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Oracle adds XML to data analysis tools

Oracle is continuing its fascination with Extensible Markup Language by adding the new Web standard into its data analysis tools, which will make it easier for companies to gather all its corporate information.

Oracle is continuing its fascination with Extensible Markup Language by adding the new Web standard into its data analysis tools.

Oracle and its competitors such as IBM and Microsoft have all been racing to build XML into all their software.

Extensible Markup Language, or XML, is a technology that lets businesses exchange data. It not only allows companies to easily and cheaply conduct online transactions with their customers and partners, it allows individual businesses to integrate their business software, such as mainframe software and human resources and financial applications.

Oracle will soon ship new versions of its data analysis tools, called Oracle Discover 3i and Oracle Reports 6i, that support XML. The updated tools will make it easier for companies to gather all its corporate information--including sales and financial data--generate detailed reports and analysis, and view them over the Web, said Sara Gardner, Oracle's director of tools product marketing.

Discoverer allows users to make queries, while Reports lets users publish reports in different formats, including HTML, Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) and now XML.

The new version of Oracle Reports will also enable company employees to personalize reports to their specific preferences, Gardner said.

The beta versions of the data analysis tools are now available on Oracle's developer Web site. The final version of Reports 6i will ship in late February, while Discover 3i will ship in March.