Oracle Corp. said Monday that it will ship the final version of its Oracle9i JDeveloper tool kit in December, promising to boost the performance of Java programs and offer a more integrated environment for developers working with emerging technologies like XML (Extensible Markup Language).
In August, the database giant released a test version of the product and promised the final release by the end of the year. The launch will mark the end of a major upgrade cycle for Oracle that has included the 9i versions of its flagship database and application server.
Many of the changes in JDeveloper focus on boosting the performance of Java programs, said John Magee, Oracle's senior director of product marketing. To that end, the tool now supports J2EE (Java2 Enterprise Edition) "design patterns," or best practices that help programmers write code that runs more efficiently.
Oracle also improved the object relational mapping in JDeveloper, which should help Java programs created with the tool exchange data more smoothly with a database and hence support more users, he said. The product also adds built-in profiling for measuring execution speed, and a "code coach" that scans code for errors.
The Web services idea is still in its infancy, but developers are already being asked to write complex programs that talk to each other over the Internet using standards like XML, WSDL (Web Service Description Language), SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, Integration). To help them, Oracle integrated tools for programming in those languages in the new product, meaning developers shouldn't have to spend so much time flipping back and forth between applications.
McGee claimed that 9i JDeveloper will be the first to combine coding with tasks like modeling, profiling, sourcing and SQL (Structured Query Language) development in a single IDE (integrated development environment).
The product will be offered as part of the Oracle9i Developer Suite, which is priced at US$3,995. Developers can also download it for a free evaluation. The existing version of JDeveloper was available only for Microsoft Windows, while the new version also runs on Unix and Linux, McGee said.
Along with IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.., Oracle is a big proponent of Java and hopes to win over developers at the expense of .Net, Microsoft's competing initiative to provide software and tools that let companies write applications that talk to each other automatically over the Internet. Microsoft said last month that it expects to deliver the finished version of its VisualStudio.Net development kit before the end of the year.
If vendors conform to standards like XML and SOAP, applications written using .Net tools should be able to communicate over the Web with applications written in Java, McGee said. "Web services offers a lot of promise, but it's still very much in its infancy," he said. "Right now it's more of a positioning exercise."