Oracle Takes New Stab at Application Creation
The development environment is based on the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company's new Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), a Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) framework that provides a flexible foundation for designing and creating J2EE applications and Web services for developers of various skills levels.
John Magee, vice president of Oracle9iAS product marketing, said ADF enables users to choose the technologies and development style that they are comfortable with, which is something he said isn't provided by application development products offered by other vendors. "Users can port to Linux, Windows or Unix with ADF," he said. Enterprise JavaBeans, JavaServer Pages and tools such as Struts, JavaServer Faces, and Oracle9iAS TopLink are some of the styles developers may employ.
This move by Oracle is rooted in the belief that many Java-oriented development environments are too complex for some users. Accordingly, vendors have been looking for ways to simplify Java application creation to appeal to a broader audience, but Magee said Microsoft, BEA and Borland have delivered "one-size-fits-all" development environments, locking developers into specific application designs, development approaches, application servers and operating systems. Magee said an industry-wide convergence of technologies -- such as Java, XML, Web services, and integration -- call for a new kind of development environment.
ADF allows object-oriented programming, component-based development, visual modeling, and rapid application development with automatic code generation. With ADF, the days of "manually writing low-level code to implement the application" could be over, the company said. ADF also features a metadata model that automatically generates XML files that describe the structure of the application and its business rules. With this capability, users can visually edit the XML files to tailor applications according to business requirements.
Meta Group Program Director Thomas Murphy discussed the significance of Oracle's ADF approach to open up Java to a variety of users, including systems programmers, business analysts, Web developers, and business application developers.
"Most people looking at Oracle are only going to look at them for Oracle development, just like you look at VisualStudio for Windows development (well not quite the same since you can use Oracle to develop for BEA)," Murphy explained. "The other key issue for Borland is the ability to support Windows, J2EE, Linux etc. and most people are going to be in the mixed environment. Oracle is putting together a very strong toolset. One Oracle strength right now is building out their application framework. Borland hasn't really done anything in this area and while BEA has, it is very BEA specific."
Murphy said he expects Oracle's story of easier Java development to be the reigning theme at JavaOne, where Borland is expected to introduce its own Java development progress.
"The question is how well end-users will accept these frameworks, or do they fear they are proprietary and shun frameworks as to how much magic code was generated, like the developer I heard speaking yesterday at TechEd "if I hear the vendor say 'and you don't have to write any code' I uninstall the product immediately." Now that is a class of developer and there are many others who don't care but most organizations when you talk Java want one thing across the organization."
Oracle will be demonstrating Oracle9i JDeveloper in the JavaOne Pavilion at the JavaOne Conference. A preview will be available for free download and evaluation from the Oracle developer community Web site this summer.