Bowstreet Inc. this week is rolling out the fifth generation of its flagship Web services product, which enables developers to build adaptive Web applications that assemble and reassemble themselves based on customer needs.
Bowstreet Factory 5 delivers more than 100 Bowstreet Builders, which the company describes as "virtual programmers" that create the core of the products automated assembly environment.
According to officials of the Portsmouth, N.H., company, Factory 5 has upgraded support for Web services standards, including XML, Simple Object Access Protocol, and Universal Description, Discovery and Integration, and standards for Java 2 Enterprise Edition.
Factory 5 also supports industry-standard application server platforms from BEA Systems Inc., IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc.
Bowstreet CEO Frank Moss said that for companies to stay competitive and responsive to customers, they need to move from hard-wired applications to more customizable Web applications that usher in Web services.
Officials with Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., of Milwaukee, an early user of Factory technology, said the adaptive and automated nature of the product has given the company flexibility.
"To build, deploy and manage thousands of sites—all unique—for our distribution system would not have been cost-effective," said Bob Kowalsky, vice president and chief IT architect for Northwestern Mutual. "Bowstreet changed that by bringing the Factory to our distribution systems architecture."
Key to Bowstreets approach to Web services is enabling developers to expose legacy applications and existing components as Web services and providing developers with an automated assembly environment that lets them design more flexible applications, said Patricia Seybold, founder and CEO of Patricia Seybold Group Inc., in Boston.
Bowstreet Builders automatically perform and coordinate application assembly tasks at run-time, according to Bowstreet officials.
These tasks include making the correct Web pages, integrating the right legacy IT assets, calling the required Web services, directing site navigation and controlling application logic—all without the intervention of a programmer, they said.
Flexibility is essential, said Bowstreets Moss. With Bowstreet Factory 5, users can construct applications that leverage their investments in application servers, reuse their existing IT assets, and exploit Web services and standards as they emerge, he said.