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BEA - Helping Developers Develop Enterprise-Class Apps...and Web Services
BEA - Helping Developers Develop Enterprise-Class Apps...and Web Services

(March 25, 2002) - When BEA unleashed the results of its 'Avalanche' project at eWorld last month in San Diego, it left no one in any doubt that the strategic goal of BEA's management was to showcase the work that the company's development team had been doing all last year toward integration, allowing WebLogic Server and WebLogic Portal to be used in combination and making it possible for the new (7.0) version of their app server to take its new place at the center of an overall WebLogic Platform 7.0.

At JavaOne, then, what will the San Jose, California based software powerhouse be aiming to achieve, as Platinum Sponsor for the third successive year? And how will it be seeking to distinguish BEA WebLogic from IBM WebSphere?

Clearly it will be trying again, as it did at eWorld, to showcase its Cajun development environment and tools, and to emphasize how all its major product lines are now seamlessly integrated into a "suite" so that its customers are henceforth getting not just the app server but also a portal framework, together with all the application development tools and systems management functionality that it needs.

With Cajun (now called WebLogic Workshop), BEA is trying to woo Visual Basic and PowerBuilder developers over to the new WebLogic Platform by shielding them from the complexities of OO programming and Java APIs and helping them to create Web services in an innovative new way that requires only very basic Java skills. In an IT world achingly short of J2EE developers with substantial real-world experience, this is a very timely tactic. VB developers may indeed jump at the opportunity to migrate to Java...and, if so, WebLogic Workshop may tempt them into doing so in the direction of BEA WebLogic rather than IBM WebSphere - a crucial consideration for BEA given that IBM is breathing down its neck 24x7. (Each company now has exactly 34% of the market forJava-based app server software, according to a Giga Information Group study released just last week. Which means that IBM has recently been gaining ground.)

And how about .NET? Adam Bosworth, BEA's charismatic VP of Engineering, will be on hand at JavaOne to remind Java developers that, with all his experience gained at Redmond-based Crossgain Corporation (where he was CTO when BEA acquired it last July), BEA now has on board someone who knows all about creating .NET-compatible products for Java, and indeed for other non-MS platforms like Linux.

Bosworth is the brains behind BEA's entry into the Java standards process, which will be another aspect of BEA's message at JavaOne. Their first Java Specification Request has already been submitted through the JCP, and two more are on the way. With Bosworth on board, BEA is hoping to plant its corporate flag firmly in the Web services space, and one way of doing so is to submit these three JSRs, the first of which involves an annotation vocabulary for Web services (this is one of the Bosworth-inspired Cajun innovations introduced in WebLogic Workshop).

By the end of this week, Java developers will be left in no doubt whatsoever that BEA still has plenty of shots in its locker. Of course, the team behind SYS-CON's BEA WebLogic Developer's Journal will be at JavaOne too, since WLDJ is an official media sponsor of the show. Developers who want to understand the Web services aspects of the BEA platform will be pleased to know that the April issue features an article on dynamic assembly by Steve Chazin ("The Next Frontier for Web Services") and one on standards-based integration by BEA's own CTO, Scott Dietzen.

Other WLDJ features in the April issue include "A Simple ADK for WLI's Business Process" by Andy Winskill, "Exploring WebLogic JMX" by Dan MacKinnon, and "SQL Server and WLS" by Michael Gendelman. Plus regular columnists Peter Holditch (looking at where transactions begin and end), Sam Pullara on WebLogic Platform 7.0, Tyler Jewell on why you should choose a CMP architecture, and Philip Aston on RMI interoperability.

BEA knew exactly what it was doing when choosing code words like "Cajun" and "Avalanche" for its latest initiatives. WebLogic Workshop certainly spices up the application development scene, and the overall WebLogic Platform 7.0 (with WebLogic Server, WebLogic Portal, WebLogic Integration, and WebLogic Workshop all combined) has all the elements of a potentially giant snowball - especially once it gets rolling at developer shows like JavaOne and this June's Web Services Edge event in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, at which East coast developers of every stripe - whether from the Java, XML, or Web services side (including .NET) - will be able to keep up to speed with BEA's trailblazing.

As BEA Systems, Inc., president Alfred Chuang himself says in WLDJ, "You'll see first-hand how BEA is revolutionizing Java making it radically easier to use and accessible....You'll learn how WebLogic advancements are radically unifying application infrastructure, making your life easier and helping you have an even greater impact on your business." As its presence at these leading shows demonstrates, BEA is committed to empowering all application developers, and not just J2EE experts.

As a developer, who could ask for more?

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JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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