developers job are
the most difficult to snag, usually reserved for those who have
demonstrated a commitment to the profession by graduating from a
challenging university (MIT, &c).
Oracle is quite selective about hiring their own developers,
preferring to let a
challenging university screen-out the sub-optimal
"unless you're coming out of MIT,
Stanford or another of a handful of brand-name tech universities, you're
very likely out of luck."
While it's not possible to get a
developer job at Oracle without a college degree, you may be
able to get a junior developer job at companies with less
stringent requirements, but you must be able to demonstrate a
passion for Oracle, natural talent, and a demonstrable
commitment to pursuing Oracle as a profession.
Some of the skills for SQL*Forms
programming (as well as Apex and JDeveloper) include these basic
Collecting functional specifications -
You need to have college-level English communications skills and be able to
interact with end-users in a variety of business areas (i.e. finance,
marketing, accounting), and write understandable documents that can be
easily translated into SQL*Forms screens.
Screen Data Flow Analysis - know how to
collect and create end-user screen specs, build architectural specifications
and process logic diagrams.
Screen & Reports Design - You must
understand online system architecture components (pre-map processing,
map-out, response processes) and inter-screen communications.
Procedural Language Coding - You will
need to understand PL/SQL, as best practices dictate that all non-screen
code reside inside oracle stored procedures, safe inside the database.
SQL*Forms developers are also proficient in Java (for J2EE and AJAX), and
sometimes PHP, C++, Ruby on Rails, etc.
SQL*Forms - You need proficiency in
screen layout skills, querying Oracle data, managing repeating items, and
building widgets (drop-downs, auto-fill, AJAX fill-in).
Here are some related notes for self-study in SQL*Forms and Reports,
JDeveloper, Oracle PHP, Oracle Apex (HTML-DB), and PL/SQL.
Training for online systems development skills
Oracle University offers offline CD-based learning, but this approach is
not nearly as effective as personal attention from an experienced Oracle
Counting college tuition and Oracle training costs, expect to pay at
least $30 for the minimum requisite knowledge. There are no
shortcuts, and it very rare for anyone, no matter how talented, to
self-teach these complex concepts. There is no substitute for a
Books or learning Oracle systems development (SQL*Forms, PHP, Apex,
Oracle technology is always changing and
it's hard to get current technical information. If you don't mind
learning with older technology (e.g. Oracle 9i), you can get great deals
on used Oracle books at www.half.com.
The web is polluted with misinformation,
and it's critical to understand how to
trustworthy sources when learning in the web.
I helped created the
Book Series to provide affordable books for Oracle professionals:
Training resources for learning Oracle systems development (SQL*Forms,
PHP, Apex, AJAX, JDeveloper)
In a perfect world, you can
hire Oracle mentors to tutor you, but many companies prefer on-site
training with follow-up mentoring, using an Oracle expert to develop a
custom course on the tools required to succeed in their environment.
The Oracle University training courses can easily cost over $40,000 per
employee, and on-site training is far better:
Oracle AJAX & ADF Faces Training
Oracle XML Publisher Training
Oracle XML Developer Training Course
Oracle Application Express for Rapid Application
Oracle10g New Features for Application
Developer Training Course
Oracle XML Developer Training Course
Oracle Object Technology for Developers
Programming & Tuning
Java & Oracle Fundamentals
Oracle JDeveloper Java
Application Server 10gAS Training
Developer 6i Forms
Oracle Developer 9i Forms
Oracle Developer Reports
Oracle App Server Portal
Oracle Developer Forms & Reports
Oracle Developer Forms Troubleshooting & Debugging
& Design for Oracle