Novell Inc. is moving fast to update the Extend application development suite it acquired in July as it tries to remake itself as a platform-agnostic software and services company focused on Web services.
Novell this week at the Gartner Symposium/IT Expo in Orlando, Fla., will release Extend Version 4, which features new portal functionality and presentation capabilities designed to ease the creation of applications delivered as services over the Web.
Extend 4s new portal features include different layouts and drag-and-drop customization tools, letting developers define a portals visual characteristics through themes. A decorator tool will let them define the presentation.
A Composer tool in Extend 4 can link legacy systems to Web services applications via XML, officials said. Extend 4 will be fully compatible with Version 1.3 of the J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) authoring language.
Early next year, Novell, of Provo, Utah, will release Extend Version 5. The J2EE application server in Version 5 will be ported to the next version of Novells NetWare, code-named Nakoma and due next year. Extend 5 will also link Composer to Novells eDirectory. This is designed to enhance Web services applications security by letting developers tap into Novells Secure Identity Management solution.
A big goal in Extend 5 is to let non-Java developers do J2EE development without much learning, according to Novell Chief Technology Officer Alan Nugent. "New visual development tools will let Java developers [use] J2EE without a hard-core knowledge of Java—specifically through XForms," Nugent said. "XForms [provide] visual designers that let you build Web services and deploy them as portlets without writing [much] code."
Novell gained Extend with its acquisition of SilverStream Software Inc. To further its Web services strategy, Novell last week said BravePoint Inc., of Norcross, Ga., agreed to use Extend with its development tools for services-oriented applications.