Infowave Software Inc. has retooled its client/server wireless middleware by adding a general-purpose interface that works with an array of server applications.
The Open Application Connector (OAC) is a server program and API that plugs into Infowave's Wireless Business Engine middleware.
The Infowave client program running on a PDA or laptop would intercept a call to a LAN and redirects it over a wireless WAN, such as Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD). The connection goes through the corporate firewall to the middleware, which then passes the call to the OAC. The OAC then connects to a backend database or enterprise application.
Alternatively, enterprise developers can use the 20 calls in the Connector's API to build a handheld application with Microsoft Corp. Visual Basic or similar tools. The Wireless Business Engine login screens can also be embedded into this application.
Until now, the Wireless Business Engine was a hidden program that worked only with Infowave's Microsoft Exchange Connector or its own Web Connector. These two programs linked wireless users securely to Web servers, including Microsoft Exchange servers.
The middleware managed and optimized the wireless connection, making it appear faster to the end user, and enforced an array of security features based on software licensed from Certicom. The Engine also managed the user's session, so it could be quickly restored in the event of a dropped long-distance cellular connection.
With the OAC, enterprise developers and systems integrators, can now create their own connections to any application, making use of the middleware's built-in security and session management.
While other middleware packages focus only on rendering server-based HTML pages for the different display capabilities of various handhelds, Infowave's software also helps to manage the connection. The product encrypts the link for protection and compresses data over it to minimize traffic. It also compensates for the latencies inherent in CDPD, CDMA and other wireless WANs to speed response time.
The Open Application Connector, with the Wireless Business Engine, is available now, for US$250 per named end user. The other Infowave Connectors are priced separately. A Connector for Lotus Development Corp. Domino is due out later this year.