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THE ENTERPRISE NEWSLETTER

Issue No 19:
WEB SERVICES VENDORS

 Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Products for Generating Real-Time Web Services

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Contents

Web Services IDE Product Vendors


WEB SERVICES IDE PRODUCT VENDORS

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – July 5, 2002: The last issue of TEN discussed the evolution of XML Web Services. This issue discusses the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) products from a number of major Web Service development tool vendors.

Clive Finkelstein
TEN - The Enterprise Newsletter

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MICROSOFT 

Microsoft, IBM and Ariba jointly submitted initial Web Services specifications to the W3C for consideration in Sep 2000. Microsoft is using its “.NET” initiative (called ‘dot Net’) to transform the company – moving its software product functionality to the Internet.

.NET is designed from the ground up to be an XML Web Services development and delivery environment. It is a software platform to build .NET applications and comprises a set of programmable Web Services. It defines a programming model, and provides tools to build and integrate Web Services. This enables developers and users to interact with a wide range of smart devices via the Internet or Intranet.

Figure 1 illustrates the Microsoft .NET Framework. All .NET languages are built on a Common Language Specification. While designed specifically to support the .NET versions of Visual Basic, C++, C# and JScript, .NET also supports other languages that can be modified to this specification. These include Perl, Python, COBOL, Eiffel, Pascal, Fortran, SmallTalk, Java, RPG, Ada, APL, J# and others. Work is currently underway by numerous third parties to incorporate many of these languages into .NET. The .NET Framework is designed to unify programming models to enable cross-language integration. 

Figure 1: The Microsoft .NET Framework [Source: Microsoft] 

The Microsoft Active Server Page (ASP) technology has been enhanced as ASP.NET and is designed to allow the easy development of Web Services and Web Forms (see Figure 1). The development of Windows Forms has also been improved with .NET, and ADO.NET provides full support for Data and XML. Visual Studio.NET supports and integrates all of these development environments, automating many development tasks that previously required manual integration.

Each of the languages at the top of Figure 1 is supported by Visual Studio.NET, which is an enhanced Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The other languages discussed above can also be added to Visual Studio.NET. Each language compiles to a single intermediate language: called MSIL (Microsoft Intermediate Language), shown in Figure 2. A Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler for each hardware platform converts MSIL code to machine language for the target platform.

The MSIL concept in Figure 2 is similar to that used by Sun. Java can execute interpretatively in a Java Virtual Machine on any hardware platform, or instead JIT compilation is used to convert Java code to machine-code for higher performance execution. The Microsoft approach will also enable any language to be portable across hardware platforms similar to Java, for execution in a .NET environment that – in time – is itself also clearly intended to be able to run on any platform. Windows extends from 32 bit desktops and servers, up to 64 bit servers. It also extends down to PDAs, with Windows CE and Pocket PC 2002, and also to embedded platforms. The strategy behind Visual Studio.NET is to enable applications to be developed within Windows … for later execution in a .NET environment on any platform. This is a key component of Microsoft’s strategy for Web Services.

Figure 2: Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) .NET Portability [Source: Microsoft]

Visual Studio.NET has been designed to largely automate much of the development of Web Services using its major languages: Visual Basic.NET, C++.NET and C#.NET. For example Function Calls in existing code modules can be automatically converted by Visual Studio.NET to SOAP messages. The simple addition of a WebMethod statement in front of a function will convert that function automatically to a Web Service. With naming of the Web Service, WSDL specification can be generated automatically.

The ability of Visual Studio.NET to convert existing applications to Web Services in a highly automated way offers an easy transition path for millions of developers throughout the world. With the release of this product in Feb 2002, Microsoft sees that its future business opportunities lie in making the transition to XML and Web Services as painless as possible.

Visit http://www.microsoft.com/business/articles/net/netvision.asp for an article discussing Microsoft’s vision, or visit http://www.microsoft.com/net/ directly. Many articles are available, including online training and webcast seminars on all aspects of .NET. Microsoft also offers a free DVD containing an evaluation version of Visual Studio.NET, with 2 GB of .NET code samples.

