Making the move to electronic business can be tricky, particularly when it comes to integrating enterprise data and resources. If this is a goal of your organization, one option is to deploy one or more application servers that support component-level integration.
Binary Evolution's VelociGen for Perl 2.0 (VEP) is an alternative to that approach for integrating enterprise data and resources into e-business applications. VEP is a Web-server plug-in that uses Perl scripting to link corporate data, Extensible Markup Language documents, and more into Web-based business applications. The company also offers VelociGen for Tcl (VET) -- another server-side plug-in that uses the Tcl scripting language to integrate the enterprise.
Companies choosing VEP or VET may find them easier solutions to implement than application servers because scripting can be used to integrate existing business logic without a tremendous reconstruction effort. However, those choosing application-server technology may find it more manageable over the long term.
Sites that choose VEP or VET will need technical staff members who are fluent in Perl or Tcl scripting, and customers should expect to invest in developer training and education prior to achieving success.
I found a lot to like in VEP. The installation was very straightforward, and the included documentation and tutorial materials will go a long way toward helping developers who are less experienced with Perl scripting. In my tests, VEP meshed seamlessly with the Apache Web server, Netscape's Enterprise Server, and Microsoft's Internet Information Server.
VEP can be used in three different modes: backward-compatible CGI, embedded, or persistent. In the first mode, you can use existing CGI scripts that you might already have implemented on your Web server to perform one or more tasks. By doing so, Binary Evolution officials predict you'll see an increase in application response time from 10 to 20 times the previous speed. I did not scientifically benchmark the speed, but VEP did prove a peppy performer.
VEP's embedded mode enables you to intermingle Perl code within your HTML documents. The persistent mode lets you keep byte-compiled scripts in memory to speed up performance even more.
Beyond speed, I liked that VEP supports separate processes during run time. I simulated a crash condition during one of my tests and my Web server was unaffected.
VEP offers another approach to integrating the enterprise for e-business.
Although it does require a scripting-savvy staff, it is an efficient alternative to midtier application-server options.
Maggie Biggs (firstname.lastname@example.org) is InfoWorld Test Center's technical director.
THE BOTTOM LINE: VERY GOOD
VelociGen for Perl 2.0
Summary: VelociGen for Perl is a Web-server plug-in that can increase electronic-business transaction processing speeds by leveraging Perl scripting to integrate enterprise resources.
Business Case: VelociGen offers a competitively priced solution that leverages server-side scripting over the distributed component implementations that are supported by application-server products.
+ Speeds up transaction processing
+ Runs as separate server processes
+ Can be used in a distributed, load-balanced configuration+ Supports ODBC, SQL, and Extensible Markup Language integration+ Good documentation and tutorialCons:
- Scripting expertise required
Cost: $1,000 for Linux; $1,699 for Windows platforms; $5,000 for Unix platformsPlatform(s): Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX, Digital Unix, Linux, Windows 95, Windows NTBinary Evolution Inc., San Diego; (888) 663-8009 (toll-free) www.binaryevolution.com