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Oracle updates Microsoft developer tools

Oracle is offering free tools for Microsoft .NET and ASP.NET applications developers running the Oracle Database 10g.

Oracle has released some free tools for developers to use the two technology giants' technologies in conjunction with one another.

Oracle says both of the newly updated versions incorporate new capabilities for supporting ASP.NET, Microsoft's framework for building Web applications and Web sites. The releases also enable developers to build .NET applications using complex data types by allowing the creation of .NET custom types from Oracle abstract data types, according to the company. Some of those new capabilities include User Defined Type support, Source Control integration and enhanced integration with Visual Studio 2005.

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Along with the new Oracle Data Provider for .NET release, Oracle is introducing Oracle Providers for ASP.NET, a set of tools that integrate with ASP.NET Services to enable ASP.NET applications users to manage state and other information within an Oracle database.

The beta version of Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio .NET offers new ASP.NET Web development support, which lets developers automatically generate code by dragging and dropping database objects onto their ASP.NET Web pages. It also features integrated source control capabilities, easing the back up and versioning of .NET applications running with Oracle Database, by allowing Oracle scripts to be source-controlled within Visual Studio. The system supports any widely used source control systems and works with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio .NET 2003, according to Oracle. The tool also includes enhanced script editing and execution allowing for easier testing and deployment, company executives said.

"As far as visual studio integration goes, we're focusing on ASP.NET Web developers," said Christian Shay, an Oracle principal product manager. "So in this release, Web developers on the Microsoft platform can write Web applications that go against Oracle with very little coding required. They'll be able to basically drag and drop their way to a running application."

Some other key new features in Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio .NET include enhanced support for Microsoft Server Explorer, which is Microsoft's tree control system.

"From that tree control you can actually navigate through your Oracle database schema and look at all the objects, tables, packages and PL/SQL packages, and we have designers and wizards which are completely user-interface-based which will let users design their tables and views and packages in a user interface," Shay said. "On top of that we are also enhancing our .NET code generation for Windows applications [by] supporting the Visual Studio 2005 Data Sources window, which is how you begin the process of generating code. We're [also] supporting the Data Set Designer and the Table Adapter Configuration Wizard. By supporting all of that, now developers who have experience with any type of database development -- even if it's not Oracle -- can take that experience and apply it directly to Oracle."

Oracle says Data Provider for .NET helps developers more easily access information from the Oracle Database. The product lets developers exploit many of Oracle Database's capabilities, including application security context, clustering and native Oracle data types such as LOBs and REF cursors.

"[Oracle Data Provider for .NET] is just a way to get data from the Oracle database into your .NET application server so that you can get access to Oracle's advanced features like [Real Application Clusters], Advanced Security, XML data types and the performance tuning abilities of the Oracle database," said Alex Keh, another Oracle principal product manager.

The Oracle Data Provider for .NET beta are both available for download at no cost from the

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