Sun Microsystems' JavaSoft unit announced on 9 May a tool to link Java applications to databases that support Microsoft's Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) interface.
The software is actually a bridge between JavaSoft's Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) interface and ODBC, which is widely used for accessing corporate data.
The recently announced JDBC API specification, which is intended to create a uniform way for Java applications to access different vendors' SQL databases, is still being finalised. But the bridge means Java developers need only work with JDBC to build database applications that can also access existing ODBC data.
"How to get at my corporate data has been a big issue for Java developers," said Ed Peters, vice-president and general manager for Intersolv's DataDirect division, which created the bridge software for JavaSoft. "This [JDBC/ODBC bridge] lets developers deploy Web applications that have the same database access capabilities as [traditional] client/server applications."
The bridge is fully compatible with existing ODBC drivers. In the future, as JDBC drivers are built for specific databases, such as those from Oracle and Sybase, developers can choose a pure JDBC link to databases or use the bridge to ODBC. JDBC will support interchangeable database drivers by means of a driver manager. The driver manager will automatically load the proper JDBC driver for connecting to a specific database.
Peters said the bridge is not limited to two-tier, client-to-database applications. "You'd have the ability to make the call to the server environment, which could then access heterogeneous databases that could reside on different servers," he said. "Then you bring the data back to the server and return it to the [client] application."
JavaSoft will support compliance test suites that developers will use to test JDBC-based products. Intersolv and JavaSoft are jointly developing the JDBC test suites. They will be available in October.
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