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Oracle puts Java on front burner

Oracle will spotlight new Java-enabled products at its Oracle Open World user meeting next week in Los Angeles.

Oracle (ORCL) plans to spotlight new Java-enabled products at its Oracle Open World user meeting next week in Los Angeles.

At Oracle Open World, the company will introduce a new Java-enabled version of its InterOffice groupware, a revamped mobile database, and new database failover software.

InterOffice 4.1, the latest version of the company's groupware product, features enhanced database messaging, HTML-based e-mail software, and Java application support.

The upgrade also includes the much-ballyhooed Java client, code-named HatTrick, which includes presentation graphics and word processing capabilities. But the HatTrick name may be misleading, since the package does not include a third application, a spreadsheet, as the company had first envisioned. Oracle has stated that it may license a spreadsheet application from a third party in the future.

InterOffice senior product director Steve d'Alencon said HatTrick can run on PCs as well as network computers, and will be shipped with every future NC built to Oracle's reference specification.

InterOffice 4.1 also includes support for standards such as dial-up SMTP/MIME and POP3. Support for the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAPv3) on the client and server sides is also part of the updated package. d'Alencon said support for IMAP4 will come later with the next release of the groupware product, which is code-named Orion and due sometime early next year.

InterOffice 4.1 also includes Oracle ConText, which provides message and document summarization and theme-based search capabilities.

An included software development kit (SDK) allows InterOffice users to create collaborative HTML and Java-based Web applications and add content to Web sites. HTML templates allow developers to access InterOffice services, or JavaBeans components to add e-mail applications, discussion forums, search tools, calendars, and directories to Web sites.

InterOffice is sold as a series of plug-in cartridges that work with Oracle's database server. The Oracle InterOffice 4.1 cartridge is priced at $55 per user, while the InterOffice Document Messaging/Workflow cartridge goes for $395 per concurrent user.

Personal Oracle Lite 3.0, a slimmed-down version of the company's database server for mobile applications, has been rewritten to support Java-based stored procedures and triggers, Java objects, and Java access to databases, said Denise Lahey, senior director of marketing for the product.

Other new features include the ability to replicate data via the MAPI (mail application programming interface) e-mail 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 only. Surprisingly, no support for Oracle's own PL-SQL language--well-known to Oracle developers--is included.

The database will enter beta testing next month and will ship by year's end, said Lahey. It is priced at $195 per user.

Oracle will also next week announce Fail Safe, a database technology designed to allow a database server to fail over to a backup system in the event of a system failure or power outage.

Fail Safe is included at no additional charge with Oracle's database server. It works on Windows NT databases only, and will be available within 30 days for Oracle 7 release 7.3.3 and 7.3.4 workgroup and server products. Fail Safe for Oracle 8 will ship later this year.

The software uses Microsoft's Cluster Server software, included with Windows NT 4.0 Enterprise Edition.