AJAX, SOA to Merge
Although technologists have been calling for the marriage of hot technologies such as SOAs and AJAX to help users better leverage Web services, the industry is only now beginning to see products that fully support this integration.
This comes a month after BEA Systems officials updated users at the BEAWorld conference on three Web 2.0 projects, code-named Graffiti, Builder and Runner, designed to meld the worlds of AJAX and SOA.
"This is the hottest issue in the SOA space today," said Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink, in Waltham, Mass. "Now that organizations are getting a grasp on SOA, theyre figuring out how to build loosely coupled services. The next obvious question is how best to use those services. The answer is that enterprises are looking to enable business users to compose services [into rich Internet applications]."
JackBe, of Chevy Chase, Md., will launch Presto, an enterprise application platform that leverages the strengths of SOA and AJAX to enable enterprises to tap into underlying business services to create rich Internet applications.
JackBe Chief Technology Officer John Crupi said AJAX helps to put a face on SOA, and the Presto platform enables business users to become developers and address their own application needs by building "situational applications."
However, unlike other so-called Web 2.0 technologies that tend to leave governance to the browser, JackBes solution presents a secure, scalable enterprise-grade architecture to provide governance of applications and services, Crupi said. As business logic is distributed to the client, testing, debugging and managing rich clients is becoming a challenge for enterprises.
The Presto platform consists of a development tier, a client tier, the ASB (AJAX Service Bus), and a service tier consisting of a Service Gateway and Enterprise Mashup Server.
The development tier consists of an Eclipse-based power developer environment and a browser-based business developer environment. The client tier is based on JackBes existing NQ AJAX development and deployment framework. The ASB is a browser-to-server messaging component that provides secure, bidirectional, single-connection network messaging, Crupi said. It also brings to the enterprise the capability to extend an ESB (enterprise service bus) and middleware through to the browser, he said.
Meanwhile, the products Service Gateway enables SOA service governance and security, including user authentication and service access authorization, Crupi said. The products Enterprise Mashup Server enables user-driven declarative and real-time multiserver and business activity mashups, he said. JackBes technology will be available in the first quarter of 2007, the company said.
Meanwhile, TIBCO, of Palo Alto, Calif., will release a beta version of its General Interface AJAX framework, which adds support for the Firefox 1.5 browser and brings an open-source license for the technology, said Kevin Hakman, director of product marketing for TIBCO General Interface.
Hakman said the new beta is part of TIBCOs effort to push the adoption of AJAX and to extend the benefits of SOAs to users and developers. For instance, General Interface 3.2 enables customers to use AJAX to gain more value from their SOA investment by linking end users, including business users, to business services to create rich Internet applications, he said.
The TIBCO offering will let developers mix and match components from multiple AJAX libraries, Hakman said.
Alan Roter, CIO of Iconix Pharmaceuticals, said the Mountain View, Calif., company was "able to develop applications twice as fast for half the cost" using TIBCOs technology. In addition, Jeff Johnson, manager of corporate applications for Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Group, said that "with TIBCO General Interface, we got a mature, enterprise-tested product that would have immediate benefits for the company and our customers."
BEAs Graffiti is aimed at adding dynamic information management to enterprise systems, said Shane Pearson, vice president of marketing and product management at the San Jose, Calif., company. Builder uses BEAs portal technology to enable the development of things such as enterprise wikis, while Runner is designed to add application services to any Web application.
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