Article

Oracle's integral tool

Edward Hurley, Assistant News Editor

If Oracle9i JDeveloper had a middle name, it would be "integration."

Oracle has announced JDeveloper for creating Java applications with XML, SQL and full support for wireless and Web Services. Support for modeling and profiling lets users create Java applications. No down-and-dirty programming knowledge required.

Integration is on developers' minds in the earliest stages of application development. JDeveloper lets developers include XML with their Java in an application, instead of having to separate the two. The product also includes "BI beans" for analytics.

JDeveloper also includes Universal Modeling Language (UML). This function allows users to model their application. JDeveloper then generates the code. Model and code are synchronized, so changes show up in between.

Oracle has pre-configured some ways to connect the code to the database, a common cause of performance problems. JDeveloper also includes J2EE design patterns that help users get the most out of their applications without having to learn the sophisticated technical and academic underpinnings.

When an application is written, the developer can call in Code Coach, which blows the whistle on code problems and even suggests fixes "much like a spell checker," said John Magee, senior director of Oracle9i product marketing.

JDeveloper also includes profiling tools so users can measure the performance of their code. The product also includes what Oracle

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claims is the fastest debugger in the industry.

Rob Hedin, lead Java developer for NDS Systems, has used the beta of JDeveloper. "I've had quite a bit of experience with competing products. In my opinion, JDeveloper stands up very well next to them," he said.

Hedin said he is "enamored" with JDeveloper's integration with source code control systems (either Oracle Repository or CVS), the debugger, and integrated UML modeler. But primarily, Hedin is impressed with the stability of JDeveloper. Other products would crash daily. "It sits quietly there doing its job and allowing me to do my job," he said.

According to Oracle, JDeveloper has been downloaded 28,000 times since August when the beta became available. About 75% were new to Oracle development products.

Oracle is confident that JDeveloper will help the company's stake in Java-based development including Web Services. The latter have been the domain of online exchanges and business-to-business operations, which deal with exchanges of mission critical data. "Oracle is pretty strong in this arena," Magee said. "You don't see a lot of Microsoft in this environment."

Moreover, Oracle thinks its tools such as JDeveloper will be attractive to users because Redwood Shores doesn't sell operating systems like its Redmond rival, Sun Microsystems, and IBM. "Our Switzerland status is reassuring to a lot of people," Magee said.

Developers are free to download and try out JDeveloper. Those who want to deploy applications for commercial use have to purchase Oracle9i Developer, which is $3995 per license. The product is available for Windows 2000, NT, Linux and Unix.

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