Installation Cookbook: Installing Oracle Application Server 10g (9.0.4)Forms and Reports Services

Thursday Mar 11th 2004 by Steve Callan
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Support for versions older than Oracle 9i is coming to an end--users wanting to view data in a database via forms will have to move to Oracle 9i/10g forms. The big show stopper on that process is that you need to have Application Server installed and running to view 9i/10g forms on the web. Learn how to install Application Server and make the connection to your databases.

In this continuing series of installation cookbooks, we will look at a new and improved version of Oracle's Application Server. This standalone release of Application Server, identified by "10g (9.0.4)," enables you to deploy forms (and reports) over the web without the overhead of installing the complete Application Server (iAS) environment. This standalone slice of iAS is a huge improvement over its predecessors with respect to ease of installation, required resources, and complexity. Forms users who slogged through Oracle's confusing, inaccurate and conflicting installation procedure for earlier versions of iAS will certainly appreciate the improvements made with this release.

Oracle's official installation guide for Forms and Reports Services is a much better written document than what was found in earlier versions. Despite some minor errors (Note to Oracle: does anyone there validate what is written in your installation guides? Hello?), you can take what is written and successfully install Forms and Reports Services in one sitting. On one machine. In one afternoon. Using less than 1GB of disk space. It almost sounds too good to be true, but it is.

If you are familiar with iAS Release 2, the GUI interface presented by the management console will make you feel right at home - including the sometimes non-working "Restart All" and "Start All" buttons. During the installation phase, you may see one or more components fail to start. Before exiting the installation, you can attempt a restart of the failed component(s) - just do them one at a time. That leads into some advice about starting the services via the Enterprise Manager console - if Restart All fails, try starting components one at a time. Take a moment to read the note at the bottom of the system components table about what a grayed-out check box means. There is no sense in trying to start something you have no control over.

If you are starting with a relatively clean Solaris machine, you will find the installation to be very straightforward. If you let Oracle do what it wants to do with reserving and assigning ports, and if you already have your forms in a 9i state, after about one minute of configuring two files, you will see your forms on the web. No host renaming, no disabling of NIS, no inordinate waste of disk space, and no confusion about who starts first and how with respect to the infrastructure and application server. What you get out of this installation is, for the most part, exactly what you got out of installing Oracle9i Developer Suite: a small, easy to manage, self-contained forms services environment - which is exactly what Oracle should have done in the first place with 9iAS forms on the web.

The next article in this series will cover the installation of the 10g (9.0.4) version of the forms developer tool. See the next page for the start of the Forms and Reports Services 10g installation guide.

Installing, Configuring, & Using Oracle Application Server 10g
Forms and Reports Services 10g (9.0.4)
For Solaris Operating Environment

Purpose

This guide provides information on how to install and configure Oracle Application Server 10g (10gAS) Forms and Reports Services on the Sun SPARC Solaris platform. 10gAS needs to be installed in order to deploy Oracle forms over the web in a customer/end-user type of environment. Prior to using Oracle forms in this manner, forms (references to "forms" includes reports as well) must be converted to a Forms 9i/10g state or must be originally developed as a 9i/10g form. This guide does not cover the forms conversion or development process, and does not cover Application Server administration. Further, this guide does not cover the upgrade process from Oracle9iAS to 10gAS.

Background

Forms Services, which enables the viewing of forms over the web, is available as a standalone installation under the 10g product line. Forms Services still falls under the Enterprise Edition of Application Server with respect to price and licensing, but there is no need to perform a complete Application Server installation.

Previous versions of Oracle's Application Server required the Business Intelligence and Forms installation option and the installation of an infrastructure along with an application server. The installation process using this release is much simpler and more streamlined. There is no infrastructure requirement, and the control of forms services can still be managed via a web interface using Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Forms may be converted or developed using Oracle9i Developer Suite or Oracle Developer Suite 10g. If your forms are already in a 9i state, no work is required to upgrade or modify them for use with 10gAS.

If all you wanted out of Oracle9iAS was the ability to run forms on the web without the overhead of numerous other unused features found in Oracle9iAS, you can simply abandon your previous Oracle9iAS installation and use the Forms and Reports Services 10g (9.0.4) version of Oracle Application Server. If you have other applications that depend upon your Oracle9iAS installation (applications using Single Sign-on, as an example), then you must install the full version of Oracle Application Server 10g.

Installation overview

The installation process for 10gAS is a one-step procedure. In a single sitting, you can install everything you need to view and use 9i/10g compatible forms over the web. Very little input is required on your part, and the Oracle Universal Installer (OUI) checks to see if several requirements are met before the installation begins. Post-installation tasks (covered later) instruct you on how to configure the application server for use.

