Web Services Kit Supports Range of Mobile Devices

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-11-25

A new development tool kit for mobile devices announced by IBM last week moves Web services beyond business-to-business applications and software integration to connect a wide range of devices.

The IBM WSTK (Web Services Toolkit) for Mobile Devices features developer tools and a Java run-time for building Web services applications that run on Palm OS-based handheld devices, Microsoft Corp.s Windows CE-based Pocket PC and Research In Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry handhelds.

WSTK supports Java on all three types of devices and also supports the C language on Palm OS-based devices, as well as Java. Developers can download WSTK from IBMs AlphaWorks Web site.

Web services allow devices such as cell phones, personal digital assistants and pagers to access applications residing on enterprise servers. These applications may include schedules, inventory management programs and customer relationship management systems.

Mark Ehr, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates Inc., a Boulder, Colo., market research company, said the best thing about IBMs solution is that it is "an open-source type of solution, so theyre not trying to make any money off of it. It conveniently works with [IBMs] WebSphere [application server], but it also works with any [Simple Object Access Protocol]-compliant Web services system. So it could just as easily work with BEA [Systems Inc.s] WebLogic."

Microsoft offers Web services support for mobile devices with its mobile device extensions for.Net Compact Framework. Borland Software Corp. offers a cross-platform mobile development environment. However, IBM officials said unlike .Net Compact Framework, IBMs solution supports more than one device and different languages. Microsoft officials, in Redmond, Wash., said their solution—which supports Pocket PC and Visual C# .Net and Visual Basic .Net—supports up to 200 devices.

"With so many platforms available, most enterprises are very heterogeneous; technologies like Web services make everything look a lot more homogeneous," said Bob Sutor, director of e-business standards strategy for IBM, of Armonk, N.Y. Sutor added that integrating devices is key to the e-business on-demand strategy that IBM is pursuing.

WSTK for Mobile Devices will be available as a plug-in to IBMs WebSphere Studio Device Developer 5.0, an integrated development environment for building and testing applications for wireless devices, Sutor said.

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