Novell touts services-oriented apps development

Novell on Jan. 21 will ship its exteNd 5 suite for development of service-oriented Web applications, featuring boosts in security, productivity and Linux platform support.

The product helps build identity-enabled Web services through the integration of legacy systems, delivering portal services and solutions that leverage existing business systems, according to Novell.

An analyst emphasized the functionality of the combination of exteNd and the newly announced Novell Nsure identity management suite.

"The combination of Nsure and exteNd offers customers a broadly featured set of tools for building and securing SOAs (services-oriented architectures) that few competitors can touch," said Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at ZapThink LLC.

"Novell's exteNd product merges Novell's portal technology with capabilities acquired from SilverStream, and provides service-oriented development and integration capabilities," Bloomberg added. SilverStream developed Web services application development tools.

The exteNd 5 product is integrated with Novell's security and identity management infrastructure. One example of the functionality enabled is the automatic provisioning of portlets via identity attributes based on group membership of the user in the directory, according to Novell. A portlet is a specialized Java class that processes requests from Web clients and generates dynamic content on a portal page, Novell said.

For productivity, Version 5 has what the company describes as intuitive design tools that span the SOA development process to mask the complexity of J2EE coding. Drag-and-drop tools are included for integration of legacy systems. Additionally, portals can be assembled with no need for application programming, Novell said.

User interfaces have been made consistent across the suite, including Web-based administration and management consoles, Novell said.

XML is critical in exteNd, a Novell official said.

"The way our architecture is designed, XML is very centric to how we enable application development," said Ashish Larivee, director of product marketing for Novell Nsure and exteNd. Applications such as portals are represented as XML, she said.

"The run-time engine is capable of getting that XML and interacting with it," Larivee said.

Interoperability features enable orchestration of business processes and Web services, connectivity to legacy and enterprise systems, and visual business process modeling with end-to-end animation. New platform support is added for SuSE Linux and Red Hat Linux. Windows, Solaris and NetWare also are supported.

The Tomcat application server is now being supported by exteNd. Other Java application servers that can run with exteNd include IBM Corp. WebSphere, BEA Systems Inc. WebLogic, and Novell's own exteNd application server.

Standards are supported such as the Web Services Interoperability Basic Profile 1.0, J2EE 1.3, XForms 1.0, and Portlet Specification 1.0.

Novell exteNd 5.0 is priced at US$50,000 per CPU for the Professional version of the suite, which features 24 reusable portlets and a preconfigured portal.

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