It was Oracle Corp’s $2bn application group which balked at the next-generation Sedona programming toolset, designed by its cousins in the tools group to support the company’s new Oracle8 object-relational database. In a very frank and public admission just a couple of weeks before Oracle8’s formal introduction, CEO Larry Ellison said that Sedona’s original design point, a set of Basic language tools for creating client/server applications, simply couldn’t meet the present-day requirement for supporting Java-based computing (CI No 3,181). Ken Jacobs, VP product strategy and Oracle8 program manager in the server technologies group said Java was a problem for Sedona. Visual Basic was the language of choice when the project began, that choice was made before the explosion of interest in the Internet, adding: We never announced that Sedona would come out in concert with Oracle8. Or as one insider put it we said ‘why are we delivering new tools for an architecture whose requirements have changed?’ Although most of the application group’s customers are a conservative lot and are said to be unlikely to want to implement end-to-end Java solutions – especially server-based Java – anytime soon, what they do want, according to Sedona product managers, is to be able to use Java in addition to Oracle’s PL/SQL database programming language. Ellison said earlier this week that Sedona would be re-worked to provide end- to-end support for Java. That means Java on the server, Java middleware and Java clients. Until the recent arrival of the web- enabled Developer/2000 application generator – which spits out Java client applets converted from PL/SQL code – the company could only offer PL/SQL at the server, middleware and client. Database rival Microsoft Corp on the other hand already offers SQL on the server, Basic middleware and Java at the client end.
According to insiders, the re-assignment of Sedona supremo and SVP Joe Duncan to InterOffice marked the opening of the Sedona hunting season. Ever since, they say, a fierce political battle has been waged between the application and tools groups about what should happen to Sedona; the review is still underway. What Sedona managers have told us is that while Oracle’s server group will deliver the Java class interfaces such as JDBC, and Developer/2000 already provides Java client technology, Sedona will provide the Java middleware components. Sedona includes an object repository and the Visual Edge Technology Ltd object translation software that’s likely to be productized as Object Mediator. But it still leaves the company with nothing but third- party tools that can take advantage of the object data types supported in Oracle8. Will there be home-grown tools to take advantage of Oracle8’s object-oriented features before Sedona arrives? Yes, the company says, Oracle Object Database Designer. That’s the tool the company turned to on the day Ellison sent Sedona back to the shop but could offer no details (CI No 3,181). Turns out the C++ Oracle Object Database Designer is a snapshot of a full-blown upgrade of the company’s Designer/2000 CASE tool for modeling applications. OODD is expected before year-end and will generate C++ class definitions corresponding to Oracle8 data types, and reverse-engineer them onto a graphical model. Oracle8’s object cache will provide objects and models with run- time access to Oracle8.