Oracle finally unveiled some of the object features of its Oracle 8.0 object/relational database at its OpenWorld user conference in Vienna, Austria, this week.
Although the supplier was generally reluctant to kiss and tell, it did admit that it now had 200 beta customers, including such development tools suppliers as Forte and Rational Software, and planned to ship the offering as soon as it was announced on 24 June.
Ray Lane, Oracle?s president and chief operating officer, said: ?Oracle 8 offers a big step towards object technology, but we?ll roll more functionality out in subsequent releases. It?ll be an easy upgrade and will support objects, video, text and relational data.?
Mark Jarvis, Oracle?s vice president of server technologies, went further, explaining that Oracle 8 was divided into a relational section, which stores data from traditional Oracle applications without change, and an object section, which stores new data types such as spatial data or business objects.
The aim of separating the relational and the object side of the database is to ensure the installed base is not left out in the cold if they do not want to move to object technology straight away.
But, a routine in the database, called ObjectViews, enables object applications to access existing relational data, if required, he added.
The business objects represent given processes in the business such as purchase requisition. A user chooses a series of parameters to handle the process, but these rules are added to the business object only when needed.
If customers want to add a new base type such as a polar coordinate, which is not already supported in Oracle 8, they have to write it themselves in SQL3 or C.
To write a business object, however, they can use Java, C++, Oracle?s Designer and Developer/2000 and Sedona object repository, Forte or Rational?s database design tools.
However, Jarvis confirmed that while Oracle is still firmly backing the Object Management Group?s object request broker standard, it has no current plans to support Microsoft?s rival DCOM object model.
He described DOM as immature technology that noone was using yet, although he added that support would be added in future if the market demanded it.
He added that the database would also include publish and subscribe message queuing technology to optimise it for an Internet/intranet environment and would incorporate messaging software to provide transactional integrity during communication between applications.
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