Oracle has released the latest version of its Java development product, Oracle JDeveloper 11g Release 2. The release was made alongside an update to Oracle ADF (Application Development Framework).
JDeveloper would have a higher profile as a Java development environment if it hadn’t been hindered for several years by being expensive and not really suitable for developers who just want to write normal plain Java. It started life as a code fork from Borland's JBuilder, but was targeted at the middleware developer with lots of support for Java Enterprise Edition (EE). Oracle made it free from 2005 onwards and has really improved it over recent versions with facilities for writing SOA and Web 2.0 apps.
The main target audience for JDeveloper is developers working with Oracle database and Fusion Middleware. It is also key to Oracle SQL Developer which is used to develop PL/SQL applications.
The main improvements to this release are an upgrade to the JDeveloper Extension Framework to use OSGi so that extensions can be loaded as needed rather than at start-up. This should result in a faster start-up time and will make it easier for Oracle to create OSGi based extensions for JDeveloper. The performance has been improved in other ways too so it is less sluggish at design time.
Maven 2 support is now integrated with JDeveloper so project management should be improved. On the ADF side, a new ADF Skin Editor has been included so you can create and modify the appearance of ADF Faces applications. Another improvement is support forJavaServer Faces JSF 2.0 both in the IDE and for ADF applications.
One nice new component is a thematic map that lets you show data in a geographical context without needing a connection to a mapping server. The component comes with built-in base maps for continents, countries, and states, and built-in data for major US cities.
Those of you developing against databases will welcome the rather less glamorous but probably more useful improvements to how databases are handled. You can now work offline against databases by making them appear as persistent files or as Oracle 11gR2 SXML.
JDeveloper can be downloaded from the Oracle site where you can also check out the complete list of new features and find several tutorials.