If you prefer to keep installed products inventory information completely separate from one another, rename the oraInst.loc file in /var/opt/oracle before starting the installation and the OUI will assume this is the first Oracle product being installed on your machine. When working with other Oracle products, switch the oraInst.loc files so the OUI will be able to read installed product information for other products.

References

  • Oracle® Application Server 10g, Forms and Reports Services Installation Guide 10g (9.0.4) for Solaris Operating Environment, December 2003, Part No. B12246-01
  • Oracle® Application Server 10g, Forms and Reports Services Release Notes 10g (9.0.4) for Solaris Operating Environment, December 2003, Part No. B12247-02
  • Oracle® Application Server Forms Services, Deployment Guide 10g (9.0.4), September 2003, Part No. B10470-01
  • Oracle® Application Server 10g, Administrator's Guide 10g (9.0.4), November 2003, Part No. B10376-01
  • Oracle® Forms, Migrating Forms Applications from Forms 6i 10g (9.0.4), For Windows and UNIX, September 2003, Part No. B10469-01



Operating System and Hardware Requirements




The table shown below is a summary of the requirements shown in Oracle's installation guide. Oracle's installation guide contains several errors, and the differences are noted below.




Item

Value/Requirement

IP address

Must be static, do not use DHCP

Processor type/CPU

A SPARC v9 processor. The output from /usr/bin/psrinfo -v will reflect sparcv9 if this requirement is met.

Processor speed

Oracle states a 300MHz requirement, but the installer only checks for >250MHz. /usr/bin/psrinfo -v will also show the processor speed.

Memory/RAM

512MB, can be checked via /usr/sbin/prtconf | grep Memory

Disk Space

1GB on a single partition, but just under 800MB is used after installation is complete. Checked by using df -k.

Space in /tmp

Oracle states 256MB, but the installer only checks for >150MB. You can also set and use a TMP environment variable if /tmp does not have enough space (can be checked using df -k /tmp).

Swap space

Oracle states 640MB, but the installer may check for a higher value (such as >1536MB on a 768MB RAM machine), can be checked using

/usr/sbin/swap -s. If you need to add more space, create a swapfile and add it to the system using the mkfile and swap -a commands.

Monitor

256 color viewing capability, which can be checked using /usr/openwin/bin/xwininfo (look for an "8" in the "Depth" line)

Operating system

Solaris 8 or 9, checked via uname -r (look for 5.8 or 5.9)

Download and install the latest Sun OS and J2SE patch clusters (e.g., 9_Recommended.zip and J2SE Solaris 9) at

http://sunsolve.sun.com/pub-cgi/show.pl?target=patches/patch-access

Operating system patches

Solaris 8 has an extensive list of patches, whereas Oracle states no patches are required for Solaris 9. However, the installer checks for two patches on Solaris 9 (113096-03 and 112705-26, or higher). Installing the latest recommended OS patch cluster will ensure the patch level requirement is met (see page 5-3 in the installation guide for Solaris 8 patches). Installed patches can be viewed/checked using the showrev -a command (you can grep for a patch or pipe the output to a file for viewing with a text editor).

Operating system packages

The following packages must be installed (these typically are installed with most OS installations), and can be checked using pkginfo name.

SUNWarc SUNWbtool SUNWhea SUNWlibm

SUNWlibms SUNWsprot SUNWsprox SUNWtoo

SUNWi1of SUNWxwfnt SUNWi1cs* SUNWi15cs*

See the script and the end of this guide you can use to check for package info. (*=required for the ISO8859-1 & ISO8859-15 codesets)

NOTE: If using Solaris 8, the version of Java (java -version at a UNIX prompt shows the current version) found in the /usr directory needs to be upgraded to at least 1.3.1 (Solaris 8 installs with version 1.2). Instructions for this are covered here . Sun recommends you install 1.4.2, but 1.3.1 is still available. Solaris 9 ships with 1.4.0, and no upgrade is needed.

General Information

Required software

If the software is not shipped to you, you can download the software at http://otn.oracle.com/software/products/forms/index.html. Select "Oracle Application Server Forms and Reports Services 10g (9.0.4.0.0) for Solaris Operating System (SPARC)." Follow the instructions to extract the downloaded file.

Environment variables

The sample C-shell resource (.cshrc) file at the end of this guide shows a list of environment variables that need to be set prior to starting the installation.

FORMS90_PATH
Your forms can be distributed anywhere on the UNIX or network file system, and in more than one location. The only permissions requirement is that the fmx files are accessible by the forms services.

