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October 14, 1998

ORACLE ANNOUNCES PROJECT WEBDB BETA

By CBR Staff Writer

Oracle Corp has announced the open availability of Project WebDB, a web viewer for Oracle databases. As well as letting not especially skilled developers build web interfaces with which to view information residing in those databases, WebDB lets them create database-backed web sites whose usage can be monitored and tracked. The big selling point, though, is that WebDB is easy to use. According to Oracle’s Jeremy Burton, this is the easiest application Oracle has ever built. The idea is that WebDB can be sold into the line-of-business, where programming skills are not exactly thick on the ground. Technical people tend to move up into the IT department and webmasters are usually part-timers and resource-squeezed. Code- centric tools are not suitable for line of business use, Burton says, but with WebDB, part-time line-of-business developers can build viewers for your Oracle database which don’t require any code at all. You’ve still got to learn the environment, but WebDB is easy to install, use and deploy. The development tools can be accessed entirely from a web browser, and as well as assembling interfaces, developers can monitor usage of components and check what kind of response times users are getting. Having done that, it’s no great feat to turn around and make centralized, database-backed web site construction accessible even to non-technical content providers. You have to make end users feel like they own their area of the site, Burton explains. Oracle claims it can do that using the same browser- based interfaces. Marketing and manufacturing can upload their own Word documents and diagrams to intranet sites while the database imposes a unified look and feel on the resulting pages. If this all sounds like another way of making Oracle’s latest database 8i even more internet-centric than it already is (that i stands for internet, by the way), you’re exactly right.

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