February 11, 2007 9:00 PM PST

Oracle to spice up applications with Web 2.0 features

Oracle on Monday is expected to release its WebCenter Suite, software meant to make it easier for end users to navigate Oracle applications.

WebCenter Suite, sold as an addition to Oracle's high-end Application Server, provides software for Java developers to incorporate so-called Web 2.0 tools into Oracle applications, according to Oracle.

With this first release, Oracle intends to help developers build "enterprise mashups" that combine information from different data sources in a single Web-based front end, said Greg Crider, Oracle's senior director of technology marketing. Available tools include search, instant messaging, blogging and wikis.

"There is a lot of interest and a lot of demand around Web 2.0, and IT organizations are trying to figure out the best approaches to providing these better, richer experiences for their end users," Crider said.

In the next major release of WebCenter Suite, Oracle will allow end users to customize mashup applications as well, he said.

Oracle's plans to use consumer Web technologies in its business software mirrors what competitors SAP, IBM and Microsoft are doing. Each is looking to make users more productive by introducing common Internet tools such as search and wikis, within their applications.

The company first introduced Web Center at its customer conference last year. It is now available as an option to Oracle Application Server Enterprise Edition for $50,000 per processor.

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