IBM package boosts standards in WebSphere

Touting its ability to provide optimized delivery for Web services, IBM Corp. on Wednesday unveiled WebSphere Technology for Developers, which supports several Web standards such as the Universal Description Discovery and Integration (UDDI) specification.

By supporting UDDI and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), IBM's package helps corporate users create e-business applications and services that are better able to interact with other Web-based applications. IBM officials believe Web services are spearheading a new era in e-business where the Internet will be shaped and driven by more robust applications.

With the new product, IBM officials claim the company is the first to implement and fully integrate HTTPS, which combines SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) with HTTP as well as HTTP Authentication and SOAP security. The new set of capabilities includes support for digital signatures and the ability to enable end-to-end authentication, integrity, and nonrepudiation for SOAP messages.

The new environment also includes Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), which will give developers the ability to create the foundations of business-oriented applications that can operate across multiple platforms and environments.

The program also offers the Web Services Description Languages (WSDL), which is able to describe programs accessible over the Internet and the message formats and protocols that are used to communicate with them.

IBM believes WSDL is particularly important because it allows Web services to describe their capabilities in a standard way, making it easier for them to interoperate with other Web services and development tools.

"A key piece of IBM's e-business all along has been to embrace open standards and compete based on the implementations. It is for that reason they have been working across the industry to develop open Internet standards that span from XML to Java," said Daryl Plummer, an analyst at Gartner, in Stamford, Connecticut.

Separately, IBM announced a new version of WebSphere for its z/OS and OS/390 mainframe operating systems. It also includes support for J2EE. The new version includes WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and OS/390 and CICS Transaction Server 2.1.

The new environment will allow developers and corporate users to create applications that can build on the underlying abilities of CICS and CICS Transaction Server and gives them access to data and other applications that reside on those platforms.

With the new product IBM officials now feel they are providing mainframe-class users with the same level of application integration that has been available to its WebSphere users on lower-end platforms.

"Organizations should no longer have to think of the S/390 as synonymous with MVS and legacy application paradigms. By including open standards like HTML, HTTP, XML, and J2EE, e-business apps and transactions can now be developed for deployment on this platform," said Dale Vecchio, an analyst at Gartner.

Ed Scannell is an InfoWorld editor at large.

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