If youre looking to build Java Web applications or Web services, a new form of software assistance may be emerging. A startup company, Wakesoft, is offering one version of that software in its Wakesoft Architecture Server.
Sun Microsystems has sought to encourage Java application development with its Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) BluePrints application framework, which maps out the best way to solve certain Java application problems.
Wakesoft has incorporated those BluePrints into its Wakesoft Architecture Server, giving developers a Java-based framework that solves a set of known problems in creating a Web-enabled application. One of the key goals of the J2EE BluePrints is to yield applications whose operations can scale upward with swings in Web traffic, said Krishna Gollamudi, president of the 12-person, San Francisco company, whose founders were veterans of the former Expedior software consulting practice.
Another goal is to let a company such as Ensera, an application service provider to companies in the auto collision insurance industry, build applications that interoperate with a wide variety of outside partner applications.
Ensera "was fairly inexperienced in Java 2 Enterprise Edition," Gollamudi said. "One of their developers went to a [BEA Systems] WebLogic class and came back saying J2EE was way too complex. He wanted to build the application in Perl," he recalled. Perl is an open source scripting language used to build small Web applications and tie together different elements of a Web site.
"Try scaling a Perl application up [to many more users than what it was designed for] or understanding what the application does by looking at the code six months later," Gollamudi said.
Instead, Ensera used the Wakesoft Architecture Server to build its application - for processing claims online for a variety of insurance companies - in Java, and now the Ensera developer and his team have used Wakesoft for successive applications. "The real test of an architecture isnt whether youve used it once, but whether you use it again," he said.
The designed Java approach enabled Ensera "to jump-start our J2EE efforts," said Carlos Portal, the companys director of applications. He said Enseras continued use of the product was based largely on the scalability of the BluePrint applications design.
J2EE is becoming the basis for most e-business and e-commerce applications built by enterprises, said Rikki Kirzner, a Java software analyst at IDC, but its many features - including Java Server Pages, Servlets and Java Message Service - "are extremely challenging" to master in an initial implementation. Packaged architectures such as Wakesofts are likely to be used by some development teams to speed the process, she said.
The Wakesoft "architecture out of a box" includes frameworks for building Java application functions such as caching data used by the application for quick and frequent use, and object-relational mapping so that a business process capture in a Java software object may be stored in a database and called when needed.
Another early adopter of Wakesoft is National City Bank affiliate OneHarbor, which built a financial advice engine for its Web customers.
The Wakesoft Architecture Server runs on either Windows 2000/NT or Suns Solaris. It is currently designed to work with applications developed for BEAs WebLogic Application Server. Wakesoft will add IBMs WebSphere by the end of the year, and expects to add support for the Sun/Netscape Communications iPlanet Application Server as well.
The Wakesoft Architecture Server was announced yesterday, and is available immediately at a price of $14,000 per server central processing unit.