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Oracle Extends Java Development Framework For iOS, Android

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Oracle has released an extension to its Java application development framework that allows applications to run on Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android without modification

Oracle has released an extension to its Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) that allows Java developers to build applications that will run on Apple’s iOS or Android.

Aside from its cross-platform benefits, Oracle ADF Mobile, released on Monday, is also notable in that it gives Java developers a way of getting around iOS’ ban on Java, without breaking Apple’s development terms.

Java on iOS

Apple hasn’t allowed the development of a Java runtime for iOS, so Oracle gets around this by including a lightweight, or “headless”, Java virtual machine (JVM) with each application. The JVM adds a minimal amount of overhead to the application, according to Oracle.

Oracle ADF Mobile is intended primarily for enterprise developers who want to extend their Java applications to mobile platforms, whether or not those applications are already developed with Oracle ADF, the company said.

Developers work from a single code base which is automatically adapted to run on iOS or Android, including support for native device services and offline applications, Oracle said.

ADF is designed for rapid application development using ready-to-use design patterns and visual tools. The mobile extension makes use of a “hybrid” approach in which the lightweight JVM runs the Java code, while open web technologies such as HTML5 and JavaScript are used to render the visual interface.

Internal use

ADF Mobile runs on Oracle’s JDeveloper integrated development environment (IDE) and the resulting applications communicate via Oracle’s WebLogic application server.

Oracle said it built ADF Mobile initially for its own use in translating its application portfolio to mobile devices, before offering the software to the outside world.

The company said it is considering adding support for platforms including RIM’s BlackBerry and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

Last month Oracle released a free version of Oracle ADF which deploys on GlassFish Server Open Source Edition rather than Oracle WebLogic.

iOS isn’t the only place where Apple restricts Java. In a software update last week Apple removed Java browser plug-ins from Mac OS X, reducing users’ exposure to Java’s mounting security risks. Following the update, users who want to run Java in their browsers must download the required software from Oracle.

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