Swingtide unveils XML management products

Startup Swingtide Inc. this week announced its first offerings, aimed at taming XML sprawl.

QoB Lab and QoB Assistant are the first two pieces of what will become a suite of products for managing XML and Web services applications, Swingtide says. QoB refers to "quality of business," a term the software maker uses to measure how XML applications contribute to business factors such as revenue growth and customer service.

QoB Lab is a three-day tutorial that tackles XML basics. Hands-on sessions cover XML security, data payloads, messaging, standards and interoperability. Attendees learn how to create working models of their XML networks that expose XML metadata for subsequent management and analysis, Swingtide says.

QoB Assistant is Web-based software that automates the process of building XML applications which adhere to corporate standards. It combines an online knowledge base with project-planning tools and collaborative features so businesses can share XML expertise among their technical staff.

With QoB Assistant, users can search the knowledge base to find the most appropriate standards, confirm dependencies and avoid conflicts between standards, Swingtide says. Project team leaders can use QoB Assistant to publish corporate XML standards. When content is added or changed, the software will alert project managers.

While XML applications are based on standards, interoperability is not automatic. For example, different versions of the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) messaging schema -- which encompasses nearly 150 rules -- may not be entirely compatible. In addition, Java platforms process SOAP differently than Microsoft's .Net platform. In the area of security, some standards support digital certificates, while others don't.

Keeping thousands of XML variables straight is no easy task, but it's critical, according to Swingtide.

Understanding XML and knowing how to define XML-based services are key to building an enterprise services architecture that can be managed and analyzed, says Jack Serfass, Swingtide's chairman and co-founder. (Serfass, along with Swingtide co-founder David Sweet, also founded Web services vendor Bowstreet.) "If you overlook those first two steps, it's very difficult to have an effective management strategy," Serfass says. "If you don't define it, how do you know what you're managing?"

With its debut products, Swingtide is going after companies that are in the XML investigation stage or beginning to pilot XML projects. Its goal is to teach programmers good techniques for designing XML-based services networks - so that individual project teams don't make uninformed choices about XML that can affect the entire company.

Next up is software for managing and analyzing XML services, Serfass says. Swingtide's management module, which is slated to ship later this year, builds on its first software product. QoB Assistant users will be able to plug their work into the management module, test whether or not developers have adhered to corporate XML standards, and see how Web services are performing, Serfass says.

QoB Lab and QoB Assistant are available now. Pricing for QoB Lab starts at US$10,000 for three attendees. Pricing for QoB Assistant starts at $15,000 for a three-seat license. Bundled pricing -- for three attendees and a three-seat license - starts at $20,000.

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