Tools Help to Ease Web Services Development

M7 Corporation Inc. and Novell Inc. are rolling out tools to help developers build and deploy Web services.

M7 Corporation Inc. and Novell Inc. are rolling out tools to help developers build and deploy Web services.

M7 this month unveiled Version 2.0 of Application Assembly Platform, which offers an enterprise object repository, support for Web services and new workflow capabilities.

The enterprise object repository lets developers define and reuse business rules, processes and objects and unite existing technology with new technology, including Web services, according to officials with the Cupertino, Calif., company. The Web services support in the product lets developers plug Web services into applications and reuse them.

M7s enhanced workflow engine has a visual editor that can access the repository. In addition, M7 supports JavaServer Pages 2.0 as well as BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic 7.0; IBMs WebSphere 4.0; and JBoss 2.4, open-source software from JBoss Group LLC. M7 CEO Mansour Safai said M7 2.0 helps shield developers from some of the complexity of J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition).

"The key message here is that J2EE has been around and is taking off, but its getting more and more complex," Safai said. "Its not graspable by most developers, but only by software architect types. [M7 is] providing a way for people to bring in old code and also link in Web services." It also is a way to store and reuse "pre-built functionality," he said.

Carol Baroudi, an analyst with Baroudi Group Inc., in Arlington, Mass., said it makes sense for M7 to partner with application server vendors, giving it a way to get its products in front of J2EE developers. "At least one of those players tried to acquire M7 early on, and I think M7 rightly held out and is positioned well," Baroudi said.

Novell, of Provo, Utah, this month unveiled Novell Extend 4 Enterprise, its development environment for Web applications and XML Web services. Key enhancements in Novell Extend 4 Enterprise are support for J2EE 1.3 and the IBM and BEA application servers, the company said.

Meanwhile, Actional Corp. announced partnerships with two companies aimed at easing Web services development. Actional, of Mountain View, Calif., and WebPutty Inc., of San Jose, Calif., are teaming to enable developers to integrate enterprise applications from such vendors as SAP AG, Siebel Systems Inc. and PeopleSoft Inc. with their own custom products. The agreement will enable developers to use Actionals SOAPswitch to expose their applications as Web services and then use the WebPutty Application Platform to add new functionality to the enterprise application, the companies said.

Actional also announced an agreement with Miami-based ClientSoft Inc. to integrate Actionals SOAPswitch and SOAPstation with ClientSoft Tanit Objects to enable developers to build Web services for mainframe systems. ClientSofts Tanit Objects is a development platform for IBMs S/390 environment.