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Oracle Adding SOA to Developer Tools

Oracle has put the finishing touches on its latest development environment for Java and Web services, adding a new layer geared for grid and service-oriented architectures (SOAs) to make application creation easier, internetnews.com has learned.

On Wednesday, Oracle plans to unveil its refreshed JDeveloper 10g development package to let developers use current SOA methodologies, which are distributed computing models, to more efficiently piece together applications from a set of shared business services.

JDeveloper employs what the Redwood Shores, Calif. company is calling the Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) to simplify the writing of J2EE applications and Web services.

The idea is that developers of various skill levels may create more flexible applications that adapt on the fly according to changes in business requirements.

Integrating systems after an acquisition, customizing hosted applications for a new client, or sharing data across several strategic partners are examples of how this distributed computing model may help developers complete tasks for their companies.

Conceived but discarded for other models in the late '80s, SOAs are rapidly sliding into the mainstream as a distributed computing model that underpins Web services , which allow applications to talk to one another to complete transactions via the Web, such as purchase orders.

Several Oracle competitors, including Microsoft, BEA Systems and IBM have announced their work with SOAs. Microsoft is crafting its SOA-based model as part of its work on project "Indigo," while BEA is working on a "portal rationalization" strategy to reduce so-called "Web sprawl."

IBM meanwhile is steering SOAs and shared services strategies to its IBM Global Services (IGS) division.

Analysts have said the progression to the more general SOA architecture from Web services hype is a natural occurrence in an evolving software market where vendors such as BEA, IBM, Oracle and others are attempting to meet customer demand for real-time business processes. Experts also say this is a multi-billion-dollar industry.

In one endorsement of JDeveloper 10g, Les Morton, project team leader at Associated Wholesalers, said his team has been using JDeveloper to develop our Enterprise Java Beans-based business services, and is now using Oracle ADF to develop the Web interface for the system.

"Oracle JDeveloper simplifies the development of our J2EE application with its visual approach to development and its productive and open framework," Morton said in a statement. "This tool helps us accelerate our development cycle, providing a higher ROI for IT projects at our company."

Oracle JDeveloper 10g is now available for to be tested free from the Oracle developer community site, and can be purchased for $995 per named user.

In related Oracle news, the company said it now counts more than 20,000 application server customers based on the strength of its December 2003 launch of Oracle Application Server 10g, which makes it possible for companies to manage applications in J2EE and grid computing systems. New customers include BMC Software, British Telecom and Motorola.