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IBM

While Microsoft has focused on the development of Web Services using an integrated family of products based on .NET, IBM has a set of integrated Web Services products that are based on WebSphere® and Java. These provide extensive support and generation of all Web Services markup languages, including SOAP, WSDL and UDDI as illustrated by Figure 3.

IBM provides extensive support for Web Services using WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Studio Application Developer and related products. WebSphere Application Server provides integrated and extensive support for SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. It supports interoperability of Business-to-Business (B2B) applications and any-to-any connectivity, with transaction management and application integration adaptability. It provides a production-ready Web Application Server for the deployment of enterprise Web Service solutions for “dynamic e-Business”. Application development is based on using Sun’s Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), with full support for XML.

In 2002 IBM combined the functionality of its recently-acquired CrossWorlds Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) engine with WebSphere Application Server and its Eclipse open-source tools project. CrossWorlds shares a common run time with WebSphere, while Eclipse allows developers to mix and match eclipse-compliant tools in a single environment. IBM has also developed a native XML data base capability: Xperanto. The platform support of WebSphere Application Server includes Microsoft Windows NT, Windows 2000, Sun Solaris, HP-UX, IBM AIX, Linux, IBM OS/400, IBM z/OS and IBM OS/390 (as well as Linux for OS/390). 

Figure 3: IBM Web Services Toolkit for Developing Web Services [Source: IBM Corp.]

Interoperability is supported between Web Services and J2EE applications, enabling solution offerings to be developed for collaboration, for B2B, portal server support, content management, commerce and for mobile device computing. Connectivity is supported based on J2EE Connector Architecture (JCA), which allows integration with SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle ERP Financials, JD Edwards, IBM CICS, IBM IMS, and IBM Host On-Demand applications, through the use of corresponding adaptors in Figure 4.  

Figure 4: IBM WebSphere Application Server Environment Support [Source: IBM Corp.]

WebSphere Application Server is integrated with the IBM WebSphere Studio Workbench, an enhanced development capability that extends the IBM VisualAge for Java development capability further into XML and Web Services development. It is based on open standards and provides plug-and-play capability for third-party application development tools.

WebSphere Application Server offers broad support for CORBA and Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) interoperability. CORBA applications can be invoked from an EJB servlet, and EJB components can be invoked from the same CORBA applications. Support is also provided for Microsoft ActiveX integration with J2EE through an ActiveX bridge that makes J2EE classes dynamically available through ActiveX interfaces. For organizations using COM-based technologies such as Visual Basic, Visual C++ and Active Server Pages, this capability offers J2EE connectivity from both ActiveX clients and ActiveX servers.

WebSphere Studio Workbench is a family of development products, each designed for a specific e-business development role or range of roles: WebSphere Studio Site Developer; WebSphere Studio Application Developer; and WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer. Task-oriented perspectives filter out complexity and present only those functions that are relevant to the specific task. Developers can switch perspectives depending on what they are developing or analyzing, and their role in a development project. The WebSphere Studio Workbench family supports the following technologies:

  • Java Server Pages (JSP) development, which extends web server functionality to create dynamic web content. JSP supports rapid development of server- and platform-independent web applications.

  • Servlet development, as server applications that execute within a web application.

  • Web Services development, as self-contained modular applications that can be described, published, located and invoked over the Internet or within Intranets.

WebSphere Studio Site Developer offers Web Site development capabilities, which include: Web Services generation wizards; Java Server Page (JSP) servlet creation; team development support; XML tools; database wizards; a core Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and web page creation wizards with dynamic effects.

WebSphere Studio Application Developer was released in Nov 2001 for professional developers of Java and J2EE applications, requiring integrated Web, JSP, XML and Web Services support. It includes the above support for WebSphere Studio Site Developer plus additional support for EJB creation and deployment, and performance profiling and analysis tools. More extensive enterprise support is availble in a third WebSphere Studio Workbench edition: WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer.  

IBM has many articles on Web services and XML technologies at http://www.ibm.com/xml/. A CD that containing additional information and software can also be requested from the first location. White Papers are also at http://www-3.ibm.com/software/solutions/webservices/documentation.html.

