Sound Complex

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2002-09-23 Print this article Print

?"> Sound Complex?

If this basic scenario sounds complex, well, its actually a lot more complex than it sounds. Although it is possible to make all this happen using a variety of tools and custom XML-based files, most companies will want to look to application platforms that ease this kind of integration.

Two platforms that eWeek Labs has evaluated are Iona Technologies plc.s Orbix E2A Web Services Integration Platform and Microsofts BizTalk Server 2002. Both provide a variety of tools and management capabilities that ease the creation of B2B Web service integration.

Ionas E2A Web Services Integration Platform, which won an eWeek eXcellence Award earlier this year, provides an excellent set of tools for creating, transforming and managing XML-based documents and communication for B2B transactions. One of the products biggest strengths is that its vendor plays no favorites when it comes to technology but instead focuses on standards support and broad technology support.

The E2A Web Services Integration Platform will work with XML, EDI and a wide variety of document types, and it supports Java and .Net Web services applications.

BizTalk Servers standards support—while excellent in some areas, such as SOAP and Web Services Description Language—is not as good in other areas. But what BizTalk does offer are some of the best tool sets weve seen for creating, editing, transforming, routing and managing business documents and communications among partners. Most companies will find that BizTalk Server makes it easy to build a complete, powerful B2B integration platform.

BizTalk also includes features that make it possible to bundle all the information and data necessary to carry out B2B communications and provide it in a complete package to business partners.

There are many other platform options out there, and picking one will, as always, require full knowledge of your companys business needs.

eWeek Labs also recommends that any company doing XML-based B2B Web services integration closely follow activity at OASIS and the World Wide Web Consortium, because the creation and completion of standards often greatly affect how B2B integration can and will be carried out.

East Coast Technical Director Jim Rapoza is at

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    Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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