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Java heats up at Oracle meeting

Oracle is boosting its network computing plan by putting Java in all segments of its development tools, database server software, and connectivity middleware, the company announced at its Open World user meeting today.

Oracle (ORCL) today put Java squarely on the front burner at its Oracle Open World user meeting in Los Angeles.

Oracle is embracing Java in all segments of its development tools, database server software, and connectivity middleware in an effort to boost its network computing scheme.

The company said today it will add JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) drivers for accessing its database server software from Java client applications. The drivers come in two flavors: one, a JDBC-to-OCI (Oracle Call Interface) driver for developers building standard client/server systems and middle tiers that use Java; and a JDBC Thin driver for accessing Oracle databases from Java applets running in Web browsers. Both drivers are free of charge and will be posted to Oracle's Web site starting October 1.

The company is also planning to deliver Java support across its entire tools lineup, including existing Designer/2000 and Developer/2000 tools, as well as tools now under development.

As reported on September 2 by CNET's NEWS.COM, the new Java tools, code-named Valhalla, were built using technology licensed from Borland International, according to sources close to the company.

Valhalla will target Java and CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) application development.

Oracle today also inked a deal with push software provider Tibco that will result in Oracle's embedding of Tibco's TIB/Rendezvous publish and subscribe messaging software into its database and application server software.

Also, as reported on Friday by CNET's NEWS.COM, the company introduced a new Java-enabled version of its InterOffice groupware, a revamped mobile database, and new database failover software.

InterOffice 4.1, the latest version of the company's groupware product, features enhanced database messaging, HTML-based email software, and Java application support.

The upgrade also includes the much-ballyhooed Java client, code-named HatTrick, which includes presentation graphics and word-processing capabilities. But the HatTrick name may be misleading, since the package does not include a third application, a spreadsheet, as the company had first envisioned. Oracle has stated that it may license a spreadsheet application from a third party in the future.

InterOffice is sold as a series of plug-in cartridges that work with Oracle's database server. The Oracle InterOffice 4.1 cartridge is priced at $55 per user, while the InterOffice Document Messaging/Workflow cartridge sells for $395 per concurrent user.

Personal Oracle Lite 3.0, a slimmed-down version of the company's database server for mobile applications, has been rewritten to support Java-based stored procedures and triggers, Java objects, and Java access to databases, said Denise Lahey, senior director of marketing for the product.

Other new features include the ability to replicate data via the MAPI (mail application programming interface) email protocol, and over the Web using HTTP.

The database also provides a glimpse of Oracle's future direction in Java support. It supports stored procedures and triggers written in Java only. Surprisingly, no support for Oracle's own PL-SQL language--well-known to Oracle developers--is included.

The database will enter beta testing next month and will ship by year's end, Lahey said. It is priced at $195 per user.

Fail Safe is a database technology designed to allow a database server to fail over to a backup system in the event of a system failure or power outage.

Fail Safe is included at no additional charge with Oracle's database server. It works on Windows NT databases only, and will be available within 30 days for Oracle 7 release 7.3.3 and 7.3.4 workgroup and server products. Fail Safe for Oracle 8 will ship later this year.

The software uses Microsoft's Cluster Server software, included with Windows NT 4.0 Enterprise Edition.