Oracle, with the newly shipping version of its free JDeveloper Java development tool, is looking to compete with the Eclipse open source juggernaut. The company is shipping an upgrade to its application server, bundled with a rules engine and an ESB (enterprise service bus).
Available are the standard version of Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3 and Oracle JDeveloper 10g Release 3. They are being positioned as components of the Oracle Fusion middleware platform, which is billed as the company's SOA platform.
With the new version of JDeveloper, the company is vying with the Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEs for the hearts of developers, said Ted Farrell, Oracle chief architect and vice president.
JDeveloper boasts enhanced features such as a visual page flow support and a BPEL designer, Farrell said. Oracle, which is a member of the Eclipse Foundation, hopes to leverage the free developer tool to promote its commercial offerings.
JDeveloper has an advantage over the Eclipse IDE in building of Web applications, said a user who has previewed the new release and also uses Eclipse.
"Eclipse is very good [for coding] our base application, but when you want to do Web applications, you use some kind of plug-in," said Eric Marcoux, a technical architect at Fujitsu Consulting. The plug-ins do not offer ideal integration, according to Marcoux.
JSF enablement was applauded by users previewing JDeveloper 10 Release 3, who said more than 100 JSF components are featured. Collaboration also is a bonus in the tool.
"They built in a lot more team collaboration tools based on CVS (Concurrent Versions System)," said Les Morton Jr., a project manager at Associated Wholesalers.
Oracle is positioning its application server as the basis for its Oracle E-Business Suite applications.
"What we're releasing now is the first version of 10g Release 3, which includes things like the core application server, the rules engine, the ESB, and then later this year you'll get things like the new portal server and the new BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), which are [in] beta right now," Farrell said.
BPEL and portal offerings are planned for inclusion in the upcoming enterprise version of the application server. Developers can start with the standard version and expand to the enterprise configuration for building an application to be used by an unlimited of people.
With its application server, Oracle is looking to satisfy demand for a combination of middleware and the application server, Farrell said. Highlighted in the application server is support for Web Services Invocation Framework, to enable services calls via technologies such as EJB or Java Connector Architecture. Calls do not need to be converted to XML and SOAP.
"You can talk directly to that EJB, but you still define the service using WSDL," Farrell said.
Also new in the application server is support for the Java Authentication and Authorization Service API, for security. Management is simplified via use of JMX (Java Management Extensions) MBeans to configure and monitor any component of the application.
The new application server supports the latest Web services standards, including WS-Security, WS-Reliability, and WS-Management.
Application server prices begin at US$5,000 per CPU. The application server is certified to work with open source software such as Spring, Apache Axis, Apache Struts, Apache MyFaces, Hibernate, Tapestry, Ant, Eclipse, and Log4J.