Introduction to Oracle’s Object Features

First released in 1997 as an add-on to the Oracle8 Database (the so-called “object-relational database”), the Objects Option allowed developers to extend Oracle’s built-in datatypes to include abstract datatypes. The introduction of programmer-defined collections (described in Chapter 12) in that release also proved useful, not only because application developers had been looking for ways to store and retrieve arrays in the database, but also because PL/SQL provided a new way to query collections as if they were tables. While there were other interesting aspects of the new Oracle object model such as pointer-based navigation, there was no notion of inheritance or dynamic polymorphism, making the object-relational features of the Oracle8 Database an option that drew few converts from (or into) the camp of true OOP believers. The complexity of the object features, plus a perceived performance hit, also limited uptake in the relational camp.

The Oracle8i Database introduced support for Java Stored Procedures, which not only provided the ability to program the server using a less proprietary language than PL/SQL, but also made it easier for the OOP community to consider using stored procedures. Oracle provided a way to translate object type definitions from the server into Java classes, making it possible to share objects across the Java/database boundary. Oracle released the Oracle8i Database during a peak of market interest in Java, so hardly ...

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