Accenture brews Java for BEA's Weblogic servers

Delivering on its commitment to equally support the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) alongside the competing .Net environment, Accenture Ltd. on Monday announced a new Java application framework for BEA Systems Inc.'s Weblogic e-Business Platform.

The new framework, called the General and Reusable Net Centric Delivery Solution (GRNDS), is designed to take advantage of BEA's Weblogic series of portal, application, and integration servers. It is Accenture's first J2EE-based framework.

The new architecture comes with a toolkit to assist developers and corporate users in speeding up application rollouts, which should allow IT architectural designers and planners to concentrate more on their business functions, company officials contend.

"Going forward, it is becoming clear the space for developing application frameworks and toolsets for J2EE is going to be a huge battleground. We need to adapt GRNDS as vendors continue to offer services on top of the core of J2EE, so the [services] are simpler to use" said Kevin Pollari, an Accenture partner in charge of the company's North American practice for the company's Global Architecture and Core Technologies group.

GRNDS essentially supplies an e-commerce infrastructure for users' portals and eCRM (customer relationship management) applications, mobile commerce applications, and integration capabilities for tying together legacy applications.

The toolkit is intended to simplify the J2EE environment through a consistent use of design patterns, enabling multichannel access for new capabilities and helping reduce the costs associated with architecture development, company officials believe.

"What we will do with BEA going forward from here is to work closely with their product engineers and CTOs to adapt and shape GRNDS over the next several months as they fill out their product set," Pollari said.

The GRNDS announcement better balances the company's commitment between the J2EE and .Net environments. Accenture has already introduced its Avanade Component Architecture (ACA) for Microsoft Corp.'s .Net initiative.

"It is clear there are going to be two standard platform survivors: .Net and the J2EE camps. We are trying to bring GRNDS and ACA up to a common level of capability and consistency so users can be productive across both platforms," Pollari said.

Pollari believes that the development of Web services will eventually make it easier for developers and users to bridge the two development environments, but until then users have to develop and manage them separately.

"In the near term, it will be two different environments. But I think Web services will make the interoperability easier than the old COM-CORBA bridges, which had some clumsy behavior," Pollari said. "You have this C#-Java battle, which doesn't look like it will be solved soon."

Pollari believes however that most users can handle two separate development environments in their shops, given they have had to maintain sometimes a half a dozen different environments in the past.

"It is amazing how many of our clients have Web legacy code with all sorts of tools that have been cobbled together over the past three to five years. So getting it down to just two platforms from say 10 is something they won't mind," Pollari said.

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