Note about setting the DISPLAY environment variable
The DISPLAY environment variable must be set to the server where 10gAS is being installed. If you use the sample C-shell resource file at the end of this guide, enter the host name as appropriate when editing the file. As the user ias, verify that you can see GUI displays by running /usr/dt/openwin/xclock. If you see a clock appear on the screen, enter Control-C to kill the process. If you receive an error message, exit the shell and return to a shell window as the UNIX account owner who initially logged on to the machine. Enter xhost + at the command line, then become ias again and attempt to run xclock. Once you are able to see the clock, you are ready to insert the CD-ROM and start the installation.

Setting ports

If the target machine for this installation is a typical machine (current OS, latest patches applied, no other third party web server applications running on it), then there is nothing you have to do with respect to the /etc/services file in terms of assigning port numbers. Oracle will reserve and assign the ports it needs. Otherwise, refer to chapter 3 of the installation guide for information about configuring ports.

Pre-installation Tasks

Install the Solaris patch clusters for the operating system and J2SE. As root, copy 9_Recommended.zip (for Solaris 9; otherwise, use 8_Recommended.zip for Solaris 8) to a staging area such as /opt, and unzip the file. Change directory to 9_Recommended, and execute ./install_cluster at the prompt. There may be patches that do not install. You can ignore this problem. Note: The return code of 8 means the underlying package was not present on the system, so the patch doesn't apply. You can delete the zip file after the patch cluster installation. Install the J2SE patch cluster, following the directions provided by Sun. You will need to reboot the machine once all patches are installed.

Create a UNIX account owner (and group, if this is the first Oracle product installed on your system) for the 10gAS program files. You can create the owner (group) with the useradd (groupadd) command, admintool (Solaris 8), smc (Solaris 9), or manually edit the /etc/passwd and /etc/group files followed by issuing the pwconv command. The name of the account used for this example and throughout the remainder of this guide is ias. Below is an example of the lines you can add to the /etc/passwd and /etc/group files.

/etc/passwd
ias:x:106:20001::/opt2/ias10g:/bin/csh

/etc/group
dba::20001: ias
oinstall::20002:ias

As root, create a home directory for ias and change ownership:

root@sun2: mkdir -p /opt2/ias10g
root@sun2: chown -R ias:dba /opt2/ias10g

After editing these files as root, and issuing the pwconv command, the UNIX user account named ias is created with a userid of 106, has a home directory of /opt2/ias10g, has a default shell environment using the C-shell, and is a member of the dba (primary) and oinstall groups. The dba and oinstall groups were also created after the pwconv command if they did not already exist.

Performing the installation

Become the user named ias by issuing su - ias at a UNIX prompt. Create the following directory structure for later use: mkdir -p /opt2/ias10g/app/oracle/product/9.0.4 where /opt2/ias10g matches the home directory you previously specified in the /etc/passwd file.

Create a C-shell resource file (.cshrc) for ias by using the sample provided at the end of this document. If you copied the sample file, edit it as necessary. If needed, ensure the TMP environment variable points to a location where at least 256MB of free space is available.

The installation process requires one CD-ROM. To start the installation, note the path to runInstaller on the CD. From a location that is not based on your CD-ROM drive, start the installation. OUI will abort the installation if you run runInstaller with /cdrom anywhere in your current working directory path.

Execute the steps indicated below for each window that appears in the OUI display.

Window Title

Step(s) to Perform

Welcome

Click Next

Specify Inventory Directory

If this is the first Oracle product on the machine, specify a directory. The directory you specify will be stored in the oraInst.loc file.

Note: The next three windows appear if this is the first Oracle product installed on the machine.

UNIX Group Name

Enter dba or oinstall (one of the two groups listed in /etc/group) and click Next

Generic dialog window

If directed to do so, run /<some_path>/orainstRoot.sh as root in a separate shell window. This script creates oraInst.loc in /var/opt/oracle.

Inventory Location

Specify a path or accept what is shown, then click OK

Specify File Locations

  • Verify the Source path (file or CD-ROM)
  • Enter a name for the ORACLE_HOME (ex: ias10g_home)
  • Path: enter a path such as /opt2/ias10g/app/oracle/product/904
  • Click Next

Language Selection

English is the default. Change if necessary. Click Next.

Specify Instance Name & ias_admin Password

Choose a name (it can be any name; it is not tied to anything) for the forms instance and a password for ias_admin. The password must be alphanumeric, be at least five characters long, contain at least one number, and begin with a letter. You will need this password to access the management console later on. The Confirm Password field may appear to be half-height, but it still works. Click Next.

Provide Outgoing Mail Server Information

Can be left blank; otherwise, enter the SMTP server if using Reports services. Click Next.

Summary

Click on Install.