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SOFTWARE AG

Evolving from its database origins in the 1960s with ADABAS – an inverted list DBMS used widely in the 70s and 80s and still used today by many legacy systems – Software AG has established itself in recent years as “The XML Company”. It has applied its database expertise to the development of Tamino. This is a Native XML Data Base (NXDB) that has been licensed by major DBMS vendors to provide a NXDB capability in conjunction with their existing relational data base products. Extending beyond this NXDB capability, in mid 2001 Software AG released the EntireX Web Services Development Environment, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: EntireX Component Integration Support [Source: Software AG]

EntireX supports integration using many RPC technologies, including Web Services, Java/EJB, CORBA and COM. Access is also provided via desktop components as well as the Natural, C and C++ languages.

The support offered by EntireX includes a wide range of adapters that are used by EntireX Orchestration Designer, to integrate with applications executing in many environments as illustrated in Figure 6. Many adapters are included for integrating Legacy applications built using IBM’s Customer Information Control System (CICS), Information Management System (IMS), 3270 and 5250 terminal-based (“green screen”) applications, as well as COBOL, Natural, VSAM files and other programs. Database adapters for DB2, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, SQL Server and ADABAS are provided. Middleware adapters allow integration using MQSeries, or COM and CORBA directly via EntireX. Integration adapters are also available for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products from Siebel, Vantive and Clarify, and for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products from SAP, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Oracle. Finally, integration with Web Applications developed using IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic and BroadVision are supported.

For more information, search for “EntireX” and “web services” at http://www.softwareag.com/, or http://www.softwareagusa.com/. The Software AG Tamino XML Database also provides extensive XML development capabilities. Tamino is supplied within the Software AG XML Starter Kit, available for free download, or on CD. Visit http://www.softwareag.com/.  

Figure 6: EntireX Orchestration Designer Environment Support [Source: Software AG]

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HP

HP is extending its e-Speak initiative to support Web Services and related languages. The HP Web Services Platform provides a single architecture for creating and deploying Web Services, as well as for publication and discovery of services in Public and Private Registries. This infrastructure runs on top of the J2EE-compliant Visual XML Application Server that HP acquired with its purchase of Bluestone early in 2001. The Visual XML development environment uses wizards for design and testing of applications based on XML message receipt and response, followed by automatic code generation of Java.

The HP Web Services Platform includes full support for SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. It has been designed with a flexible modular architecture so that it can easily adapt to new standards via extensions as well as new standards-compliant subcomponents.

The HP Web Services strategy is to provide a plug-and-play platform supporting interoperability across a range of messaging profiles, from BizTalk to ebXML, and interoperability with Microsoft .NET environments.

The HP Web Services Platform includes a SOAP server, WSDL utilities, Cocoon2 document handler, HP Web Services Registry, trail maps, examples and tutorials. The SOAP server and WSDL utilities support interoperability with Java and Microsoft .NET architectures. They support sending and receiving of XML messages with attachments across firewalls, with tools to access Web Services. Cocoon2 is an application framework to process XML documents. This is used to access Web Services and deliver the results to browsers in HTML, Wireless Markup Language (WML), or other device-specific formats. A Private UDDI Registry is included in the HP Web Services Registry, with the HP Web Services Registry Browser and HP Web Services Registry Client Library.

Visit http://www.hp.com/ and search using: “web services” SOAP WSDL UDDI. Many useful links are provided. Two excellent papers are also available as PDF files: the “UDDI Executive White Paper” and the “UDDI Technical White Paper”. 

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SUN

The Sun Open Net Environment (Sun.ONE) is being developed by Sun to support Web Services, as an answer to Microsoft .NET. The Sun Web Services Integrated Development Environment (IDE) product is Forte for Java. This simplifies application development using the Java2 Platform and Enterprise Edition technologies such as Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), with deployment to leading J2EE application servers. The foundation for the Forte for Java IDE is based on NetBeans, which is an open source tools platform.

Forte for Java provides full support for the Web Services standards, with SOAP and WSDL capabilities that allow developers to generate SOAP-RPC interfaces for EJB technology. The definition and binding of SOAP-RPC interfaces to EJB methods is wizard-driven with automatic code generation, exposing these interfaces as parts of Web Services on demand. The runtime infrastructure needed to access EJBs via SOAP is also created, eliminating the need for hand-coding these interfaces. Visit http://www.sun.com/ and search using: “web services” SOAP WSDL UDDI. Many relevant ONE links are available.

