IBM Bulks Up WebSphere Web Services Support

A new version of WebSphere extends IBM's ability to deliver Web services for its developer customers.

IBM on Wednesday made several announcements around its WebSphere application server platform aimed at easing the integration of disparate applications and systems and improving Web services support.

At its DeveloperWorks Live event in San Francisco, IBM announced new WebSphere products aimed at solving the integration problem, which Stefan Van Overtveldt, IBMs WebSphere technical program director, called the biggest "spending item" in IT today.

The largest of the IBM announcements was the announcement of a new version of IBMs WebSphere, the WebSphere Application Server Version 5, which extends IBMs ability to deliver Web services for its developer customers. Van Overtveldt said WebSphere 5 takes advantage of all the Web services functions of Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.3 and many of the features in the upcoming next release of the specification, J2EE 1.4. Van Overtveldt said the product already adheres to many of the known J2EE 1.4 requirements.

The new version of WebSphere will be available in the third quarter, he said. It will feature several means for making Web services development easier, including more visual methods of developing Web services. It also will feature more security features and enhanced support for the J2EE Connector Architecture.

IBM also announced the WebSphere MQ Event Broker, which allows businesses to publish information to specific subscribers according to their unique preferences.

And the new IBM WebSphere Business Integration Version 4.1 is a comprehensive product for business process integration, which enables customers to carry out a business activity—regardless of the systems involved—across business applications such as enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management, in real time, the Armonk, N.Y., company said.

Meanwhile, WebSphere Business Integration is a new offering that features technology acquired from CrossWorlds Software earlier this year and MQ Series technologies, Overtveldt said. He said it enables companies to automate business processes that integrate multiple applications.

The new WebSphere Portal Version 4.1 will enable businesses to integrate information via Web services to be displayed as a single user experience, regardless of hardware of software platform, he said.

"Web services deployment is made a lot easier by the inclusion of a private UDDI [Universal Description, Discovery and Integration] repository," which is included in the new offerings, Van Overtveldt said.