webMethods adds AJAX to SOA suite

Fabric 7.0 suite focusses on business process management and productivity improvements

WebMethods on Monday will roll out the webMethods Fabric 7.0 suite for business process integration and SOA, adding a registry, metadata management and an AJAX developer tool.

The suite keys in on business process management and productivity improvements, the company said. Included in Version 7.0 are component products such as webMethods Designer, which features an Eclipse-based development environment for modelling and managing business processes. WebMethods Designer offers a drag-and-drop composition tool for codeless development of AJAX-based composite applications.

"[Designer] enables business analysts and developers to cooperatively design and build business process models from the services that are available within the SOA," said Marc Breissinger, webMethods chief technology officer.

WebMethods Designer is part of webMethods for BPM, a business process management product that provides for the lifecycle of process development and management, the company said. In Version 7.0, webMethods for BPM features business rules management from Fair Isaac Blaze Advisor and a searchable metadata library derived from Cerebra assets. WebMethods bought Cerebra assets in August.

The library utilizes Resource Description Framework and Web Ontology Language to establish relationships between IT assets, including services, process models, business rules and documents. This lets users find the right asset for a specific application.

WebMethods Fabric 7.0 also adds webMethods Infravio X-Registry, serving as a service repository and offering governance capabilities for exposed services. Also featured is webMethods Infravio X-Broker, providing runtime monitoring, mediation and management of Web services in an SOA. Infravio was acquired by webMethods in September.

Another highlight in the suite is webMethods Optimize, for business activity monitoring (BAM). It is being enhanced in Version 7.0 with richer business visualization, the company said.

"[Optimize] allows you to analyse how well your processes are running in your production environment and also predict when those processes will behave abnormally," Breissinger said.

With Fabric 7.0, webMethods unifies SOA, BPM and BAM, an analyst said.

"Fabric 7.0 is impressive because the integration, SOA, BPM, and BAM tools seem to hang together as a usable suite," said analyst Bill Swanton, vice president of research at AMR Research, in an e-mail. "Most other vendors are either offering only part of this stack or are still in the process of integrating the various companies they acquired. There is a focus on the BPM capabilities, which is the real source of value in SOA."

Enterprise service bus capabilities featured as part of webMethods Enterprise Services Platform will not be upgraded to the 7.0 release of Fabric until next summer. That product will offer extended support for specifications such as SOAP 1.2. In the meantime, users can deploy the new products in the suite with the existing Version 6.5 of Enterprise Services Platform.

Prices for a single product in the suite begin at approximately US$100,000.

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