November 25, 1996

Personal Oracle Lite adds muscle in latest release
By Timothy Dyck

  With the addition of bidirectional replication and enhanced SQL language support, Oracle Corp.'s Personal Oracle Lite is now a contender in the small-footprint SQL database engine market. PC Week Labs tested Version 2.3 and found that all the conflict detection and resolution mechanisms supported by Oracle7 Server are provided by Personal Oracle Lite, making the product's conflict-handling abilities the most powerful in its class.

However, the product can only replicate with an Oracle 7.3 Workgroup Server or Oracle 7.3 Server, limiting its replication functionality to Oracle shops.

Also, although the database engine supports the SQL 89 and SQL 92 standards, it doesn't support PL/SQL, the language used by Oracle7 servers. Because of this, many Oracle developers will have to stick with the more costly and resource-intensive Personal Oracle7 for database development.

The addition of replication places Personal Oracle Lite squarely in competition with Sybase Inc.'s small-footprint database engine, SQL Anywhere, which also features full SQL 92 support with replication. But unlike SQL Anywhere, which must use electronic mail to replicate database changes, Personal Oracle Lite can use a standard direct or dial-up network link.

Version 2.3 also can replicate directly to its parent Oracle server, while SQL Anywhere must replicate through an intermediate Sybase Replication Server to reach Sybase SQL Server. However, SQL Anywhere can replicate directly to another SQL Anywhere database and allows network database access, two important advantages over Personal Oracle Lite, which cannot replicate with itself and allows only local access.

Personal Oracle Lite now includes the Oracle Navigator tool used by Personal Oracle7. The Navigator tool allowed us to transfer between an Oracle7 Server database and a Personal Oracle Lite database using drag-and-drop operations. It was very convenient to use the same tool to manage both our server database and our local Personal Oracle Lite database.

Using the Navigator we could create replicable images of tables, called snapshots by Oracle. Snapshots can be read-only or read-write, and can contain only subsets of tables based on criteria defined when the snapshot is created.

Personal Oracle Lite will ship in the next few weeks, priced at $195 for new users.

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