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Oracle Web tool culls databases

The company will begin offering its customers a Web-based tool Monday for culling information from vast corporate databases.

Oracle (ORCL) will begin offering its customers a Web-based tool Monday for culling information from vast corporate databases.

The software company will debut Oracle Reports 3.0, a server-based tool that compiles database reports and makes them available to thin client systems via the Web. Oracle will for the first time make the reporting tool available as a separate product. It was previously sold as part of Oracle's Developer/2000 toolset.

Reporting tools are generally unglamorous pieces of technology but are widely used by businesses to compile sales reports, customer profiles, credit analyses and other vital documents.

But despite their central role in typical businesses, reporting tools have been notoriously hard to use, from the point of view of the people who need the information most.

Oracle and other reporting tool companies have pounced on the Web as an ideal way to deliver information. Because tools like Oracle Reports are managed centrally, they allow information systems managers to easily specify both the types of reports that can be run, as well as the employees who are authorized to see them.

The tool will generate reports in HTML, Adobe's Portable Document Format, PCL PostScript on Windows NT and Unix, and in plain ASCII format, according to Oracle.

Oracle Reports 3.0 costs $2,495 per developer and $195 per concurrent person using the report server from a thin client, said Dee Shorten, a product manager at Oracle.