App Server Aims to Simplify Java Development

SAN MATEO (04/06/2000) - The latest version of Persistence Software Inc.'s PowerTier application server is designed to make life simpler for serious Java lovers.

Maybe too simple for some, though.

In PowerTier 6.0, Persistence has added several features to speed Java development, including PowerPage, which the company says makes it easier to create Web pages that contain Java code. These Java Server Pages (JSPs) interact with Java components stored in the application server. For big, complex applications, PowerPage can eliminate a lot of manual coding.

But that's the kind of coding some Java programmers need in order to build more effective applications, says Gary Rudolph, senior Web developer with Nextel Communications in Reston, Virginia. "It's OK to use what PowerPage generates as a template or a learning tool," he says. "But I'm not sure I'd use that code as is in our application. I don't like simplifying things too much for developers."

Rudolph, however, isn't opposed to all simplicity. Indeed, Nextel will use PowerTier 6.0 to build a rate management application because the new version of Persistence's tool makes it much easier to apply the latest Enterprise Java Bean security across different machines. The new release also gives Nextel a set of ready-to-use Java classes that will save programming effort, Rudolph says.

PowerTier is especially good at translating between Enterprise Java Bean components and database tables, and has a sophisticated caching system that speeds up the application, Rudolph says.

Another new feature is the PowerTier Servlet Engine, acquired by Persistence from start-up 10BaseJ. The engine, in effect, processes Java programs called servlets, which are Java programs that interact with back-end systems. JSPs are one type of servlet. The engine was designed as a high-performance application that can run on several computers.

Nextel's Rudolph says Persistence needs to improve its support for the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) specification, the latest description of server-based Java APIs. "If I want to get some Beans from a third party and plug them into PowerTier, I couldn't do that because [the application server doesn't] support 'container-managed persistence' in J2EE," he says.

PowerTier 6.0 supports much of J2EE now, and Persistence plans to add most of the remaining features later this year. A spokesman says container-managed persistence will be added when the J2EE specification for it is completed.

PowerTier 6.0 is available now. A developer's kit costs $7,500; deployment licenses, per CPU, start at $25,000.

Persistence: www.persistence.com.

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