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Oracle apps get Java jolt

The database company will next week debut new Web business applications written in Java, along with revamped financial software.

Oracle (ORCL) will advance its Internet strategy next week when it debuts a new version of its Web business applications.

As previously reported by CNET's NEWS.COM, Oracle applications for the Web 2.0 is written in Java and builds on the suite's original version, released one year ago. While the first version merely provided an HTML interface to Oracle's client-server applications, version 2.0 lets corporate developers customize views, inquiries, and workflow requirements without writing HTML or Java code.

Oracle executives are showing off the new software at a user meeting that kicks off today in Nashville, Tennessee. Version 2.0 of the applications includes a new expense account module, which joins three existing modules. The apps are designed to be used on corporate intranets by customers, employees, and suppliers.

The new Oracle Web Expenses module allows employees to create an expense report via a Web browser and then route it to superiors for approval using Oracle Workflow software. Detailed information about each receipt can be accessed by supervisors by clicking on the receipt number or amount, the company said.

Oracle and its competitors SAP, PeopleSoft, and Baan have been racing to revamp their client-server applications to support Java and Internet standards. They are responding to a relatively new and growing market for software that can be deployed on corporate intranets.

The other modules in the suite include Oracle Web Customer, Oracle Web Supplier, and Oracle Web Employees.

Web Customer allows customers to order products, request service, track shipments, and reconcile payments online by accessing real-time data. Web Supplier provides suppliers a way to access up-to-date inventory and other information. Web Employees gives employees online access to records that pertain to their jobs, such as expense reports, performance reviews, and other company information, Oracle said.

The apps have been designed to run on both PC networks and network computing devices.

Oracle executives are also showcasing enhancements to the company's Oracle Financial applications. Version 10.7 includes an improved Oracle Cash Management module that adds tighter integration to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. For instance, cash forecasts created in Oracle Cash Management can now be exported to an Excel spreadsheet. No pricing has been announced.

The Java applications can also work with Oracle's e-commerce merchant server, code-named Project Apollo, that Oracle is developing to provide business-to-consumer transaction over the Internet. Project Apollo is due later this spring.

Pricing for Oracle Applications for the Web 2.0 has not been announced. The previous version is priced at $25,000 per server.