WebLogic Workshop

By Timothy Dyck  |  Posted 2003-03-31 Print this article Print

WebLogic Workshop

The BEA WebLogic Workshop 2.0 beta shows that BEA is serious about competing with IBM, Sun and Microsoft, all of which have full development tools to match the features of their application servers. The BEA beta was released in early March, with final code expected to ship in the second quarter.

The only way to get Workshop is to subscribe to BEAs developer tools subscription plan: either $599 or $4,659 annually for developer copies of all BEAs tools and servers. The higher-end plan also includes Borlands JBuilder WebLogic Edition, a tacit sign that Workshop will not be able to provide all the functionality that WebLogic developers might need.

Although it creates numerous EJBs (Enterprise JavaBeans) behind the scenes, Workshop doesnt support the direct developer creation of session or entity EJBs—Workshop operates at a higher abstraction layer and doesnt expose the inner workings of Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition.

As with WASP Developer, Workshop supports .Net complex data type interoperability (such as with collection classes).

Workshop is an ideal tool for rapid Web service development. It uses clear graphical visualizations to show what parameters are being passed in and out of a Web service and what variables are declared locally (see screen). It uses Javadoc comments extensively as metadata for its precompiler, a system that saves enormous numbers of lines of boilerplate code.

We had to write almost nothing but pure business logic in our methods (although variables still need to be declared). Queuing or asynchronous behavior is a matter of setting method attributes; parameter XML naming and order is controlled through an XML-based template created for each method based on its Java parameters.

In the code editor, background Java compilation automatically highlights syntax errors with red squiggly underlines—a nice touch.

This release adds the ability to create JSP (JavaServer Pages)-based Web front ends for back-end data. Workshop takes extensive advantage of JSP tag libraries to create data-bound controls that dynamically generate matching HTML at run-time. Generated applications use a model-view-controller architecture that, deep under the covers, is using The Apache Software Foundations Struts application framework.

BEAs portal and data integration servers have special support as a target application type and back-end data source, respectively.

West Coast Technical Director Timothy Dyck can be reached at timothy_dyck@ziffdavis.com.

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Timothy Dyck is a Senior Analyst with eWEEK Labs. He has been testing and reviewing application server, database and middleware products and technologies for eWEEK since 1996. Prior to joining eWEEK, he worked at the LAN and WAN network operations center for a large telecommunications firm, in operating systems and development tools technical marketing for a large software company and in the IT department at a government agency. He has an honors bachelors degree of mathematics in computer science from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and a masters of arts degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.

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