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Oracle: SOA Software Is On Us

Next week's JavaOne show is expected to inspire a lot of talk about service-oriented architectures (SOA). And Oracle plans to be right in the middle of it all by giving away a JDeveloper 10g kit free to all developers.

The move is both surprising and unsurprising. Free software tools have been all the rage in the development community, thanks to open source creations, such as the utilities forged under the auspices of the Eclipse Foundation.

But free tools from major money-making vendors is a different story. Oracle is looking to capitalize on the attractive freeware model to jumpstart interest in its own development tools as an alternative to offerings from rivals IBM, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft and Borland.

Rick Schultz, vice president of product marketing for Oracle Fusion Middleware, said that Oracle is giving away the development environment to stimulate interest in the platform. JDeveloper 10g normally sets corporations back $995 per seat.

Developers can use JDeveloper 10g to build Web services , which ensure communication among applications regardless of the differences in the infrastructure and protocols and make up an important component of distributed computing models like SOA.

"It takes free tools to a more advanced level of SOA application development," Schultz said. "Free tools have an undeniable momentum right now in the Java development community."

Schultz also said Oracle will offer to lead a JavaServer Faces (JSF) tooling project within the Eclipse Foundation open source community. JavaServer Faces is a Web application framework that makes it easier for developers to build composite applications.

JSF builds on Oracle's Enterprise Java Beans 3.0 tooling project, announced in April. The features provided by the JSF and EJB 3.0 Eclipse projects will be available to developers in JDeveloper.

Schultz said Oracle has a toehold in three core components of an SOA application: User interface, business logic and business process flow. JSF provides the UI, EJB 3.0 does the business logic and the BPEL standard corrals processes and ties them to services.

Oracle's involvement with these steps of an SOA value chain pointed the way toward offering JDeveloper gratis.

"In each of those areas, we're committed to providing tools," Schultz said. "That's why we're taking our complete SOA development environment and making it free for all developers."

Oracle will also join the Apache MyFaces project, the free open source JSF implementation, contributing developer resources and software.

Oracle's Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle Application Server, will highlight the new developments in his keynote Tuesday afternoon at JavaOne in San Francisco. SOAs and free software tools are expected to be major themes at JavaOne.