Setup Privileges

You will be directed to run the root.sh script (as root) in the ORACLE_HOME directory. Use another shell window as root to run this script. Enter a location for a local bin directory. Click OK to close the window after root.sh is finished running.

Configuration Tools

(this is a lengthy process)

Numerous tools are configured and started for you. Note the Status column for any failures and read the Details section for corrective actions that may be taken after the installation has completed.

End of Installation

Click Exit, then eject the CD-ROM

Post-installation steps

Testing the installation

On any PC in your network, you should be able to see the following welcome screen when using this URL address - http://hostname:7778 - where hostname is the name of machine where 10gAS is installed

Click for larger image

Test the installation by connecting to the Application Server's Enterprise Manager web page using the following URL: http://hostname:1810.

After entering the password for ias_admin, you should see a window similar to the one shown below.

Click for larger image

Configuring Forms Services files

In $ORACLE_HOME/forms90/server, edit the formsweb.cfg and default.env files to customize your setup. There are countless ways to configure your forms environment, so here is an example where a master form is used to call child forms. The following assumptions are used: a user must log on at the beginning of a browser session, and all forms are located in a common directory.

In the formsweb.cfg file, make the following changes in the USER PARAMETERS section:

1) Runform arguments, "form=" line: enter the name of your master form (e.g., master_menu.fmx). Leave "userid=" commented out to force the user logon process.

2) Values for the Forms applet parameters, width and height values can be adjusted to size the applet window that appears on the web page. "lookAndFeel" can be Oracle or Windows.

In the default.env file, add the location where your 9i/10g forms are located to the FORMS90_PATH variable (e.g., /opt1/ias10g/forms).

Add database/instance information to the 10gAS tnsnames.ora file

In the $ORACLE_HOME/network/admin directory, edit the tnsnames.ora file and include the descriptor information for each database you want users to be able to access via forms on the web.

Viewing Forms on the Web

To view your forms on the web, use the following URL, where hostname is the name of the host where you installed 10gAS. This will prompt users for logon information, and then call your master form by default.

	http://hostname:7778/forms90/f90servlet

To view a specific form available in the FORMS90_PATH

To view the test.fmx form that ships with 10gAS, as an example of a specific form to launch, and assuming you have this form available in one the directories specified in FORMS90_PATH, use the following URL:

	http://hostname:7778/forms90/f90servlet?form=test (add "?form=form_name" after f90servlet)

Starting and stopping the Application Server

To start the instance (after a reboot, power outage, etc.), two commands need to be issued at the command line interface (UNIX prompt). As the user ias, issue the following commands:

	ias@hostname: $ORACLE_HOME/opmn/bin/opmnctl startall 
	ias@hostname: $ORACLE_HOME//bin/emctl start iasconsole

To stop the instance:

	ias@hostname: $ORACLE_HOME//bin/emctl stop iasconsole 
	ias@hostname: $ORACLE_HOME/opmn/bin/opmnctl stopall

Reference: Chapter 3, Starting and Stopping, Oracle Application Server 10g Administrators Guide (starting and stopping a middle-tier instance).

Sample .cshrc file

umask 022
set filec
stty erase ^H
setenv DISPLAY your_host_name:0.0
setenv ORACLE_TERM sun5
setenv LPDEST your_printer_name
setenv PRINTER your_printer_name
setenv TMP /tmp

set path=( /usr/bin /usr/dt/bin /usr/openwin/bin /usr/sbin )
set path=( $path /usr/ccs/bin /usr/ucb /etc /usr/local/bin . )

# Next variable is used for Netscape browsers
setenv NPX_PLUGIN_PATH /usr/j2se/jre/plugin/sparc/ns4

setenv FORMS90_PATH /path_to_where_your_forms_are_located

if ( $?prompt ) then
  set history=50              # previous commands to remember.
  set savehist=10             # number to save across sessions.
  set system=`uname -n`       # name of this system.
  set prompt = "$USER"@"$system":"{!} "
  set ignoreeof noclobber
  unset autologout
endif

UNIX script to check packages

Copy this script into a file and save as pkg_info.sh on your UNIX file system. Make the file executable with chmod 755 pkg_info.sh and run at the command line interface. Output will look like

system 	package_name	description_of_package

#!/bin/sh
pkginfo SUNWarc;
pkginfo SUNWbtool;	
pkginfo SUNWhea;
pkginfo SUNWlibm;
pkginfo SUNWlibms;	
pkginfo SUNWsprot;	
pkginfo SUNWsprox;	
pkginfo SUNWtoo;
pkginfo SUNWi1of;	
pkginfo SUNWxwfnt;	
pkginfo SUNWi1cs;	
pkginfo SUNWi15cs;

» See All Articles by Columnist Steve Callan

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