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Oracle "activates" Developer/2000 toolset

Oracle is starting to beta test an upgrade of its core development toolset for IS departments that adds support for ActiveX.

Oracle (ORCL) has started beta testing a new version of Developers/2000, its core IS development toolset, that adds support for Web development, particularly in the form of ActiveX.

Developer/2000, which evolved out of an earlier tool called Oracle Forms, is aimed at large IS organizations building departmental to enterprise-sized applications atop the Oracle 7 database server. Oracle also sells Power Objects, a Visual Basic-like tool for smaller applications.

The Web-aware Developer/2000 release 2.0 is designed to improve the tool's ease of use, reporting abilities, and team development tools. The company has not yet announced pricing.

When it ships in the first quarter of 1997, Release 2.0's new Web support will also allow developers to embed ActiveX controls into applications, and to embed database reports generated by Developer/2000 into other applications that support ActiveX, such as Web browsers.

Oracle also plans eventually to add Java support to a future release, according to Steve Ehrlich, director of marketing for Oracle's development tools.

Aside from Web tools, this update also includes the ability to partition application objects across client-server systems to minimize network traffic. Ehrlich said the partitioning support will allow the creation of applications that perform only one network round trip between the client and server to fetch data. That can drastically improve response times for data-intensive applications that currently perform multiple network trips.

Other features of Developer/2000 include a new report server that offloads database reporting from client applications so that reports can be generated from server systems for better performance. Oracle has also published the tool's API, allowing third-party add-ons such as testing tools and transaction monitors to build on top of Developer/2000.

The upgrade also includes a new set of wizards that guide developers through the design and development of applications.

Later this month, Oracle officials will detail plans for linking Developer/2000 and another toolset still in the works code named Sedona. The announcement will involve extending Developer/2000's object support so that it can work with Oracle 8, the upcoming object database. Both Sedona and Oracle 8 are now in beta testing.