JAVA EXPO: IBM Bolsters Server Tools With EJB

Eyeing an up-for-grabs Web application server market, IBM Corp. is announcing product upgrades for its WebSphere line and the release of source code for its Jikes compiler this week here at Java Business Expo.

By the end of the month, IBM will split the WebSphere product into two versions: WebSphere Application Server, Advanced Edition, priced at US$6,000, and the WebSphere Application Server, Standard Edition Version 2.0, priced at $795. Both versions will be released worldwide in English, with other language versions rolled out 30 to 60 days later.

The main addition to the WebSphere line is the ability of the Advanced Edition to manage Enterprise JavaBean (EJB) components, which let companies access and deploy transactional database information, according to Jeff Reser, product manager for the WebSphere line at IBM.

Keeping up with the latest trends in the development community and ensuring that its Web tools and application servers tap the most current Java technology is a key part of IBM's efforts in the Java and Internet business markets, according to IBM's Reser.

"The Web application server market has enormous potential and right now it's up for grabs," Reser said.

IBM is competing against Netscape Communications Corp., NetDynamics Inc. (owned by Sun Microsystems Inc.) and Apple Computer Inc.'s WebObjects server software for the hearts and minds of Web developers, Reser said. "Right now, a lot of companies are in the evaluation stage, taking a look at the variety of tools available to them," he said.

Outlining details of IBM's announcements this week, Reser said that the WebSphere Application Server, Advanced Edition also includes: support for CORBA (common object request broker architecture); relational database monitoring based on EJB and CORBA components; and the WebSphere Studio development toolset including IBM VisualAge for Java and NetObjects Inc. software.

The WebSphere Application, Standard Edition, is essentially the current WebSphere product, which combines a servlet-based run-time platform and management console with database connectors. It is being enhanced to work with the latest Java APIs (application programming interfaces) and performance security improvements.

Both versions of the WebSphere server software run on Sun's Solaris, Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT and IBM's AIX operating systems, and soon after their release will also run on OS/2.

IBM also said that in mid-1999, it will release WebSphere Application Server, Enterprise Edition, which incorporates, among other technologies, IBM's TXSeries distributed transactional application software as well as the company's Component Broker, designed to integrate and manage business process component software.

Additionally, IBM announced it is making a move in the direction of the open-source software camp, making its Jikes compiler source code publicly available and allowing developers to participate in mailing lists for discussions of how to change the technology. The Jikes compiler is designed to offer Java byte-code compiler performance and to streamline application development.

The open-source model of development, followed, for example, by the Linux development community, lets a broad range of users and developers participate in bug fixes and source code development.

Jikes code can be found at http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/.

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