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Helping Java and .NET Developers Alike Deliver on the Promise of Web Services
Helping Java and .NET Developers Alike Deliver on the Promise of Web Services

(August 6, 2002) - In a truly interoperable world of software development, the kind of world envisaged by Web services, what would be the ultimate philosopher's stone? What would be the silver bullet?

How about a small-footprint platform that helped solve the sometimes difficult, even intractable, problem of getting disparate computing environments to interact with each other, regardless of the location of the boxes and the languages in which each system was written? How about a simple interface, something just 500K in size, something that allowed you to achieve both "the power of Java, and the simplicity of .NET"?

If all this sounds to good to be true to you, then you obviously aren't one of the 20,000 developers who since August of last year has downloaded the aptly-named GLUE from the Web site of Texas-based specialists in software for service-oriented architectures, The Mind Electric (TME).

GLUE includes a compact, high-performance implementation of key standards such as HTTP, Servlets, XML, SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI, and interoperates with Microsoft .NET, IBM Web Services Toolkit, Apache SOAP, and other Web services platforms.

It recently became available in version 3.0, and the most significant thing about GLUE 3.0 over previous versions, TME CEO Graham Glass tells WSJ News Desk, is that it has broadened its scope beyond just simplifying Web services to now including a simple-to-use Web server, servlet engine, and JSP engine.

"It can, of course, be used within a 3rd party application server," explains Glass, who is also a member of the International Advisory Board of Web Services Journal. "But many folks are deciding to use GLUE exclusively now," he adds. According to Glass, based on the current download rate, he is expecting a further 50,000 or so downloads in the coming year. So TME clearly believes there are plenty more developers out there who will wish to benefit from the GLUE approach.

Although GLUE isn't open source software as such, the standard version is completely free for most uses. Technical support isn't available for the standard edition, but questions may be informally posed to an interest group that already has 1500 registered members. For those who need more, there is "GLUE Professional," which costs $1,000 per developer and $1,500 per CPU when deployed. ("This is list price, for small projects," Glass notes, adding: "Larger projects and OEM/ISV deals are typically negotiated.") The GLUE professional edition includes enterprise-level features such as EJB integration, JMS integration, JAAS integration and UDDI server, together with technical support via phone and e-mail.

How important, WSJ News Desk asked Glass, is the fact that GLUE interoperates with .NET as well as Java? "Very important!" he answers instantly. "In fact, our next product, GAIA, is being written in both Java for J2EE and C# for .NET. We take .NET very seriously, and seamless integration with .NET technologies is a high priority for us."

To date, GLUE has differentiated itself from other Web services implementations by its simplicity and speed. But as Web services written using Java become ever more tightly integrated into J2EE, protocol stacks like XML, SOAP, and WSDL will become commodity products, much like TCP/IP is now. So in the future Glass is apparently looking to extend TME's Web services offerings to include clustering, load-balancing, and fail-over by using a next generation service-oriented architecture based on concepts from grid computing.

Maybe the next thing on the i-technology horizon will be not Web services...but "Grid services"?

GLUE 3.0: www.themindelectric.net/download/
TME interest group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MindElectricTechnology

About Jeremy Geelan
Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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