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Oracle Announces Sun Java Roadmap

The database giant's executive VP, Thomas Kurian, details how Oracle plans to integrate Sun's software into its product lines.
Kurian said Oracle will seek to continue to optimize the runtime performance of Java Micro Edition, the lightweight version of Java used on smart phones and other mobile devices. Oracle will seek to improve its ability to manage power consumption and give developers of applications for mobile devices the flexibility to adopt different user interfaces. Such a move would give device users the ability to "write an application once, then invoke different user interface behaviors" on the device itself, depending on what the user wished to do.

Oracle will try to accelerate the development of JavaFX, a scripting language that will allow Java developers to produce stronger rich Internet applications, or Web apps that have more interactive features with end users. One use of JavaFX would be to give the user interface a more "cinematic type experience," where users may zoom in on a spot on a map or zoom out on a graphic display to get a larger picture.

It would also allow dragging and dropping components of the user interface into an application. JavaFX will become one of the few languages that runs in the browser window, like JavaScript, he said.

Oracle will continue to invest in and offer Sun's NetBeans Java integrated development environment. "There's very little overlap with JDeveloper," Oracle's database application development tool, Kurian said. Oracle will seek to give NetBeans more support for dynamic languages, although he didn't say which ones. The scripting or dynamic languages, PHP, Perl and Python, have assumed a role on Web sites that Sun's executives once assumed Java would fill because of their more flexible nature and ability to link disparate elements together.

JDeveloper remains Oracle's strategic product for enterprise developers. JDeveloper will be integrated with Sun's Hudson project that supplies application life-cycle management capabilities, which treats an application as an ongoing project and manages all changes to it instead of considering it done when the development team turns it over to operations, Kurian continued.

With its acquisition of SeeBeyond, Sun acquired Master Index, a master data management tool, that Oracle is interested in using in its Health Care global business unit. Master data management manages the creation and storing of data, creating a reference version that a variety of applications can refer to when confronted with data of uncertain timeliness or origin.

If Master Index is added to Oracle's data systems sold to health care providers, a doctor or nurse in a hospital could look at patient information without being in danger of violating data compliance regulations, he said.

Oracle's Web Center Suite will continue to be its strategic portal product but it will incorporate extensions built into the Sun's GlassFish WebSpace Portal, adopted from the Apache Software Foundation's Liferay project.

Oracle will keep Oracle Identity Manager as its strategic product but will incorporate features from Sun's successful Identity Manager, such as Sun's role manager feature, where the role an employee plays determines what access he has to resources.

In system management, Kurian said Oracle's approach of managing its software components "from the database up" was complementary to Sun's approach of managing from the operating system down into the hardware and storage. Sun's Ops Center product will be made interoperable with Oracle's Enterprise Manager, then the two will be combined into a single product," he said.