IBM Keeps Up Its WebSphere Standards Push

Trying to bolster its Web-based standards initiatives last week, including its Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI), IBM Corp. made available early versions of a new Web development environment and toolkit that the company plans to integrate into WebSphere and other key middleware products.

The XML & Web Services Development Environment is designed to allow developers and corporate users to convert existing and new e-business applications into any number of Web-based services.

The new Web Services Tool Kit allows developers to gain access to the APIs and run-time environments they need to deploy the Web services they create. The toolkit includes UDDI4J, a Java-based single-node UDDI server, and support for IBM's XML & Web Services Development Environment.

In addition to integrating the toolkit into WebSphere, IBM will bundle the finished products in with DB2, Tivoli Systems' management software, MQSeries messaging software, and Lotus Notes in the first half of next year.

"This is one of the first steps of part of a major initiative over the next year to help customers create and deploy Web-based services. We intend to use Web standards to help integrate applications and services together," said Don O'Toole, director of IBM's e-Markets Infrastructure, in Raleigh, N.C. "We see Web services as extensions of our e-business initiatives."

Some users looking at potential Web services to tie some of their applications together welcome the new tools and services.

"Depending on the middleware implementations, this looks like good stuff for tying some pieces of my infrastructure together for supply-chain functions," said John Henderson, a technology buyer at a large medical distributor in Chicago.

The key industry standards IBM supports and that it will use to move its Web Services products and strategies forward include UDDI, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), tpaML (Trading Partner Agreements Markup Language), and WSDL (Web Services Description Language).

Underlining its commitment to Web services, IBM also last week announced two initiatives to help users appreciate the value of Web services to their business.

The first is the developWorks Web Services Special Topic Area, a site where developers can collect educational tools, tips, and code to build peer-to-peer Web-based applications.

The second is jStart for Web services, which helps users start development projects by hooking up with appropriate partners.

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