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Oracle warms to Eclipse with open-source project

Looking to promote usage of Enterprise Java Beans for database access, Oracle proposes open-source tool based on its TopLink software.

Oracle has proposed a project to the Eclipse open-source foundation to ease creation of high-end Java applications.

The company said it intends to spearhead the Eclipse project and make contributions that are compatible with Oracle's TopLink software, which simplifies database development. Oracle intends to create commercial products based on the Eclipse project within a year under the Eclipse open-source license, company executives said.

The Eclipse software provides a framework for plugging in third-party components. Using Eclipse, a programmer can combine different tools, such as modeling and code-editing, in a single user interface.

The purpose of the Oracle-led project is to promote usage of new database-access features being built into Java server software, Oracle executives said.

The Eclipse initiative also allows Oracle to reach out to Java programmers who use Eclipse, a popular development environment, said Dennis MacNeil, director of J2EE tools at Oracle.

In the first quarter of next year, an update to the Java 2 Enterprise Edition server standard will include improvements to the Enterprise Java Beans specification.

Programmers use Enterprise Java Beans for writing server-side programs that are designed for high-end business applications. For example, a developer would use the EJBs to write a transaction that pulled information from many databases.

EJB version 3.0, which will be part of a larger J2EE 5.0 update, is being designed to greatly ease the creation of these server Java programs.

The Eclipse project will create an Eclipse plug-in that will allow a developer to model how objects written in Java can "map," or connect, to data stored in relational databases.

Developers have not used the EJB capabilities widely, in part because the technical specification is hard to learn. MacNeil said that creating an open-source tool for the popular Eclipse platform will help drive adoption of the upcoming J2EE server software.

"For the next generation of J2EE to be successful, EJBs have to be a component," MacNeil said.