Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Oracle 9iAS experiences?

Anyone have a strong feeling on Oracle 9i Application Server, especially versus sticking to open source Apache Tomcat? 

The Oracle metrics promise considerable performance improvements once you hit around 250 users... however, anyone have epxeriences w/ stability, ease-of-use and deployment, etc...


Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Its basically a different release of orion with a few config changes.

I liked it when I was using it but as times passed I'm not sure how it would compare with the current competition.

Ben Thompson
Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Unfortunately there's a bug in Oracle 9iAS 9.0.3 (9.0.4 preview was just released) that prevents the cache (that delivers said performance improvement) working with CMP entity beans - i.e. because of the bug you have to turn the cache off or the server very quickly dies.

Orion ( is cheaper and more lightweight than 9iAS. The OC4J component (J2EE container) in 9iAS is a branch of Orion. The 9iAS package is OC4J + a whole lot of extras - e.g. TOPLink, classes/tools for connecting to Oracle databases, turning PL/SQL into beans or Java code or something, etc (actually I don't know too much about the other stuff as I didn't need to use it).

If you're comparing it to Tomcat (i.e. serving web apps) then the whole Oracle 9iAS suite is overkill. From what I understand Orion generally has better performance as a web app server than Tomcat, so if you really do need that performance boost Orion is probably worth considering.

If you want a commerical J2EE suite and not just a web container Oracle 9iAS is very reasonably priced, but Oracle JDeveloper (IDE that comes with 9iAS) is awful. Happily, you don't have to use JDeveloper as Oracle's online documentation is fairly clear and a lot of the Orion documentation and support network (e.g., is also applicable.

Walter Rumsby
Tuesday, June 3, 2003

If you have a Tomcat app but are unhappy with performance, would you not look at Resin first?  I remember being on a team in the same bind, and for some reason we chose Orion over Resin.  But the team was notororious for being loose with the spending, and I thought it was a weird choice to pay 3X Resin's cost for essentially a servlet app.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Walter, can you expand on why you think JDeveloper is awful? What's the latest version that you've tried?

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Evgeny Goldin
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Walter Rumsby, can you, please, give some more details or URLs about the bug you've mentioned ? We're using Oracle9iAS 9.0.2 and the server freezes under the stress test ..

Thank you !

Evgeny Goldin
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Curious, JDeveloper just looks ugly. Sorry if I hurt somebody's feelings but applications using default look-and-feels from Sun are usually look ugly. IDEA, JProfiler using custom look-and-feels and it's a pleasure to work with them. As about features and versions - I didn't try JDeveloper that much. Because - see above :) IDEA all the way.

Evgeny Goldin
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

First up, links to bug reports:

(I think there are one or two others on the forum too, I just did a search for "cache" in the OC4J forum - we also ran into this problem).

JDeveloper, JDeveloper, JDeveloper.

Well, let me say that my sentiment is not limited to me and my known and obvious IDEA-zealotry (FYI, I'm working with WebSphere Studio at the moment - I'm almost prepared to recommend Eclipse for users with 1GB of RAM, although I still find IDEA to be much more intuitive) - other members of my development team weren't too impressed with JDeveloper especially after seeing IDEA in action. They all lusted after their own IDEA licenses, but their attempts to get management to buy them IDEA licenses fell on deaf ears (I own my own license and use it at work whenever I can - it was worth EVERY CENT because my time at work is much much more enjoyable - I do truely "develop with pleasure").

First up JDeveloper seems really slow and unresponsive. As I've stated here before I could have IDEA (with SQL plug-in), OC4J, Mozilla, Putty and TextPad all running responsively on a PIII laptop with 512MB of RAM. Working on the same project, machine and codebase I could only really run JDeveloper, right-clicking the context menu would freeze the computer and it would take about 30 seconds to respond. Other developers on my team experienced similar problems.

Being an IDEA user, I'm a big fan of refactoring support. I frequently find myself wanting to refine the name of methods and/or member variables. So, one day I selected the refactoring menu in JDeveloper, noticed the paltry number of refactorings available, chose "Rename", JDeveloper crashed.

Since the app I was working on used web services I needed to figure out how to turn a class into a web service in OC4J. The online help in JDeveloper suggested drawing a UML diagram with JDeveloper's UML tool and then right-clicking the diagram and choosing "Generate web service". Well, remember what happened when I right clicked? Actually, things were a little worse, the release of JDeveloper I was using crashed when I chose "Generate web service" (known bug - needed to download a patch). And drawing a UML diagram (which JDeveloper put in my class' package) seemed like a stupid way to generate a web service. Later I found documentation for OC4J which explained that I could enter a couple of lines in the web-xml file instead (and I did that with pleasure using IDEA).

This one experience probably sums up my entire JDeveloper experience. The program trys to rely on wizards to automate things/make it all easier, but instead becomes a shining example of the "Evil Wizards" principle. JDeveloper created files in places I didn't want them to be, and most of the wizards' side effects weren't transparent. The software was slow, unresponsive and buggy. The way it chooses to organise projects is incredibly frustrating (still my major beef with WebSphere studio too) - IDEA lets you play with files in a project with other tools, but IDEs tied to suites seem to try to completely lock you in. JDeveloper wraps things up in wizards in an attempt to be a RAD tool, but IMHO RAD shouldn't be used unless prototyping AND JDevelopers performance and convoluted behaviour significantly impeeded my ability to deliver code.

Or more simply put, download IDEA, try it on your OC4J project, then write a letter to Oracle suggesting they license IDEA as the 9iAS IDE and ditch JDeveloper.

Walter Rumsby
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home