Clear Methods Expands XML, Web Services Offerings

Upgrades aim to enable faster, more efficient development of XML-based business solutions and Web services.

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Clear Methods Inc., an XML and Web services solutions startup, has upgraded its offerings, known as Steam and Water, to enable faster, more efficient development of XML-based business solutions and Web services.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Clear Methods Tuesday announced the release of version 3.1 of its Steam platform, including enhanced database access, the extension of XML to all tiers of computing and the elimination of the use of wrapper technology when implementing Web services, the company said.

The Steam platform consists of the Steam integrated development environment and the Steam Engine runtime environment. Clear Methods employs its Water language to develop Steam applications. Water is an object-oriented XML-based language developed by Clear Methods founders. Essentially, Water enables developers to express business logic in XML, said Mike Plusch, chief executive of Clear Methods.

Water is based on ConciseXML, Plusch said. Concise XML is a language-independent markup syntax that is compatible with XML 1.0. Yet, ConciseXML is designed to handle every type of data including non-hierarchical data, program logic, document markup, and binary data, he said. In addition, ConciseXML makes XML more flexible by eliminating many of the constraints of XML, Plusch added. Clear Methods launched last month to support the adoption of the ConciseXML syntax. The site can be found at

Dave Loda, manager of the Applied Technologies Group at Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp., East Hartford, Conn., has used the Clear Methods technology on a project to create a distributed computing architecture, including mobile support, to upgrade the aircraft engine makers supply chain systems. Loda said Water and Steam enabled his team "to consolidate what would normally be multiple code-generating layers of applications" into a single architecture.

Plusch calls the Steam platform a "pure Web services environment." He said building Web services on the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) or .Net platforms requires up to a dozen or more languages and programming models, whereas Steam only requires one.

"Although XML is not a language, many people refer to it as a lingua franca or common language," Plusch said. "As businesses standardize on XML for data, the need for a business language to build XML-based software will be obvious. The Clear Methods Steam platform and the open Water language provide the base for creating flexible and intelligent business software."