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Oracle delivers simplified Java tools

The company releases JDeveloper 10g with a "framework" to simplify services-oriented Java development, in an effort to take market share from IBM and BEA Systems.

Database giant Oracle is delivering an update to its Java-based software development tools, the latest maneuver in the company's drive to grab more of the Java server software market.

The company on Tuesday said JDeveloper 10g, its program for building Web applications, is available for $995 per developer. As part of the release, Oracle is also introducing a development "framework," an add-on to the company's Application Server 10g software, which is designed to simplify the creation of Java applications.

Company executives said enhancements to JDeveloper 10g and the Application Development Framework will make Java developers more productive. Companies such as Oracle and BEA Systems are investing in more graphical and easier-to-use Java development tools. Building more sophisticated server-based Java applications, such as high-volume Web sites or complicated financial systems, typically requires significant training in the complex Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standard.

The delivery of JDeveloper 10g is an important step in Oracle's ongoing efforts to take market share away from BEA and IBM in the Java server software arena. Tying programmers closer to development tools can help generate follow-on sales of Java application servers, portals, integration software and databases to run the Java applications.

Oracle currently trails IBM and BEA in terms of market share, according to analysts. Oracle executives contend that its application server's close integration with its 10g database, its good price and its close adherence to Java standards, will help generate more sales. In a recent note, research company Meta Group said Oracle is "best positioned as a challenger to both IBM and BEA."

The combination of JDeveloper 10g and the Application Development Framework is aimed at Java programmers of all skill levels. Oracle believes that even nonprogrammers can use these tools, said Ted Farrell, Oracle's chief architect for application development.

"Our goal moving forward with the Application Development Framework is to make it appeal more and more to the non-Java person who doesn't know Java at all," Farrell said.

Farrell said the new tools from Oracle will allow programmers to more graphically construct an application from components or services. This sort of development process will help stimulate the adoption of services-oriented architecture, or SOA, a way of building applications meant to simplify data sharing between applications, he said. To build a SOA, companies write business applications by reusing existing components or services. These services can share information in a relatively simple way, cutting down on operational costs and adding flexibility.

The Application Development Framework runs on Oracle's 10g Application Server or J2EE application servers from other providers.