Oracle Visual Code brings cloud-based app dev to business users

With its Project Visual Code platform, Oracle is taking a swing at Salesforce in cloud-based application development.

Detailed this week, the platform for low-code development provides a browser-based interface for building standalone applications or extensions to existing applications. Geared to "citizen developers," Visual Code is a direct competitor to the Salesforce Lightning component-based development platform.

Oracle's Bill Pataky, vice president of mobile development and developer tools, said that Visual Code's advantage over Lightning is in extending applications, with users able to integrate with third-party data from sources like Facebook or Google Maps.

Applications are created with prebuilt components from the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, which can be supplemented with a small degree of JavaScript coding. "The goal is to allow business users to meet needs when they come up without relying on IT," Pataky said.

The package features a visual tool for building and hosting Web and mobile applications, a UI design system, a UI component architecture, and business objects for building applications over any REST-based service. Components are dragged onto the UI; back-end data access also can be set up. Applications can be built on any device with a browser, although Pataky does not recommend using a smartphone -- the browser would be too small, and they can be sold in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace.

Components are built with standard JavaScript and REST, using Oracle's JavaScript Extension Toolkit. Users can extend Oracle SaaS applications, bringing in data from the Oracle SaaS platform Pataky said, but apps don't have to work with data in Oracle's cloud. As an example of how the platform can be used, Pataky said Oracle built an application to keep track of who was going to the company's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco this week and where they were staying.

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