Oracle's latest Java IDE adds more automation

[PROGRAMMERS REPORT, November 5, 2002] -- Last week, Oracle released its flagship Oracle9i JDeveloper Version 9.0.3. IDE, which makes available a number of improvements that better position the product as an enterprise tool in a very competitive Java tools market.

The company, after acquiring rights to Borland's JBuilder source base, has been at work over several years rewriting a fully Java-based tool and adding assorted bells and whistles. The tool also represents a big move into object-oriented, J2EE-centric computing for the relational database giant.

''Oracle had proprietary tools. People thought of themselves as Oracle developers. With J2EE, we are reaching a lot of new blood,'' said John Magee, vice president, development tools at Oracle.

Magee said JDeveloper has been a pure Java IDE since a rewrite that came out in 2001. With 9.0.3., JDeveloper adds improved UML and patterns support, a Code Coach that picks up errors and guides developers through component creation, and more automated support for EJB creation and EJB-to-SOAP Web services component migration.

Automated code generation -- which could be described as a manager's dream and a developer's nightmare -- will be important in the next stage of Java growth, said Magee, echoing the position of competitors like BEA Systems. Oracle, which created a lot of software engineering tools prior to its embrace of Java, should have a role to play in this development.

''The Internet came along and people threw [software engineering disciplines] out. Perl came in and, in some ways, we went back to the Stone Age,'' opined Magee. ''Java is a great deployment platform, but it could be more productive.''

Oracle9i JDeveloper is immediately available for free download and evaluation from OTN and can be purchased for U.S. $995 per named user.

Also recently, Oracle released its first version of the Toplink object-to-relational mapping software, acquired earlier this year from now-defunct WebGain. Toplink is available for free with Oracle's9i application server, and for $7,000 per processor when bought separately or purchased with JDeveloper.

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About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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