Companies promise on and offline mobile database access

As wireless connections to the corporate network become mainstream, two major database companies, Oracle and Sybase, will be beefing up feature sets for handheld database solutions.

Both companies will be focusing on the reality that wireless connectivity is less than reliable and that mobile workers will have no choice but to continue to work when disconnected from the network.

In December, Sybase will officially launch and ship SQL Anywhere Studio 8.0, the next version of its database development environment for handheld devices.

In recognition of the intermittent quality of wireless networks, Version 8 will give both corporate developers and Sybase's OEM (original equipment manufacturer) application partners the ability to define data synchronization priorities in order to handle different kinds of connectivity.

"When you are wired into the network, that's when you would synch everything. In wireless mode you would want to prioritize which pieces of data to synch first," said Chris Kleisath, director of engineering at Sybase.

To ease integration with various backend systems, Sybase is also adding support for the use of Java synchronization logic so that developers can design a single set of rules no matter which backend database is being used.

Version 8 also includes beefed up security by giving developers the ability to encrypt the communication stream, Kleisath said.

Oracle also announced this week that it will integrate at no charge its mobile synchronization capabilities into the 9i application server.

The integration and synchronization will allow IT managers to use one application server for both desktop and remote workers. Also, when the server is accessed by a remote worker, the synchronization component will send down the pipe OracleLite, the company's modular 100KB-to-1MB database for handheld devices, simultaneous with the data on first time request.

With the database installed, mobile workers will be able to work and manage their application offline as well as when online, noted Jacob Christfort, chief technology officer (CTO) at OracleMobile in Redwood Shores, California.

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