iPlanet adds to J2EE toolkit

IPlanet E-Commerce Solutions on Tuesday announced a set of developer tools and resources that it claims will reduce development cycles and deployment of J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) applications.

The new wares include the iPlanet Developer Pack, Enterprise Edition 6.0 and a component library for EJBs (Enterprise JavaBeans) that run on iPlanet's application server. The company is also including an evaluation copy of its application server, and enhancing its developer Web site.

The developer pack comes with the iPlanet Application Server, Enterprise Edition, EJB support, and trial ware versions of tools from WebGain and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Forte for Java.

With the kit, iPlanet is targeting both developers that prefer IDEs (Independent development environment) and command-line aficionados.

"We're offering a flexible approach with both types of developer in mind," said Sanjay Sarathy, Palo Alto, Calif.-based iPlanet's director of product marketing.

By offering the component library, which includes more than 120 EJB components from a variety of sources, iPlanet is aiming to enable developers to build applications more efficiently by reusing pre-existing code.

Despite all the buzz, support for EJBs is limited, according to Shawn Willett, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, a market research firm headquartered in Sterling, Va. For instance, some of the EJB services are still a bit immature.

"EJBs are just starting to come into their own," Willett added. "Anybody who can come out there and support them is going to be at an advantage."

Indeed, iPlanet is aiming to turn that advantage into a bigger slice of the application server market.

By most analyst accounts, San Jose, Calif.-based BEA Systems Inc. and IBM Corp., in Armonk, N.Y., are duking it out for the title of market share leader, while iPlanet is a main contender. Other companies, such as ATG (Art Technology Group Inc.), SilverStream Software Inc., Oracle Corp., and Hewlett-Packard Co., particularly since its September acquisition of Bluestone, are gearing up to challenge the frontrunners for a piece of the market. iPlanet still lags behind BEA in key partnerships, though, Willett added.

"BEA has great partners -- everybody integrates with their app server," he said.

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