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Oracle fills out wireless software

The software maker says it will enhance its server software to help companies build applications that run on mobile phones and handheld computers.

Oracle said Monday that it would enhance its server software to help companies build applications that run on mobile phones and handheld computers.

In February, Oracle will release a test version of its latest wireless software, Oracle 9i Application Server Wireless, which includes development tools and server software for running customized business applications.

The upgrade will allow companies to format their corporate data according to the Extensible HTML (XHTML) 2.0, Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME), and multimedia messaging standards. The features will then be included in the Oracle 9i Application Server revamp due in the first half of the year.

The addition of standardized data formatting technology will let businesses give employees access to information on a variety of devices, according to Oracle representatives.

When businesses build applications for wireless networks, developers often have to create a separate version for each type of device that will receive information. Having tools to write applications with XHTML 2.0 compliance means that developers can build an application in one markup language and reformat the data for different devices, said Jacob Christfort, vice president of product for Oracle's Mobile Products and Services division.

For example, a programmer could build a single sales application that's accessible via a Web-enabled cell phone and a personal digital assistant. Developers can follow the J2ME standard to create more complex applications that, for instance, process data on handheld devices in addition to delivering and displaying information.

Oracle?s competitors in the Java application server realm, such as Microsoft and IBM, have also added wireless application tools. As competitive pressure builds on Java application server companies, Oracle's strategy has been to bundle add-on features, such as an integration broker and portal, into its base application server for free.