Iona joins Eclipse, proposes SOA effort

Melding the contemporary concepts of SOA and open source, Iona Technologies on Monday is announcing its participation in the Eclipse Foundation and will propose an Eclipse SOA Tools Platform project.

The company is joining as an Eclipse Strategic Developer and will serve on the open source tools organization's board of directors, which votes on Eclipse policies.

Iona's SOA tools proposal would constitute the ninth top-level project at Eclipse, among other projects such as the Web tools and data tools projects, according to Iona and Eclipse officials. The project is intended to provide a developer tooling platform for SOA-based infrastructure, serving as a foundation from which an extensible toolset for building SOA applications can be developed, according to Iona.

Included in the initial scope of the project are developer requirements for creation of service providers and consumers, configuration of physical assets of a service and defining policies and governance for consumption of services. Also to be covered are the adding of services to an SOA and development of artifacts for deploying or managing SOA-based system participants.

The SOA effort will feature exemplary components for hooking to specific run times, such as Java Enterprise Edition, Java Standard Edition, and Java Business Integration. An SOA component could run inside an application server, for example.

"It's a pluggable extension model," said Carl Trieloff, Iona director of product management.

The Eclipse Foundation is expected to approve the SOA proposal as an Eclipse project in 30 to 60 days, said Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse executive director.

"It's never a completely done deal that it will be accepted. We have to respect the Eclipse process, but everything I've seen to date indicates that it's going to be successful," he said.

"This really helps extend Eclipse tools offerings into new and interesting areas," he added. "This is going to be rounding out the building blocks at Eclipse, and we are hoping that we'll attract other tools vendors in the industry to this platform so that we can show a consolidation of the tools offering for SOA around this Eclipse project."

As with other Eclipse technology efforts, Eclipse will provide an open source, base-level platform upon which commercial vendors will innovate, according to Milinkovich.

"We believe that there's always going to be lots of room for commercial tools," he said.

Iona's project is an important one, according to Shawn Willett, principal analyst at Current Analysis.

"This is pretty significant as this has not been specifically handled within Eclipse, probably because of the emerging nature of SOAs," Willett said in an e-mail. "It's a good time to get the APIs going and will probably gain pretty good support. Iona benefits as it is seen as a leader driving standards in the SOA area, and its tools will, of course, be among the first to comply with the new Eclipse SOA standard."

Iona will offer its Eclipse-based Artix tooling as a baseline for the project. This tooling will be offered via open source. Future commercial products from Iona will bundle open source tooling from Eclipse. Artix is Iona's commercial enterprise service bus (ESB).

A release of technologies from the project is expected in the first half of next year, along with the linking of the Celtix ESB run time and tooling from the project. Celtix is Iona's open source ESB project being hosted by ObjectWeb.

As part of the project, Iona will provide ESB components for functions such as security and transactions while other vendors are expected to offer capabilities for functions such as registry and Business Process Execution Language support.

Sybase and ObjectWeb are participating in the SOA tooling effort.

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