Enterprise application integration software maker Actional Corp. this month will release software that officials said will enable IT managers to wrap applications with Web service functionality in as little as 30 minutes.
Actionals SOAPswitch technology acts as a Web services gateway for businesses deploying enterprise applications. It fulfills two primary functions: It puts a standards-based Web services wrapper around a companys back-end systems and provides a single point of control, or switch, through which all Web services traffic flows.
SOAPswitch centralizes security, management and monitoring of Web services and transforms data models into a standard format, according to officials at Actional, in Mountain View, Calif.
SOAPswitch configures itself to the APIs of major developers enterprise applications. It can then query an API for functionality and present the result to the user, generally a developer, as a Simple Object Access Protocol call. From there, it allows users to choose what they care about and build a transformation on the fly, officials said.
The developer need only go to SOAPswitch on the back end, decide what he or she wants available on the front end from the APIs presented, and expose those APIs as Web services.
Innovative Group plc., which provides a component-based development methodology called Progression and services to governments and insurance agencies, tested SOAPswitch to see if it would enable the North Carolina Health and Human Services Agency to present its processes as Web services while leveraging existing skills. Installing SOAPswitch and presenting a process for evaluation of home health care services took a couple of days. It took 30 minutes to publish the changes once the technology was installed, according to Jeff Chancellor, the companys vice president of technology and strategy, U.S. public sector. The big timesaver is no coding on the back end, Chancellor said.
"SOAPswitch generates all the code in my [development environment] for me—that, to me, is a tremendous productivity boost," said Chancellor, in Danbury, Conn. "We had tinkered around with building Web services through open source—[but] that requires quite a bit of programming—and I didnt want to do that."