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Oracle Links To Ajax, Donates User Interface Components To Apache

The components are meant to ease the task of creating interactive applications that allow data exchanges between server and browser window without clunky HTML page downloads.
Oracle will announce this morning at JavaOne that it has developed Ajax components to help developers build rich client applications that deliver the data users want.

The components work with Oracle's JDeveloper Java graphical development environment and its application development framework (ADF) and are meant to ease the task of creating interactive applications that allow data exchanges between server and browser window without clunky HTML page downloads.

In an 8:30 a.m. address to attendees of JavaOne, the annual developer conference in San Francisco, Oracle senior VP Thomas Kurian will talk about the Ajax upgrades in a keynote titled, "Going to the Extreme: Software Infrastructure for a New Era." Kurian will also announce that Oracle is contributing the user interface components to the Apache Software Foundation as open-source code.

Java developers are likely to find the Ajax components useful because Ajax applications are notoriously finicky to build. The Javascript, or dynamic HTML, used in Ajax applications yields different reactions in different browser windows, and having a tool that can both tap an existing library of components and reconcile the differences usually speeds up application development.

Steven Harris, VP of Oracle's Java Platform Group, said in advance of they keynote that over 80 user interface components will be included in the donation. They are designed to work with Java Server Faces 1.2, a standard way of developing the user interface under Java Enterprise Edition 5.

The Apache Software Foundation will add the components to its MyFaces project that's building a rich client framework as an automated platform for Java developers. Both Oracle's ADF, the MyFaces rich client framework, and the open-source Spring framework can perform a lot of the underlying plumbing for Java applications by getting the programmers to make simple declarative statements about what the application is intended to do.

The components include many common user interface devices such as pull down menus and dialogue boxes. But they also include the Ajax-oriented interactive devices such as an "accordion" widget that treats a particular section of a Web page as expandable to show more of a particular type of data. The Oracle components also bring the ability to work on a chart within a Web page, moving data around or editing it. Both functions aren't done on non-Ajax enabled pages, said Ralf Dossmann, senior product director for Oracle Fusion middleware, in advance of the keynote.

The upgrade to ADF includes the ability to support Adobe's Flash Player in an Oracle database application. The ADF Render Kit can display a Flash sequence in the user interface. Flash brings the ability to mount an orchestrated, multimedia presentation to the end user along a planned timeline. Video, images, text and voice can be coordinated to demonstrate a process or graphically show the results of using particular data.

Both JDeveloper and ADF will include a JavaScript editor and debugger, allowing developer modification and testing of JavaScript that is to activate user interface elements in the browser window.

Kurian is expected to say that the upgraded tools and donated components will be available for developer preview today at an Oracle site. Additional information on the upgrades is available at the Oracle Technology Network.

Oracle will also make available for preview a new version of its Fusion middleware's Oracle Application Server with added features to ease deployment of rich client-style applications. The application server will support the latest Java improvements, including Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0, Java Server Faces 1.2, and WS-Policy, a Web standard for imposing policy restraints on a Web application process, said Dossmann.

Oracle is also increasing its integration with the popular Spring open-source development framework, and the company will distribute Spring 2.0 in a new Oracle Development Kit for Spring.

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