SilverStream, the last of the independent application server companies, has always surrounded its Java 2 Enterprise Edition server with application development tools. Now it is adding applications on top of those tools for the rapid deployment of Web services.
Indeed, while other companies are catching up on tools, SilverStream President David Litwack says his company will steal a march on the competition by supplying applications that help incorporate existing mainframe and other systems part of Web services. And those applications will run not only on the SilverStream application server but on multiple J2EE application servers—BEA Systems WebLogic for one and IBMs WebSphere, for another.
"The bigger part of the business will be applications on top of the application server," predicted David Litwack, president and CEO.
Oracle last week took a different stance, saying its tying together its development tools into a more integrated JDeveloper environment was the most important direction to move at the present stage. Sun Microsystems with its Forte for Java and IBM with its VisualAge for Java tools tend to be more in step with Oracle.
Two years ago Sun purchased an application server company, NetDynamics, after Netscape Communications purchased one of its competitors, Kiva Software. The Sun/Netscape Alliance then merged them into the iPlanet server, with Forte tools. And BEA Systems had earlier purchased WebLogic, an early entrant in the all-Java server field at a time when NetDynamics was a mixture of Java and C technologies. SilverStream was another early J2EE compliant application server, and that choice has come to rule the field.
"Due to Suns enforcement of compliance testing for Java, all J2EE application server functionality is the same," Litwack observed. In effect, J2EE compliance is a given for the field, and the application server can be differentiated either by its tools or by the applications designed to extend its capabilities. SilverStream is working on the latter.
It announced Nov. 5, for example, that it has launched the eXtend product suite to simplify the development of Web services. The eXtend applications are intended to help both the development and deployment of new Web applications.
It includes existing SilverStream products that have been re-architected to fit into a services deployment environment. eXtend Composer 3.0 is the former X Commerce product from SilverStream that provides XML file parsing for data exchanges between applications. It has been enhanced to provide a rapid design environment for building applications that connect to legacy systems through a series of adapter—software modules that contain the specifics of interacting with mainframe CICS, 3270 dumb terminals or databases, said Holahan, general manager of eBusiness integration products.
Composer also allows a new Web application to be integrated with PeopleSoft or SAP applications through an XML interface, Holahan added.
eXtend Director 3.0 is the former ePortal product for establishing a Web portal with personalization features. It has been enhanced with J2EE frameworks for the rapid building of Enterprise Java Beans, Java Server Pages and Servlets. The Java technologies allow developers to, respectively, build modules of code that can interact with each other, embed Java applets in HTML pages for interactions with the user and short Java command programs to run Web servers.
In addition Director in intended to give developers subsystems to build into applications as needed, such as workflow, content management, user profiling and security.
eXtend Director and Composer can be tapped by the eXtend Workbench, which gives application developers the services of the jBroker series of tools: the jBroker object request broker for connecting a Web application to software objects, such as critical functions of legacy systems; jBroker MQ, a message store and forward service for exchanging messages between applications; and the jBroker Web services engine.
The jBroker Web services engine and eXtend Workbench 1.0 are available for free download at http://software.silverstream.com. The eXtend integrated services environment, including the application server, is priced at $100,000 for enterprises.
Users of SilverStream eXtend Application Server for business operations include Home Depot, the Chicago Stock Exchange and Samsung Electronics. SilverStream is located in Billerica, Mass.