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ORACLE ERP

Oracle9i Application Server provides support for SOAP, WSDL and UDDI, together with JDeveloper Java tools for developing Web Services. Oracle9i Application Server includes wireless applications for email, contacts and calendar, as well as support for voice applications developed on any voice platform. Oracle has used the Oracle9i Application Server Web Services capabilities in 2002 to integrate business logic more effectively across the applications that make up the Oracle11i Application Suite. Visit Oracle at http://www.oracle.com/ and search using the above key words.

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ERP VENDORS

Most of the ERP vendors are moving rapidly into the provision of Web Services for real-time access to specific functionality components. Oracle (see above), PeopleSoft and SAP recognize that Web Services provide a very effective foundation to better integrate applications within their own suites.

For example, in 2002 PeopleSoft added Web Services support to its toolkits so they understand SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. This Web Services functionality first became available for the PeopleSoft Supply Chain and MarketPlace products. Visit http://www.peoplesoft.com/.

In 2001, SAP started implementing a Java capability into SAP’s Application Server, designed to execute concurrently with its own ABAP programming language. This enables ABAP and Java to run in the same SAP kernel environment. It will allow SAP to build application components with Web Service capabilities into its products that will enable users to switch easily between Java- and SAP-centric applications and Web Services. Visit http://www.sap.com/.

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BORLAND

Based on the success of Delphi as a development platform using Pascal for Windows applications, this development capability has been moved to the Linux environment with the release by Borland of Kylix Enterprise 2.0. Kylix is a fast, visual development toolset that is based directly on Delphi. With Web Services and XML support, Kylix offers the benefit of code-sharing, object-library and project-file sharing with Delphi. Code can be ported between both platforms and recompiled.

Kylix includes BizSnap, which builds Web Services interfaces into existing applications. Kylix provides full support for building SOAP connectors, with UDDI, WSDL generation, and XML tools for binding XML data to application objects with transformation mapping. It also includes WebSnap tools for developing Web-based applications on Apache and CGI-enabled web servers. DataSnap provides database-enabling support for applications. Wizards are provided for development of CORBA-based clients and servers, with database drivers for Oracle, DB2, MySQL, Interbase and MyBase, a native XML database. Visit http://www.borland.com/.

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BUSINESS OBJECTS

BusinessObjects is an integrated Business Intelligence (BI) toolset and platform. BusinessObjects Analytics is an enterprise suite of enterprise analytic applications. The Business Objects Web Services SDK provides a high-level capability for building BI Web Services. It exposes BusinessObjects “InfoView” functionality, plus the "drill" function – the ability to drill on a chart or table – as Web Services. This BI information can be delivered to a browser, PC, mobile phone or PDA. Two BI Web Service development frameworks are available: to build Web Services for Microsoft .NET; and to build Web Services for J2EE and Java environments.

Visit http://www.businessobjects.com/. Additional details on InfoView and other products can be found at http://www.businessobjects.com/products/infoview/. The Business Objects Web Services SDK Users Guide provides further detail. 

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OTHER VENDORS

TechMetrix provides an extensive directory of Web Services vendors and products at http://www.techmetrix.com/trendmarkers/techmetrixwsd.php, with links to further details and White Papers. In addition to links for each of the major vendors described in this and earlier columns, other software vendors that are listed by TechMetrix include BEA Systems, Bowstreet, Cacheon, Cape Clear, iPlanet, Killdara, SilverStream, VelociGen and others. IBM additionally maintains an up-to-date list of Web Services tools and products at http://www-105.ibm.com/developerworks/webservices/webservices-all-byname?OpenDocument.

To keep up to date with new vendors, tools and resources, carry out regular searches of the major search engines by specifying the key words: “web services” SOAP WSDL SOAP.

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AUTHOR

Clive Finkelstein is the "Father" of Information Engineering (IE), developed by him from 1976. He is an International Consultant and Instructor, and was the Managing Director of Information Engineering Services Pty Ltd (IES) in Australia. 

Clive Finkelstein's books, online interviews, courses and details are available at http://www.ies.aust.com/cbfindex.htm.

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