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Both of the enterprise application giants—Oracle and SAP AG—have signed up to license technology that will help users more easily edit and save shared content.

Xythos Software Inc. announced Tuesday that Oracle Corp. will plug the Xythos Drive into Oracle Files 10g and Oracle Portal.

This will bring the ability to collaboratively manage content and enterprise portals through both the environment of browsers and of the Windows desktop.

Xythos has been selling enterprise content management applications for about six years.

It has 1.5 million licensed users of its open-standards enterprise document management software, spread across commercial, government and academic organizations.

According to Jim Till, vice president of marketing, open standards ensure that the Xythos Drive can be run on the database of choice, whether it’s DB2; Oracle; SQL Server; or the more widely distributed open-source databases, such as MySQL or PostgreSQL.

It also runs on major application servers, such as Microsoft Corp.’s IIS, BEA Systems Inc.’s WebLogic, or the open-source Apache Tomcat.

The Xythos Drive relies on the WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) protocol to allow HTTP to become writable as well as readable.

Thus, WebDAV allows the common user or casual content contributor to upload content to the server so others can collaborate on it, Till said.

Security and latency issues are also handled by the WebDAV protocol, Till said. “One reason WebDAV has been embraced is because it’s a stateless protocol,” he said. “Meaning you don’t need to maintain an active session between client and server.”

Till pointed to the University of Texas at Austin as being one user organization that demonstrates the benefit: With 40,000 licensed Xythos users and on average several petabytes of I/O going through the system, no latency is experienced.

That’s because, unless making a real-time data change by saving or changing metadata information, there’s no communication going on.

The Xythos Drive being licensed by Oracle is a piece of client technology designed to expose the most advanced WebDAV capabilities, Till said.

“The Xythos Drive takes the WebDAV standard and expresses it as a right-click menu or property options in the Windows desktop,” he said.

“[It’s] for all those users out there who don’t always want to be in a Web page. Say I like to do drag and drop or give somebody read permission immediately, [I can do it] without having to go to the Web page.”

Oracle approached Xythos about two years ago, at the same time as did SAP, Till said.

While the companies knew that some percentage of their users were comfortable navigating their portals to access and share content, they were also mindful of a large number of users who had no desire to learn another application to manage content and would be less likely to contribute to content if they had to go through, say, Oracle’s Collaboration Suite, he said.

Oracle will include the Xythos Drive for every user for whom the company sells licenses. Till said that SAP AG will announce similar licensing in its NetWeaver platform at some future date.