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Oracle keeps rolling them out

The company launches a blizzard of Java-enabled server software and development tools at fall Internet World '97 in New York City.

Possibly hoping to take the focus off of its disappointing financial news, disclosed earlier this week, Oracle (ORCL) today launched a blizzard of Java-enabled server software and development tools at fall Internet World '97 in New York City.

As previously reported on December 1, the database software giant announced a deal with Novell to integrate the database company's software with Novell's IntranetWare operating system and NDS, the acronym for the company's directory services software. The two also plan to deliver Java-based development tools to speed adoption of server-side Java applications.

Oracle also detailed new e-commerce software, upgrades to its Oracle 8 database server and Oracle Lite single-user database, a new Java development tool, and a Java-enabled business application suite.

On the e-commerce front, Oracle said a beta version of its new payment server is now available. Payment Server 1.0, slated to ship by March 31, lets systems integrators and software developers integrate payment processing with e-commerce applications.

The payment server is a Java cartridge deployed on Oracle's Web Application Server 3.0. It comes bundled with payment systems for credit cards and e-cash from ICVerify and CyberCash.

Oracle also previewed Web Application Server 4.0, a 100 percent Java-compatible version of the company's Web server and object request broker combo. The server will enter beta testing within 30 days, according to the company, and will ship in the first half of next year. Also included will be support for Sun Microsystems' Enteprise JavaBeans specification, according to Oracle.

In another Internet commerce announcement, Oracle said a new release of its Internet Commerce Server is now available. New features include tools to build and maintain electronic storefronts more easily, integration with TanData's shipping and handling software, support for Japanese and other Asian languages, and encrypted URLs as an alternative to cookies to guide buyers' privacy.

On the database front, Oracle said its Oracle Lite 3.0, which ships this week, supports development of Java stored procedures and includes a native ODBC driver, Java access classes, and full concurrent transaction support. Oracle Lite costs $295 per developer seat and is available as the Oracle Lite Mobile Option for the Oracle 8, priced at $95 per seat.

Other new features for Oracle Lite 3.0 include the ability to replicate data through the MAPI (mail application programming interface) email protocol and over the Web using HTTP. The database also provides a glimpse of Oracle's future direction in Java support. It supports stored procedures and triggers written in Java, a feature planned for Oracle 8.1. That feature is an update to the company's full-featured database server, slated to debut in the second half of 1998, according to Mark Jarvis, vice president of system products marketing at Oracle.

Oracle also detailed a minor upgrade to Oracle 8. Oracle 8.04 is a maintenance release that includes the JSQL tool for accessing Oracle databases through Java tools, JDBC support, and includes image and time series cartridges for supporting additional data types.

Oracle debuted a Java development toolset built atop Borland International's JBuilder technology, which Oracle has licensed. The tool, formerly code-named Valhalla, will be positioned as a Java-based rapid application development tool for Oracle's user base building Java and CORBA (common object request broker architecture) applications.

Finally, Oracle said it plans to roll out Oracle Applications 10.7 within 30 days in a Web-deployable format so corporate customers can access the applications through Web browsers. IS administrators will be able to deploy the new applications without having to install client versions of the software on each user's desktop.

Oracle Applications 10.7 Web suite is the Internet-deployable and Java-based version of Oracle's complete enterprise package of Financials, Human Resources, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, and Sales and Marketing software, the company said.

Based on Oracle's Network Computing architecture, the new business suite consists of 35 applications in all, has been in beta testing since July, and is scheduled to ship to customers this month, according to Peter Heller, director of product marketing at Oracle.

Oracle worked with Sun Microsystems' JavaSoft division to develop the new Web-deployable suite, Heller said.

Earlier this week, Oracle announced earnings for the second fiscal quarter that fell far short of even the company's CEO's expectations in its key areas--server and applications sales. Following the news, Oracle's stock dropped by 30 percent and broke a new record on Nasdaq for the most actively traded issue. Nearly 172 million shares traded hands at the market's close yesterday.