Oracle still seeking Sedona replacement

Oracle has formally pulled the plug on its much-hyped but troubled Sedona object development software, but its plans to replace Sedona with a more Web-friendly development framework remain in the formative stage. Users and software developers who are counting on Oracle to deliver tools that can build object-based distributed applications will have to remain patient. Oracle officials say they still haven't nailed down a new object strategy in the wake of this month's decision to not release Sedona.

Oracle has formally pulled the plug on its much-hyped but troubled Sedona object development software, but its plans to replace Sedona with a more Web-friendly development framework remain in the formative stage.

Users and software developers who are counting on Oracle to deliver tools that can build object-based distributed applications will have to remain patient. Oracle officials say they still haven't nailed down a new object strategy in the wake of this month's decision to not release Sedona.

The shifting sands of the company's strategy are getting hard to fathom, even for Oracle database users who don't have immediate plans to move to object technology.

"What we'd like is to have Oracle make a decision and tell us what it is so we can plan," says Doug Lhotka, research and development manager at Resort Computer in Lakewood, Colorado. He says Oracle has "kind of flip-flopped back and forth a couple times" on a schedule for shipping development tools that support the object pieces of its new Oracle8 database.

But the official dismantling of the Sedona project should at least free developers from having to worry about making a revolutionary leap away from Oracle's Developer/2000 and Designer/2000 tools, Lhotka says. Resort Computer is using those products to build a packaged application for the vacation time-sharing industry.

Potential competition with the widely used Developer/2000 was a drawback for Sedona all along, says an enterprise architect at a major insurance company in the Northeast who requested anonymity. "I never understood how they were going to package Sedona. That was always an open-ended issue," he says.

Sedona had been positioned as a key piece of Oracle's network computing architecture and was due to start limited shipments in July. But Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison ordered a return to the drawing board after the company's packaged applications unit balked at using the tool because it didn't support Java and thin clients.

Steve Ehrlich, senior director of tools product marketing at Oracle, says the company decided that reworking the 3-year-old Sedona technology would be futile. Instead, it plans to piece together a new development framework built around Java, the World Wide Web and the Object Management Group's Common Object Request Broker Architecture for distributing objects across a network.

Pieces of Sedona, such as its object repository, will probably be tied to Developer/2000, Ehrlich says. But delivery schedules "would be a guess today," he said. Oracle hopes to have its object tools strategy pinned down in time for next month's Oracle OpenWorld '97 conference in Los Angeles.

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