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Oracle Joins UCCnet, Unveils TopLink Roadmap

Oracle Wednesday advanced its position in the database universe with a rollout of a new product and participation in a growing standards group.

First up, the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company said it has joined UCCnet's "Partners In Sync" Alliance Program.

UCCnet is a subsidiary of the Uniform Code Council, which developed the UPC bar code system. UCCnet's goal is to create a standard method for retailers and suppliers to share information about new and existing products. The neutral organization runs an XML-based repository called Globalregistry for handling product information. So far the group has come up with 62 standard product descriptors - such as SKU number, size, weight, availability and pricing - with which participating retailers and suppliers agree to work.

As soon as Oracle finishes its certification process the company said its Oracle9i Application Server customers would be able to connect to UCCnet's Foundation Services.

"The Oracle strategy for collaborative commerce and B2B integration parallels UCCnet's initiatives to provide a framework for the rapid expansion of the UCCnet trading community," said Mark Monaghan, director, Solution Partner Relations, UCCnet.

The Partners In Sync program has been gaining momentum as of late, signing 124 partners like Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Coca-Cola, Kraft and Sara Lee.

Oracle also outlined its strategy for using TopLink technology, which it recently acquired from WebGain in June 2002.

TopLink is infrastructure-based software for developing Java applications with relational databases, which the software giant said makes it a perfect fit as a built-in feature of Oracle9i Application Server. Oracle also said it would offer TopLink as a separate, licensable component for use with all Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) compliant application servers, Oracle and non-Oracle databases and Java development tools.

All Oracle9i Application Server Release 2 Standard and Enterprise Edition customers will receive TopLink with the 9.0.3 update release. As a standalone product, TopLink is available for $7,000 per CPU. Oracle said it would market the new software to resellers and independent software vendors.

"Mapping Java objects to a relational database schema has traditionally been a complex and labor intensive process," said Steve Hendrick, an analyst at IDC. The addition of TopLink to the Oracle9i application server provides developers with a significantly more productive environment for developing and deploying applications."

To help Java developers best use TopLink, Oracle is offering an ongoing series of Web seminars. The No. 2 business software maker is also offering several free hands-on TopLink training sessions. Upcoming classes include New York City on November 18 and Boston on December 2.

Oracle said it also plans to aggressively evolve TopLink into a rich Java- and XML-based data synthesis framework.

"TopLink supports Oracle's mission to provide open-standards-based technologies that increase companies' productivity and performance," said Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of development, Oracle9i Application Server.