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Tool designs way to Oracle8

Oracle will begin testing of a tool for modeling client and server applications that uses the latest object-oriented features of its Oracle8 database server.

Oracle (ORCL) is giving developers a gentle nudge--in the form of a new tool--to persuade them to migrate to the company's new Oracle8 database server.

The company will begin beta testing of Object Database Designer, a tool for modeling client and server applications that uses the latest object-oriented features of Oracle8. The tool can also be used to reverse-engineer existing business applications that use relational database technology. This allows them to be adapted to use object technology and then migrated to Oracle8, said Ian Fisher, vice president of designer marketing group at Oracle.

Carl Olofson, an analyst with International Data Corporation, said the tool also helps Oracle to overcome criticism from object technology purists who claim that Oracle8 doesn't truly support data access through an object-oriented language, but instead sticks to standard relational SQL (structured query language).

"Oracle8 has most of the characteristics of object-oriented technology, but the means of access is pretty much an extended version of plain old SQL. Other object databases provide an object class library to write programs," Olofson said.

With Object Database Designer, Oracle is introducing tools that automatically generate C++ object-oriented code that allows access to stored objects. That's important because it allows C++ programmers to stick to writing code they know, instead of having to learn the intricacies of database programming.

"To a C++ programmer, Oracle8 looks more like an object database to a developer writing object-oriented code. It was something that was needed," Olofson said.

Object Database Designer is expected to ship in the first quarter of next year. Oracle has not announced pricing for the tool.

Fisher said Oracle will also ship the same object design capabilities as part of its flagship Designer/2000 development tool, beginning next year.