Oracle's unveiling last week of its feverishly promoted Oracle 8i (for Internet) database will be a boon to Java programmers, observers say.
The "8i" moniker makes the database sound new, but it simply changes the original name: Oracle 8.1. The change is intended to portray the database as uniquely designed for Internet applications. The 8i version is due out before year-end.
Oracle 8i does incorporate some impressive features, developers say. These include:
A built-in Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
Graphical user interface tools for faster creation of database-stored procedures in the form of Java Beans, which are software components written in Java.
Vastly more efficient client connections, which one user said would increase by 10 to 15 times the number of users in the same amount of memory.
Web-based access to the database server, which also now has a built-in basic Web server.
Faster execution of Web forms, which are the graphical front end for many Web database applications.
The Internet File System, which becomes part of the database software. File systems are ordinarily the domain of the operating system.
"Without any doubt, the most significant feature in 8i is the support for Java in the database via a JVM," says Elton Barrendse, CEO of Quintessence Systems, a UK software company that converts Oracle PL/SQL code into Java.
"8i completes the distributed applications story for Oracle because business logic can now be developed in a single, powerful and nonproprietary language [Java] and deployed at the client, the application server or the database," he says.