.Net Alternative Easy to Use

MagnetPoint's MagnetStudio flexible; XDegrees extends XDegrees System.

Application development software startup MagnetPoint Inc. is readying a Java-based application development framework for building Web services.

The framework, due next week and called MagnetStudio, will be positioned as a possible alternative to Microsoft Corp.s .Net Alerts. It will be used to build Web services for messaging applications, including e-mail, voice mail, instant messaging, presence and availability management, and scheduling and calendaring.

Developers create an application process or workflow in Magnet- Studio, which then generates an XML template. The template is populated by the event triggered, and the XML application created is then run in the MagnetWorks run-time environment as an interactive session.

MagnetPoint, of San Francisco, is targeting the application toward Web developers rather than harder-to-find Java or C++ developers, company officials said. The applications developed support text, text-to-speech and voice recognition.

Hewlett-Packard Co., in Cupertino, Calif., is using MagnetStudio for a number of projects—both internal and customer-facing applications, according to Ben Brauer, Web services product manager at HP.

"Theyve created an enabling technology thats easy to use," Brauer said. "It makes using Web services easier, especially when it comes to communications services."

Bruce McIndoe, chief operating officer of iJet Travel Intelligence Inc., said his companys alerting service, which sends travel advisories and information from around the world via text, voice, Short Message Service and fax, based on its 500,000 subscribers itineraries, is based on MagnetPoint technology, which the company outsources as a service.

"Its very flexible," said McIndoe in Annapolis, Md. "Every time you need to change a parameter in the XML document, you can change it right on the fly."

In other Web services news, XDegrees Inc., announced earlier this month that it has extended its XDegrees System for secure information exchange to Microsofts Windows Messenger and .Net Alerts platforms.

XDegrees System, which uses Microsofts .Net My Services, previously integrated with Microsoft Outlook. In addition, XDegrees will support Microsofts .Net Passport for single sign-on across multiple services.

XDegrees System essentially adds a security layer to collaborative applications. It allows enterprises to deploy secure information networks to users and applications involved in procurement, new product design, professional services and other distributed business functions, said XDegrees officials in Mountain View, Calif.

For its part, Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., earlier this month announced MSN Money Professional, a Web service expected to launch in beta early next year. It will combine .Net My Services with secure document publishing, portfolio reporting and financial content from the MSN Money Web site. Its designed to allow financial advisers to provide their clients with portfolio updates, reports, and real-time news and quotes.