Tool Vendors Gear Up for Oracle Platform

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2001-02-19

As Oracle Corp. offers its vision of software as a service at its AppsWorld conference in New Orleans this week, a trio of other software companies will roll out languages and tools that enable developers to more effectively manage data that runs on Oracle platforms.

Four Js Development Tools will announce a development language designed to compete head-to-head with Sun Microsystems Inc.s Java language. The Seattle-based companys BDL (Business Development Language) is source code for maintenance of multiple platform deployments based on a high-performance thin-client technology.

Sue Langlois converted from Informix Corp.s Informix 4GL language to Four Js BDL a year ago while the language was in its testing phase. The challenge for Langlois, technical configuration manager at Versaterm Inc., was to convert more than 1 million lines of code and 25,000 function points.

Versaterm, a computer-aided dispatching and records management company for public safety agencies, accomplished the task in four months with BDL. Langlois estimated it would take 25 man-years of development time.

"We wanted a thin-client model that didnt change a thing," said Langlois, in Ottawa. "Weve been developing our product for over 15 years. We actually started developing our own thin-client model, but with the maintenance of that, we were getting away from our core business."

Langlois said the advantage of BDL is that Four Js is no longer tied to Informix and can support multiple databases.

Another vendor, Inc., will announce Version 5.0 of its Tag Activated Markup Enhancer, or TAME, pure scripting software, which adds the flexibility to work with databases from multiple vendors, including Oracle. This flexibility will make it easier for developers trying to connect dissimilar software from two or more trading partners.

"One of the problems in B2B [business-to-business] is that you put dissimilar software together and its a lot of work to be done in terms of building an API," said President and CEO Dennis Sinclair, in Chicago.

For its part, OuterBay Technologies will introduce a tool for a more limited task. The San Jose, Calif., developer will announce a data management application, OuterBay Archiver, that extracts less timely data from Oracle applications databases and pops it into an archive for later retrieval.

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