Oracle is expanding the repository behind its Developer/2000 tool to become the common metadata store behind its entire tools family and, at a later date, its decision support product line.
The offering has acted as a back end to the development tool for as much as 10 years, but Oracle is now including some of the work undertaken in its failed Sedona project to broaden out its functionality.
As a result, the repository will, in future, support two different development approaches - both object-oriented and information engineering - but the product will not be able to support third party tools such as PowerBuilder or Delphi. Oracle claims it has no plans to develop a standalone, enterprise-wide repository at this time.
Instead, over the next 12-18 months, it intends to use the repository as a means of integrating its Developer and Designer/2000 development and modelling tools, and its new Java tool, due in January next year.
This means users will be able to swap metadata and application models between the different tools, while working on the same package. The offering will also be able to store and retrieve C++ and Java objects.
Within the same timescales, Oracle also plans to include functionality in the product to enable users to change either the application model held in the repository or the application they have generated from the model, and have the change automatically registered in both.
Kieran Kilmartin, Oracle?s tools marketing manager, said: ?We hope this will appeal to a much broader market than the Microsoft repository because we?ve traditionally been much higher end. Organisations want a layer of abstraction away from bits and bytes to reflect their business, not just to maintain their code, but to maintain models of their application. The repository becomes the place to store components and models from all over the organisation, but we have no plans to develop a standalone repository.?
However, John Watton, Oracle?s marketing manager for end user tools, confirmed that work on the repository was being extended to integrate Oracle?s decision support product line.
?Support for our decision support and Olap products is mapped into the project. We are working as part of the repository project and we?re all working together. It?s all in the pipeline, but it?s in the fairly early stages and I can?t offer any timescales. But, we are looking towards a common metadata model, with common rules to describe metadata,? he said.
Meanwhile, the company?s new Java tool, codenamed JProgrammer, will be based on Borland?s Jbuilder technology, which it licensed earlier this year.
The first release will generate client and server-based Oracle 8 components, but later versions will be able to generate Enterprise Java Beans. However, Oracle has no plans for a C++ tool because, it says, Java offers more portability.
The firm also plans to ship its Object Database Designer modelling tool in the first quarter of next year. This supports UML and can model Oracle 8 objects, although Java support will be added later.
Mike Blecher, Gartner?s vice president of application development, said: ?IBM, Oracle and Microsoft will become the dominant players in the repository space, although so far Microsoft has had more impact on partners. Oracle and IBM haven?t been that aggressive, but all of them will compete head to head with an integrated suite of products, including middleware, databases and tools, which means they need a repository under the covers.?
He added that most users would select a repository from one or other of the three vendors and then use bridges to get data from the other worlds.
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