IT shops already using Oracle databases or those considering an Oracle8i purchase will find Oracle's JDeveloper 2.0 update very useful for marrying Java applications with Oracle technologies. This productivity-boosting Java development environment combines with database support such as Java stored procedures, which hold the promise of faster development of Java applications.
Those purchasing JDeveloper can expect a short learning period for developers. However, customers will have to purchase the entire JDeveloper Suite to take advantage of JDeveloper 2.0. The suite includes JDeveloper, Oracle8i, Oracle Application Server, Oracle Lite and Oracle Procedure Builder.
JDeveloper Suite is a good bargain for sites that don't yet have a database server, application server, and Java development tool support. However, for companies that are already using the Oracle database, a JDeveloper Suite purchase will bring redundant database licensing. Oracle should offer JDeveloper in a stand-alone form for current database customers.
Beneath the surface, Oracle's JDeveloper is a version of JBuilder - licensed from Inprise - that Oracle has customised to simplify database development for those using the Oracle database.
As with rival Java development tools such as Inprise's JBuilder and Symantec's Visual Cafe, developers can create general-purpose Java applications using JDeveloper. However, Oracle's Java tool boasts Oracle8i database development features, which make it best for use in Oracle-specific environments.
Java developers in Oracle shops will find JDeveloper useful whether or not they are experienced. Options exist for direct coding as well as wizard-based support for a wide variety of functions. For example, the Infobus Data Form Wizard can be used to quickly create master-detail database applications.
JDeveloper also includes support for dbServlets, a type of Servlet support specifically for the Oracle8i database. However, developers will not be able to deploy JDeveloper-created dbServlets on Oracle8i or Oracle Application Server until the necessary support is added later this year.
For now, though, developers can use JDeveloper's helpful built-in Servlet server to test dbServlets. Servlets generated using JDeveloper can be deployed using third-party application servers that support Servlets.
When all of the Oracle products are synchronised with the same level of support, customers purchasing JDeveloper will be able to expeditiously construct Java applications that support Oracle data stores.
Oracle's JDeveloper provides a leg-up for current customers who want to develop and deploy Java applications that leverage Oracle data. Companies that have not committed to either database or Java tools will find it well worth investigating.
The Oracle products in the suite are a bargain for sites that need data, application serving and development tool support.
The bottom line
Oracle JDeveloper 2.0
Summary: This customised version of Inprise's JBuilder leverages its productivity and speed while adding useful features that will help developers build Java applications specifically for Oracle8i.
Business Case: JDeveloper is available only as part of Oracle JDeveloper Suite, which is best suited for sites that do not yet have a database server and a Java development tool working together.
Pros: Productive, visual Java development environmentWizard support for Java stored proceduresSupports Enterprise JavaBeans, CORBA Java Servlet server supports developer testingCons: Must purchase entire product suiteNo server-side debugging supportOracle 8i and Oracle Application Server not expected to support Servlets until next releasePlatforms: Development: Windows NT; Deployment: Any Java-capable platform.
Cost: $5915 for JDeveloper Suite (includes JDeveloper, Oracle 8i, Oracle Application Server, Oracle Lite and Oracle Procedure Builder).
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