BEA Expands WebLogic Framework

BEA wants to converge integration and development around WebLogic.

BEA Systems Inc. will open its eWorld Developer Conference in Orlando, Fla., this week with an eye on converging integration and application development into a single architecture around its WebLogic line of products.

BEA will announce betas of 8.1 versions of WebLogic Platform, WebLogic Integration, WebLogic Portal, WebLogic Workshop and WebLogic Server. The company will release beta code of Platform and Server this week, with beta code of the other products following later, said BEA officials, in San Jose, Calif.

BEA has been pushing the theme of converging integration and development for a while, but company officials said Version 8.1 delivers on it.

Byron Sebastian, vice president and general manager for WebLogic Workshop and WebLogic Portal, said the key thing about the 8.1 releases is "a unified and simplified development environment to build and extend and integrate applications on WebLogic."

BEAs integration platform adds more application connectivity and support for XML Query Language for manipulating and transforming XML messages. Sebastian said that for BEA, integration means application integration, user interface integration through the portal and custom application development.

"In our analysis of BEA, we had seen BEA used very effectively in other integration projects in various businesses," said Mike Parks, CIO of Virgin Mobile USA Inc., in San Francisco. "So we were quite confident that in a very large integration project, we could take BEA and make it an integral part of what we had to do."

Competing application server vendors have a theory about the building out of BEAs software.

"JBoss has destroyed their [application server] revenue stream," said Marc Fleury, president of Atlanta-based JBoss Group LLC, adding that the open-source JBoss solution has been catching on. "BEA is a soft target for us."

Stephen OGrady, an analyst with RedMonk LLC, of Hollis, N.H., said BEAs move is "driven by the fact that enterprises want more for their money. As application server functionality is increasingly commoditized by the major vendors or threatened by open-source alternatives like JBoss or Tomcat, application server vendors have to work harder to deliver more value."

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