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Oracle 8i Lite

While Sybase may have the lead in the mobile computing marketspace, there's no denying the fact that Oracle is the major force in the world of enterprise databases. Like its Sybase counterpart, the Oracle 8i Lite product is available for all major mobile platforms (Win32, Windows CE, Palm OS, and EPOC) and, in some areas, goes a step beyond the Sybase Ultralite product. As you might expect, 8i Lite includes complete synchronization capabilities with a back-end Oracle database; however, the product doesn't stop there. Also included are ODBC clients for Windows CE and Win32 (for those interested in developing applications based on ODBC) and C/C++/Java/ActiveX API support. Two other features within the product are perhaps the most interesting: Oracle Mobile Agents and Web-To-Go:

  • Oracle Mobile Agents was originally marketed as a standalone wireless middleware product, but was folded into the 8i Lite product back in 1999. Mobile Agents is a communications solution that allows Oracle 8i Lite applications to perform wireless syncs over networks such as CDPD (used by AT&T Wireless), Mobitex (used by Cingular Wireless), and DataTAC 4000/5000 (used by Motient). Oracle Mobile Agents handles messaging through the use of an application queue. This queue also integrates with a back-end Oracle database running Oracle's Advanced Queuing option and the AQ Lite product included with 8i Lite.

  • Web-To-Go is both a data synchronization and an application deployment solution. Built on common Web development technologies such as Apache and Java servlets, Web-To-Go allows a Web app (for Win32 platforms) to be archived within a server repository and then be automatically deployed to clients upon synchronization. Web-To-Go supports the development of database logic through Java Stored Procedures or JDBC and is a very powerful mobile solution for those with an existing (or planned) Web application built around Java servlets.

I believe that the marketplace is currently a bit confused about the Oracle offering because portions of the 8i Lite were once marketed separately (Web-To-Go, Oracle Mobile Agents, Oracle Lite, etc.). In addition, Oracle's own OracleMobile solution, which is targeted at wireless-only solutions such as WAP, SMS, and VoiceXML, has managed to pull some attention away from 8i Lite. However, for those interested in developing industrial-strength solutions that may also require wireless communications, 8i Lite is an excellent combination of database, synchronization, middleware, and application-deployment technologies.

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