Sun Microsystems Inc. is working on a new tool for developers designed to automate some of the steps involved in writing Web services applications, according to a senior Sun executive.

Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer at Sun said the tool will automatically generate lines of Java code for Web services-type applications, reducing some of the grunt work associated with writing new applications. It will also include features designed to improve the quality of code without altering the applications being written, he said. Sun is trying to lure developers toward its Sun ONE architecture for building and deploying Web services, and has touted Java as a key piece of Sun ONE.

Oracle’s simplified 11i pricing raises questions

Oracle Corp.’s simplified pricing model for the E-Business Suite 11i so far is causing confusion instead of clarity. Larry Ellison, Oracle’s chairman and chief executive officer, called his company’s pricing for 11i complex and announced flat pricing: US$4,000 for a “power user” and $400 for a “casual user”. No further details were released.

“It sounds very simple, but it is not clear how it is going to work,” said Jeremy Young, president of the OAUG. The OAUG’s top concern is what the pricing change will do for those modules of the E-Business Suite that were not charged per user, said Young. This includes human resources (priced per employee), procurement (priced per order line), online storefront iStore (priced per processor) and advanced supply-chain planning (priced per million dollars of goods sold.)

Yahoo hunts revenue with premium search service

Looking for more revenue in a lightweight ad market, Yahoo Inc. said that it is launching premium search content, offering customers access to reference reports, news and authoritative content for a fee.

The Premium Document Search offers users a research library of more than 70 million pages of full text from more than 7,100 sources that are not readily available on the Web, the company said. Users of the premium content service can choose to pay per document, with prices depending on the item, or US$4.95 a month to access up to 50 documents. Summary views of the documents are free.