Oracle offers beta of Visual Studio plug-in

Oracle on Wednesday showed off a test version of a plug-in for Visual Studio .Net 2003 that allows developers using the Microsoft tools to build applications that can run on the Oracle 10g database.

The beta of Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio .NET was released late last week and comes about a year after Oracle joined Microsoft's Visual Studio Industry Partner program. The tools can increase productivity for Visual Studio developers using Oracle's database, said Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president at Oracle in a keynote speech at the VSLive conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

"In the Visual Studio environment that you know and love, you can do all these Oracle-specific things: browse the objects in the database, create new code on the fly, run code, debug code," and more, Mendelsohn said after the tools were demonstrated to an audience of developers.

The tool is part of Oracle's efforts to increase sales of its database product to Windows users, Mendelsohn said. Today, Microsoft's SQL Server database has a bigger share of the market on Windows-based servers than does Oracle. "We want to change that," he said.

"We're trying to make our name much more prevalent in the Windows community so everybody understands that when they need a database underneath their .Net application, they have a choice, it is not just automatically SQL Server, they can also use Oracle," Mendelsohn said.

The coming together of Oracle and Microsoft technologies is great news to Eddie Merrifield, a developer with Hewlett-Packard.

"In the past years the tools available for using Oracle and .Net together weren't as good and we joked about a feud between Larry Ellison and Bill Gates. I have not seen anything like this for Oracle before and will be downloading this tool today," he said.

In addition to the developer tool, in Release 2 of Database 10g due midyear Oracle will incorporate new features to increase support for Windows application developers. The database update will include Oracle Database Extensions for .NET, offering improved Microsoft .NET support via stored procedures implemented using Microsoft's CLR (Common Language Runtime), Oracle said in a statement.

The final version of Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio .NET is due around April, an Oracle spokesman said.

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