TIBCO Looks to Reconcile Metadata Conflicts

Designer tool to establish common meanings across different applications.

TIBCO Software Inc. is updating its Designer tool to correlate metadata information from disparate applications as well as to enable easier integration of enterprise business processes.

Version 5.0 of TIBCO Designer, due in February, addresses what is called the semantic remediation problem of application integration by enabling two applications to figure out which metadata is similar between them.

The result is that business terms such as "purchase order" mean the same thing in whatever application they are named, said TIBCO officials, in Palo Alto, Calif.

In Version 5.0, TIBCO will enhance Designers configuration repository by exposing its proprietary APIs and adding the capability for business analysts to look at the metadata repository. This will ease the task of connecting content from different applications because TIBCO Designer users will be able to manage and correlate the content based on existing schemata that govern it.

"If you dont have [metadata introspection], you bake the schema into the code. So if you want to go back and change how an order is done, for example, you have to go back and change code," said Gautham Wiswanathan, vice president of engineering at TIBCO.

In addition, TIBCO Designer 5.0 will integrate the companys InConcert workflow capabilities so users can create and be able to execute business processes on the fly.

Designers new functions will be important to companies beyond TIBCOs user base as the technology becomes available to anyone who uses customer relationship management software maker Siebel Systems Inc.s UAN (Universal Application Network) business process integration offering.

This week, TIBCO and Siebel, of San Mateo, Calif., are announcing that TIBCO Designer will be the design tool of choice for building the majority of the business process templates that are at the heart of UAN.

But even with the new capabilities in TIBCO Designer, some potential users of UAN are not ready to make the leap.

"Weve got quite an investment in Sybase [Inc. integration tools]," said Joe Lacik, vice president of information services at Aviall Inc., in Dallas. "Quite frankly, integrating an order system and a Web site is quite a complex process. When you do a transaction on our Web site, its going real time into our [enterprise resource planning system], so its a pretty high-performance, unique thing."