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Oracle 9i JDeveloper seeks wider following

It may not be possible to please all of the Java developers all of the time, but Oracle9i JDeveloper Version 9.0.5 is an attempt to provide tools for as many types of developers as possible, according to Oracle's John Magee. Like others in the Java business, Oracle is at work on tools that target developers who are not complete J2EE aces. The next major milestone for JDeveloper, said company officials, is to provide a visual and declarative approach to Java development.

"We don't want to lock developers into a certain way of working," said Magee, who is the vice president in charge of marketing for Oracle 9i application server products. The new version of JDeveloper, which was announced this month and will be available in a free evaluation download later this summer (before its final release later this year), will provide "productivity with choice," he added.

In creating the new version of its Java development tool, said Magee, the goal of Oracle Corp. is to provide the flexibility that the company contends is missing from tools provided by other vendors, including Microsoft and BEA.

"For example," Magee said, "we see BEA talking about their Workshop tool right now and what they're saying is that they want to target the Visual Basic audience of developers. And the assumption is that there's one profile of a developer. We think that's a flawed approach. There isn't just one type of developer out there. There's a wide spectrum of developers -- depending on the project they're working on, the technology they want to use and how they like to do their development, there's a lot of variables there."

Magee criticized Microsoft's .NET tools for locking developers into the Windows environment. As for Sun's newly announced Rave tool, Magee said he had only seen a preview of it and could not comment on its capabilities.

Within the Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), developers -- ranging from programmers who want to hand-code to business analysts who want to drag and drop -- can select preferences in JDeveloper's "Technology Scope" to customize the tool before they begin a project, Magee said.

To speed development, the ADF framework generates code to handle what Magee refers to as "the low-level plumbing -- things like binding between user interface components and the business objects in the middle tier, and handling the transactions between the application components and the back-end database and back-end data sources like Web services."

It also provides for UML modeling, but developers who are not fans of UML are free to skip this feature, Magee said.

Besides being a tool for building XML Web services, ADF uses XML meta data to enhance productivity, Magee said.

"One of the things that's different about our approach to meta data is that rather than embedding the meta data into the code directly, which some vendors do, we've factored the meta data out into XML files," he explained. "What that means for developers is that they have a way to visually edit the functionality of an application -- for example, the validation routines that it uses or the description of user interface components -- by editing the XML files without having to go back in and recompile the application and work at a lower level of programming. That's something that's very new in the Java development space."

More information on the new version of JDeveloper is available at http://otn.oracle.com/products/jdev/htdocs/905/sod_otn.html

For other Programmers Report articles, please go to www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6265

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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