Java Does the Trick
Java Does the Trick Collective based its software on Java 2 technology, which provides a platform for developing applications based on such industry standards as XML. The Collective technology incorporates Java Messaging Service, Java DataBase Connectivity, Java Native Interface and Java networking APIs. It works on Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Unix Solaris. The server side of ePDA has two parts, a centralized management service that controls the throughput of the data and an application service that links to the user applications. "We have two ways to get access to information on the back end. We have eDB, which is a query tool, and we have APIs. The APIs we give to our partners to let them write those applications," explains Feldman.The components of a Collective can collaborated on the server side, allowing collation of data drawn from multiple back-end systems before it is transmitted to a handheld device. An example would be a summary of sales, inventory and accounts receivable activity on a regional basis. That server-side preprocessing accommodates the memory and processor limitations of PDAs. Because ePDA is based on Java, it works with the inherent features of the client devicefor example, with the Palm Pilots own screen forms. "If I want to schedule an event in GoldMine," says Feldman, "I bring up Palms calendaring form. I can schedule it and it goes right into GoldMine." To conserve scarce bandwidth, ePDA doesnt download a whole Web page every time the user makes a query. All it retrieves is the data, and the user interface is a form that resides on the client device. "You can work in an off-line mode, because you have an application that resides on the [Palm] device," says Feldman. In contrast, WAP-based systems require an active connection to the Internet in order to view or manipulate data.
Flexibility combined with simple, centralized management is ePDAs strength. Any number of applications can be written to provide interfaces to any of a customers legacy systems. All of those applications and their counterpartsthe Java applets that act as mediators between PDAs and the corporate intranetcomprise a "Collective," which is managed through a single interface. Multiple instances of a Collective can be running on multiple servers, yet the entire show can be monitored and controlled from one console.