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Oracle PL/SQL Programming, Third Edition by Bill Pribyl, Steven Feuerstein

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Oracle’s PL/SQL-Based Developer Tools

If you want to use PL/SQL for all of your programming needs, including the user interface, one way to accomplish that goal is to use two of Oracle’s developer tools, commonly known as Forms and Reports. The programmer’s tools are part of what Oracle currently calls the Oracle9i Developer Suite, which also includes a Java developer environment and a software configuration manager. Another tool, which was known as Oracle Graphics, is no longer sold as a separate product, but its functionality is available in Forms and Reports.

Included with the Forms Builder and Reports Developer products is a runtime engine that allows programmers to run their own applications; actually deploying your applications for end users, though, involves licensing a runtime environment such as Oracle9i Forms Services or Oracle9i Reports Services. These “services” are components of yet another product, Oracle9i Application Server, which would typically run on a mid-tier server machine, offering forms and reports to end users via Java-enabled browsers. However, older versions of Oracle Forms and Oracle Reports—still in use in many Oracle shops—run in a so-called “fat client” arrangement, in which the runtime software resides on every end user’s desktop machine.

Throughout this book, you will notice references to Oracle’s “client-side” developer tools, which refer to these tools. From the perspective of the database, everything is a client, even though you may be running ...

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