By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2005-02-21 Print this article Print

The iBolt suite includes four components: iBolt Studio, iBolt Server, iBolt Monitor and iBolt Portal. The key element for analysts will be Studio, which we found to be a powerful and comprehensive tool for mapping processes, creating workflows and linking applications.

In tests, Studio generally did a good job of providing a simple tool for mapping processes and workflows while offering a view into underlying EAI data structures.

Studio includes several individual components that are wrapped up in a single interface. Using Studio, we could map processes; edit, check and debug flows; develop applications; and create connections to applications. Although Magic Software has done a good job of organizing components in Studio, we found the unified interface for building processes and flows to be confusing at times because business processes, topologies and flows are all created in the same application.

Divided into three panes, Studio uses the tree and tab structure to organize processes, topologies and flows, revealing the relevant tool sets as business analysts build out applications.

Overall, Studio does a good job of exposing the right level of detail at the right time, allowing us to dig down into transforming a process map into an actual application. For example, as we built out flows, we could set properties in detail, down to the degree of pointing to relevant WSDL (Web Services Description Language) code.

Studios topology editor illustrates the EAI focus of iBolt, compared with the role-based focus of BPM Suite. The topology editor maps dependencies among applications, while BPM Suite includes an organizational charting tool.

Click here to read the review of the Ultimus BPM Suite. In the flow editor, iBolt supports a good range of standards and application-specific connectors, including HTTP, SMTP, SAP AGs SAP, Microsofts Message Queue, and IBMs WebSphere and Lotus Domino. Given iBolts strong support for Java, its support for JMS (Java Message Service) is no surprise. In addition, iBolt supports BPEL4WS (Business Process Execution Language for Web Services), so companies can import and export flows and processes to be repurposed into other applications.

iBolt comes with Magic Softwares eDeveloper 9.4, a table-based development tool. We found eDeveloper capably abstracts application development and will be helpful for analysts who lack formal programming skills but need to take a hands-on approach to application integration.

Project orchestration is handled by iBolt Server, which is the core component for orchestrating Studio projects. iBolt Server has its own monitoring tool thats augmented by iBolt Monitor. The iBolt Server monitor provides a good snapshot of overall process execution, while iBolt Monitor breaks down process execution by displaying logs and messages in real time in table format.

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

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